August is here and with that NFL training camps have open across the league. This is the time of year when every single fan thinks their team will win the Super Bowl (well maybe except Browns fans. With that in mind let’s try to predict which teams will make the playoffs this upcoming season, we’ll take a division by division approach and finish off with the Wild Cards for the AFC conference.
This division has become extremely predictable for the last decade or so, as the universally hated New England Patriots run away with it every year. However this season Tom Brady will sit for the first four games due to the whole deflate gate fiasco.
The Jets, Bills and Dolphins have a golden opportunity to dethrone the mighty Pats, but I don’t think those teams did enough in the off season to seriously challenge the Patriots at this point.
Division Champ: Patriots 11-5
This one might be the toughest to predict, because three out of the four teams are expected to be very good. I believe the Steelers are the class of the division though and if they stay healthy, they could be the team in the AFC. I also like Cincinnati’s roster but they always seem to get in their own way. The Ravens will bounce back but I think they are not as good as the other two teams, and the Browns have too many problems to be considered a threat.
Division Champ: Steelers 12-4
To me this one is very easy, I’m not buying the hype around the Brock Osweiler led Texans. Jacksonville will make progress because they have a competent QB in Blake Bortles and a talented defense but they’re still a year away from challenging for the division crown. And though I believe in Marcus Mariota, to me there’s not enough talent in Tennessee for them to be anything more than a last place team. So that leaves the Indianapolis Colts as a default winner, because of Andrew Luck being healthy.
Division Champ: Colts 10-6.
This one obviously is the one Chargers fans care about most. To me there’s one team that is clearly the best as we head into the season, but things can change because teams improve during the pre-season. As it stands right now, I think the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos will once again have an elite defense, but I just don’t thin their offense will be good enough. Like I wrote in my post draft piece, I don’t get why everyone loves the Raiders. They have improved, but to me, they will take a step back this season.
Now let’s take a quick look at our hometown Chargers. To me Tom Telesco and the front office didn’t do enough to upgrade the O-Line. Sure Matt Slauson is better than the journey men playing last season, but he was available for a reason. If the line doesn’t protect better, Philip Rivers will get knocked around by the opposing teams defense. Not everything is bad though as I believe this defense has a ton of talent, starting with Denzel “The next Ray Lewis” Perrymnn. There are play makers all over the field and I think the defense will keep the team in every game this season. To me the best team in the west is the K.C. Chiefs. Their defense is full of talented players and Alex Smith, limited as he is, will never make a killer mistake.
Division champ: Chiefs 11-5
The AFC is not as deep as the NFC, to me there’s no way a team from the AFC south makes the playoffs as a Wild Card. The two teams that will make it are the following:
Bengals 10-6 & Chargers 9-7