NFL 2017 Predictions

With the start of NFL training camp, it is time to make our predictions for the upcoming season. Who do we think will win each division, make the playoffs and then win it all? As with all our predictions, here at USKSports we do not predict record.

Team Bolded = Division winner
Team Italicised = Wildcard
Team Underlined = Top 5 Draft pick in 2018.

AFC East
New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills
New York Jets

Fairly simple to predict the AFC East. Patriots are undisputed kings while they have Brady and/or Belicheck. The defending Super Bowl Champions, keep their Division crown. Dolphins have a good year with Ajayi and Tannehill. Bills rebuild under McDermott begins and gets good results from his defense. Jets struggle under Bowles with No QB, aging star players and a team that is seemingly going nowhere.

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns

Steelers have the best team in the AFC North. They will win the division if they keep Roethlisberger/Brown/Bell playing for 16 games. Flacco is too inconsistent for the Ravens at QB for them to keep up with The Steelers, his performance will dictate their success. Bengals have purged talent after losing complimentary pieces to AJ Green, it will be another year in transition and maybe a fresh start at Head Coach could benefit them. The Browns improve with their young team a year older and 4 blue chip prospects (Garrett, Peppers, Njoku and Kizer) anchoring both sides of the ball. They are still 2 years away from being a position to challenge, this year is about growth for the much maligned franchise.

AFC South
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars

Texans have the best defence in the division. Clowney and Watt together will frighten teams if they both stay up for 16 games. Watson could provide a spark, enough to win the division. Andrew Luck will be key for the Colts. If he can play 13 games then they will have enough to get in the play-offs, competing with Miami for the final wildcard. They seem to understand they need to keep Luck protected. Titans get close but Luck pulls the Colts away from them. A ground and pound team that need another year to take them to the next level. 2018 will be a big year for The Titans. Jaguars disappointed us all last year. They were meant to hit the next level but they fell on their faces. I’m not falling for the Jaguars this year. In an opposite way to the Patriots, they need to show they are not a basement team in the AFC South.

AFC West
Oakland Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers

With Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and great roster. They are a number 1/2 Seed, competing with New England. They should win the division comfortably if Carr plays 16 games. The Chiefs get into the play-offs as the 5th seed. Another underrated but good team that are dismissed due to their style of play. Alex Smith has the player around him. The Broncos finish 3rd and miss the play-offs. They still have a great defence and will be in the discussion for a wildcard place late in the year. The inexperience at QB could hurt them as I don’t believe Siemian or Lynch could pave over any offensive cracks, with a new head coach. Chargers have the foundation of a good team but always seem to be hampered by injuries. Rivers is a great and criminally underrated QB but the upheaval of the off-season and playing in a 30,000 seater stadium in a city that didn’t really have any affinity to the Chargers will make it seem like they have 16 away games.

AFC Play-offs
New England Patriots
Oakland Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers
Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts

NFC East
New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

Always a tough division to predict. The NFC East is always a wild, vicious dogfight with 4 historic franchises. Giants to win the division, strong offense, a good defence and the only thing that could doom them in erratic QB play, which is possible. The Cowboys will be good again but teams have had 6 months to watch film on Dak Prescott, he will be the key. Elliot will be an MVP candidate behind their O-Line, which would be enough to carry them into the play-offs. I debated between the Eagles and Redskins, they are similar teams, they will be close but The Eagles edge it, neither are play-off teams. Wentz taking a step forward is the difference. Cousins is unsettled and a long term deal would swap them.

NFC North
Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears

Packers will win the division. Aaron Rodgers = Division titles. It is that simple. They have a team that is capable of making a deep run if they stay healthy. If we get the Stafford from last year then it could be a close race between The Lions and The Packers. The Vikings have uncertainty at QB for at least 2 years. Bridgewater won’t be rushed back until 2018, and there is no guarantee he returns to the level he was heading too, so they will go with Sam Bradford again. The Bears are not a good team. Glennon/Trubisky will add some intrigue but there is too much for them to overcome. Bears remain the basement and pick up another top 5 prospect in the 2018 Draft.

NFC South
Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints

Panthers have started to help Cam Newton. McCaffrey is a perfect fit for The Panthers offense and will have a great impact as a rookie. He could be a contender for Offensive Rookie of The Year. The Falcons have a tough task to overcome their Super Bowl hangover, having given up a 25 point lead (insert 28-3 here) in the biggest game on the planet. How the respond will be the biggest storyline, it may affect them during the season but not enough to keep them out of the play-offs with Julio Jones and 2016 MVP, Matt Ryan and a defence that has a point to prove. The Bucs, take another step forward, They will be on the cusp of the Wildcard but the quality of The Cowboys and The Falcons will keep them out but a good season for a team ready to contend. The Saints are in a tough division. This is not a knock on them. They are a good team but the three teams in their division are better. Drew Brees will keep them relevant but they will finish last in a tough division.

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers

The NFC West is a mess. The Seahawks win at a canter. They are the superior team to every team in the West. The Cardinals are aging, all or nothing team that don’t have enough substance to compete with The Seahawks. The second best team in the division but a long way off Seattle. The Rams, they always have a knack of knocking off the Seahawks, a dominate defense that needs a competent offense to contend, we’ve seen the formula work in Denver. The Youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay, has work to do with Jared Goff. That is where the hopes of LA lie, which is why they are 3rd. The 49ers are in full rebuild mode, a clever draft day trade for extra picks, not reaching on a QB and a GM and Headcoach with 6 year deals. Patience is now the game in SF. Another year in the basement in order to help re-fill holes in the draft.

NFC Playoffs
Green Bay Packers
Seattle Seahawks
New York Giants
Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons
Dallas Cowboys.

Do you agree with where we’ve put your favourite team? Which team will win it all? Join the discussion below and follow @USKSports on twitter.

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