It’s Friday, and that means more NFL predictions for the upcoming season. Today I breakdown the AFC and NFC south divisions. Next week I will talk about the AFC and NFC north divisions, and you know you don’t want to miss that. Also, i don’t believe I mentioned this, but I am listing them in the order I believe they will finish in the division. OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way, on to the predictions.
I could go on and on about how the Colts are finally on the decline, and they will be luck to win this division, but lets be honest, as long as they still have Peyton Manning, they will win or contend for this Division. Manning is one of, if not the best quarterback in the NFL, and he proves it year in and year out. I do have to question the defense a little bit, but if they play like last year, I don’t see any reason why they wont win this division for the foreseeable future.
The rest of this division, however, could be a toss up. I’m putting Houston in a potential wild card position., mainly because the offense was ridiculous last year. Now you might be saying, “but they lost the offense coordinator..”, yes that’s true, but so far, they haven’t lost any offensive firepower. The defense was great at times, but with poor offensive execution or lack of clock control, they always seemed gassed by the fourth quarter. If Houston can put all the pieces together, they certainly could be a playoff team.
I put Tennessee third in this division, simply because that’s where they were last year, and have seemingly done nothing to improve upon that. Whether it be through the draft or free agency, they haven’t put enough weapons around Vince Young and Chris Johnson to really make an impact this year. Also, add to the depletion of the once vaunted Tennessee defense, I simply have to say they may finish above .500, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.
I may just copy and paste what I said about Tennessee and paste it here. Jacksonville is in what appears to be a rebuilding phase, so I’m not expecting much from this team. With that being said, they will certainly be tough to beat, as they usually are, within this division. If Jacksonville can get all the pieces in place, eventually they should return to being playoff caliber or better, but I just don’t see that happening this year.
New Orleans Saints
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this division, because let’s face it, other than the saints winning the division, everything else is up in the air at this point. The Super Bowl champs from a year ago are basically the same team, other than being a little more exhausted from all the partying. I totally expect them to win this division and return to the playoffs.
Like I said above, the rest of this division is wide open, so I’m putting Atlanta second. They were out of the playoffs last year, but had a great run the year before. I fully expect them to return to at least contending for a wildcard spot this season, unless of course injuries slow them down.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I have Tampa third, but they could easily be fourth. They are clearly in a rebuilding period, which for there fans, doesn’t take too many seasons to complete. They have very talented and exciting pieces, but not all the right pieces to finish the puzzle this year.
I’m putting Carolina fourth simply for one reason, Jimmy Clausen. My thought process has led me to believe that he will be the starter sometime in the near future, so I ask this question, will it be this year? If I were a die-hard Carolina fan, I would hope the answer is no. Let him play backup for a season or two, add more weapons to the offense, then hand him the keys to the bus, just not this season. With tthis issue up in the air, not to mention the defense losing key players in the offseason, I just see a sub .500 season for the Panthers, but that is for this season. Next year could potentially be a different story.