2016 NFL Awards Predictions

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Hello World,

It has been a while but with the start  of the regular season only hours away. Here are my predictions for who will end the season as the individual award winners.

Most Valuable Player

Aaron Rodgers – QB Green Bay Packers

I believe that Rodgers will be back to his electric 2014-MVP-caliber form this season, due to the return of his favorite receiver, Jordy Nelson from an ACL injury that kept him out for all of the last season. Nelson will be back to form in that offence so they can move a healthy Randall Cobb back to the second spot, all whilst having a slimmer, faster and more productive Eddie Lacy in the backfield to keep defences guessing by putting another man in the box. Also, in an under-the-radar free agency move the Packer acquired Jarod Cook from the Rams; he may have been a bit inconsistent in St Loius but then he didn’t have Rodgers throwing him the ball so expect a lot of red zone targets for him.

 

Offensive Player of the Year

Antonio Brown – WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Last season Brown had 1,834 yards, 136 receptions, and 10 touchdowns. That is one of the best seasons in recent memory, so now consider that he did that with Landry Jones and Michael Vick starting 5 games. We know that he is good enough to escape the double teams that he will now face because Martavious Bryant is suspended for the season, it’s just if Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy for their entire season then his numbers will explode and he might break the 2000 yard mark and 15 TDs, making him a shoe-in for this award.

Defensive Player of the Year

Kahlil Mack – DE Oakland Raiders

Mack had an unbelievable season last year, racking up +15 sacks and becoming the first player to be named All-Pro at 2 positions (DE & OLB). This season, because JJ Watt is having to have back surgery which will keep him out for a while, Mack will take home the sacks title ahead of the likes of Von Miller and Justin Houston. Mack’s younger age and his cleaner injury history make him a more consistent threat every week for at least 2 sacks. If you need any proof of Mack’s talent and threat to take home this award for many years to come, take a look at his highlights from Oakland’s week 14 matchup against the Denver Broncos where he had an astonishing 5 sacks.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Ezekiel Elliot – RB Dallas Cowboys

With the recent injury to Tony Romo keeping him out for the season, Dallas has placed rookie Dak Prescott as their starter for the season. Now, because he is a rookie and Dallas has one of the league’s best offensive lines at its disposal, they will be running the ball in order to keep Prescott from making as few mistakes as possible. With this increased workload and the pedigree of the talent around him, I believe that Elliot will reach 1200 yards as the shining light of Dallas’s offence.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Vernon Hargreaves – CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With both Eli Apple and Jalen Ramsey being selected ahead of him,  I feel that Hargreaves is in the best system to succeed this season. With Mike Mayock saying when he was drafted “Hargreaves has the best corner feet in the draft I’ve seen in the past 2 or 3 years”. On Tampa’s depth chart he is sharing his cornerback spot with Alteraaun Verner and they will be opposite Brent Grimes, meaning that he will be targeted a lot but Hargreaves, as he has already shown in the preseason, has the ability to have multiple interception games. I think that he will not reach the heights of Marcus Peters last season but 5 Interceptions and 20 passes defended will take it home for this University of Florida product.

Coach of the Year

Bill Belicheck – New England Patriots

He could win this award practically any year but when the Patriots go 2-2 without Tom Brady to start the season and then go 11-3 to finish, taking them back into the playoffs for the 14th time in 16 years, it will be virtually impossible to ignore Belicheck for this award because he seems to do something unprecedented every year whether it’s wins, records or playoff appearances and this season would be no different.

Comeback Player of the Year

Jamaal Charles – RB Kansas City Chiefs

He only played 5 games last season till he tore his ACL  putting him on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season. Charles has come back from ACL injuries before when he then proceeded to rush for over 1500 yards in 2012.  Now I’m not saying he will hit 1500 yards again because he is older and the history of running backs coming off ACL injuries is slightly hot and cold,  but he will top 1200 yards on his way to winning Comeback Player of the Year and getting the Chiefs back into the playoffs.

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Breakout Rookie Sensations

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Hello World,

With the combine and draft over and now the free agency period just simmering away, I will be looking at the most promising rookies for the 2016 season. These are the players I feel will be instant contributors to their team and might be reaching the Pro Bowl. Recent examples of this would be Zac Martin for the Cowboys, Tyler Lockett for the Seahawks and Marcus Peters for the Chiefs. This isn’t a ranking for each of these players, just a list.

My first player is Ezekiel Elliott who went 4th overall to the Cowboys from Ohio State. He is in line for a promising rookie season mainly due to the supporting cast around him in Dallas. There has been a long string of failed running backs drafted in the first round recently eg Trent Richardson, David Wilson and Jahvid Best, to name a few, but this to me doesn’t seem like a gamble by Jerry Jones because, during his time at Ohio State, Elliot had total 4410 yards and 44 touchdowns, and was labeled as the best,most complete back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson. So drafting him with a supporting cast ofTony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and the best offensive line in the NFL I believe can only lead to success for Elliot, who can show people that he can break the recent curse of 1st round running backs.

Another player with a promising rookie season ahead of him is Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss, who went 13th overall to the Miami Dolphins. Before the draft and the trades, Tunsil was the best player on many people’s boards. So after the Rams and the Eagles moved up, many people assumed he would go 3rd overall as he was the best player in the draft. But literally minutes before the Draft, a video on Twitter was posted of him smoking marijuana through a gas mask. It went viral, causing his draft stock to crash going from a top 5 pick down to 13.  I feel this will give Tunsil much-needed motivation this season to prove those 12 other teams that they were missing out on a star when they didn’t pick him. He will be working on a line with such notable names as Branden Albert, Jermon Bushrod, and Mike Pouncey, who between them have 7 Pro Bowl appearances, so he will be in good hands to show us all his potential this season.

A defensive rookie I believe will have a breakout season is Defensive Tackle Robert Nkemdiche from Ole Miss. He, like former teammate Tunsil, slid down draft boards, but this was due to an incident where in December 2015, Nkemdiche fell from a 4th-floor window, walked 15 feet and climbed over a wall then fell 15 feet. He was conscious and in a stable condition but the police found marijuana in his room and charged him with drug possession. It was this horror show that caused teams to flee from the 6’3, 296lbs defensive tackle until the Cardinals selected him with the 29th overall pick. He will have a breakout season due to his incredible speed and strength combo with Head Coach Bruce Arians saying “ He was killing people in the walkthrough and I had to slow him down,” “It’s walkthrough and he’s bench-pressing linemen already.” With that in mind, look out for him and Chandler Jones to be causing havoc down in Arizona.

And finally, in order to balance it out, another defensive player to have a breakout rookie season will be Vernon Hargreaves Cornerback who was taken 11th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the university of Florida. During his time in Florida, Hargreaves had 10 interceptions, 121 tackles and 17 passes defended. He was named 2x All-American and 3x All-SEC as a Gator, so coming onto a team with only Brent Grimes seen as a starter, Hargreaves will be getting plenty of snaps and seeing a lot of the ball with Grimes on the opposite side. Due to his excellent reading of the game and NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock saying “ He’s got the best feet of any cornerback coming out if the draft in the past 2 or 3 years”.  Look out for him to be making plays this season in Tampa.

Cleveland’s Quarterback Conundrum

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A lot of things have changed since 1999 and the Cleveland Browns Quarterback situation is one of them.  They have had an astonishing 24 starting quarterbacks, with some playing 16 games  a season such as Tim Couch in 2001 and others literally starting one game for this franchise such as Spergon Wynn, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski, Thad Lewis and Connor Shaw. To put this into perspective, much more successful teams like the Green Bay Packers have started 5 different Quarterbacks and the New England Patriots have started 3 different Quarterbacks. Here is my view on the mediocre madness that is Cleveland’s laughable Quarterback situation.

On Thursday, the news broke that Robert Griffin III is expected to sign with the Browns, making him the 25th starting quarterback for the Browns in 17 years. Griffin finished his time in Washington marred with injuries, lacking in confidence and a diminishing connection with Jay Gruden. So it remains to be seen whether or not he is able to lead this franchise to loftier heights than the other 24 previous quarterbacks have tried to. It seems to me that becoming Browns Quarterback brings an added weight. Not a lot, but enough to instill a slight modicum of self-doubt into your brain, because you know you’re trying to lead what seems like an eternally cursed franchise out of NFL purgatory and into something above mediocrity. To be able to go through 24 Quarterbacks in 17 years is a very difficult thing to do, but of course the Browns have managed it, in the most Browns way possible. Kelly Holcomb was the last Browns QB to put them in the playoffs, where in typical Cleveland fashion they lost 36-33 to Pittsburgh who scored with only 54 seconds left. Since then they’ve only had one more winning season finishing 10-6 in 2007.

I believe that this slow,painful and cold demise for the Browns can be attributed to many different reasons. Firstly the owners’ disgustingly poor ability to choose personal staff with any positive knowledge of scouting or free agency. It seems to me that to build a successful franchise you need solid, positive building blocks and the Browns haven’t had these; they have had rich, hot headed, inept men trying to run a franchise. This leads them to hire poorly e.g scouts so in turn they draft poorly e.g 4 QBs in the first round since 1999. From those helpless drafts, Cleveland has searched far and wide for an upgrade in Free Agency, with players that are way past their prime and in some cases built like glass to lead the team, the city and the fans to a Lombardi trophy, but of course each one has failed, with such players as Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson,Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace all fitting that mold.

It’s names like these, along with suffering untimely injuries that have lead the Browns to be sucked into the black hole of archaic, gauche and over priced Quarterbacks. Now once you are taken into a black hole it’s impossible to get out. So the Browns despite their unflinching failure in Free Agency, have gone back into it for RGIII. I believe that as per usual this will not work out either due to RGIII getting injured again, not fitting into the system, not being given enough time or the Browns not drafting pieces around him to work well with or as I fear along with many other fans, another horrible concoction of all of these factors. This will inevitably lead to Cleveland continuing with this endless, godforsaken cycle, while us, the fans, and media all run endlessly in our hamster wheels of hope for each new Cleveland Browns Quarterback.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Preview

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Hello World,

Last weekend we had the Divisional round, and it certainly didn’t disappoint, with some cracking and unforgettable games. Arizona dispatched Green Bay 26-20 in OT, with Larry Fitzgerald having a game that will long be remembered – 8 catches for 176 yards – sending his Cardinals to the NFC Championship game. Here they will play Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, who defeated the Seahawks 31-24 in a game of two halves, as the Panthers raced out to a 31 zip lead at halftime, with Seattle nearly doing the impossible in scoring 24 unanswered points. But it wasn’t enough, and Carolina advances to their first NFC Championship since 2005.  In the AFC, the Patriots calmly dispatched the Chiefs 27-20,with the game never looking like slipping out of New England’s fingers. In Denver, the Broncos’ defense came up big, forcing a fumble from Steelers’ back up running back Fitzgerald Toussaint with only 5 minutes left, to seal the game, beating the Steelers 23-1. Moving onto the AFC Championship game, they will now play the Patriots in Denver.

Sunday 

AFC Championship Game : Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots 

This might be the longest game, grinding and tumultuous for both Brady and Manning, but somehow we have arrived at the same conclusion – the AFC Championship – with both playing for what seems like ” their last opportunity ” at a Lombardi trophy. This is the 17th meeting between the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and mostly likely the last one as Manning is 39 years old and his play has rapidly declined this season.

Both teams this season have had their problems, but we will start with New England, who have been – at about every  point of the season, since week 4 –  decimated by injuries,  with key players seeming to go down like flies in Foxborough. This ultimately hasn’t stopped Tom Brady from leading his team to a 12-4 record and a deep playoff run. This season, he has worked wonders with the players that were left on the roster, such as James White and KeShawn Martin, and deserves the majority of the credit if the Patriots are  to reach the Super Bowl.

The Denver Broncos this season have been led by their dominant defense which ranks as the first in the league in total yards, yards per game and top three in points allowed per game. So it was to many people’s surprise that Peyton Manning started off this season so poorly and was benched (with 9 TDs  and 17 INTs) in week 12, in favour for Brock Osweiler. The Broncos defeated the Patriots in week 12, this season 30-24, with their running game clinching the win with over 160 yards. Peyton has recently entered the fray again, after recovering from his injury, to guide his team to the title game and perhaps ultimately the denouement of his esteemed career.

As everyone knows the quarterback position is the most important in the game. So the Patriots should be encouraged by the fact that Brady has played every game this season and is in such good form, just as they get their star players back. In contrast, Peyton has had his worst statistical season since he entered the league and doesn’t look like being back to his superlative best. Brady will win this game for the Patriots, beating Peyton for the 12th time and in turn reaching his 7th Super Bowl.

NFC Championship Game : Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers 

These are the two teams that have been the the best all season, which is why it’s a shame this game isn’t happening as the Super Bowl. With the Cardinals having won 13 games and the Panthers 15 games, their seasons have been eventful to say the least. They have a combined 17 Pro Bowl players and I think, if it weren’t for the look of bias and other players going  in on reputation, then there should have been more in the Pro Bowl.

The Panthers have been the number one team this season , going 15-1 in the regular season, with Cam Newton “Dabbing” his way to an MVP trophy after his amazing 45 combined ( 35 throwing and 10 rushing ) touchdowns this season, making this the most touchdowns in  a season since 2013. The Cardinals are going to have a tough time stopping this man who’s in the form of his life. The Panthers defense this season, has turned up to play ranked as the  6th best overall and they lead the league in interceptions with 24. They have a strong spine on defense with 4 Pro Bowlers  ( Josh Norman, Thomas Davis, Kawaan Short and Luke Kuechly )  and Cam Newton, who some are putting as the ultimate dual threat quarterback: this should be a tough game for Arizona.

The Cardinals, this season, have been immense on both sides of the ball as their offence, led by Carson Palmer, was ranked 1st in total yards, average yards per game and 2nd in points per game only behind to Carolina. Arizona I believe has the most complete roster in the NFL, with star players at every level on each side of the ball: on offence they have game changers in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown, not to mention their quarterback Carson Palmer who finished the season 4th in yards and 2nd in touchdowns. But what might put them ahead is the fiery, competitive and daring nature of their coach Bruce Arians. He has managed to put this Arizona team into another gear this season, especially with the ” Next Man Up” mantra. Rookie David Johnson has replaced Chris Johnson amazingly well and more with over 1000 all purpose yards this season, after CJ2K fractured his tibia in week 12, but has said that if they reach the Super Bowl he will be “ready to go”.

In conclusion, I believe the Cardinals will win a tight game in Carolina, because they have a healthier squad at the moment: Carolina’s star running back Johnathan Stewart has been limited in practice this week. I think he will play because you only get so many opportunities to get to the NFC Championship game. But not being 100% will hinder this run-focused Panthers offence, leaving their defense out on the field for longer, making them more tired and vulnerable to big plays and a lot of points. Also, let’s just see what Josh Norman is made of in this match-up with Larry Fitzgerald. Having been playing out of his mind this season, we will see if Norman can cope with a fired-up Fitzgerald, who’s desperate to make it to his second Super Bowl.

 

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

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Hello World,

Wow! What a weekend of games we had! Starting off on Saturday with the Kansas City Chiefs dismantling the Houston Texans 30-0 in Houston, I have to say it got embarrassing for Texan fans by the end of the second 3rd quarter. Later on we saw an aggressive game between the Steelers and the Bengals that will unfortunately be remembered for a late meltdown by the Bengals’ defense giving the Steelers an easy field goal to win the game. Then on Sunday we had the 3rd coldest game between Seattle vs Minnesota that ended with a 10-9 win for Seattle after a missed 27 field goal with only 26 seconds left by Minnesota. After that we had a matchup between Green Bay and Washington, where Aaron Rodgers gave his best performance in a while as the Packers won 38-15. This leads us into the divisional round games this weekend and with the two best best teams in each division hosting a game: it should get interesting.

Saturday

Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots

Kansas City last weekend put on a show, starting off with a 106 yard kickoff return for a TD by Knile Davis, giving them the scruff of the neck then they never letting go and forcing 5 turnovers from the Texans on their way to a 30-0 win. Amazingly the Patriots have had six first-round byes in a row, which is the longest streak since 1990 (when it was introduced) for two teams. Another mind blowing stat is that for Tom Brady, this game will tie him for the most playoff games in NFL history (30) with Adam Vinatieri!

However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for both teams. The Chiefs, last weekend, lost their dynamic wide receiver Jeremy  Maclin with a knee injury, who this season along with tight end Travis Kelce has been the only passing attack for Alex Smith. So his return to 100% is essential for the Chiefs because without his presence, the Patriots’ secondary will erase Kelce, forcing their other receivers to make a play. Meanwhile for the Patriots, they are waiting on their own star receiver as Rob Gronkowski is questionable for this weekend as he’s received a knee injection, for his bruised MCL in week 12.

I’m going to predict a New England victory over Kansas City. This is due to the fact that if Justin Houston and Tamba Hali don’t play for Kansas City due to injury or aren’t 100% healthy, then Brady will have all day in the pocket to surgically dissect the Chiefs’ defense as he so usually does in the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers vs Arizona Cardinals 

This is a Green Bay team that has blown hot and cold this season, demonstrated by their comprehensive win last weekend over the Redskins and their pummeling loss by the Cardinals in week 16. The key for Green Bay is their core of receivers needs to create some separation: I think that having James Jones and DeVante Adams gives them the slowest group left in the playoffs from both conferences, not a key to winning the Super Bowl.

It is hard to tell with Arizona, because their Head Coach Bruce Arians said that his team will always play hard and won’t rest starters for the sake of doing so. This is why their mauling by the Seahawks in week 17 was so surprising, especially as Arizona possess one of the most complete rosters in the NFL and have stuck to Arians’ mantra all year, having ridden a nine game winning streak before playing Seattle.

I believe that Arizona will win this game comfortably at home, due to the fact that Green Bay doesn’t have the offensive firepower to even distract this Cardinals secondary, with James Jones of all people leading their passing attack. This gives Green Bay effectively no other option than to try and establish the run, which I’m afraid, Green Bay fans, isn’t happening because Arizona is ranked 6th in the league in run defense.

Sunday

Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers 

It was hard to decipher the Seahawks’ performance last weekend against the Vikings. I think the -25 wind chill affected their offence as they only ran for 97 yards whilst throwing for just 129 yards. Russell Wilson as per usual did enough to win, by leading his team down the field to get the winning score. This time though against the Panthers, it could be difficult for the Seahawks to get their offence up and running. As their offensive line has given up 46 sacks this season which is tied for the 6th most in the league, while the Panthers’ defensive line has 44 sacks, the 6th most in the league.

The Panthers then will need to replicate their performance from week 6 when they beat the Seahawks in Seattle 27-23, to get anywhere near a win. Greg Olsen was their catalyst last time these two teams met as he grabbed the winning touchdown score with only 32 seconds left and he needs to be back to his best for Carolina to have any downfield threat and win the game.

Ultimately I think the Panthers – who are at home for this game where they haven’t lost their last 11 matches dating back to week 15 last season – will win this game in Overtime to reach the NFC Championship. Cam Newton will run in for a touchdown to seal the game and send the home crowd into raptures, as it will be their first championship game in 10 years.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos

The Steelers last week were struck by both sides of the proverbial sword, by winning on the road vs the Bengals, but having their star players injured: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, separated his shoulder in the 3rd Quarter and Wide Receiver Antonio Brown was concussed on a late and dirty hit, by linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Both of them were assessed day by day on whether or not they will play: if they don’t it will seriously hinder Pittsburgh’s offence as both of them have been in the top 5 at their position this season.

Gary Kubiak has decided to start Peyton Manning this weekend over Brock Osweiler. Many other people and analysts are saying that this might be Peyton’s swansong as Osweiler has been a step up from Manning throughout the latter half of the regular season. I do think though that with this being Manning’s first full game since week 11, he will be quite rusty and struggle to move the ball early on. I think that it depends on their first 3 drives: if Manning is able to get into a rhythm and Kubiak establishes the run, then he will be able to manage the game from there – perhaps to a Denver victory.

In conclusion, I believe that everything depends on Brown’s and Roethlisberger’s health. If they play at 100% then the Steelers’ offence will power them to victory, but if not then CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will run all over the Steelers defense for over 120 yards, buffering Manning’s career from riding off into the sunset. But I’m going to back the Steelers for a 10 point win and into the AFC Championship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Preview of Jaguars vs Bills. International Series Game 13

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Hello World!

At the moment these two teams are a combined 3-8. Before the start of the season, many people predicted the Bills to sit atop the Brady-less Patriots in the AFC EAST because of their dynamic, dominant defence being able to force turnovers at will.  These same people predicted that this season needs  to be one of progress under Gus Bradley for the Jags because he’s been there 3 years with no more than 4 wins being the usual finish for the team.  Like the Bills, they went into free agency for a playmaker. They decided on Julius Thomas from the Broncos, who is a wonderful player but he has been injured to start the season for them which is not exactly what Blake Bortles wanted as you can’t create chemistry with a player not on the field.

So the Bills come into this game having been both physically and tactically overwhelmed by the 6-0 Bengals, and wanting to improve their record to 4-3. A loss here against the Jags would put them at 3-4 in the AFC EAST, where the Patriots are 5-0 and the Jets are 4-1. This would effectively end their division chances or at least the chance for a wild card spot. So to win this match they overall need to just cut down on committing penalties on offence and defence. It has been killing their drives recently as they have committed the most in the league. Also they need to run the ball to kill the clock on Blake Bortles and his playmakers on the outside. As TJ Yeldon is injured it puts into place Toby Gelhart. I reckon that they won’t be running the ball anytime soon against this Bills front seven. This gives their offence more time on the field to hopefully rack up the points. Without their triplets we will see how that goes…..

On the flip side, the Jags desperately need Blake Bortles to stop throwing pick 6s. He has the most so far in the season and had the most in his rookie season last year. The one he threw last week against the Texans was back-breaking to their hopes of a second win of the season.  His box score for the past couple of weeks has looked impressive but as always looks can be deceiving and the only thing that you should turn your eyes to is the win-loss column where the Jags are 1-5. The Jags’ receivers have been on the upside with Allen Robinson looking like a superstar in their loss to the Texans at home.

Finally a matchup I’m looking forward to is the Bills’ cornerbacks Stephon Gillmore and rookie Ronald Darby going up against Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee.  Whoever wins this matchup will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. So I’m predicting a loud, passionate atmosphere at Wembley this Sunday with the Bills coming away with a win 28-27 over a 300 yard 3 touchdown performance from Blake Bortles.

My NFL Predictions for the 2015 Season Part 4

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Hello World! 

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.