1.Cincinnati Bengals (12-4): The Bengals defense will struggle early but find their footing once the beast Burfict is back and if Dalton and Eifert can stay healthy this offense will explode with AJ Green finally having his QB. Maybe Marvin Lewis can win a playoff game this year?
2.Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5): The Steelers will miss Le’Veon Bell but that won’t slow them down with DeAngelo Williams running the rock. I think their defense is their only question mark and the loss of Bud Dupree doesn’t help much to start the year. I think their offense is terrifying but you need defense in the NFL. Still a playoff level team.
3.Baltimore Ravens (8-8): The Ravens need a secondary as bad as Skip Bayless needs to actually learn sports instead of just rambling facts. Joe needs to stay healthy and so does Steve Smith if this offense wants to fire on all cylinders.
4.Cleveland Browns (7-9): I love Hue Jackson but he took over a team still not rebuilding the right way due to the worst front office in the NFL. Keep a coach for more than two year to give your team time to rebuild under a steady direction. Corey Coleman is a beast and Josh Gordon is back soon and I actually believe he has his head back. RGIII will be the story otherwise Kessler deserves the shot at the helm of this team. This team will be the interesting one to watch this year.
- New England Patriots (11-5): Jimmy G is going to struggle the first game of the season and a couple other with his lack of NFL experience against stellar defenses. I believe Brady will be Brady and the Pats will claim this division.
- Buffalo Bills (9-7): Tyrod Taylor is the real deal folks and he proved what I said the day the Ravens drafted him during last year’s debut season as a starter. The defense will continue to grow as the season goes on. They honestly are building a defense very similar to the one you see in Denver and their run game should be back where we hope it is. I am excited to see this team function this year. Sammy Watkins please stay healthy.
- Miami Dolphins (8-8): Defense and O-line need to continue to improve but they could surprise me and finish second in this division and pick up another win or two. They have the talent to be better than 8-8 but a new coach and some new pieces, we shall see how the puzzle pieces fall.
- New York Jets (6-10): This is the year the Jets realize Fitzpatrick wasn’t worth their effort and Hackenburg isn’t worth believe there is a future with. The Jets offense is going to struggle while their defense will be stout and be top 10 in the league.
- Houston Texans (11-5): My only worries for the Texans is Brock and their run game because I have no confidence in Lamar Miller. The defense will be the Houston defense everyone loves to watch and have JJ Watt which is automatically amazing, plus Clowney looks good right now. Let’s see how this team does with their new offense.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7): Yes, I have the Jags top two in this division. They are the most disrespected unappreciated team in the NFL. Their defense is still getting rebuilt but it already has a lot of scary features to it. Now you throw Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey into this underrated defense with people forgotten like Telvin Smith by just the average fan. They will shock a lot of people and their WR corps will be top 3 in the NFL.
- Indianapolis Colts (7-9): Honestly I do not care that Andrew Luck is back and could be his normal self. The Colts defense is a huge whole all together and you need a defense to survive in this pass heavy league. The Colts are a force on offense but with a shaky run game and a bad defense they just aren’t where everyone thinks they are due to the Andrew Luck hype train the media has unanimously jumped on.
- Tennessee Titans (6-10): These guys are getting there and Mariota will lead this team for a long time and become a super star for a long time to come. I honestly like the team more than their record but I do not trust Mike Mularkey as a head coach and unless he proves I can I won’t ever trust him. The Titans do have Tajae Sharpe the most underrated WR in the draft last year and will take over as the number one guaranteed.
- Oakland Raiders (10-6): This division itself is hard to call but I am going to go with the team who has been rebuilding and I believe are 2 pieces away from a super bowl run. They have Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin on the same defense bringing the pass rush, that is pretty incredible. Derek Carr is growing fast and Amari Cooper is one of the best targets in the NFL ALREADY. I really like this team.
- Denver Broncos (9-7): I don’t trust their offense just yet but I do trust their defense and they could carry this team a long way but I think they fall short. They have a lot to look forward to though with Paxton Lynch at the helm one day.
- San Diego Chargers (8-8): The Chargers have Ken Whisenhunt back with Phillip Rivers and that alone for me picks up two more wins just due to their incredible relationship. Whisenhunt wants to work Melvin Gordon and that alone puts confidence in their top RB. I think this team is going to grow more and more and the defense will grow with Perryman, Bosa, Verrett, Casey Hayward, and Melvin Ingram. I think in a few years they could be a 12-4 Superbowl contenders.
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): The Chiefs offense is a bit susceptible I still don’t trust Alex Smith and I would love for Jamaal Charles to get healthy and stay that way to see what this team can truly accomplish under Andy Reid. This will be a very interesting year for the Chiefs because I could see them at 10-6 if they win some of the close games, I just don’t trust Alex Smith to win those games. One day Connor Cook could be their future I honestly believe that.
1.Green Bay Packers (12-4): My original pick would have been 13-3 but I am taking a win away for the loss of Josh Sitton. That move was dumb and made no sense whatsoever. They just lost one of the best interior middle lineman in the league and Rodgers needs protection. Either way Jordy Nelson is back and that is not just good news for Rodgers it is also good news for Randall Cobb because without the primary focus he could shine again. Lacy shredded the weight and he is a monster finally. I think they have a sneaky add late in preseason with Jhurell Pressley who could return kicks instead of Ty Montgomery and could beat out Starks as the change of pace back behind Lacy. Green Bay is NFC Championship bound this year.
2.Minnesota Vikings (9-7): Ground and pound will be the name of the game in Minnesota especially with Bradford at QB or Shaun Hill it doesn’t matter. AP will carry the team on his back along with Harrison Smith carrying the defense on his shoulders. This team has the potential with Stefon Diggs and LaQuan Treadwell out wide they have some legit options going forward in their passing game.
3.Detroit Lions (6-10): No Calvin Johnson and a lack of a run game this team’s offense is in for a world of hurt. Their defense is nothing special either it is clearly led by Ansah and DeAndre Levy at this point. This could be a nightmare season for the Detroit fans.
4.Chicago Bears (5-11): Jay Cutler will be pissed off all season long as they have a weak defense and a questionable run game. Their O-line just got better with Sitton signed but that might not be everything they need. Alshon and Kevin White need to stay healthy and losing Bennett at TE is an issue itself. Sorry Chicago your cubbies are all you have to hope for this year until the Blackhawks get on the ice.
1.Dallas Cowboys (9-7): I mean I have no idea this division is the definition of a mess. I think Dak is a beast! Zeke is a freak! Dez is Dez and Jason Witten is still a top 5 tight end in the NFL. This team just needs defense to really hold up in the NFC and I think it is slowly getting there. I just have no idea what to make of this team.
2.New York Giants (8-8): New coach at the helm for the first time in forever and Eli needs to return to classic Eli. The defense is getting better year by year at this point and the addition of Janoris Jenkins makes this defense have a true show stopping playmaker. The run game is what worries the most with this team and we will have to see what happens with it.
3.Philadelphia Eagles (7-9): First year with Carson Wentz will be a learning process but if he really shines they could get into the lead of this division. I just never trust the borderline QB’s to make a significant difference their rookie season because there is a major learning curve in the NFL, especially with a QB coming from North Dakota State. The level of corners he sees there aren’t equal to the ones he will see in the NFL and I think overtime we will see why I had him as my 2nd best QB in this draft behind Paxton.
4.Washington Redskins (6-10): I do not trust this defense at all and Kirk Cousins needs a more reliable run game and offensive line in front of him. The one plus for the Skins is that their wide receivers are incredibly talented and deep on the depth chart especially when you throw in Jordan Reed. The Skins have a long way to go to make a playoff push and they still need even more work sadly.
1.Carolina Panthers (10-6): They might be the defending NFC Champs but they have no secondary. Their offense is more lethal but I think they lost a huge element to their team with the loss of their secondary. If anything happens to their front 7 they could be in for a real hurt and with QB’s like Winston, Ryan, and Brees they need to be able to stop the pass 6 games a year alone.
2.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7): This team is on the rise and their defense is starting to show signs of life. Winston and Mike Evans are continuing to develop together and Doug Martin proved to us all what he can do with a good QB taking the focus off the run game. I am really interested to see where the Buccaneers go this year and how much Winston improved in the offseason. Roberto Aguayo will win them a game this year with his incredibly reliable leg.
3.New Orleans Saints (8-8): The Saints pass game and running game is solid. Their defense is a huge hole on this team but I think it will continue to improve and keep this team around .500 this year and that should be an accomplishment with this defense in this league. Brandin Cooks will have to learn what it means to be the true number one WR this year and we could see a temporary adjustment period just keep an eye out for that as a fantasy owner.
4.Atlanta Falcons (7-9): The defense is young in Atlanta and still developing. They have a good o-line and a great run game. They still have Matty-Ice and Julio but they didn’t do much as far as getting a second WR. I need to see more out of Sanu to believe he can be a true number 2. The big thing for the Falcons this year is their pass game and if it can gain more ground that last year. I love Dan Quinn and want the Falcons to improve because he is one of my favorite coaches in the NFL.
- Arizona Cardinals (14-2): This team is the best in the NFL in my eyes unless something I don’t see is happening down in Arizona. Carson Palmer is a beast still, their receiving corps is dominant, and their ground game is the best in the league with David Johnson and CJ2k. Their defense is top 2 in the NFL this year and the addition of Robert Nkemdiche is just even more unbelievable. I love this team and think they will be the Super Bowl LI champs when it is all said and done. We shall see, they need to stay healthy for that to happen but I strongly believe in them this year.
- Seattle Seahawks (11-5): The Hawks are still title contenders but I think the defense is aging and slowing down without any dominant replacements to help keep them young and fast. I love their offense more and more. The receivers that Russel Wilson now has through their development and learning of their offense they could be explosive. I do believe Thomas Rawls is overhyped and we might see that this year as time goes on due to the fact that they will lean more and more towards the passing game. This is the team to watch as a possible bust candidate.
- St. Louis Rams (9-7): The Rams are on the verge of making a title run. Their defense is coached by geniuses of Greg Williams, Mike Singletary, and Jeff Fisher. They might be the best defense in the NFL to be completely honest. I just am worried about their passing game and the lack of development over the past two years. Tavon is getting way too much money for doing basically nothing deserving of the money he is receiving. Gurley is Gurley but if they don’t get a truly threatening passing game defenses can really plan for Gurley, as much as possible, and slow his effectiveness down. I think they need to get Goff’s development process moving along quickly if they want to get a good passing game. As well as get him more options at WR.
- San Francisco 49ers (3-13): This team under Chip Kelly will need time to develop and this coming offseason they should address their lack of a QB and their WR options. Their defense could bounce back as time goes on they have young talent but their QB’s are horrible and their RB’s are questionable. I think they are the worst team in the NFL this year. Hang in there San Fran fans your team is a nightmare.
- Matt Koontz