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NFL 2018 Season Predictions

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Majority of Free Agency has finished and the Draft starts in a couple of weeks. There were a lot of different free agent signings that will impact that team’s success. There were only a couple of quarterbacks that went to become a starter and you can tell by the contracts that they were getting. Mediocre receivers were signing for receiver number one money which is odd. That means that most teams aren’t confident in the draft class this year for receivers. There were only a couple of good offensive lineman on the market so the market price for them was very high. There were not many interior defensive lineman or quality linebackers that signed for a good contract. The secondary out of all positions got the most money. There were multiple safeties and corners to sign big contracts. I think that teams are truly realizing that corners and safeties are very valuable to a franchise. Corners are very injury prone and you can never have enough of them. It was very interesting to see the versatile corners being signed as well. Teams are looking for players that can play outside and inside in the nickel slot position. This year more than others, trades had a big part in how this off season went about. Many teams were already starting trades before the free agency tampering period even started. They were trading for needs that they think they will lose in free agency. That is a very smart move to do and this was the first year we have really seen multiple teams apply that strategy. This will probably start a movement for the next couple of years. We have also seen so far how teams are adopting the win now mode and what teams are clearly building for the future. Obviously the Draft will have a impact on how their seasons turn out. But right now you can make a good educated guess on how these teams will do by looking what moves they have already made. I am going to go division by division and predict each teams record. I am basing it of what moves that team has made so far in the off season. That being free agent signings, trades, and cuts.  will be looking at were they are in the draft and how that will effect their ability to get quality talent at that point in the draft. The strength of teams in that division also play a big part in how their chances are of making it to the playoffs. Even though majority of the off season is over it is still too early to make a prediction. There is the draft and there can also be injuries to key players. In this prediction I am going to assume that there are no major injuries and their rosters stand as they are right now.


NFC North

Minnesota Vikings [ 13-3]

The Vikings had a very good year last year that was disappointing at the end. This team had tons of talent on both sides of the ball but couldn’t finish the year off. The Vikings realized what their needs were immediately and made a great plan leading into the off season. They are getting key players back from injury like Dalvin Cook. Dalvin Cook was a very exciting rookie that showed a lot of promise before he had a devastating season ending injury. He will be the lead back for the future years to come. Him and Latavius Murray will make a good one two combo in the backfield. They weren’t able to resign Jerrick Mickinnon who wanted to be a lead back in a different offense. They added Kendall Wight to go along with one of the best receiver duo’s in the league. Stefon Diggs adds speed while Adam Thelien provides as a good possession receiver. They didn’t make any big additions to the offensive line but their veteran center did retire. They will probably look to address that need in the draft. The most important signing of them all was signing Kirk Cousins. He got a ton of money to be the lead quarterback for the next couple of years, Cousins is a very elite quarterback that just wasn’t in the right situation in Washington. He will be a good fit in this offense because of the talented receivers and the strong running game. They moved on from Case Keenum who had a very successful year last year and will be interesting to see how Cousins can do after that previous season. The Vikings have a top three defense in the league. They have good corners in Xavier Rhodes and Tray Waynes. They have two good safeties that are great center fielders. They have also had great linebacker play last year. They wanted to add more defensive line rotation this off season and they did that. They signed Sheldon Richardson who fits perfectly with other pieces on this defense. They will be in a good rotation along with Brian Robinson and Anthony Barr. Overall I think the Vikings season depends on how Kirk Cousins does. They were an outstanding team last year with a different quarterback. Kirk Cousins is being given a lot of money so he has to prove it. That being said, I think that the Vikings are one of the best teams in the league next year manly based on them being so well balanced. They have the defense so if Cousins can get the offense going they will be a very scary team.

Green Bay Packers [ 11-5]

This previous year for the Packers was very disappointing. At times they showed flashes of being a playoff contender but they were not very consistent. The big reason they struggled last year was because Aaron Rodgers went down and they were not going to be able to rebound from that. Aaron Rodgers in my opinion is the best quarterback in the league when healthy. He plays at a transcendent level and rallies everyone else around him. Brett Hundley was not able to carry this team by himself and it felt like this year was just a big waste for the Packers. They have always struggled adding talent in the offseason around Aaron Rodgers. That is because they are normally held up against the cap tightly or they have to pay their own players. Since Rodgers is coming back they already have a huge upgrade a quarterback going into next year. The running game has been vey shaky in Green Bay for a couple of years. They will be getting back Ty Montgomery who is a very good speedy player when healthy. He runs with good versatility and can do multiple things coming out of the backfield. Another bright spot from the Packers last year was a breakout star in Jaamal Williams. He is a smaller back that has good speed and agility. Williams and Montgomery will be a very good combination to have to give the defense different looks and add weapons around Rodgers. They have signed Davante Adams to a long term deal which is a great move in my opinion. He is a very reliable player but more importantly, him and Rodgers have great chemistry. They cut Jordy Nelson who is getting older and wasn’t willing to take a pay cut. Nelson has been one of the Packers best receivers for years and will be interesting to see how they move on from him. I expect that they will add another receiver before the season starts. By releasing Nelson, it  gave them more flexibility to sign someone in free agency. They used their money to sign Jimmy Graham from the Seahawks. Graham is one of the best red zone tight ends in the league right now and has always been a very reliable target to throw to . Him and Rodgers will work very well together. This move is very important because they have a amazing player in Aaron Rodgers so the best thing to do is surround him with the best talent as possible. They traded Damarious Randall who was a good role player at corner to the Browns for Deshone Kizer. They saw something in Kizer that made them trade for him and be the new backup to Rodgers. A very under rated signing was when the acquired Muhammed Wilkerson from free agency. He and Mike Daniels make a very good defensive line. They will most likely add defensive depth during the draft as well. I think that they will have a very good season considering they made a great couple of moves to go along with a hall of fame quarterback. They are in a tough division but I think that they will end up finishing second.

Chicago Bears [ 8-8]

The Bears were building for the future for the past couple of years now. They have finally found their Franchise quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in l years draft. He isn’t a player that wows you with arm strength or  accuracy. He is a very mobile player that had some success in his rookie year. I personally didn’t see the next Tom Brady in him because I think he is a little to inconsistent. The Bears saw something in him and brought in a new coach for him. Matt Nagy was the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, who were known for having a very high powered and explosive offense. Their goal was to add as many weapons around the quarterback as possible. The Bears still had to fill needs at receiver and a lot of defensive positions. They first sign Allen Robinson who is coming off a torn ACL and missed all of 2017. He is till a very good number one receiver that will be very explosive in Matt Nagy’s offense. The doubled down and signed Taylor Gabriel from the Falcons. Gabriel is a smaller receiver that runs great routes and has very good speed. He will also contribute on special teams. He allows the Bears o get clever with their offensive play calls now. They signed Trey Burton who is a bigger tight end that is very athletic. He had to share a role when he was in Philadelphia and he will now be pared up with Zach Miller. All of these moves are to add talent around a young quarterback. They are copying what the Rams did last year. They found their franchise quarterback and they added good talent everywhere around him to take some pressure off him. They have two amazing running backs as well. Jordan Howard is more of a three down back that can carry most of the load. He has nice speed and has power to run through defenders. Tarik Cohen is a back that can come in on certain situations to throw a different look at the defense. He is fast and can run routes out of the backfield as well. On the defensive side of the ball, I think they will struggle a little bit. They have a couple of young players   like Adrian Amos and Kendall fuller but not enough. They need more depth at every position. They could use a first round corner, pass rushers, and interior defensive lineman. They have done a great job on the offensive side of the ball so far and know they have to focus on adding young depth to the defense. Overall, I think the defense will end up weighing the team down and will make them finish 8-8. I do expect to see a lot of good things from this offense that will be a very good sign. I just don’t think as a complete team they are ready yet. An 8-8 season for the Bears would be bad at all. Thy are looking for yearly improvement as a whole and they will eventually be a contender.

Detroit Lions [ 7-9]

The Lions had a mediocre season last year at best. They did show some flashes during the middle of the season as they tried to make it into the playoffs. The Lions are getting a new coach Matt Patricia who will definitely bring a good defensive mind which is what they need. On offense they have a very good quarterback Matt Stafford with good young pieces around him. They have one of the best and youngest receiving cores in the league in my opinion. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golliday all each bring a different type of playing style. They are all very explosive and have great hands. They signed LeGarrete Blount who is a big physical running back that will pair nicely with Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah is a smaller more versatile back that can run catch and block vey well. They did a very bad job at protecting Matt Stafford and offensive line will be one of their biggest needs going into this year. I expect very good things from this offense considering they have an elite quarterback, good variety of running backs, and young receivers. I do think that they will struggle defensively. Besides Darius Slay they haven’t had a consistent player on that defense to step up. They should get another corner to pair him with Slay. When a team has a bad defense the number one thing they can to  fix it is get a better secondary. Adding another corner will be vital to this defense. They should then get some pass rushers that can apply pressure to the opposing quarterbacks. Overall, I do think that the Lions will have an off year, it just happens. They have a new coach, a bad defense. Those two don’t pair very well together. The toughest thing is, I think this is a very hard division to play in. I feel like very single team will improve somewhat. Although, with all of that being said the Lion’s offense is very good and young at the same time. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them breakout and have a good season. But as their depth chart is right now I see them needing to add more to be a contender in a very tough NFC.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles [ 12-4]

The Eagles are  the returning Super Bowl champs and have already gotten a lot better. They were a very special team last year both on offense and on defense. Carson Wentz was an MVP caliber player last year and made the offense one of  the best in the league. Even when Wentz went down they started right back were they started with Nick Foles. They have good receivers both veterans and young players. They have a good variety of backs which allows them t get clever with their play calls. The Eagles defense was the highlight of this team a year ago. They have a decent secondary with good young pieces to mix well with veterans like Malcolm Jenkins. The linebackers are used for many different things in that defense and can play all around the field. I think that the best part of this team is their defensive line. They have so many different pieces that are in a rotation. Fletcher Cox plugs up the middle and speedy pass rushers create pressure from around the end. They have so many good defensive ends like Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Timmy Jerrnigan, Derek Barnett and others. Carson Wentz will be returning so the offense will already be much better with him leading the team. He is coming off a scary ACL tear so he may not be back to what he was in 2017.They lost LeGarrete Blount who was the Eagles main back the entire season. He brought and edge and physicality to that offense which they will now be without. They still have Jay Ajayi who I expect to step up and be the lead back going forward. Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood will still provide as backs that can come in on special occasions and also do more stuff out of the backfield. I do think that the Eagles look in the draft to find a powerful running back because they will be missing that with LeGarrete Blount. They have a very great receiving core. Alshon Jeffery looked like a different player this year than he was with the Bears. He showed he still had a lot of speed still and he can still be a dominant force at catching the 50/50 contested passes. Nelson Agolhor had a breakout season for the first time in his young career. He finally showed potential of the type of player he could be. He is fast, a reliable catcher, and runs good routes. He was featured more in the offense last year and that will probably be the same next year. The other good receiver they had last year was Torrey Smith. He had a god amount of production but was traded to the Carolina Panthers. They made a smart move of signing Mike Wallace from the Ravens. Wallace is a veteran player that adds more leadership to that team especially in the locker room. He is one of the fastest receivers in the league and if used right he could be a big time weapon in this offense. They also have young players like Mack Hollins that are good solid role players and can step up in the offense as well as special teams. They will have the same offensive line that was very good last year. They do get back Jason Peters their all pro left tackle which will improve their line even more. Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in the league and will be a big target for Carson Wentz. They made another move to trade for Michael Bennent from the Seahawks. Bennent is still in his prime and has been a double digit sack player most of his career. He provides a different style of rushing that will work perfectly in this defensive rotation. The rest of their defense will pretty much stay the same but they do get Sidney Jones a young cornerback back from injury. Overall this team will have a hard time duplicating what they did as a whole last year. It wont be odd to see them have a little slump after how great last year was. This team is so good that even if Wentz is ready to come back due to his injury, they are still a major contender. That is a main reason why the kept Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles on the roster. I think that the Eagles have  a very strong year but wont finish as the best team in the NFC.

Washington Redskins [ 10-6]

The Redskins had a mediocre season last year but are going to have a completely different look next season. Kirk Cousins last year wasn’t able to save this team by himself. They did look very good at the beginning of the year but had a hard time maintaining that the entire season. They had decent running backs that are young and have good potential. The biggest thing that was missing from this team a  year ago was weapons around the quarterback. Jordan Reed who is one of the better tight end s in the league had a season ending injury. They had new receivers this year and their was little to no chemistry between Kirk Cousins and the new targets. On defense, they have god pieces in certain areas but overall in the long term couldn’t click together as a whole. Josh Norman and DJ Swearinger led the secondary but any other positions besides that, they could use a lot of help. They have franchised tagged Kirk Cousins for a couple of years in a row now. They were unsure of him being the long term plan and kept holding on for a year after another waiting to make a long term decision on him. While they were doing that they were raising his price to the point were they weren’t able to give him a long term deal and let him walk in free agency. They quickly realized they were going to be in the market for a new quarterback and traded for Alex Smith from the Chiefs. In my opinion, this was a great trade for the Redskins. Alex Smith is a mobile quarterback with a big arm and good accuracy. He is said to be a game manager which means he plays very conservative. To be honest, he proved that wrong this past year by taking shots down the field. People forget that he is a MVP caliber quarterback that will have a lot of success in this system if given the proper weapons around him. The running game is a good mix of young backs. Chris Thompson is a smaller and bigger back that was very explosive last year. He carried majority of the load last year and proved he was a three down back. Samajae Perine is a rookie that is a very solid role player that has the potential to eventually breakout. Rob Kelly had an off year last year and was derailed by injuries. If he can come back at full strength he is a big powerful back that makes this backfield a lot better. The Redskins chose not to resign receiver Tyrell Pryor. Last year Pryor did not fit in the system and had a bad year. They did sign Paul Richardson from the Seahawks. Richardson ins a speedy deep threat receiver that has great catching ability. He runs good routes and will be the perfect connection with new quarterback Alex Smith. This will be a similar look to Alex Smith’s connection down the field to Tyreek Hill. They also did not resign Ryan Grant who was a young player that had shown some potential of being a future star in the league. The Redskins didn’t see enough in him to give him that big of a contract. Josh Doctson is another young receiver that has already broken out in previous years. He provides as the bigger receiver in this wide out group. He is fast but can catch the contested passes very well. Jamison Crowder is a speedy slot receiver that will have a good season with a quarterback that specializes in throwing the deep ball. Crowder also offers to do different things out of the slot position. They can still add more talent around him because they more talent around Smith the better he will be. Jordan Reed will be back and will add another weapon for Smith to target. They have made some minor changes to the offensive line but could still add a better guard to stabilize that group. The defense is going to be the key to how this season goes. They will need to add a new middle linebacker after trading way Will Compton. Ryan Kerrigan and others will be a good mix of pass rushers as well. They could also add more players  to a secondary after trading Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith deal. I personally think that they will end up shocking a lot of people. Alex Smith was very successful in Kansas City and this is a very familiar situation. He has good deep threats at receiver, a good tight end that will be his go to target, and a solid running game as well. I expect them to win a lot of games and be in contention for the NFC East division the entire season.

Dallas Cowboys [9-7]

It seemed that the Cowboys had a very bad season a year ago. They still went 9-7. They were coming off that very impressive 2016 season and were dealing with multiple on the field and off the field distractions. As a team they were very inconsistent. They showed at times that they could end up being a playoff team but at times again they showed how they were a disaster. Dak Prescott had a bad year but he shouldn’t be receiving most of the criticisms. Ezekiel Elliot held out on his suspension until later in the year when they needed him the most. He made a big mistake of not just taking his four games off at the beginning of the year and being with the team the remaining part of the season. That final stretch of the Cowboys season was for them to get into the postseason and they were without their best player. The Cowboys defense has always been notably bad. As a whole, they did step up at times this year and showed some promise going into next year. They have a very young secondary that could use more time to mature and grow. They had a very good pass rush and was led by DeMarcus Lawrence and Taco Charlton. The offense as a collective group never clicked together as a group. They need help at receiver and Dez Bryan had a bad year. He is on the verge of being off the team but will most likely stay on the Cowboys for this season. Overall, the offense will be better from last season. This is mainly because they get their start running back Ezekiel Elliot back for the entire year. He is one of the best backs in football and he runs with a physicality and quickness that only a few other backs in the league can do. The offense is a whole different story with him on the field and him off the field. He is a key factor to take pressure off Prescott. Elliot also will be accompanied by Rod Smith who did a good job at replacing Elliot while he served his suspension. The biggest need for the Cowboys this offseason is wide receiver. Brice Butler is a player that showed a lot of potential and was their best receiver for the last couple of years signed with another team .Dez Bryan is coming off a bad year where he will have to rebound from that or he will be off the team. It came to a point last year where Bryant was more trouble than he was worth. When he is healthy and has the right mindset he is a dominant force to stop and is one of the best receivers in the league. The issue for him is to remain at that level for majority of the season. Cole Beasley had an off year as well. He is their slot receiver that was the quarterback’s favorite target to throw to in 2016. He runs good routes and is a reliable target for Dak. They signed Allen Hurns who is a good role player and will add another target around the quarterback. He is not going to automatically transform the Cowboys receiving core. They need to add a young receiver to make Dak completely surrounded with targets to throw to. They need to get a versatile receiver that gives them different options to do. When Dak was surrounded with good receiver talent in 2016 he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. When he was without a stable wide out group last year people were questioning if he was truly the quarterback for the future. Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, and a young rookie should help out to take  pressure off Dak. Jason Witten will still be a valuable piece to this offense as well. The offensive line was hit with injuries last year and will be back to it’s full strength again this year. The defense has good young corners that are still a little raw. Chidobe Awuzie and Jordan Lewis need more time to develop before taking over as a true elite cornerback. Byron Jones and Jeff Heath are good players but both need to step up for this defense to click together. Another big part of the defense is if Sean Lee, who is the captain of this defense can stay healthy. It is a different defense when Lee is on the field. DeMarcus Lawrence will anchor this pass rush and will be a big part on how successful the defense will be. I do think that as a team, the Cowboys will be better. Even  though they will have the same record I believe they will start clicking as an offense again like they did in 2016. The big issue fro this team will be the defnse. They are just too young. They need time to develop before turning into a dominant force. Even though their record won’t show it the Cowboys will have a good year and will be put into a much better position going into next off season.

New York Giants [ 6-10]

The Giants went from being a very real contender in the NFC a couple of years ago to one of the worst teams in football last year. There were multiple off the filed distractions and problems going on in the locker room. They were hit with so many injuries to their start players as well. After all of that, the biggest down fall of the  Giants last year was the coaching. Ben McAdoo couldn’t control the locker room and let it get out of hand. He was making bad coaching decisions that were overall costing the Giants games. It was a very smart move to fire him and sign Pat Shurmur from the Vikings. Shurmur will bring a different look to this football team especially offensively. He was the offensive coordinator for the Vikings who had a very success year last year. More importantly he will apply a winning culture in this team and the locker room. They are set up very good to go into this off season. They have high draft picks and already have tons of talent in this building. Eli Manning is going to be their starting quarterback for this season, even if they do draft his successor in this years draft with the number two overall pick. They will be getting back Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and possibly Odell Beckham. this is possibly one of the best receiver groups in the league when healthy. There has been news that the Giants are possibly shopping Odell after he wants a big long term contract and after a compromising video that was leaked. The Giants should not even consider trading Beckham if I isn’t for two first round picks and a player. He means too much to his team and is the team’s number one target. When he is healthy he is considered to be one of the best receivers in the league. If this is the starting receiving core Eli and the Giants are already in a good place on the offense. The biggest need on the team is running back. They have not had a solid running back that could take pressure of Manning in a long time. There are multiple different ways they can bring in a young back and this years draft has a couple of great options. They have already signed veteran running back Johnathan Stewart who will bring leadership and a different running style to the offense.  Evan Ingram is one of the only bright spots this offense had last year. He is a reliable, big, and athletic tight end that serves as a great weapon to throw to for Eli Manning. They also improved the offensive line signing Nate Solder from the Patriots. He is a proven veteran that will make their offensive line already a whole lot better. The defense is stacked with talent everywhere. They have an amazing safety Landon Collins. He is a good proven tackler and has good ball skills as well. Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple off talent are a very good corner duo. They have also traded fro Alec Ogletree who is a athletic and talented middle linebacker. He will serve as a good leader and captain of this defense. The issue with the Giants defense isn’t the lack of talent. All of the multiple personalities were clashing with each other when they weren’t winning. Landon Collin has said in an interview that corner Eli Apple was a cancer to the tea. These types of distractions will have to be limited going into next year if they want to succeed. The new coach will have to make sure that he keeps control of that locker room. The Giants will be a better team then they were a year ago. They get all of their injured players returning, a new positive head coach, and a new culture will be implemented into the locker room. This will be a much better division as well and wont be easy to win in. The Giants this season need to focus on improving from their were last year, and that is more important than winning now for the Giants.

NFC West

Los Angles Rams [ 12-4 ]

The Rams last year were one of the best all around teams. They had the highest scoring offense the entire season and had good defensive play for most of the season. Sean Mcvay did a great job this past year at transforming a bad team in to a real contender in  the NFC. The Rams were a very young and exciting to watch for the regular season. When it came playoff time their youth and inexperience was the down fall for them. In that game versus the Falcons it was obvious who has been in that position before. They got beat up on all sides of the ball including special teams. The Rams although, didn’t just stay the same and expect to be back where they were. They realized they have to have a good off season to really put them over the hump. Sean Mcvay and the Rams front office have done a great job these past two years and this is the main reason for the Rams success. More coaches should study what the Rams did these past two years because it turned a good team into a contender for their conference.  The Rams did not have a lot of cap room to sign players that hit the market but they did not let that limit them in adding talent. They first chose to franchise Lamrcus Joyner who is a younger safety that has had a lot of production in the past two years. The Rams made a decision to move on from Sammy Watkins and let him walk in hit the market. The Rams first traded for Marcus Peters from the Chiefs. Peters is a young player that is still on his rookie contract. He is in his prime and is one of the best lockdown corners in the league. He can press good and has good ball skills down the field. Peters does bring some attitude problems that the Rams have to be aware of. Overall they felt that they will be able to take on him and his personality. They then doubled down and traded for Aquib Talib another corner from the Broncos. Talib is a veteran player who adds experience to a very young team. He still plays outstanding and being one of the best zone corners in the league. The best move they made this off season was signing Ndamakoung Suh. Suh is a great rusher that brings a to of pressure up the middle. Him and Aaron Donald make a very scary defensive line. That allows then both to not be double teamed and allows one of them to free up and get in the back field. The final trade they made was getting Brandin Cooks from the Patriots. He is a speedy receiver that runs good routes and has good tracking ability down the field. Jared Goff this past year has shown that he can be a franchise quarterback in the league. He has shown that with the right talent around him he can be one of the best in the game. I expect a big year from him considering the pieces around him and now also adding Brandin Cooks to the mix. Todd Gurley in the Mcvay offense had a breakout year and really established himself as one of the best running backs in the league right now. A strong running game does a lot especially when you are trying to take pressure off a young quarterback. They lost Sammy Watkins but the have Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp returning. They were all very reliable last year and got a lot of production in this offense. Brandin Cooks is a perfect with this  offense because he can take the top off a defense and gives Sean Mcvay different options that he can run. The offensive line was very reliable and good the entire year. They didn’t have one injury to any member of that group the whole season. They were a big part in Todd Gurley’s success. They drafted Anthony Everett the tight end last year but that is the only need that I can see on offense. The defense got a whole lot better this off season. They now have two pro bowl corners in Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib. Lamarcus Joyner and Joe Johnson are two good safeties that are young and are trending up. The defensive line with the addition to Suh is now one of the scariest in the league. The only big whole on that defense is the middle linebacker position. They traded away veteran Alec Ogletree which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. They need a leader that can cover and can come up to the line of scrimmage and make tackles. They will probably look to draft one come later this April. The only issue with the Rams now is all of the different personalities they have welcomed into their locker room. They are taking a big risk taking on these players because if things aren’t going as planned it will be hard to maintain that locker room from getting out of hand. The Rams were one of the best teams in the league last year so adding all of this talent only makes them that much better. The only way this season can go wrong is with the personalities in the locker room. If Mcvay and the res of the coaching staff can control that they will be one of the better teams in the league.

San Francisco 49ers [ 10-6]

The 49ers last year were one of the worst teams in the NFL before they made a huge trade that would transform the team for the next couple of years. They brought in Jimmy Garappolo from the Patriots. They saw a future in him and gave him an opportunity to prove himself. The 49ers at that time have already been eliminated from playoff contention and there wasn’t anything to play for. Jimmy then goes out and wins the last five games of the 49ers season and they are looking like a whole different team. They are playing with more energy and excitement for the first time this season. He looked great in the Kyle Shanahan offense and they will be getting more complex this season. They were beating good quality opponents too. They beat the Rams, Titans, and the Jaguars. It was obvious that they had found their franchise quarterback and then it was all about securing him for the future. He signed a four year 127 million dollar deal to be the next great 49er quarterback. Since they found their franchise player they needed to add as much talent as possible around him. The great thing that Garappolo did was he made the players around him better and you could see that at the end of the season. When the 49ers were winning it gave the whole team momentum and made the defense start playing well also. The 49ers were now going into the off season trending upwards. Since they had to give Garappolo a long term deal, they didn’t have that much money to spend in free agency. They still signed Jerrick Mickinnon from the Vikings. He is a versatile and explosive player. He has good lateral quickness and makes multiple defenders miss. He also did a lot of routes in Minnesota. He was only part of the back field in Minnesota nd here he will be featured as the main back in Shanahan’s offense. More importantly he takes a ton of pressure of Jimmy G. Marques Goodwin had a good season last year and was Jimmy G’s number one target towards the end of the season. He has good speed and can take a top of the defense. Pierre Garcon is a bigger possession receiver that adds good variety to the receiving core. Trent Taylor is a smaller slot receiver that really broke out when the team made the new quarterback addition. These aren’t the biggest named receivers but they played amazing towards the end of the season and will continue to do that this season. Brent Celek is a very solid tight end that is good at blocking and catching passes. Majority of the 49ers needs will be on defense. They have whole at pretty much every single position except defensive line. They made a huge addition signing Ricard Sherman. Sherman is coming off a very serious injury but when healthy is considered as one of the best cornrs in the league. This was a huge signing for the team. On the D line they have good young talent in Solomon Thomas and DeForrest Buckner. I think that they will look to upgrade the outside linebacker position as well as the secondary. Rebuen Foster has had some off the field issues but when he was in the game he looked like he will be their middle linebacker for the future. Even though the 49ers don’t have the best defense and they still have some major holes to fill during the draft. The big reason I have them doing so well is because who the have at quarterback leading the team. He hasn’t lost a game in his career with both the Patriots and the 49ers. He hasn’t lost a game since he was in high school. He is a natural born winner. By looking at the way they played towards the end of the season when nothing was on the line gives the 49ers a lot of hope going towards the future.

Seattle Seahawks [ 8-8]

The Seahawks were contenders for most of the season last year but unfolded towards the end of the year. This team was also devastated by injuries that derailed the season from the start. Even with all of the injuries Russell Wilson led the tea t being in contention for the NFC west division crown the entire season. They then were hit with multiple injuries to the legion of boom. Kam Chancellor had a severe neck injury and his football career is now up in the air. Richard Sherman also tore his Achilles and missed most of the season. The Seahawks then hosted the Rams in Seattle that would have huge implications on who wins the division. The Seahawks got beat up on offense and defense and the final score was 42-7. The Seahawks for the remainder of the season couldn’t rebound from that. There was a lack of energy and passion in those few last games. John Snyder the GM and Pete Carol made a decision to start over and rebuild this team around quarterback Russell Wilson. The previous years had the team based around a dominant defense. They started this rebuild by trading away Michael Bennent. who was their best defensive pass rusher. They also did not re sign Sheldon Richardson and let him walk in free agency. The released Richard Sherman in order to start from scratch as they called it. Sherman was Seattle’s best corner for many years and it was not a good move at all by releasing him. But based on their goal it was what they had to do. The Seahawk’s GM said that all Seahawk fans need to trust the process. That term usually means that that team is not ready to win now and to tell the fans to be patient because they are aiming to be back in a couple of years. They still have Russell Wilson at quarterback. Wilson was a MVP caliber player for most of last year and he is the only reason people aren’t saying the Seahawks are going to be one of the worst teams in the league. He is extremely mobile and is great at creating his own throws and is the best off schedule quarterback in the league in my opinion. He plays at a transcendent level that makes everyone else around him better. They lost Thomas Rawls In Free Agency but still have Chris Carson. Chris Carson had a breakout year and is very fast and is very elusive in tight space. He will be the lead back for majority of the snaps but I expect them to add another versatile back in the draft. They let Paul Richardson walk but still have Doug Baldwin. Baldwin is a very great receiver because of all the different things he can do. He has amazing speed, good hands and runs good routes. They will need to add more receivers and tight ends around Wilson and that will be their number one priority this off season. They need  receivers that can do it all to go along with Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. On the defensive side of the ball, they should have Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas back if they can stay healthy. When healthy those two are one of the best safety tandems in the league. These two are some of the big names that Seattle will keep instead of releasing. Bobby Wagner is a top five linebacker in this league without a doubt. He has a ton of production in tackle numbers and can cover slot receivers and tight ends. Everything else on the defense is going to have to be upgraded. They need new edge rushers and interior defense lineman after moving on from Michael Bennent and Sheldon Richardson. They need another corner that they can pare next to Shaqueil Griffin. Griffin is a rookie that had a very strong year and stepped in during Sherman’s injury. He plays very similar to Sherman and they need to find someone else they can pair him with. Even though the Seahawks are in the rebuild process they won’t be awful. The main reason I have them still winning eight games is because they have Russell Wilson at quarterback. As long as they have him they have a chance. This division will be much improved and the Seahawks win now mentality is going to have to rest for a couple of years.

Arizona Cardinals [ 6-10]

The Cardinals 2017 season was shattered with many injuries to their key players. They were a decent team even though the different circumstances. They finished 8-8 and third in the NFC west. They lost Carson Palmer to a wrist injury and was gone for the year. David Johnson, their star running back injured his wrist and was gone for the season as well. The Cardinals were playing a lot of backups and were clearly just evaluating talent to see who will be on their roster next year. Carson Palmer retired and they were in the market for a new quarterback. They were getting David Johnson Back and this is most likely Larry Fitzgerald’s final season. While this was going on their head coach Bruce Arians who was a very highly praised coach across the NFL retired as well. Steve Wilks the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. Wilks will implement a blue collar mentality into this team and a positive winning culture. The Cardinals biggest acquisition was a new quarterback. They signed Sam Bradford from the Vikings. Bradford is a injury prone player that is good when he can stay healthy. The issue is that he has a hard time staying on the field. He will not be the long term option for the team. He will serve as the bridge quarterback. That means they will probably draft a future successor and groom him for a couple of years behind Sam Bradford. This is a smarter move instead of throwing a rookie into a bad situation. They signed Brice Butler from the Cowboys to go along with Larry Fitzgerald. They made this move after moving on from speedy receiver John Brown. Butler is a big receiver that is great at catching contested passes. He also has the ability to take the top off a defense. This move says that the Cardinals will probably not draft a receiver in the first round. The last move they made was releasing safety Tyrann Matheiu. The honey badger is one of the best safeties in the league and this was a bad move in my opinion. They cut him because he was asked to take a pay  cut but refused to so they had to part ways. If Bradford can find a way to stay healthy the Cardinals are getting a player that has good pocket presence and is very accurate. Hopefully they can get the better version of Bradford and a big part to that is keeping him healthy. David Johnson is a top five back in the league and can do so many different things. He is very elusive running through the line of scrimmage, and he can catch all kinds of different receiver routes. He was badly missed in last years ‘s offense and he will have to have a big season if they want to win a good amount of games. Larry Fitzgerald is getting up in age but is till playing at the same level as always. He will have another big season and be a mentor for the other receivers.  I  think that the Cardinals will draft another receiver in the later rounds that can work out of the slot position. They have a decent offensive line but needs to get better especially having Bradford at quarterback. The defensive line is one of the best parts of this team. They have Chandler Jones who led the league in sacks last year. He isn’t a 3-4 type of pass rusher, instead he is a pass rusher that works by himself and creates havoc for offenses at times. They also have Nkimeiche who is a young player that will have to step up. They have good depth and the did a very good job at rushing the passer last year. The Middle linebacker position is another big need for this team as well. They have Patrick Peterson who is a top corner in the league but lack another corner to pair him with. After they released the honey badger, it gave a lot of room for Budda Baker to step up and take over. Baker made the pro bowl in his rookie year and is a great ball hawk at safety. This teams isn’t built to win right now in my opinion. They have very good pieces on offense but I am not 100% sold that Bradford will be able to stay healthy and play at a high level. The defensive side of the ball has a lot of wholes hat will be hard to fill before the season starts. I think they will start off slow but pick it up towards the end of the year but it will be too late. This is a very talented roster but I am not sold on the team functioning as a whole just yet.


NFC South

New Orleans Saints [ 13-3 ]

The Saints had a very successful year last year and was a miracle play from being in the NFC championship game. The Saints started slow but the quickly made some adjustments and became the hottest team in the league at that point in time. The Saints had a very well balanced roster in 2017. That was the first year that the defense stepped up and played well together with the offense. The offense was very explosive and had good young talent all throughout the roster. The Saints already have a good core group of veteran players. Those players provides as mentors and adds experience in times the younger players lack that. What set the Saints apart last year was their outstanding draft.They drafted the offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara and the  defensive rookie of the year Marshon Lattimore. They also picked Marcus Williams who had very solid year at safety. The Saints made some moves to add veteran leadership while adding good youth as well. They signed Patrick Robinson from the Eagles. Robinson used to be a Saint before he left in free agency. While he was in Philly, he matured and be came a very solid corner. He has good height weight and speed to be a lock down corner. He isn’t the best at pressing at the line of scrimmage but he does a great job in zone coverage. The Saints primarily run zone and have Lattimore follow the umber one so Robinson is already familiar to the system. The Saints secondary went from the worst to one of the best and Robinson can only add on top of that. They then signed tight end Benjamin Watson from the Ravens. Watson also used to be a Saint so this is very familiar to him. Watson is a long time veteran that still is a reliable pass catcher, a good blocker, and a leader in the locker room. Drew Brees and Watson will have a very good connection that will be hard to stop. Watson isn’t the fastest player but he does a great job of creating space through his route running. The last move that the Saints made was signing wide Receiver Cameron Meridith. This isn’t a final deal yet. Merideth was a restricted rights agent meaning any offer he agree to the Bears can match that offer and resign him. As it looks right now he will probably be a Saint. He was injured last year but when he was healthy, he was very productive and showed a ton of potential. He isn’t the biggest receiver or fastest. He is a solid route runner and has very good hands. He fits perfectly in this offense. The Saints have released wide receiver Willie Snead as well. Snead is coming off a year where he saw a decrease in yards and all other major categories. Drew Brees has shown little to no evidence of him slowing down as he gets older. He still is a great pocket presence, hasn’t lost much arm strength, and I think he has the most accurate spiral in all of football. He does a great job at rallying his teammates with him and elevating their level of play. So I expect him to still be just as good as he was in previous years. Mark Ingram is the lead back for the Saints. He is physical quick and almost seems that he runs angry. He is so hard to tackle especially in open space and has the durability to be a lead back. Alvin Kamara is the most electrifying running back in football. He is so elusive and quick. He is near impossible to tackle one on one and can do some many different things like running slants or screen passes. Those two make a very dangerous running back duo. They also force the defense to respect the run and that allows Drew Brees to beat you through the air. They have many different receivers that all do their role. Michael Thomas is the third down reliable chain mover. He runs good routes and is great at creating separation. He has been Drew Bree’s number one target to throw to. They also have Tedd Gin. He is a burner that can take the top off a defense and can beat you deep on any given play. Having Drew Brees at quarterback makes the defense always have to respect the deep ball. They also have Brandon Coleman and Cameron Merideth that are good role players. The defensive secondary is now one of the best in the league. Marshon Lattimore and Patrick Robinson who both have similar playing styles, will make a very tough duo to throw against. Mati Teo had a breakout year and proved he can still be a leader at middle linebacker. The defensive line is anchored by Cameron Jordan who creates a lot of pressures on opposing quarterbacks. The Saints are in the toughest division in football so this year will not come easy to them. I think that how well balanced they are on all phases of the game will make them have another successful season. They will be one of the top teams in the NFC and could do damage in the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers [ 11-5 ]

The Panthers had a very good year even though they left the playoffs in the first round. The Panthers played quality football on both sides of the ball, especially offense. They were hard to stop offensively and played pretty good defense as well. They managed to get a spot in the playoffs in the NFC which was really hard to do last year. When they got in, they were a missed field goal away from beating the Saints in New Orleans. They have a good core group of players that have championship caliber DNA. This off season they made a lot of moves to stay relevant in the NFC and the NFC south which is the toughest division in football. They made these moves to get them over the hump and I think they managed to do that. The first traded with the Philadelphia Eagles for Torrey Smith. Smith is a veteran receiver that adds more leadership in the locker room. Even though he is a veteran, he still plays at a high level. He is still a big deep threat and still runs great routes. He was a big reason the Eagles had the success they had. He won’t be the main target for Cam, but will serve as a very solid number two or number three. They made the next move of signing Dontari Poe from the Falcons. Poe is a very athletic and fast defensive tackle. He creates a lot of pressure from the inside of the pocket and doesn’t allow the quarterback to slide up. He will add to make a very strong defensive line along with Julius Peppers. The last notable signing they made was to get Jerimiah Shirles the lineman from the Vikings. He will be replacing Norwell after he signed a big contract in free agency. He is a physical and athletic guard that does a good job at kicking outside and being a lead blocker. This was a smart move because they need to protect Cam and the different running backs they have. Cam Newton is a younger quarterback in the league that has put up MVP seasons before. He is a big player but is still very mobile and can create plays off schedule with his legs. He has a cannon for an arm and has decent accuracy. When he has talent around him he is nearly unstoppable, but when you ask him to do too much he can struggle at times. But this year he should have more pieces around him that should take more pressure of Cam. They chose not to resign veteran running back Johnathan Stewart who was the lead back this past season. This will give Christian McCaffery an even bigger role but he is ready for it. McCaffery was dynamic in both the passing game and the running game last year. With a larger role going into this year, expect even more out him. He is a special versatile player that lets the Panthers have fun with some of their play calls. He is too quick for linebackers to guard and creates a matchup nightmare. Losing Stewart was big because McCaffery isn’t a three down back that can carry the load for an entire season be cause he is smaller. Look to se the Panthers draft a big and physical three down back in this upcoming draft. Receiver is also a need for the team. They have Devin Funchess who stepped up this past year. He is a deep threat while also being able to move the chains off the short and intermediate passing routes. Over these past years he has really transformed into a number one receiver. Torrey Smith adds veteran leadership and a deep threat outside. And Curtis Samuel is an exciting rookie that can play slot and running back but is a player that most linebackers have a tough time guarding. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Panthers still look to add more depth at the position early in the draft. The offensive line will be much better with the additions of Jerimiah Shirles to go along with Ryan Khalil. The defensive line is one of the strengths on the team. They added Dontari Poe to go along with Julius Peppers. That new look pass rush is scary and can be one of the best in the league. They have Luke Keuchley who is one of the best linebackers in the league still. Thomas Davis will be suspended for four games do to a PED test was failed. He will be back later in the season but they still have a good quality linebacker that can replace him fro a while in Shaq Thompson. The Secondary has young pieces but is the Achilles heal of the team. They will address this need and add players to go along with a coiple of corners that have youth and potential on their side. The Panthers are going to be competing for the division and a playoff spot the entire length of the season because of the talent in the NFC especially the NFC south. I think that their experience to go along with their youth will lead them to a lot of success in 2018.

Atlanta Falcons [ 9-7 ]

The Falcons made it into the playoffs this year and one a game. They were then a dropped pass away  from being in the NFC championship game. They barely lost in Philly and was a devastating loss to one of the best teams in the NFC. Towards the beginning of the season they were still trying to rebound from that depressing loss in Super Bowl 51. It was obvious that was still in their mind and took a while to move on from that. Once they did, they were a very tough team to beat because of how talented their roster is and the veteran experience they have. This was a rebound year for the Falcons in my opinion. They now can completely move on from that Super Bowl Loss and use that to motivate them and push them into the post season this year. They made a couple of decent signings that will mix well with some of the talent the have on the roster now. They first signed Brandon Fusco the offensive lineman that was with the 49ers. Fusco is a big and physical guard that did a great job at protecting for the 49ers. Him and Alex Mack will add two lineman that re very physical at the point of attack and are also very athletic. They also signed Logan Paulsen also coming from the 49ers. Paulsen is  very big in stature and is pretty quick for his size. He creates match up problems because he is too big for corners to guard and too fast for linebackers to cover. He won’t be the lead tight end but will add a good one two punch between him and Austin Hooper. Matt Ryan is also very well at throwing to his tight ends so this was a very smart move by the front office. The last free agent move was to sign Justin Bethel from the Cardinals. Bethel is a very versatile defensive back. He primarily plays safety but can move up to the nickel position in some sub packages. Bethel is quick and has good ball skills down the field. He will fit perfectly next to Robert Alford. Those two will make a very energetic and exciting safety tandem. They also chose to not resign Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn. Going into the draft defensive line will be a big need along with some other positions. Matt Ryan is an MVP type of quarterback. He is a great pocket passer and is one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He hasn’t lost his arm strength or any accuracy. He had an off year due to the offensive coaching switch which did not work at all. That forced for Ryan to scramble more and make off schedule throws more often. If they the offensive coordinator makes some changes this offense starting with Matt Ryan will function a lot better. The Falcons have one of the best running back duos in the league. Devonte Freeman is a smaller more compact three down back that runs with a lot of power and agility. He can run defenders over or juke them on ant given play. He makes the defender think about how he will hit Freeman on every single play. Tevin Coleman offers a much different style of running and throws different looks at  the defense. He is more of  a speed back that runs outside the tackles. He is also the back that catches passes out of the backfield. Devonte Freeman punishes and wears down the defenders and then it allow Coleman to beat them with speed. This is why these two backs complement each other so well. Julio Jones also had a bad year. He is the second best receiver in my opinion. He is all around such a well balanced player. He has pure speed and can outrun defenders and once he gets the ball he is like a running back because he is so physical running the ball and is hard to bring down. He wasn’t utilized right in the new offense. If utilized correctly he is one of the more dominant forces in all of football. They let Taylor Gabriel walk in free agency because he was  wanting more money than the Falcons were willing to pay him. They still have Muhammed Sanu who is a very good role player that steps up in  big moments. Him and Ryan have a good chemistry together. The new additions to the offensive line make them better by protecting Matt Ryan and freeing up more room for the backs. The defensive line will be one of the biggest needs this off season and they will have to address it in the draft. Vic Beasley will be on the outside but they need someone who can bring pressure up the middle. Deion Jones is one of the best young linebackers in the league because of his speed and his coverage ability. They added pieces to the safety position but could possibly add another cornerback for depth purposes. Thee Falcons are going to need a lot of things to go right for them to be successful. The number one thing they need to do is fix the offense. They can have all the talent they want because if they aren’t calling good plays it is a waste. This team has a hard schedule but because of their experience and their talent on both sides of the ball I think they will go 9-7.

Tampa Bay  Buccaneers [ 8-8 ]

The Buccaneers were one of the more hyped up teams heading into 2017. They had an explosive offense with so many different pieces. Defensively  the question was if they could hang on and allow them to be a successful team. It didn’t work well last year at all. They had flashes of being improved but they were just too inconsistent. Offensively they could click together, and on the defense they were hit with some serious injuries. They Buccaneers had a lot of cap room this off season and they made a goal before it even started. They wanted to get nastier and more physical as a whole. They didn’t have that edge last year and the signings they made really stress on being tough. The biggest signing they made was Ryan Jensen from the Ravens. Jensen had a breakout year and was one of the best centers in the game last year. He is nasty at the line of scrimmage and just bullies the defenders. He can take on multiple rushers on at the same time. He is just the type of player the Bucs needed to add that physical edge down in the trenches. They then signed Vinny Curry from the Eagles. Curry is a speed rusher on the outside that creates a lot of pressure right in the quarterback’s face. He was part of a rotation in Philly and still had a lot of production so being the focal point will increase his production on the field. They traded for Jason Pierre Paul from the Giants. JPP is still in his prime and is a dominant force coming around the edge. He can come in on 3-4 packages and blitz the quart back from his blind side. All of these moves are getting more physical and stronger on the offensive and defensive line. JPP, Vinny Curry to go along with Gerald McCoy make that defensive line a lot better. The Bucs have had too many kicking problems and they brought in a very reliable kicker Chandler Catanzaro who will finally stabilize the position for the Bucs.  They also resigned Mike Evans to a huge contract and Ryan Fitzpatrick to be a backup. Jameis Winston at times can be very hot and very cold. He needs to work on being more consistent instead of having these highs and lows. When he is more comfortable with weapons around him he plays a lot better. Winston is the key to the Bucs future success. They released Doug Martin and don’t really have another back that they feel confident in. Running back will be a big need for the Bucs this off season. Mike Evans needs to step up and take over as number one receiver. He is huge and runs great routes, not to may corners are able to guard him. Desean Jackson can still take the top off the defense and beat people deep. This is now a much improved offensive line by adding Jensen.  OJ Howard and Cameron Brate are two tight ends that take a lot of pressure off Winston and they will continue to do that. The defensive line is now the biggest strength on this team. They can do so many different things by bringing pressure for different areas on the field. Kwon Alexander and Lavonte Davis are two young linebackers that have a lot of future potential in this offense. They need to add more players at both safety and cornerback. Brent Grimes if paired up with someone can make a great duo. This team will improve  from 2017 but not enough. There a young team that is in the hardest division in the league right now. They did get tougher and stronger but they are still a couple of pieces away from being contenders consistently in the NFC.


AFC North

Pittsburg Steelers [ 11-5 ]

The Steelers last year had a very good season. They had a very explosive offense and a defense that would step up when they needed it to. During the regular season, they did constantly play down to their competition. Most games would we won by a last second field goal by Chris Boswell. The Steelers faced the Jaguars in the AFC divisional round. The Jaguars started off very strong and controlled the rest of the game. The Steelers tried to fight back but the defecate was too big to come back from. They had a bunch of different questions going into the off season mainly surrounding their offense. Ben Roethlisberger is contemplating retirement once again and he has shown major signs of slowing down this past season. Leveon Bell has threatened to hold out until given a long term deal, and many of their free agent receivers are hitting the market. That being said they still have very good offense talent wise but their are some wholes they can fix like a lineman or a long term solution to big Ben. Their defense has been mediocre at best and they need to get more consistent biggest it was the one reason they got beat in the playoffs. They always are tightly pressed up against the cap and only had a little to spend. They did have some big needs on defense and they used that money to address that. The biggest signing that they made was signing former Packer’s safety Morgan Brunette. Brunette is a veteran player that is just a couple years off from his prime. He plays free safety and is a very good ball hawk down field. This move was very smart because the Steelers need to get a lot better in the secondary and they recently released Mike Mitchell. The next signing was John Bostic from the Colts. Bostic is a big and hard hitting middle linebacker. He isn’t the fastest, but in open field one on one he is a reliable tackler. Ryan Shazier was their star middle linebacker that had his season cut short with a scary neck injury. He will be sitting out of 2018 and possibly 2019 so Bostic will be a good insurance plan for now. On offense they have big Ben who is still a very good quarterback in this league. He still has him arm strength, his accuracy are still up to speed. Even though he is getting older and thinking about retirement he will have one to two good seasons left in him at max. Leveon Bell is arguably the best complete back in football. He has insane agility and is very elusive. He can drop his shoulder if he has to and run over a defender. What separates him from everyone else is his patience. He can read where the opening is and he finds a way to get through a tiny space. He takes a lot of pressure of big Ben and is a reason he is playing at the level he is. Antonio  Brown is the best receiver in the league. He is such a great route runner and can beat any defender deep. He is great catching the ball on the sideline and getting his feet down. He came through in the clutch when the team needed it the most. He will have another great season. Juju Smith Schuster was a rookie that had a breakout year. He is very versatile and can take the top off a defense. He is a very precise route runner and is good at creating separation. The Steelers got a steal in the second round when they selected him and he will be a very good receiver in this league for a long time. The offensive line has a lot of departing players. This line was one of the best in the league but is losing some key pieces. This is a big need going into this offseason because they have to protect Ben especially at this point in his career. Their defensive line from the interior and the edge have good depth. Cam Heyward is good at stuffing the running lanes and bringing pressure up the middle. When you play experienced quarterbacks you have to be able to rush up the middle so they can’t step up in the pocket. They also had good pressure on the end with Bud Dupree and TJ Watt. Their best defensive player last year was their middle linebacker Ryan Shazier. He will be gone for 2018 and John Bostic will have to fill in for him. They will be missing him a lot because towards the end of the season when they didn’t have him they were very vulnerable. The secondary has a couple of good young corners that need more time to mature. Joe Haden is the leader in this secondary and will have to step up this season. Morgan Brunette should help as well paring him with Sean Davis. Overall this team will have success because they have been in previous years. I do think that they will struggle with Ben contemplating retirement and all of the distractions on the field. This is most likely the last year the Steelers have all together to go and contend for a title. They have an easy schedule as well and they should win 10 plus games.

Baltimore Ravens [ 10-6 ]

The Ravens had a very up and down year in 2017. They were finishing the year off very strong but then couldn’t hold up at the end. Their offense was one of the worst in the league but did start to click towards the end of the season. The defense lead the league n turnovers and was one of the best in 2017. There are some major needs especially on offense for this team. They didn’t have much cap space but they did find ways to acquire more money to spend in the market. They released Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead. These were both smart moves because neither of them could stay healthy and they were going to be making way to much money in 2018. They also let Ryan Jensen and Mike Wallace walk in free agency. Jensen was a big loss and they have some candidates to replace him. The Ravens biggest needs this year are receiver, tight end, and inside linebacker. Joe Flacco needs help and adding talent around him will improve his game, and they need another inside linebacker that can cover tight ends and slot receivers. The first signed John Brown to a one year deal. Brown was injured last year but still had good production. He is a former 1,000 yard receiver that adds some explosiveness to the offense. He can take the top off a defense and can run great routes to create separation. He is the perfect fir because Flacco has a big arm and will be a good connection down the field with Brown. They then signed Michael Crabtree to a three year deal. This was a very good signing in my opinion. Crabtree is only 30 years old and still is a top receiver in the league. He is a great possession receiver that gets most of his production in red zone. He can also run any route in the route tree and will be a perfect fit I this offense. He will get a lot more production then he had in Oakland because he is going to be targeted a lot more and will be featured in this offense. The last signing they made was for Robert Griffin. He was a superstar player in Washington and played very well in Cleveland. His career was sadly derailed by injuries but he took a year off from the NFL to rest. He is excepting that he will be a back up in this offense. If something happens to Flacco they have a veteran player that will step in and deliver. On offense if Flacco is surrounded with talent he is a very solid quarterback in the league. The play calling will have to stop being so conservative and they need to let Flacco throw it more often. The receiving group is already much improved with the additions Crabtree and Brown  will go well with young role players like Chris Moore and Tim White. They will still draft a receiver high in the draft to be their number one or two. They have Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams at tight end but need a true athletic pass catching tight end. Flacco has a long history of targeting his tight ends a lot. The running game for the first time in a couple of year was good. Alex Collins had a breakout year and will be the lead back going into next year. He is quick and explosive but is powerful and can run defenders over at the same time. Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon are two young players that are very good complementary backs to Collins. They provide more speed and catching ability while Collins is the power back. The defense is one of the best in the league. Brandon Williams is a good run stopper and T  Sizzle is still a great pass rusher. He had another 10 sack season and will be better this year. The corners are going to Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. They both had very good seasons this year and were a very scary duo. They can also have Tavon Young coming back from injury and he will be working in the nickel position. Marlon Humphrey had a great year and covered Antonio Brown in week 15 and didn’t give up anything. This group if they can stay healthy will be one of the better groups in the league. Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson had a great season together and will get even better with more time to grow chemistry. CJ Mosely is a top three linebacker in this league. He can cover and he does a great job at making tackles. They need a better linebacker that they can pair next to him. They are also getting a new defensive coordinator who will be more aggressive with the play calling. The Ravens will be a better team next year because of the offensive changes they made. They already have an amazing defense but lack talent around Flacco. If they can get the offense going, they will be a very hard team to stop.

Cincinnati Bengals [ 8-8 ]

The Bengals started off last year as one of the worst teams in the league. They were not getting anything offensively and they couldn’t stop anyone on defense. It took a couple of weeks before they even scored a touchdown. They started to pick things up towards the end of the year and ended up finishing the season off very strong. They are in a very interesting spot this offseason because they are so inconsistent and you don’t know what type of Bengals you will get each year. The Bengals had very little cap space to spend in this off season. That being said, they only had a few free agents that they had to resign, so the free agency period wasn’t going be anything important for the team. They still had some needs that they wanted to address before the draft and they did that. Some of their main needs this year are offensive lineman. They need to do a much better job at protecting Dalton and giving him more time to throw in the pocket. They did some things in the free agency period to address offensive line but will also look in the draft to add depth there. They have some other areas around the team as well that they were not able to address in free agency. They first started off with a new coaching change instead of a team need. The Bengals were in the market for a new offensive coordinator and signed Bill Lazor. Lazor has a very high pace offense that will work well with Cincinnati. The Bengals have a lot of talent on their offense and they need to properly use it. The only other signing they had was getting offensive tackle Bobby Hart. Hart is a very solid right tackle that will be plugged in directly in to the starting lineup. He will help balance out the offensive line after Andrew Whitworth left a couple of years ago. Andy Dalton is a mid tier quarterback in this league who at times can play at a very high level. When the surrounding pieces around him are good you will get the max out of him. He can sometimes have a collapse here and their but for the most part he is player that they can count on season in and season out. Reliability is Dalton’s biggest quality. Joe Mixon had a decent rookie season. He started a little slow but quickly picked it up. Towards the middle of the season he started elevating his game to the next level. His best ability is his elusiveness. He does a great job at making one on one tacklers miss and has good patience. He reminded me a lot of a younger Leveon Bell. The also have other supporting backs such as Giovanni Bernard. AJ Green is a top receiver in this league when he is healthy and when he shows up mentally. He had an off year this year but did have some big moments. He has great speed and outstanding hands down the field. He did get into a couple of fights this year which really threw off his game a little as well. If he is ready mentally and is used in the offense properly, he will be a hard player to stop. They drafted John Ross very high in the draft and he barely saw the field. I’m not sure how much injury came into this but he had a bad year when he was in. He looked like he wasn’t ready. There have been thoughts that they might switch his position to corner. Tyler Boyd and Brandon Lafell add good depth as well. They did resign Tyler Eifert who is a pass catching tight end that has battled a ton of injuries, but when he was healthy he was one of the best tight ends at the time. The offensive line did get better with the addition to Bobby Hart but they still are not done addressing that position this off season. Their secondary has some big names but don’t play well together. Adam Jones is a decent player when on the field but he is constantly getting suspended and has a ton of off the field issues. They also have Dre Kirkpatrick who has some of the same issues . George Iloka is a ball hawking safety that excels at coming up to make tackles. They have a very good defensive line all around. Geno Atkins is good at bringing pressure up the middle and Carl Lawson is a rookie that had good production coming from the outside. Vontaze Burfict when healthy and in the right frame of mind, can be a very good inside linebacker. The bad thing is that he can hardly stay on the field due to suspensions for illegal hits, PED’s,  or injuries. He has been completely unreliable for this team and will already be missing the first four games to another performance enhancing drug test fail. This team as a whole doesn’t have play off DNA. they have a very good offense but lack a complete defense that they can depend on. There are also a bunch of off the field and in the locker room distractions that go on here that fall under head coach Marvin Lewis. This team will have some success but not enough I don’t think because of the defense and the distractions that take place annually.

Cleveland Browns [ 6- 10 ] 

The Browns are coming off an 0-16 season where they didn’t have many things going right for them. They drafted Deshone Kizer last year and he was there starting quarterback. He was a big reason they didn’t win a single game. The quarterback was one of the fewest smaller things that went wrong for this team. They couldn’t get anything going offensively and they had a very hard time stopping people on the defensive side of the ball. They have made a ton of front office moves that will change this team’s future hopefully. They have hired former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey who will also bring in a cultural change into this team. The Browns needed help at every single position on the field and they had a very good free agency. They first made a big trade to get Jarvis Landry from the Dolphins. Landry is a very talented receiver that is still in his prime. He will be a good feature to this offense. If he is used correctly he can be one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the league. They then traded for Tyrod Taylor who was the previous quarterback for the Browns. Taylor  is a very mobile quarterback that plays the game very smart. He rarely turns the ball over and that is exactly what the Browns need at that position. They are going to draft another quarterback as well but Taylor will provide as a bridge quarterback. This is much better that just throwing an unready rookie into the fire. Even though Taylor may not be the long term option, he is capable of leading his team to the playoffs. They then traded Deshone Kizer to the Packers for Damarious Randall. The Browns have seen enough in Kizer and are confident of letting him go. They are getting a young safety that has tremendous upside in this league. They have also signed running back Carlos Hyde from the 49ers. Hyde is a reliable back that can do all different sorts of things. He has good speed and has good strength. He did many things for the 49ers catching at of the back field as well. The last moves they made was to bolster up their offensive line. They are going to have very high picks this year which will allow them to bring in more young talent. They will probably draft a quarterback first overall  and draft either a running back  or corner with the fourth pick. They now have a much better offense with Taylor leading the way. They did a good job as well surrounding him with the best weapons as possible. Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, a good offensive line will all contribute to Taylor’s success in Cleveland. They have a good young secondary with Jabrill Peppers, Damarious Randall. They now need to start adding more depth at defensive lineman to go along with Myles Garrett. This team is already much better than it was a season ago and they will be looking like an entirely different team. They are building up for the future right now so for the Brown’s, winning right now isn’t the most important thing to happen. This season will hopefully be a good first step in the right direction for this organization.


AFC East

New England Patriots [ 12-4 ]

The New England Patriots had a very successful year but unfortunately they didn’t finish the way they wanted to. They were very good all season on the offensive side of the ball. Defense was a different story for this team. They were extremely inconsistent all season. It overall cost them a few games in the regular season but not enough. They ridded Tom Brady all the way to the Super Bowl. Brady has been playing at a very elite level all season and was named the league MVP because of it. Brady did all he could in that Super Bowl but it overall wasn’t enough. They are going into the off season needing cornerbacks, linebackers, and a possible successor for Tom Brady. After the benching of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, he left in free agency to the Titans. Johnathan Bademosi has also left to the Texans. These two make two big areas of need for the team being these were two very solid corners last year. They also released Martelleus Bennet who was a long time veteran in this league. They did not resign Nate Solder or Danny Amendola either. They did however reach an agreement to Jordan Matthews from the Bills. Matthews is a taller possession receiver that will be a good red zone threat for Brady. They also signed Adrian Clayborn and traded for Danny Shelton. Those two will help out on the defensive line and will pressure opposing quarterbacks from up the middle. Tom Brady will always give the Patriots a strong chance of having a successful season. They have a very good array or multipurpose backs that complement Brady as well. Although losing Dion Lewis will be a big loss. Julian Edelman, Jordan Matthews, and Malcolm Mitchell, Kevin Hogan will be the starting receiving core for the Patriots this season and will most likely be enough to make them serious contenders. Losing Nate Solder will take a toll on the line but they can definitely upgrade that position during the draft. They need to add more cornerbacks and linebackers to make this defense better than it was a year ago. There has also been a lot of drama surrounding this team around the head coach and some of their star players. If they can move on from that, they will be fine and compete for another title.

New York Jets [ 9-7 ]

The Jets had a mediocre year. The started off playing very well but after Mcown went down, they were out of the playoff race and couldn’t bounce back from that. They have a very talented roster but made it even better during free agency. They also have a very high pick in  this year’s draft. The Jets  made one of the more noteworthy moves of the 2018 offseason. Teddy Bridgewater joins the QB mix in alongside Josh Mcown and in all likelihood a new future quarterback after the team moved up to pick No. 3 in the 2018 NFL Draft after a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. This trade meant that the Jets were very anxious of getting their hands on one of these young prospects.Bringing in Bridgewater wasn’t the only move the Jets accomplished this offseason.So far as they also brought in linebacker Avery Williamson, tight end Clive Walford, running backs Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls well as center Spencer Long and wide receiver Terrell Pryor. In another big move, they’ve also brought in former Rams cornerback Tremaine Johnson who played out two consecutive franchise tags in Los Angeles and will join Morris Claiborne to form a very good corner duo. The Jets were very busy so far this offseason an it will pay off this season. They have a very smart quarterback system in place so in no means they will throw out a rookie when they are not ready. Thomas Rawls and Crowell will make a very good running compotation between the two of them. They signed Terrell Pryor to go along with Jermain Kearse and Robby Anderson. They also have a lot of young pieces on defense. They have Jamal Adams, Tremaine Johnson, and others. his team I think will shock a lot of people and will be one of the more dominant defenses in the league.

Buffalo Bills [ 6-10 ] 

The Bills have made the playoffs for the first time in a while. They had a good offense led by Tyrod Taylor. Taylor will no longer be there and they will have a new couple of quarterbacks on their roster. The defense played very solid for most of the season and was a big reason they got to the playoffs. The Bills made some noise in free agency but are planning to make a big splash in the draft. The Bills general Manager has said that the Bills are trying like hell to get one of these quarterbacks in a Bills uniform.Obviously the free agent signings will help dictate what the Bills, and the rest of the league, do in the NFL Draft. The Bills have had an interesting offseason already. A lot of departures and signings have considerably changed last year’s roster already. E.J Gaines was the big question mark if he was going to return ultimately, he  leaving for the Browns. The Bills also made a decision of signing Vontae Davis from the Colts. Davis is a very versatile corner that will mix well with Poyer and Micah Hyde.  There is a lot of concern with Lorenzo Alexander but I think other moves on the line make him a solid fit for the Bills. He is a speedy linebacker that can both cover and come up and make tackles. Preston Brown leaving is also a big loss to this defense. They now have AJ McCarron at quarterback and will serve as a potential bridge player. The Bills really want to draft a quarterback at AJ will be the rookies mentor for the first year or two. This team has good receivers and an amazing running back Lesean McCoy. The defense will take a big hit after losing so many of their star players. The Bills will figure out how much Tyrod Taylor did for them and I think they will see that traded him was a bug mistake. They will have a new leader at the most important position and they lost a considerable amount of talent on defense.

Miami Dolphins [ 3-13 ]

The Dolphins had an ok year before they fell apart towards the end of the season. They got rid of their main talented players and are looking to be in rebuild mode. They first traded away Jarvis Landry to the Browns This was a bad trade in my opinion because he was the face of their franchise and their number one player on both sides of the ball. The then cut Suh who was their best defensive player. They wanted more cap space and now they got rid of their two best players. This is very clear that this team is in full rebuild mode. Their goal for the next couple of years is to slowly add talent and develop players to their maximum ability. They don’t have stability at the quarterback position as well. Ryan Tannehill is coming off two major injuries and Jay Cutler is in trustworthy. They will most likely look in the draft to pick some one up at pick number 11. They signed Albert Wilson along with Danny Amendola to attempt to replicate what they lost in Landry. This team is obviously not ready to win now. Looking at this roster, there isn’t a big named star on this team now. They have started this process last year when they traded away Jaya Ajayi. This team is not ready to win now but this season will be very important for them to evaluate talent and develop some of their young players.


AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs [ 10-6 ] 

The Chiefs started off last year as one of the hottest teams in the league. They had a part in the middle of their season were they started to struggle a lot more. They made it to they playoffs but lost in the wildcard after choking away a big lead. This team noticed that they were going to need to make some changes especially at quarterback. They traded away Alex Smith to the Redskins for draft picks and Kyler Fuller. They felt that Alex Smith was too conservative with he offense and felt like they have seen enough of Patrick Mahomes to be confident from moving on from Smith. Mahomes is a gunslinger that is not afraid to take a deep shot down the field. He will also be surrounded by a lot of talent which will help him out even more. Tyrek Hill is a deep threat that can take the top off a defense and he can beat defenses deep on any given play. They have also signed Sammy Watkins who is another very versatile receiver that will fit well with  this offense. They also have Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. The addition to Kyle Fuller will really help out this defense. They will also get back Eric Berry from injury. Because of all of the talent on offense and the youth as well I think this team will struggle but will be good enough to win their division.

Los Angles Chargers [ 10-6] 

The Chargers started off last season very slow. They were 0-4 but quickly picked things up. They finished the season red hot and was very close to making it to the playoffs. Even though they didn’t make it to the playoffs, they were carrying a ton of momentum going into the off season. Phillip Rivers is a veteran leader that still has a couple of good years left on him. He is also still one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league as well. Melvin Gordon is a very good back, he is fast and can run all different kinds of routes. They also have Austin Ekeler who was a very versatile back that did a lot for the Chargers. Keenan Allen is a very underrated receiver in this league and will have another great season if he can stay healthy. Hunter Henry is a young and very talented weapon around Rivers. They also have good pieces in the secondary such as Jaleel Adae and Casey Hayward. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingraham both create a very good pass rush as well. This team will be in a very tight race to get in the playoffs in my opinion. I think that they will have the same record as the Chiefs but they lose a tie breaker game. This team will be a very scary team to face come play off time because of their veterans and young talent.

Oakland Raiders [ 8-8 ]

The Raiders had a very disappointing season last year. Their offense was struggling but that was not the majority of the problem. Their defense could.t stop anybody and was costing them game after game. The defense struggled as a whole but majority of it was in their secondary. They are getting a new coach in John Gruden so he may help change the culture in this locker room. Gruden may have a hard time adjusting in the league mainly because the last time he coached was 15 years a go. Derek Carr is their franchise quarterback but had a very bad year last year. He was turning the ball over even more and wasn’t playing the same than he was a year ago. Marshawn Lync, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard will make a good backfield and will complement each other nicely. They released Michael Crabtree which was not very smart in my opinion because he was their number one receiver over the past two years and he was Carr’s number one target. They did sign Jordy Nelson to help add more weapons around Carr as well. This team has not done enough defensively. They need to upgrade at safety, corner and middle linebacker. This team has a ton of talent on offense but lacks the defense to take them over the top.

Denver Broncos [ 6-10 ]

This team got a new quarterback Case Keenum and will be having a complete new look in 2018. They have a good running game with CJ Anderson and they have two very elite wide receivers. They could use some help on the offensive line because they will also need to protect this new signal caller. There defense is still very talented but could use another corner after losing Aquib Talib. This team will battle some chemistry battles as well. I don’t think that Keenum will be able to replicate what he did with Minnesota and will not have as much success as he did last year.


AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars [ 11-5 ] 

The Jaguars were notorious last year for having such an amazing defense. They are losing Aaron Colvin to free agency so nickel corner is one whole on the defense they could need. This defense was the reason the Jaguars made it as far as they did last season. The played with as wager and an attitude tat made it very hard for offenses to deal with. As much hate as Blake Bortles gets, he had a very good season last year. He was a big reason that the Jaguars made it that far. He will also be better with the new additions to Donte Moncrief in free agency. I think that the Jaguars will have an on and off year during the regular season but quickly pick that up come play off time.

Tennessee Titans [ 9-7 ]

The Tians this off season got a lot better. They have signed Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler from the Patriots. They will also have a new coach that will bring in a new culture as well. Their offense will be better with the additions to very versatile backs such as Dion Lewis. They will take more pressure off of Mariota and make his job easier. The Titans now have Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan as their corner tandem and will be a very good duo between the two of them. I also expect for the safeties to have a much better year than they had last year as ell. Overall, this team is just not as well rounded as some other teams in the AFC.

Houston Texans [ 9-7 ]

The Texans had a very good season until Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Watson showed how great of a player he truly is and when he was healthy they were challenging top level competition.  I just don’t think that this team did enough to surround  him that will make this team a true contender.

Indianapolis Colts [ 5-11]

The Colts are not for sure that they will have Andrew Luck Back. If they don’t have stability at that position, then this team will not do much. They also lost very valuable piece on the offense like Donte Moncrief and Frank Gore. This team also has one of the worst offensive lines which won’t help Luck if he does see the field.

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