There were tons of additions and subtractions to NFL teams across the league this offseason. Many of these moves will significantly impact the divisional standings throughout the year. In this series, we’ll take a look at each division, and where each team in it will end the season.
Check out the Division Predictions of the other NFL divisions:
Jacksonville Jaguars – Predicted Record: 2-14
It was really, really hard to decide which of these two teams is going to be worse, the Titan or the Jaguars. So I split the difference. 2-14 feels right for both of these franchises. Anyone who thinks the Jaguars are going to be better this year base their entire argument on some version of “Blake Bortles is going to be better.” I think they’re wrong. Sorry, but I saw not one single sign of a competent NFL QB during his rookie campaign. And while Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee are solid receivers, they are not the type to make their QB better, they’re the opposite – the receivers who need a top-flight QB to shine. And I know they spent a top pick on a RB, but I just don’t know if that makes any sense at all for a team in their position: general consensus is definitely moving towards the idea that running backs are products of and not drivers of overall team success. As such, grabbing top-flight guys at this position is a luxury that should be reserved for teams with very solid rosters everywhere else.
Tennessee Titans – Predicted Record: 2-14
Honestly, I think they Titans are going to be a worse 2-14 than the Jaguars, if that’s possible. Yup, it’s possible. We’re talking less competitive, less hope, more resignation and despair. Marcus Mariota might very well end up being the real deal, the QB who turns this franchise around and leads them – some day in the far-off future – to a bunch of playoff victories. But it’s not happening this year. They don’t have a defense worth mentioning, and Mariota is going to spend his rookie year running for his life behind a leaky offensive line. They have a couple of solid receivers, but, much like the Jaguars, they are the type of receivers who need a QB to shine, not the other way around. And the simple fact that you see so much early-round talent from the last few drafts at the skill positions here makes me feel like I am looking at a real-life fantasy team (and not a good one), not a team that is willing to be patient in building an eventual winner.
Houston Texans – Predicted Record: 9-7
The Texans need a quarterback. They either need someone they have to step up, or they need to find someone. That much is true, and obvious. But unlike the two teams behind them here, whatever QB they do name is going to be stepping into a pretty great situation. For other teams, the lack of a QB is just a symptom of a larger problem – wasted draft picks, strengths and weaknesses that are not at all complementary, etc. But the Texans are solid up front, and could be dominating on defense at times. With a good running game, a scheme that relies on playaction passes freeing up receivers and that defense – not to mention a very workable schedule on paper – this is a team that should at least match last season’s 9-7 performance. If their QB play improves even just the littlest bit, you could easily see them picking up an extra win or two – in the end, I expect them to fall just short of the postseason.
The Top Dog
Indianapolis Colts – Predicted Record: 14-2
This is, without question for me, the easiest division to pick the winner. The Colts are going to win this division mainly through the strength of their not being the Titans, Jaguars or Texans. I mean, seriously? They might have the two worst teams in the NFL each twice a year – not a bad way to get your season off on the right foot quickly. Adding a veteran receiver like Andre Johnson to play opposite T.Y. Hilton is exactly what they needed to do to replace Reggie Wayne (who remains an unsigned free agent at the moment). The Colts are back to having all the weapons Andrew Luck needs to win at least a dozen games and the division, and to push for the 1st or 2nd seed in the playoffs. I just don’t know if those weapons will be enough to get them through the playoffs successfully – which you know is the only measure of success Luck will accept.