Baltimore Ravens, Projected Wins: 12. My prediction: Push, 12-4
Baltimore have a rock solid roster and young QB in Lamar Jackson. They should be really good again next year but I doubt they go 14-2 again. That's a really difficult feat to do and there will be more teams that can gameplan well against Jackson. Mind you, they'll still be really good, just not quite as dominant.
Kansas City Chiefs, Projected Wins: 12. My prediction: Over, 13-3
The Chiefs had one of the best defenses from Week 10 of last season onwards, turning one of their biggest weaknesses into one of their biggest strengths. They're retaining 20 of their 22 Superbowl starters, the only ones being lost are Stefen Wiseinski, a shoe in at left guard after Andrew Wylie got hurt, and Kendall Fuller, who was playing FS in the absense of Juan Thornhill tore his ACL in Week 17. Their secondary is solid, Tyrann Matheiu, Thornhill, Chavarius Ward, Breshaud Breeland and their D-Line is great too. And I haven't even talked about their offense. You know. Patrick Mahomes and Co.
New Orleans Saints, Projected Wins: 10.5. My prediction: Over, 13-3
The Saints have too good of a roster to go anything lower than this. With upgrades like Emmanual Sanders coming in. They still have a window. The problem is that Window is going to shut really quickly when it does, since more and more NFC south teams are getting their act together.
San Francisco 49ers, Projected Wins: 10.5. My Prediction: Over, 11-5.
This has less to do with the 49ers than it does the hyper competitive NFC West. There's 4 really good teams in this division that I think all have a shot at making a run in the playoffs. They've lost some key piece like DeForest Buckner and Emmanual Sanders but they have the draft picks to try and remedy their shortages.
Dallas Cowboys, Projected Wins: 9.5. My Prediction: Under, 9-7.
The Cowboys are going to start to notice a few things: 1) They horribly overpaid Zeke. 2) Dak is not worth $30+ million. 3) Their offensive line is getting old and retiring. Still, I like the talent overall on their roster and Mike McCarthy shoukd at least get these guys to a wildcard spot.
Philadelphia Eagles, Projected Wins: 9.5. My Prediction: Over, 10-6.
The Eagles are a really well run team and I don't expect that to change. Hopefully DeSean Jackson can play for more than 1 game and the rest aren't just Nelson Agalor again. Miles Sanders is pretty good and Darius Slay might well replace Malcon Jenkins as the rock of their secondary. Plus, they're in a weak division and won it last year starting a lot of practice squad fodder becaude they were so damn injured. They should be better.
Seattle Seahawks, Projecred Wins: 9.5. My prediction: Under, 8-8.
The Seahawks are not a bad team, but their roster screams middle of the road to me. They don't stand out at anything defensively and they don't play to their offense's strengths (Cough… Russell Wilson… cough). Despite that though, I think they have two underrated backs in Cris Carson and Rashad Penny and a decent WR core in Lockett, Metcalf and Moore. Greg Olsen helps a bit, but he should probably retire at this point
Buffalo Bills, Projected Wins: 9. My Prediction: Over, 11-5.
The Bills are a good football team with a great defense that's only getting better on offense. Josh Allen has that it factor even if he plays horrible routinely (He reminds me a lot of Elway in that regard) plus guys like Devin Singletary, John Brown and Steffon Diggs.
Pittsburg Steelers, Projected Wins: 9. My Prediction: Under, 7-9.
Their defense is legit but it doesn't seem like they know what to do offensively. I have serious doubts about Big Ben's ability to play at a high level at his age considering his injury and they aren't poised to draft anyone else. They have Juju at WR, and they have James Connor who's alright I guess?
Minnesota Vikings, Projected Wins: 9. My Prediction: Push, 9-7.
I don't have a lot to say about the Vikings. Dalvin Cook is good, their defense is good. But losing both Kevin Stefanski and Steffon Diggs will hurt them.
Tampa Bay Bucs: Projected Wins: 9. My Prediction: Push, 9-7.
By far and away the biggest reason to talk about these guys is Brady. This is the best WR core he's had since he had Moss and Welker in the late 2000s, when he won multiple MVP awards. Their defense is underrated too IMO, but they have a little ways to go.
New England Patriots: Projected Wins: 8.5 My Prediction: Over, 9-7.
Lets be honest. Belicheck is going to work some voodoo magic and turn Jarrett Stidham into a quality starter. That said there's uncertainty at a lot of positions that there wasn't before for New England. Quarterback, Tight End, Runningback, Wide Receiver. There's not much going for them offensively, even with an all star defensive roster. That said, Belicheck's record without Brady, extrapolated to a 16 game season, fits closest to this record.
Cleveland Browns, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Under, 8-8.
Look say what you will about the Browns but I believe in Baker Mayfield. Freddie Kitchens was quite possibly the worst coach I've ever seen and Kevin Stefanski is a guy far from that. I don't think they'll blow everyone's socks off but I think Stefanski can bring them stability… which they've been begging for for 20 years.
Indianapolis Colts, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Under, 7-9.
I love Frank Reich as much as the next guy but I think Rivers might just be too far gone at this point. Even though Indy has a better O-Line he's getting a downgrade in terms of offensive weapons. There's TY Hilton and Marlon Mack. And then what? Jack Doyle? The TE who nearly lost his job to Eric Ebron?
Tennesee Titans, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Over, 9-7.
It's one of the rules of the universe that the Titans must go 9-7. Honestly I'm not a huge fan of Tannehill's huge deal. His revival could just be a big fluke.
LA Chargers, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Under, 5-11.
Lets be honest if the Chargers went this record with Philip Rivers, they're not going any better without Melvin Gordon and Tyrod Taylor under center. If you ask me, Anthony Lynn should be on the hot seat. The one good year they had feels really flukey now and this seems more like a team carried by talent.
Chicago Bears, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Under, 6-10.
"Offensive Genuis" Matt Nagy seems to have no idea how to run an offense. Bring in all the tight ends! Bring in Nick Foles who might be up there with Brock Lobster in terms of the worst QB contract. Bring in some practice squad fodder from Kansas City as the talent on defense continues to trickle away. Yeah… going 12-4 was a fluke.
Green Bay Packers, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Over, 10-6. The Packers are due for regression after they somehow stumbled into a 13-3 season and a first round bye last year. This should keep them in the wildcard race, but there's really not a ton here for Green Bay.
Los Angeles Rams, Projected Wins: 8.5. My Prediction: Under, 7-9.
They went boom or bust for a Superbowl and they busted. Big time. Todd Gurley is gone, Brandin Cooks is gone, Clay Mathews and Corey Littlon… they're gonna have to tank for a little bit while they pretend they have fans. Plus I hate the Goff contract.
Houston Texans, Projected Wins: 7.5. My Prediction: Over, 9-7.
We all know what the Texans did this offseason but their offensive roster is still above average on paper. Will it pan out long term? Probably not. That Randall Cobb contract was bad and they signed Eric fucking Murray to a big deal. Jesus christ BoB.
Denver Broncos, Projected Wins: 7.5. My Prediction: Under, 7-9.
The Broncos are being held together by the Vic Fangio defense while they figure out what to do on offense. Here's the thing: I agree with almost none of their moves to improve their offense. There's a reason that Drew Lock slid from a top 10 pick in certain mocks to the middle of the second. Elway has been horrible at drafting QBs, this is no exception if you ask me. Why bring in Melvin Gordon when you already have Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay? Plus I'm not as high on Courtland Sutton as other people. Yeah he's talented, but his tape screams WR2 to me.
Atlanta Falcons, Projected Wins: 7.5. My Prediction: Over, 8-8.
The Falcons will always be a 7 win team minimum as long as they have Julio Jones and Matt Ryan IMO. The question is, can they actually protect Matt Ryan? Can their defense be not hot garbage. I think they show signs of it this year but not enough to make the playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals, Projected Wins: 7.5. My Prediction, Over, 8-8.
I would take the Cardinals over most of the other teams I have predicted to go 8-8. Their offensive roster is loaded. They have two objectives now: Protect Kyler Murray, and build a defense.
Los Vegas Raiders, Projected Wins: 7. My Prediction: Under, 6-10.
The Raiders solidified just about two positions last season. Runningback and offensive line. They still have an average at best QB, a bad defense and bad receivers. Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller are okay… but they're just that.
New York Jets, Projected Wins: 6.5. My Prediction: Under, 4-12.
The only reason the Jets stumbled into a 7-9 record is their defense, which is legit, but Adam Gase is far from an offensive genius and is content with watching Sam Darnold get murdered repeatedly as they have next to no offensive line. This year might be bad, Jets Fans.
Detroit Lions, Projected Wins: 6.5. My Prediction: Under, 3-13.
Matt Patricia's attempts to build the Patriots of the Midwest fail because he only seems to bring in the discarded trash, not players of actual substance. Matt Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and TJ Hockenson deserve better than this.
Miami Dolphins, Projected Wins: 6. My Prediction: Over, 7-9.
I don't think anybody is pretending that the Dolphins are going to light the world on fire next season. It's going to serve as a more transitional one as they improve their roster and find out who their QB of the future is. Is it Tua? Is it Herbert? I don't know but it probably isn't Rosen (Why the hell was this guy considered a first round prospect)
New York Giants, Projected Wins: 5.5. My Prediction: Under, 5-11.
I like the Joe Judge hire. It reminds me a lot of John Habraugh to Baltimore. They have a decent offense but they need to drastically improve their offensive line, otherwise Daniel Jones and Saquon will repeatedly get murdered.
Carolina Panthers, Projected Wins: 5.5. My Prediction: Under, 5-11.
Not a fan of the Matt Rhule hiring. The guy wasn't even that great at Baylor (He had no wins over Top 25 opponents) and he's already made some questionable moves with their O-Line. That said, I like the Bridgewater signing. And CMC is always something.
Cincinnati Bengals, Projected Wins: 5. My Prediction: Over, 6-10.
An offense with Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, AJ Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross is definetly something special. Their defense is alright too. You might notice a trend here, these teams have to improve their O-Lines so their young talented QBs don't die repeatedly.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Projected Wins: 4.5. My Prediction: Under, 4-12.
Sacksonville has fallen. Nick Foles has been dealt with and the team continues to ship out talented players for Ham Sandwiches. They've got to nail these draft picks coming up.
Washington Redskins, Projected Wins: 4.5. My Prediction: Over, 5-11.
I like the Ron Rivera hire. Jack Del Rio and Chase Young should revitalize their defense. The next step is just generally improving their talent which will take time.
This should leave us with these playoff standings:
AFC 1. Chiefs 2. Ravens 3. Bills 4. Titans 5. Patriots 6. Texans 7. Browns
NFC 1. Saints 2. 49ers 3. Eagles 4. Packers 5. Vikings 6. Cowboys 7. Bucs