2015 NFL Season Preview

While most don’t look forward to the end of summer, I differ from that point of view. “Why?” you may ask. One simple reason, football is back, baby! That wonderfully entertaining game, the sound clashing of polycarbonate helmets against each other in a symphonic orchestra, the mountaintop highs of winning and the valley depths of despair for losing… This game has it all.

Read below for my predictions of the upcoming 2015 NFL season.

 

AFC East

Buffalo
Last season (9-7)
This year’s prediction (4-12)
With a batch of new signings including new head coach and former Jets head man Rex Ryan, plus two of the hardest hitting (their own) teammates Percy Harvin and Ikemefuna Enemkpali, I call them the NY Jets 2.0. Update: just before publishing, Enemkpali was released. I still expect the same Jets mentality.

Miami
Last season (8-8)
This year’s prediction (14-2)
With the new defensive signings of Ndamukong Suh and offensive wide out Greg Jennings, I expect the Dolphins to have a better run this season than their previous mediocre ones. I also expect them to win their division.

Miami Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a six year deal. (Photo credit: cbssports.com)

Miami Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a six year deal. (Photo credit: cbssports.com)

New England
Last season (12-4)
This year’s prediction (12-4)
With Brady eligible to play beginning week one, expect the Patriots to play with a proverbial chip on their shoulder and come out strong.

New York
Last season (4-12)
This year’s prediction (2-14)
On the good side, they got rid of Rex Ryan. However, they also don’t have their original starter, Geno Smith, who had his jaw broken by a fellow teammate. J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets!

 

AFC West

Denver
Last season (12-4)
This year’s prediction (12-4)
Though losing offensive weapons like Wes Welker and Julius Thomas they did pick up one of the better tight ends in Owen Daniels. I expect them to sail through the regular season but flutter in the playoffs.

New Broncos TE Owen Daniels. (Photo credit: blogs.denverpost.com)

New Broncos TE Owen Daniels. (Photo credit: blogs.denverpost.com)

Kansas City
Last season (9-7)
This year’s prediction (11-5)
It’ll be the first season since 2007 that the Chiefs won’t see Dwayne Bowe lace up for them, but I don’t expect that to hold them back. In fact, I expect them to do even better and make it into the playoffs.

Oakland
Last season (3-13)
This year’s prediction (3-13)
The Raiders were once a franchise feared by opposing visiting teams, but since they lost the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay they’ve been sub-optimal at best. Their past three seasons left them with a record of 11-37. Expect this trend to continue.

San Diego
Last season (9-7)
This year’s prediction (6-10)
The Chargers lost wide out Eddie Royals but are hoping to replace him with Stevie Johnson. Last season, Royals had seven touchdowns while Johnson had six, if you include his previous two seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if this season continued the regression that we saw last year.

 

AFC North

Cincinnati
Last season (10-5-1)
This year’s prediction (10-6)
The Bengals are one of those teams that are consistently above mediocrity but not quite at an elite level.  Expect the same this season.

Cleveland
Last season (7-9)
This year’s prediction (4-12)
The Browns have added a couple decent offensive weapons, but I don’t expect them to mesh this season; most likely next. I expect them to return to their normal, sub-optimal, performance.

Pittsburgh
Last season (11-5)
This year’s prediction (11-5)
The Steelers will probably retain the AFC North, but have lost several important defensive players like Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor. It will be interesting to see who steps up to fill in those gaps.

Who will step up to fill Polamalu's departure? (Photo credit: thesource.com)

Who will step up to fill Polamalu’s departure? (Photo credit: thesource.com)

Baltimore
Last season (10-6)
This year’s prediction (9-7)
I predict this as the season that finally catches up with the Ravens. Yes, Joe Flacco is still in Baltimore, he’s healthy and coming off one of his best seasons, but with off-season personnel losses for the past few seasons they haven’t supplemented their squad with replacements. They won’t make the playoffs.

 

AFC South

Houston
Last season (9-7)
This year’s prediction (8-8)
Having watched HBO’s Hard Knocks this season, it makes me feel that I intimately know the Texans roster. From what I’ve gleaned, their defense will be a monster to deal with, featuring JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney off the sides with Vince Wilfork anchoring the center. On the other hand, the offense lost Arian Foster due to injury and Andre Johnson to the Colts. They’ve lost more than they’ve gained.

Tennessee
Last season (2-14)
This year’s prediction (4-12)
With the Titans drafting their hopeful savior in Marcus Mariota, I only expect them to gain a couple more wins. He has a large upside, but will he show his true potential this season? That remains to be seen.

Indianapolis
Last season (11-5)
This year’s prediction (11-5)
I expect the Colts to stay easily on top of their division. They lost former University of Miami great and longtime Colt Reggie Wayne, but replaced him with a younger, better former Cane in Andre Johnson.

Andre Johnson looking to have a great first season in Indy. (Photo credit: indystar.com)

Andre Johnson looking to have a great first season in Indy. (Photo credit: indystar.com)

Jacksonville
Last season (3-13)
This year’s prediction (1-15)
I don’t expect things to get better for the Jags. Their record has been 3-39 the past three seasons! There’s always next season, Jacksonville.

 

NFC East

Dallas
Last season (12-4)
This year’s prediction (10-6)
The Cowboys lost running back DeMarco Murray but they replaced him with Darren McFadden. In my opinion, head coach Jason Garrett is still in the hot seat even after last season’s turnaround. Dallas may need to make it deep in the playoffs for him to remain and feel safe.

New Cowboy addition Darren McFadden in preseason camp. (Photo credit: sportsworldreport.com)

New Cowboy addition Darren McFadden in preseason camp. (Photo credit: sportsworldreport.com)

New York
Last season (6-10)
This year’s prediction (8-8)
I expect the Giants to be better than last season. With the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. last season and a healthier Victor Cruz look for their offense to be more explosive.

Philadelphia
Last season (10-6)
This year’s prediction (9-7)
With varying rumors of racism by head coach Chip Kelly and losing one of the best skilled running backs in the game in LeSean McCoy I don’t expect the Eagles to be as good as last season.

Washington
Last season (4-12)
This year’s prediction (9-7)
With Robert Griffin hoping to stay healthy this season, I expect the Redskins to be better. The Skins realize that Griffin won’t be able to make plays if he doesn’t have time, which is why they drafted an offensive linemen overall.

 

NFC West

St. Louis
Last season (6-10)
This year’s prediction (2-14)
The Rams are one of those franchises that seemed to have died once they lost the Super Bowl, like the Raiders. St. Louis got rid of Sam Bradford but picked up Nick Foles. Not much difference, in my opinion.

Arizona
Last season (11-5)
This year’s prediction (9-7)
Last season was great for Arizona until Carson Palmer got injured and they slipped a few games, including a playoff loss. At this point Palmer will be 36 by the end of the season. How healthy can he remain throughout the season?

San Francisco
Last season (8-8)
This year’s prediction (8-8)
The 49ers lost a few key players but replaced them with similar players. I believe this season will be another average one for San Fran.

Seattle
Last season (12-4)
This year’s prediction (13-3)
I believe that Seattle isn’t going to take any prisoners this season. After giving away the Super Bowl last season, I expect them to try and make up for it. Plus, they gave Russell Wilson another weapon in Jimmy Graham.

Jimmy Graham is expected to have a great season in Seattle. (Photo credit: gazettenet.com)

Jimmy Graham is expected to have a great season in Seattle. (Photo credit: gazettenet.com)

 

NFC North

Chicago
Last season (5-11)
This year’s prediction (6-10)
It seems that as long as Jay Cutler plays for the Bears they’ll be sub-mediocre. They lost Brandon Marshall though he didn’t help much say for creating a few headlines for what he says to the media. Less locker room issues might net them another win.

Green Bay
Last season (12-4)
This year’s prediction (11-5)
I expect the Packers to pick up where they did last season. I don’t expect them to be as good as last season because they didn’t have any big name additions. This makes me feel as if they stayed stagnant while NFC teams like Seattle upgraded offensively.

Aaron Rodgers showing off his discount double check. (photo credit: blacksportsonline.com)

Aaron Rodgers showing off his discount double check. (photo credit: blacksportsonline.com)

Detroit
Last season (11-5)
This year’s prediction (10-6)
I expect the Lions to have a good season, maybe losing one more game this season even though they lost a few of their brand name players like Reggie Bush and Ndamukong Suh.

Minnesota
Last season (7-9)
This year’s prediction (4-12)
This offseason, the Vikings upgraded their offense big time, but I don’t expect everything to mesh. I expect the Vikings to have a hard time making all of their offensive parts gel cohesively.

 

NFC South

Atlanta
Last season (6-10)
This year’s prediction (9-7)
I expect the Falcons to have a better season than their last, but not good enough to make the playoffs. I believe everything will be dependent upon their running game. They’ve lost Steven Jackson, but are now hoping their young players Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith to step up.

New Orleans
Last season (7-9)
This year’s prediction (13-3)
I expect the Saints to march through the regular season with an overhauled roster. They were disappointed after the season they just had and remodeled their roster. Expect a great season.

Drew Brees is still the heart of the Saints. (Photo credit: nola.com)

Drew Brees is still the heart of the Saints. (Photo credit: nola.com)

Tampa Bay
Last season (2-14)
This year’s prediction (3-13)
With the in-house fighting that has occurred in Tampa lately, I expect them to come out of it for the better. This should be a slow season for the Bucs, but it all depends on their number one overall pick in Jameis Winston. He’s the third straight QB to come out of Florida State in the first round. Will he have a better career than the previous two?

Carolina
Last season (7-8-1)
This year’s prediction (7-9)
I expect the Panthers to have another sub .500 season. With no major upgrades, expect them to have a few games won for them on the shoulders of Cam Newton.

 

Playoffs

AFC
In the AFC, I expect to see Pittsburgh, Denver, Miami and Indianapolis all win their divisions, with New England and Kansas City getting in as the wild cards. In the playoffs, I expect to see New England to knock out Miami in the AFC championship for the trip to the big dance.

NFC
For the NFC, I expect to see New Orleans, Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay to claim their divisions, with Detroit and Arizona slipping into the playoffs via a wild card berth. The playoffs are all for Seattle to lose. They have the most experience here by far.

 

Super Bowl
For the big game, I expect Seattle to exact vengeance upon New England for last season’s game ending drive. Seattle 27, New England 20.

 

I know this is all prediction and will most likely differ from reality, as I can’t and won’t predict who gets injured or any crazy scandal that may befall a team. What do you think of my predictions? Let me know below.

 

(Slider image credit: watchworthy.com)

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Creator and host of the podcast Beer, Bros & BS, teller of stories, drinker of beers, reader of (comic) books, watcher of sports, devourer of food, mostly entertaining. From Miami. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @thebiglibrarian.

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