|Posted by Radatz on February 16, 2017 at 12:25 AM|
Welcome to the NFL Way Too Early Divisional Predictions for 2017. No draft yet? No coaches in a few spots? No free agency yet? So what? We'll redo all this if it's worth doing around June perhaps. I bet not more than a couple of teams change spots.
AFCE: Not a big challenge, really.
NE: How much of the champs' roster will be intact? Will they draft well? Will the Jets' impending housecleaning bring some affordable vets? Who knows? The more unknowns you have leaguewide, the more reason you have to pick NE. They'll win the division, one way or another.
MIA: Even without Tannehill for a while, the Fins managed to get into the playoffs. That's worth second place sight unseen.
BUF: The bumbling Bills have no real QB and no arguable coach. What's left will decline slowly as the effect on the defense of the Ryans and their predecessor Schwartz wears off. The only reason they're this high is...
NYJ: Will Woody go to London or stay? Does it matter? Who's the QB? How many vets will be cut in a housecleaning? Clady's already gone. More to follow. Stay tuned. It's getting blown up. Necessary? Probably. Good omen for the 2017 season? Probably not.
AFCN: Again, not a big challenge.
PIT: They may be NE's "little brother" as Ben says, but they're nobody's in this division.
BAL: Why pick these sad sacks for #2? Well, probably because of the alternatives. Also because you assume the Ravens organization will fix a few things at least.
CIN: They remain physically strong but held down by a boat anchor coach. What else do you have for an explanation? And they don't seem to be headed upward.
CLE: The more you read, the more it seems Joe Thomas is the GM. He approves of Hue. At 32, he approves of the new gradual rebuild strategy. Probably because nothing else has worked. Or because he figures he'll get dealt for assets.
AFCS: Now THIS is a challenge.
HOU: They're not exactly 'good', but the Texans do have some pieces. One assumes the QB situation will resolve one way or another. And they don't have to be 'good'. Note: if they sign Vince Young, pretend you didn't read this.
TEN: Here's the team that ended the season by beating Denver and KC, then, with a playoff berth on the line, losing to the Jags 38-17. Now their OT took a hooker home and got Mickey Finned to the tune of over $100k. Still, they showed some upside.
IND: They still have the best young QB in the division, maybe in the league. What else? Coming off a horrible 8-8 season that looked more like 4-12, they reupped Pagano. Kinda shakes your faith.
JAX: If they play every game like they played the last game of last year they could take the division. We say this every time they beat somebody. But if losing Gus really did make that difference, who knows? The division's so bad it could happen. But too many ifs at this stage.
AFCW: Less of a challenge than you think.
KC: Really? A team that can't crack the top tier? In the AFCW? Choice by elimination; reasons below.
DEN: Yeah, they got issues, but they also have a strong organization that isn't shy about fixing problems. Their problems are limited. They won a SB with the ghost of Manning at QB. They fell apart at the end last year, but they'll figure it out... enough to finish second. Maybe first with a big Elway move.
OAK: Woulda picked 'em first, but what we saw after Carr went down was jarring. Without Brady, NE went 3-1 (coulda been 4-0 except for a thumb). Oakland went from apparent powerhouse to absolute, complete patsy. That's good for third even with Carr until further notice.
SD: Depending on the effects of location shock on both teams, they could finish over Oakland. Likelier they repeat last season and continue to rot away.
NFCE: Challenging? As usual.
DAL: Despite Prescott's declining play toward the end, he looked good against Green Bay. But they still lost. This year the book's out. He won't surprise anybody. Question is whether the Boys are strong enough all around that it doesn't matter. The odds look fair to good from here.
PHI: Up and down last season, Philly ought to show the results of a rebuild year that worked better than originally imagined. Wentz' offense ought to complement Schwartz' D well enough to drag them to second.
NYG: The Giants have a habit of coming up big every 4 years or so. Last year was the year. Didn't happen.
WAS: The promising Skins disappointed last season. That's not a good sign for a team that's supposed to be going the other way.
NFCN: Challenging? Maybe. Or not.
GB: With a team racked by attrition they got to the conference game and ran totally out of magic tricks. Assuming some health and more depth this time around, first place ought to be easy. Relax.
MIN: One assumes the return of Teddy (or anybody) will have positive results for a team that was headed uphill not long ago.
DET: They've got the pieces to challenge, but they've got Caldwell too.
CHI: No matter how much you love the Bears, it's hard to see them coming up with enough dogs to pull the sled.
NFCS: A little challenging, no? Ehhh... maybe a little. Maybe.
ATL: Unless they have SB depression, they should repeat. Then again, look what happened to Carolina.
NO: As long as Brees is around they'll have a shot, and they scared a lot of people last year. Maybe one last playoff run for the old pro.
TB: Why are these up and comers ranked this low? Because we saw last year that their field general has a loose cannon attached to his shoulder. A repeat of 9-7 looks like the ceiling.
CAR: They had their fun two years ago. Until the SB. Turmoil. A QB who's in a tailspin. And the cornerstone of their defense suddenly concussion-prone. It's over.
NFCW: Again, could be challenging. Could.
SEA: They haven't exactly reached dynastic status. Headed the other way it seems. But still strong enough to take the division probably because...
ARI: Talented, yes. Well coached, or so we think. So what's the matter? You tell me. It ain't a quick fix.
LA/SF: Take your pick. Who's the coach? Who's the QB? Who's the ringmaster? Maybe LA will hire Kelly and SF will hire Fisher. Wouldn't surprise me.
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