It’s been a long summer of anticipation for the new NFL season. Basketball and hockey finished around the same time, regular season baseball is always repetitive and the World Cup was fun, but I think everyone is ready for some American football.
With the new season right around the corner I want to share my predictions on how I see each division finishing up. I’m certainly no expert, but I will do my best to give the run down on each division.
Let’s start with the NFC, in particular the NFC South. It’s fitting to start with the Falcons’ division. Atlanta is currently getting plenty of attention while being the showcase of HBO’s Hard Knocks for this season. And although the Falcons seem to have improved it might not be enough to conquer the NFC South this year. This division will be fun, the Falcons will be back, the Saints have reloaded, the Panthers are still on the rise and the Buccaneers are in a new regime.
Here’s how it flows: Saints will win the division (sorry Falcon fans), Atlanta will come in second and (in all likelihood) get a Wild Card spot, Panthers in third and the Bucs in fourth.
The NFC East is also a fun division to break down, every year it seems like a new order for the teams and a new champion comes out.
This season will undoubtedly bring some surprises, but here is how it will all shake down: the Eagles are clearly the best team in the division, they will take it, followed by the Redskins, then the Giants and finally the Cowboys (although New York and Dallas are almost interchangeable).
The NFC North will also be very competitive, several solid teams that all believe they can win the division. It seems pretty clear that the Packers are the most complete team in this division, they should handle business and come out on top, followed by the Lions, then the Bears and finally the Vikings in last. That order may be off to some, but the Lions are more than capable of finishing in second over the Bears and — in all honesty — they really should this year.
And finally we have the NFC West, quite possibly the best division in all of football – let’s save ourselves the time and get right to it. San Francisco will overcome the Seahawks and win the division this year (although it will be close), Seattle will then come in second while the Arizona Cardinals have another solid season, but finish in third, followed by the Rams.
Let’s start the AFC with the AFC West. Peyton is back and so are the Broncos, they will win the division and see the Chargers come in second with the Chiefs finishing third and the Raiders still lagging behind in fourth. Tough division, really the bottom three teams can all interchange in any way, only thing for certain is the Broncos in first.
Next is the AFC South, last season the Colts ran away with this division and this season shouldn’t be too different. Colts will finish in first with the Texans coming in second (I’m still not convinced that the Texans are as bad a team as they have been showing), the Titans will be in third and the Jaguars will once again be bottom-feeders.
The AFC East is similar to the AFC West, it’s pretty clear that the Patriots will handle the division and come out on top again, but what seems to be up in the air is the order of the next three. Something tells me that the Jets will have a good season so I will put them in second with the Dolphins in third and the Bills playing better this year, but still finishing last.
Lastly is the AFC North, maybe one of the best defensive divisions in football (after the NFC West, of course). Much of this division is a toss-up, but here is how it should shake down.
Pittsburgh should have what it takes to win this division narrowly over the Bengals with the Ravens coming in third and the Browns being a much better team, but still coming in last.
These teams will beat each other up, can’t imagine the divisional champion having more than 10 wins.
So there you have it, in a nutshell — sort of.
Get ready for a great NFL season, we are almost there!
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.