My (Not So) Bold NFL Predictions For the 2015 Season
Football and the NFL is back! And that sound you hear is booties plopping down on couches everywhere, in front of their flat screens, rejoicing that the worst part of the year is over, and we now have our precious football back.
After all the hype, all the suspense, and all the controversies that the NFL has had to endure this offseason, we are back to start brand new, where every team is undefeated, and with the start of the season comes predictions. The Steelers take on the New England Patriots in a little over an hour. Yes, I know that I’m cutting it a little too close to the opening kickoff, for me to be making NFL predictions. But it’s better late than never.
New England Patriots – I am picking the Pats for two reasons, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Until someone else proves otherwise, they are the best combo in the AFC. But I do think Buffalo will give them a run for their money.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have a new image this season where it’s going to be all about Big Ben and the offense. The defense that we have come to love about the Steelers is no more, but that could be a good thing. The Steelers are locked and loaded on the offensive side of the ball and could be a problem for the AFC.
Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck has easily become one of the better passers in the league since his arrival. He’s obviously the best quarterback in the AFC South. Usually, a top notch quarterback leads their club to the playoffs, and this year for the Colts won’t be any different.
Denver Broncos – As long as Peyton Manning remains a Bronco and relatively healthy, the Broncos should at least win the division. Although I have a feeling that this could be the year finally for Phillip Rivers and company to make some major strides and possibly play the role of spoiler. Possibly.
AFC Wild Cards
Baltimore and Buffalo. The Bills will challenge the Patriots and the Ravens will challenge the Steelers like they usually do. Baltimore will also challenge them for the division, which remains a possibility that the Steelers and Ravens swap places. As much as I like the Chiefs and Chargers, I think Buffalo will really surprise a lot of people and squeak into that final playoff spot.
The Steelers. Ravens will be a close 2nd, but I believe that with the Steelers airing it out this year and all of the weapons they have, that they will be too much for most defenses to handle. Offense will certainly trump defense this season.
Dallas Cowboys – The NFC East is a weak division. Philadelphia should give the Cowboys their biggest challenge but in the end they just don’t have enough. Their once powerful run game won’t be as strong as it was a year ago.
Green Bay Packers – I don’t think Green Bay will run away with the division as both Detroit and Minnesota have improved and have talented clubs in their own right, but with Aaron Rodgers, they will remain the class of the North.
New Orleans Saints – If Kelvin Benjamin was healthy, I may have gone with the Panthers. As we saw last year, this isn’t a very strong division. In reality, every team is in rebuild mode. I think Drew Brees and Sean Peyton get their mojo back, or at least enough of it to maybe finish 9-7 and win the division.
Seattle Seahawks – With Russell Wilson out to prove that he deserves the big bucks that he signed for this summer, Seattle wins this division easily. San Francisco isn’t what it once was and may actually finish last. St. Louis will be improved but not quite enough to challenge for the division.
St. Louis and Philadelphia – Although I don’t think that the Rams have enough to challenge the Seahawks for the division, they have enough to get into the playoffs. Their defense will be key in doing so. As long as they don’t have any major injuries among their front seven, they will dominate on many Sunday afternoons. Although I’m not a fan of some of the moves that Chip Kelly has made this offseason, the man gets results and I’ll ride the Kelly wave a little while longer. The Eagles could easily become the overachiever of the NFC.
Dallas – Even though I think Seattle is the best team in the NFC, I believe that the Cowboys will overcome their playoff tragedies of years’ past and Romo will be bumped up into the upper echelon of quarterbacks by season’s end.
Pittsburgh – The Steelers will win this rematch, 20 years in the making. SB 50 will break all kinds of records, and the game will be close until Big Ben and that offense decide to turn it on in the second half.
NFL MVP: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Offensive Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Offense Rookie of the Year: Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons
Comeback Player of the Year: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers