NFL Preview 2017
Posted by: Paul Nichols
07 Sep 2017
Here’s a quickie menh NFL preview for the 2017 season. Teams are listed in their predicted finish in their division.
New England Patriots – On top until proven otherwise. I barely have to edit this column from year to year thanks to good quarterbacks. Unfortunately, at some point this column does have to rate the teams in the AFC South. Even Tom Brady at 40 can win this thing
Miami Dolphins – Isn’t Cutler an upgrade over Tannehill? I think so. I’ll keep them in second place again this year.
Buffalo Bills – Still haven't made the playoffs since the 2nd millennium. I think Tyrod Taylor is criminally underrated. Such that he could get this team to second in the division. I’m close to talking myself into flipping Miami and Buffalo…close.
New York Jets – Nicely entrenched in last place.
Cincinnati Bengals – I’mma get risky here. I managed to predict them outside of the playoffs last year. Let’s go with a playoff birth this year. Division champs! Can they get past the first round of the playoffs??!! See below.
Pittsburgh Steelers – My continuing logic on Pittsburgh is that it’s an every-other-year kind of team. They got back on track three years ago by winning the division, but they remained good two years ago, and the same for last year. Seems like I need a new continuing logic. Nah, let’s stick with it. That means they’ll be “bad” this year. So let’s put them in second place in the division and just out of the playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens – This is a team I love to root against after they beat the Broncos on the road in the playoffs years ago and somehow won a Super Bowl. So regardless of how good they are, they’re down here in third place.
Cleveland Browns – RGIII!!!!!!!! Woooooo!!! Wait—he doesn’t play for them? Tough to keep track of these things. Who’ve they got? They’ve got last place wrapped up at least.
Tennessee Titans – [Autotext] It's a race for last between these guys and Jacksonville again. Who'll finish third in this division??? Oh, the excitement. [record scratch] Wait, what? Finished 9-7 last year somehow. I think they’re legitimately better than the other teams in this division. You’re looking at the division champions here!
Houston Texans – Let's put the Houston Watts and the proset offense in second in this division. They’ve won 9 games three years in a row, last year without Watt even.
Indianapolis Colts – Let’s put the Indianapolis Lucks in third place. Not sure who’s on this team, but they technically have to be better than the Jaguars, right? Technically everybody is, right?
Jacksonville Jaguars – They last had a winning record in 2007, and last won this division in 1999. I still assume Blaine Gabbert is their quarterback. I looked it up again this year. It's Blake Bortles still, just like last year.
Oakland Raiders – Have looked really good the past two years. Carr has got to stay healthy, and if he does, they should take the division with 11 wins.
Denver Broncos – I still like Siemian as their QB1. The offense can’t be any worse than last year. Sure, the defense can be worse. But overall a better team.
Kansas City Chiefs – At the top of this division last year and they’ve been really good. But at some point it’s difficult to sustain really good seasons without getting over the hump, a la Cincinnati last year. I think they take a step back this year and miss the playoffs.
Los Angeles Chargers – I think they’ll challenge for a playoff spot early on before fading late. Like usual. They’ll be better than predicted, though, but this division is too tough to make the playoffs.
Washington Redskins – Every year this division seems like any one of these teams could win it. If Kirk Cousins is brave enough to bet on himself in terms of his contract, I should be brave enough to bet on them to take first. Let’s do this.
Philadelphia Eagles – I hear a lot of people talking a lot of improvement for this squad. Without knowing any of the specifics, let’s go for it.
Dallas Cowboys – The Dallas Romos cannot make the playoffs without their signature player. What’s that? Oh, new quarterback. They were great last year. This is this year. I think Philly might take this division and Dallas could finish second. But I’ve already gone all in on Cousins.
New York Giants – Tell me again why this team will be the best in this division? I can’t remember and it’s not 2007 or 2011. Wait—they won 11 games last year? Hmmmm…maybe I’ve got this division upside down…
Green Bay Packers – Rodgers all by himself can get it done. They're always one injury away from a total meltdown of a season it seems. And the injury always happens in their receiving corps. Detroit abided with a total meltdown at the end of last season. Let’s keep GB here in first.
Detroit Lions – Second place but no playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings – Third place. This division seems weaker than the AFC South this year.
Chicago Bears – I'm still not sure who's on this team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Is Tampa third in this division the biggest risk I'm taking in my predictions? What if I write the word playoffs here?
Carolina Panthers – Perhaps a little bounce-back year for the Carolina Newtons? I think they’ll be hungry.
Atlanta Falcons – Had a great year last year, but let’s regress them.
New Orleans Saints – We’ve been talking about Drew Brees for a long time. And there is still no defense. Last place.
Los Angeles Rams – I called them the St. Louis Rams last year. Time to switch the name. And make their run to the playoffs DimeBrothers official!
Seattle Seahawks – I'm still upset about their playoff win from 7 seasons ago. Remember? When they won 7 games and hosted a playoff game?!? I think they'll finish second in this division with a drop-off akin to my argument about the KC Chiefs above.
Arizona Cardinals –They won 10 four seasons ago, 11 three years ago, 13 two years ago, and 7 last year. Remember that video of their coach doing something stupid before last season? It means this team is not making the playoffs this year, either.
San Francisco 49ers – How much can they improve? Even if they improve a lot that’s still like 6 wins. Maybe enough to overtake Arizona for third in this division, but I’ve already got ‘em down here in 4th, so here they stay.
AFC 1st Round: New England, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Oakland, Denver, …I’m having trouble choosing the 6th playoff team. Let’s say Miami.
2nd Round: New England, Cincinnati (gets past the first round by virtue of having a bye!), Tennessee, Denver.
3rd Round: Cincinnati, Denver.
NFC 1st Round: Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, Carolina. (almost went with Philly in this last spot—it’s a tough year to predict!)
2nd Round: Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Carolina.
3rd Round: Green Bay, Tampa Bay.
Super Bowl: Denver over Green Bay. This prediction is menh for sure!
Two of the teams I enjoy picking most in the Super Bowl. I'm two-for-seven so far with predicting Super Bowl winners, having predicted Green Bay (Green Bay won), then New Orleans (the Giants of New York), then Green Bay (Baltimore), then Denver (Seattle won), then Denver (New England won), then Denver (Denver won), then Pittsburgh (New England). Good thing I've got a day job.