With Week one of the 2015 NFL season in the books I couldn’t think of a better time to make my picks. Sure, everyone else makes them before the season starts, or halfway through the season, but where is the fun in blindly picking teams you have not seen play yet?
So here goes nothing, my division winners and Super Bowl 50 picks. I can only hope having seen every team play, even if it was for only one game, will make me better at this whole predicting thing.
AFC EAST: New England Patriots (12-4)
The Pats are still the Pats, and Brady appears to be on a mission to prove something after not having to serve that four game suspension. Through one game, it is clear Brady’s weapon of choice is Gronk, which can make this a long year for New England’s opponents.
AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
This division is a toss-up, and was decided by using a process of elimination. Baltimore looked good, and so do the Steelers, who will dominate people offensively once LeVeon Bell gets back on the field. It will come down to the Steelers defense, who I think will do just enough to get into the playoffs.
AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
The Colts had a rough game against the Bills, especially the Buffalo’s defense, but I do not think many defenses will be able to slow down the Colts offense in the future. In one of the weakest divisions in football, its definitely the Colts to lose.
AFC WEST: Denver Broncos (11-5)
Time and time again Peyton Manning makes it nearly impossible to bet against him. I don’t care how old he is; he will always be the best prepared and is an all-time great. Denver’s defense will be good enough to get the Broncos out of a surprisingly good division and into the playoffs.
Tw0 AFC Wildcard Teams: Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins
AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots over Indianapolis
NFC EAST: Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
Even though I am an Eagles fan, I had this pick well before Week one took place. The Giants and Redskins are still not in contention, and I thought the Cowboys would struggle before losing Dez Bryant for what sounds like 8-12 weeks. Dallas relied on that running game to move the chains, and now that will fall on Tony Romo (for better or for worse). The Eagles defense is better than last year even if it’s just personnel wise, and their offense should be better because of their improved depth.
NFC NORTH: Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Even without Jordy Nelson the Packers looked like a Super Bowl contender. They still have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, a top 5 running back and an above average group of wide receivers. Health will be the only thing keeping Green Bay from being championship contenders come January.
NFC SOUTH: Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
This is my one pick that changed after watching Week one’s games. I’m aware it’s only one game, but the Falcons looked like a very different team from last year, and that change is for the better. That defense is sneaky good, minus an elite pass rush. That offense, lead by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, will be just fine, especially if the tag team of Tevin Coleman and Davonta Freeman in the backfield can do their party.
NFC WEST: Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
The Seahawks are good, don’t get me wrong, but that division is going to be very good for yet another year. Every team in this division appears to be a tough out, including those 49ers who looked above average last night against a good Vikings team. Seattle escapes, but this division prevents them from getting home field throughout the playoffs.
Two NFC Wildcard Teams: Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings
NFC Championship Game: Green Bay over Seattle
SUPER BOWL 50: Green Bay over New England