This is the final instalment of my predictions for the upcoming season. We have reached the top eight teams in the NFL, these are the teams that are going to challenge hard this season for the top seeds in their conferences. These teams are the like the original Star Wars, there are others out there. However none will be as good as these, as more are coming everything might be different soon.
8. Kansas City Chiefs 11-5
Some of you might be surprised to still see the Chiefs here and not further down, but this is my year to pour too much faith in Kansas City and choose the Chiefs as the new, different team to make it into the playoffs, basing this alone by the way there defence played last year, with Dontari Poe, Eric Berry and Justin Houston in particular having a great season. This season they drafted Marcus Peters in the first round to try and add a shutdown element to their corners, as well as getting Derrick Johnson back from injury, which sidelined him for the whole of last year. So it’s down to veteran Alex Smith at quarterback, and Jeremy Maclin on the outside to play well, to give the defences something different to plan for, other than Jamaal Charles, that will give the Chiefs the best formula for a playoff birth this season.
7. Arizona Cardinals 11-5
The Cardinals were playing so well last season and then the injury bug hit them. It was losing Carson Palmer that derailed there season, having to then put in their backups who weren’t ready at all. So this season with Carson Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu and Sean Weatherspoon healthy and players like John Brown, Michael Floyd and Patrick Peterson all bursting to break out, it should be a good season for the Cardinals! The only thing in their way is their schedule, to get a good enough record to host a playoff game and not have to go to a Dallas or Carolina, so they can have a deep run in the postseason.
6. New England Patriots 12-4
Wow! What an offseason for the Patriots with the suspension of Brady and Blount, the loss of Revis and Browner and accusation of Reggie Wayne. So after all that the Patriots still have Bill Belichick the best coach in the league, who will coach Jimmy Garoppolo to at least 2 or 3 wins whilst Brady is suspended, giving the Patriots a solid base to get to the playoffs. The worrying thing for the Patriots is who is going to start at cornerback and running back for them for the season. If their defence doesn’t generate any turnovers or sacks, there are just some things that even Tom Brady can’t get past, so the Patriots will not be repeating this year.
5. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
The Eagles have been very crazy this offseason with the trading of Nick Foles, Lesean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. After getting Sam Bradford, Demarco Murray, Byron Maxwell,Ryan Mathews and Nelson Agholor, I think that Chip Kelly has made the right call as these trades and drafts will pay off for him, and the Eagles organisation. The offence will be a whirlwind in Philly, blazing past opponents with only the clock stopping them, so it’s the defence that has to step up and provide a bit of back bone for the team, even though it might not matter with the amount of points the offence will score! So I have the Eagles ahead of the Cowboys in the NFC EAST and one of the top seeds in the NFC, who knows how it could pan out for them this year?
4. Indianapolis Colts 12-4
After reaching the AFC CHAMPIONSHIP last year and getting hammered by New England, Indy has oddly restructured their offence and not their defence, by giving Ty Hilton a huge new contract, drafting Phillip Dorsett and adding Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. This seems strange as it looked like it was their defence which was holding them back from the Super Bowl by allowing their opponents to race away, giving Andrew Luck a difficult task to haul them back. This year it will be different, because unlike last year they have a running back in Frank Gore, who can see holes and actually run downhill, which will be a valuable time waster for the Colts in keeping their own defence off the field.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
The Steelers last year had an historic offence with Big Ben getting six touchdown passes in two consecutive games!! In my opinion, they have a top 3 running back, a top 4 wide receiver and a top 3 quarterback, but after losing veteran defensive players in Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor, also having high pick defensive players not pan out, the usually great Steeler defence may not live up to its predecessors this season, as no one knows who is staring at cornerback or safety! But with Mike Tomlin to pin it all together, get them into the playoffs and possibly even further, I’m backing the Steelers to have a very good season.
2. Seattle Seahawks 12-4
After winning one of the best playoffs games ever, by coming back from a large deficit, beating the Packers in Overtime and dealing out a large amount of hurt in Wisconsin. It only seemed ironic that Seattle gave up a large fourteen point lead in the forth quarter and then lost in the last seconds to New England and the a repeat of the Super Bowl. So when this offseason the Seahawks traded for Jimmy Graham, all the so-called analysts said it would do wonders for them, giving them another dimension to their already prolific offence and already anointing them world champions! Now with a depleted offensive line to protect Russell Wilson and stars like Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor not playing either injured or negotiating contracts, I think it will will give Pete Carroll a little blip but nothing they can’t handle, so I think the Seahawks will be right back in the playoffs again this season.
1. Green Bay Packers 13-3
I have the Packers at number one! Justly deserved, I believe, as they have playmakers on both sides of the ball, with one of the best offensive seasons ever last year commanded by Aaron Rodgers. This year he will be back to his undeniable best, helped by Eddy Lacy who is going to hit 1400 total yards this year while he is throwing to players like Randell Cobb and DeVante Adams. If he can just stay injury free for the playoffs, I have the Packers winning it all in San Fran where Rodgers went to college and who he wanted to be drafted by in 2005. With another amazing season by Rodgers on offence and Clay Matthews on defence getting to 15 sacks, as well as Julilus Peppers, Haha Clinton-Dix and B.J Raji all getting more freedom to cause chaos, it’s going to be heaven for Green Bay in the Bay Area next February.