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NFL Preview 2015

By: Frank Jordan
Date: Sep 10, 2015
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Last year had a flurry of a finish in the Super Bowl coming down to the final minute. The 2015 season couldn’t come soon enough as there were so many issues in the offseason headlined by Tom Brady and deflate gate. In the end he got a four game suspension and it was overturned in court. So nothing came of it and now we have on the field games that count and we can focus on the games themselves to enjoy.

NFC East was won by Dallas in 2014 with a 12-4 record and the surprising thing was they were 8-0 on the road and just 4-4 at home. Philadelphia went 10-6, but failed to get into the playoffs missing out by one game. The Giants had a rough start, but came on strong to finish a decent 6-10 and are poised for a big year if they can stay healthy. Washington was 4-12 and bat on the road 1-7 and in the NFC 2-10. This division has two beasts in Dallas and Philadelphia with the Giants if they can stay healthy can play with the big boys and then there is Washington who made the best move in putting Cousins in as the starter, but they simply don’t have enough to get out of the cellar.

NFC North had two playoff teams last year and could easily come away with three this year as Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay are all solid teams with great offenses. Chicago is a mess as they have weapons, but the defense has fallen off and Cutler is unpredictable at best and it looks like another last place finish for them after going 5-11 overall, 2-6 at home and 1-5 in the division. Green Bay and Detroit battled all year each going 5-1 in divisional play and 9-3 in conference play and each made the playoffs before falling short. Minnesota went 7-9 with a rookie quarterback and losing Peterson early on. Minnesota went 2-6 on the road and 1-5 in the division and that needs to approve to have any chance of competing. Minnesota has Peterson back, Bridgewater a year more seasoned and added Mike Wallace as another offensive weapon to go along with a stud defense that was top five in points allowed in the NFC.

NFC South was dreadful last season with all four teams finishing under .500. Carolina held off New Orleans and Atlanta to take the division with a 7-8-1 record while New Orleans had a 7-9 record and Atlanta rounded out the three at 6-10. Tampa Bay went 2-14 finishing 0-8 at home, 0-6 in the division and 1-11 in NFC play. Tampa Bay has so many offensive weapons with Evans, Jackson, and Martin that all they need is a quarterback and they have one in Winston. Tampa Bay will be a much improved team and Atlanta will be healthy with two great receivers for Ryan to throw to, but this is still Carolina and New Orleans division. New Orleans no longer has Jimmy Graham, but they still have Drew Brees and an excellent receiver core. Carolina lost their top receiver in Benjamin which delivers a blow to them, but Cam will find a way like last year to will this team to a shot at the playoffs.

NFC West was a two team race down to the end with Seattle edging out Arizona who had multiple injuries at quarterback but both teams still made the playoffs. San Francisco fell apart going 8-8 leading to a ton of players retiring and leaving and the firing of Jim Harbaugh. San Francisco isn’t going to improve at all this year and will be a rough year for the team whose stadium is hosting Super Bowl 50. St. Louis made some moves trading away Bradford for Foles and have a good running game as they went 6-10 last year and looking to make some noise this season. Seattle were so close to winning it all again last year but opted to pass and not run on the goal line leading to an interception. They added Jimmy Graham to add a weapon on goal line plays and just be a force for Wilson in the passing game.

AFC East looks to be the deepest in the league top to bottom as everyone has improved and the defending Super Bowl champs are leading the way in the division with New England Patriots. New England avoided some early season issues as Tom Brady got his suspension overturned and is ready for a title defense. The Bills picked up McCoy from Philadelphia to give them a treat on the ground and in the air making them solid force for their new coach Rex Ryan. Miami lost Wallace to Minnesota, but picked up Parker in the draft and are poised to improve on their 8-8 2014. The Jets had issues at quarterback last and in the preseason, but with Smith knocked out for the first half of the year it is on Fitzpatrick to lead the way who is a solid game manager with some flairs in his arsenal in Marshall and Decker along with a decent running game. The Jets also welcomed home an old friend in Revis to really give a big boost to the defense.

AFC North was the best division in the league last year with three teams finishing with 10+ victories and three making the playoffs. Oh and the fourth team went 7-9 in Cleveland who did well early but dropped their last five games to drop them out of any race. Cleveland will regress to a five win team this year as they just can’t figure it all out. Cincinnati has the talent, but in a similar boat going 10-5-1 last year they will drop under 10 wins and this division will be between Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Pittsburgh won the division on the strength of their killer B’s in Big Ben, Bell and Brown who were all near the top at their positions last year. Bell has a two game suspension and they will have to overcome those but once back he will be a stud. Baltimore keeps plugging along and will most likely be a wildcard team again winning the battles in the trenches.

AFC South is one of the weaker divisions in the league with two teams with fewer than four wins and Houston went 9-7, but aren’t really that good. Indianapolis went 6-0 in the division and 5-5 against everyone else. They proved they are an elite team with a run to the championship game losing to New England. Jacksonville and Tennessee improved in the draft and that is a step in the right directions but they will still be 4-6 win teams and Houston lost Andre Johnson and Foster’s injury causing him to be a huge question mark going into the season.

AFC West has three solid teams in it that could end up with two or three teams in the playoffs with Denver, Kansas City and San Diego each looking for a shot at post season play. Oakland is the other team in the division who was 3-13 last year and added a big weapon in Amari Cooper, but it won’t be enough to get more than six wins and last place in the division. Denver is a solid team with a great offense even with the tight Thomas leaving for Jacksonville. San Diego has lost Gates for the first four games which will be a blow, but that will just make them that more dangerous in the last 12. Kansas City is a hard nose blue collar team who isn’t flashy, but picked up some receivers to give Smith and company a chance to do some damage.

This is poised to be a great season with a high majority of teams going after playoff spots, but in the end there can only be one champion in each league and only one Super Bowl 50 winner. Those teams are Green Bay Packers over Seattle this time in Green Bay out of the NFC and Indianapolis Colts over Pittsburgh in the AFC. That sets up Green Bay vs. Indianapolis as this is a quarterback league with the Packers winning a shootout out West 38-31 with Rodgers winning the MVP with four TD passes. Enjoy the Action!

  Frank Jordan
Football Friday
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