The NFC West just a few short years ago was towards the top of this list. As you can see, they now sit clearly at the bottom. Really, you have the Seattle Seahawks and then everybody else. The Arizona Cardinals could sneak up and be a threat led by Coach Arians and a solid draft class, but after that, it drops off big-time. The Rams and 49ers will battle all year to stay out of the basement of the NFC West. The Niners seem to be on the right track with new G.M. John Lynch but the Rams are still trying to recover from too many years of Jeff Fisher running the show.
I expect this division to at least jump in the top four by season’s end. You have the Texans, who are as talented as any team in the NFL, but they lack a QB. The Jaguars are a team that is always seemingly about to get over the hump but never does. The Colts never seem to have a defense or a sober owner. Which brings us to a team that I think will make a lot of noise this year, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans improved themselves in this off-season and seem poised to take the next step. The Texans and Colts are the keys to this division moving up and I think both teams are capable. This will be a put up or shut up season for this entire division.
The NFC North, as always will be the Packers and then everybody else. After this past draft, I see no reason to say anything about the Bears, as they said it all in the first round of this past draft. The Lions and Vikings will hover around the .500 mark all season and the Packers have Aaron Rodgers. Having Aaron Rodgers will once again be enough for the Packers to win this division. With a little luck, the Lions and Vikings could contend for a playoff spot, but that’s about it.
The Miami Dolphins look to be even better this year, but will it be enough to challenge the Patriots to hold on the AFC East? No, but they should be good enough to win double digit games and make the playoffs again. The Patriots are once again the favorites to win another Lombardi trophy, while the Jets and Bills will struggle.
If Cleveland was just mediocre, this division would be even higher. The Browns seem to be doing some things right now, but are still a couple of years away. The Bengals have Super Bowl talent everywhere except the offensive line and, of course, they are severely lacking at head coach and owner. The Ravens are in the middle of a rebuild, but will be a very dangerous team. The Steelers are the cream of the crop in this division and will once again contend for an AFC Championship
The Raiders are a Super Bowl contender. The Chargers maybe one of the biggest surprise teams of the 2017 NFL season when all is said and done. The Chiefs are a franchise QB away from Super Bowl contention and the Broncos are in the same boat, as they also lack a big-time QB. There are no bad teams in this division and all four should be at least .500, if not above.
Can the Cowboys win thirteen games again? Probably not, but they will be in double digits again and a threat come playoff time. The Giants have loaded up to give Eli another run at the Super Bowl. The Redskins will once again be a talented and dangerous team and the Eagles are a year away from being a playoff contender themselves.
This division should be a slug-fest to the very end. Can the Falcons recover from a Super Bowl hangover? Can Cam Newton raise his level of play with more weapons around him? Has the Saints defense improved enough to give Drew Brees one more Super Bowl run? Are the Bucs ready to take the next step? All questions that have to be answered
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