The NFL football season is just around the corner and a season full of tailgating, rivalry, and hard knocks awaits. In anticipation of the 2015-2016 season I will make the ordinary predictions and point out some potential upset teams. I will also go out on a limb and include some bold predictions that will, undoubtedly, unfold this year.
My definition of an upset team is a team that does not necessarily move into the playoffs, but defeats more highly esteemed teams during the regular season and that may cause those highly esteemed teams’ records, playoff berth positions, or morale to drop. One of my upset teams is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills actually have a very solid team overall with Lesean McCoy leading the backfield and one of the best returning defenses in the NFL. The Bills also added Rex Ryan’s defensive mind, which should be beneficial. The Bills lack a quarterback, though they may have found a star in Tyrod Taylor. They also are projected to have one of the easiest schedules so they may make a run at a playoff berth. Another upset team on my list is the Saint Louis Rams. Their offense seems a bit shaky, but hopefully they can solidify that with their rookie running back Todd Gurley. On the other hand, the Rams’ defense is more than capable of upsetting teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the Broncos by itself. The Oakland Raiders could easily be an upset team as well. I think their offense, lead by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, will be explosive, which is combined with a defense that is not underrated but stiff.
Allow me to make some predictions for this upcoming year, consisting of division winners, wild cards, and the Super Bowl contenders. I will start with the AFC divisions. I believe the East division will still be dominated by the New England Patriots particularly considering the recent nullification of the suspension on Tom Brady. The North division is tough but I think the Pittsburgh Steelers will take that division on account of “Big” Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown’s chemistry. The South will be dominated by the Indianapolis Colts without a doubt. Although Peyton Manning is only a year shy of 40, I think he still has the power to bring the Denver Broncos back to the playoffs and win the West division. Now we come to the NFC, and will start with the most confusing division, the East. It is tough to say, but I believe the Giants will manage to lead that division. For the North Division, Green Bay Packers will crush the division, despite the loss of Jordy Nelson. The Atlanta Falcons are primed to take the South Division, but you cannot sleep on the Saints, who are a darkhorse. Last but not least I believe the Arizona Cardinals will take the West Division; sorry, Seahawk Fans! Wild cards of the AFC will be the Baltimore Ravens and the Raiders, just due to their division and a comparatively easy schedule. The NFC wild cards will be the Dallas Cowboys and the Seahawks. The Super Bowl contenders will be the Giants and Steelers. I know that sounds bold, but that’s what this is for! Both teams are prepared for breakout seasons this year.
My final, and perhaps most ludicrous prediction, is that Derek Carr will lead the Raiders to the playoffs. In addition to my comments about the Raiders prior to this, I believe they will win a wild card spot. They are poised for a breakout season. With a young and explosive running back in Latavius Murray, and the chemistry solidified between Amari Cooper and Derek Carr, they have the pieces necessary to become a great offense. Their defense must play a big role as well. Having second year outside linebacker Khalil Mack head that unit will be necessary to solidify another generation of fierce Raiders defenders. Also with new defensive minded head coach Jack Del Rio creating the schemes the Raiders will surprise any opponent who doesn’t take them seriously.