By: Brandon Blake
For the last few weeks, I have previewed the NFL divisions and given my predictions on who will win each division and what record each team will have. With the start of the 2016 NFL season a few days away, I am going to do a quick preview of the three divisions that I have not yet covered: The AFC South, AFC West, and the NFC South.
I will provide the projected records of the teams and a brief rundown of the division as a whole. This week, I will provide my playoff and Super Bowl predictions to go along with my prediction for the opening night game between Carolina and Denver and I will post my first House of Babble where I predict all of the games for the week.
Here are my projections for the divisions
*-Denotes who will win the division
#- Denotes who will win the Wild Card
- This division is a mess but the talent level is slowly improving but the turnaround will not be quick. I like the Colts over the Texans to win the division because the Colts do get Andrew Luck back and that makes them slightly better than the Texans, who do upgrade at quarterback with Brock Osweiler, but have injury issues on both sides of the ball. The Jags were bad in the last two years but they have upgraded the talent on defense via free agency and the draft but that talent is not ready yet to challenge for a playoff spot. The Titans are breaking in a new coach and a new power running offense this season but like the Jags are quite a long way from competing in the division.
New Orleans 7-9
Tampa Bay 5-11
- The Panthers have won this division for three straight years and all signs point to them winning it for a fourth straight year. Despite the loss of a few players via free agency (most notably CB Josh Norman) the defense is mostly intact and the offense will welcome the return of wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin who was out for all of the last year due to an ACL injury. The Panthers are still quarterbacked by Cam Newton as he is the ultimate weapon for this team. The Falcons and the Saints will be in a fight for second place all season and I give the edge to the Falcons because I like their defense a little bit better than the Saints. The Bucs are a classic “one-year away” team to me in the fact that their pieces are intriguing and talented but young.
*Kansas City 11-5
San Diego 5-11
- I prefer the quarterback situation in Kansas City as opposed to Denver and that gives them the edge in the division over the defending Super Bowl champs. The Broncos still have a very good defense but them starting former seventh rounder Trevor Siemian gives me concern for their offense. The Raiders are moving toward respectability after a decade plus of being in the cellar but they are not playoff ready just yet. The Chargers were hit hard with the injury bug in 2015 and while they still have Rivers and hopefully a healthy offensive line, the defense is still behind the offense and I don’t think the addition of third overall pick Joey Bosa will change things for the Bolts.