The NFL season is already two weeks old, but it is never too late to pick the division winners and wild card teams. Call me Nostradamus. You can take these predictions to the bank.
AFC West: Denver Broncos
You’d have to be out of your mind to think anyone but the Broncos are going to win this division. Denver will have the best offense in football this season, led by Peyton Manning, Wes Welker and company. But don’t sleep on their defense either. I’d be surprised if they lost more than three games and should be Super Bowl favorites.
AFC East: New England Patriots
Ho hum, this is one of the worst divisions in football. The Bills, Dolphins and Jets will all struggle to win eight games this season. The Patriots are clearly the cream of the crop in the East, but they even have their struggles with an inexperienced receiving core. However, you can’t ever count out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
AFC South: Houston Texans
The Texans should win this division again for the third straight year. The Colts will be a factor, but they’re still too young. Jacksonville and Tennessee should finish a distant third and fourth.
AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers and Ravens have dominated this division for over a decade. But no more. The Bengals have the best team this year and should win the North and make the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Is there a more exciting player to watch than A.J. Green? The answer is no.
AFC Wild Cards: Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
The trendy pick here is the Seahawks. But while I like the guy, I’m not a believer in Russell Wilson. Under 6-foot-tall quarterbacks, not named Drew Brees, just don’t succeed in the NFL. Give me the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick and their nasty defense.
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
I wish there was a way no one could win this division. All four teams make me want to gag. Seriously, what’s worse than watching Redskins-Cowboys, Giants-Eagles or any combination of these four teams on primetime games every week? The answer is nothing. Give me the Eagles, I guess.
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were one game away from the Super Bowl last season and they’re contenders again. Matt Ryan is underrated and one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Once Roddy White gets healthy the Falcons will have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Saints, with Sean Payton back from suspension and Drew Brees under center, will be a threat, but I still like the Falcons. I can’t shake the feeling this is Atlanta’s time to finally break through.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
Sorry Bears fans, but it’s going to be the Packers again. Maybe if Jay Cutler wasn’t so terrible you’d stand a chance. Green Bay will once again jump on the back of Aaron Rodgers and have a great regular season record. But come playoff time, when you need a good defense and running game, the Packers will flame out like they have the past few years. Green Bay is this decade’s version of the Manning-led Colts.
NFC Wildcards: Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks
There you have it. Write it in stone. Take it to the bank. That’s 12 sure-fire predictions that can’t possibly be wrong. But on the off chance that some of these are not correct (not likely), I’m sure I’ll be reminded of it by all of you.
Alex Ross is a senior sports communication major from Fishers, Ind. He is the Scout sports editor.
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