Here we go, here is our NFC and AFC 2015 NFL season predictions, (best case scenario vs. worst case scenario format) for every team. We are starting with the AFC then our next post will be the NFC. After piling through a ton of NFL off season assessments and after analyzing our comprehensive (782 page) NFL 32-team preseason book, we believe the following is a solid forecast on how things should settle, give or take a game (AFC):
NFL Prediction – AFC EAST (Final seeding: 1. Bills 2. Patriots 3. Dolphins 4. NY Jets)
Best Case Scenario: Don’t look now, but there’s a new QB in town (Tyrod Taylor) and this team has all the tangibles (on both sides of the ball) to be a 9 or 10 win team. One of the toughest defenses to go with some key offensive weapons, toss in a fierce running game – then take all that and sandwich between Rex Ryan’s energy & drive – then this could be a playoff team but…
Worst Case Scenario: the hex could continue with a .500 or worse end of season performance. A quarterback carousel fueled by inconsistency won’t help matters, it never does… the longest playoff drought in football just may continue.
2. New England
Best Case Scenario: Yes, we pulled the trigger here. This is a team that should attain achieve a 9-win season with a Josh McDaniels’ offense and a game plan that changes from week-to-week. Then you have Brady & Belichick – a tried & true duo and cementing a dynasty of a franchise but…
Worst Case Scenario: Replacing key losses on defense will be hard – offensive line leaks will hurt too. Deflategate needs to go far away and fast too. Missing the playoffs altogether is not out of the question for this storied franchise.
Best Case Scenario: Combine two top draft picks, with some high priced acquisitions, piggy back off of big offensive improvements last season.. and QB Ryan Tannehill should have what it takes to make the post season. Although this could be a 7-win team, the personnel is in place to make this an 8 or 9 win WildCard team, but…
Worst Case Scenario: A bust of a season may be in store for a team that could very well see coach Joe Philbin and his entire staff sent packing, only to continue the lack of continuity in Miami.
4. NY Jets
Best Case Scenario: Great pass defense, a Chan Gailey offense that elevates Geno Smith’s third year play by utilizing Brandon Marshall to the max could mean a decent late season drive, short of a WildCard berth. This is an 7-win team at best, but…
Worst Case Scenario: Sorry Jets fans, but it seems like Quarterback(s) (or the lack thereof) only continue to plague this team. Without stability at this position, it’s hard to muster any kind of a postseason run let alone a .500 season.
NFL Prediction – AFC WEST (Final seeding: 1. Chiefs 2. Chargers 3. Broncos 4. Raiders)
1. Kansas City
Best Case Scenario: QB Alex Smith will elevate his game as he is plenty capable of doing, while the addition of Jeremy Maclin will help in the air game huge. Andy Reid should have his team poised for an AFC crown with 10 wins or more, we even forecast a winning streak of 6+ games somewhere in the season and a possible Super Bowl appearence, but..
Worst Case Scenario: Injuries might come to plague this team once more, while the play of QB Alex Smith does not elevate as hoped for.. and the defense cannot make up for offseason losses. A losing year will put Andy Reid in the hot seat.
2. San Diego
Best Case Scenario: Rivers has been paid and should lead another strong offensive push behind the ground game of top pick RB Melvin Gordon. This is a 9-win team on paper. In fact, this team could be a late season surprise. We predict a solid post season run for this team and even two wins over Denver in the season series, but..
Worst Case Scenario: The defense lacks the fortitude to solidify a “deep” post season run and the backfield is unproven with rookie back Gordon in the flock. The Chargers fail to make the playoffs again in their farewell year in San Diego.
Best Case Scenario: This team is poised to be a Super Bowl contender heading into this 2015 NFL Season, but something is amiss in Denver. Manning will thrive on offseason tailored schemes to put pressure more off himself and onto others, including a C.J. Anderson-led backfield. Whichever their formula for success, we predict an 8-win season for this team but…
Worst Case Scenario: Manning’s 39 year old body is showing signs of fatigue, and the team has quite a few new faces to adjust to on the coaching side, San Diego could very well be the nemesis for a .500 Denver team this season.
Best Case Scenario: QB Derek Carr is poised to make waves in Oakland behind an improved O-line, and the defense should improve under the coaching of Jack Del Rio who hopes to turn in at least a .500 season in his first year in Oakland but..
Worst Case Scenario: There are too many contenders in the AFC/West, ahead of the Raiders, preventing them from escaping the basement of the division.
NFL Prediction – AFC NORTH (Final seeding: 1. Bengals 2. Ravens 3. Browns 4. Steelers)
Best Case Scenario: Don’t look now, but we do believe the Bengals are set to contend, for real this time. Yes, this would rely on QB Andy Dalton escaping his limitations, eliminating errors and elevating his play this season. This team is formidable on both sides of the ball and a 10-win campaign is not out of the question but…
Worst Case Scenario: This is a brutally bruising division and the Bengals need to avoid injuries to make a deep post season run, let alone a .500 finish.
Best Case Scenario: New additions to the offense along with QB Joe Flacco’s play could solidify a strong winning team to contend for the division crown. A 9-win campaign is certainly possible for these AFC contenders but…
Worst Case Scenario: Losing key defensive personnel could hurt this team, judging from the patchwork repairs we have seen in preseason play. There seems to be a pressing of personnel into big-shoe roles and this could prove costly. The Ravens could vie for a WildCard berth or fail to qualify for post season altogether.
Best Case Scenario: Make no mistake, if this team can avoid the injury bug and QB Johnny Manziel can play to his strengths in a tailored-to-him offense, the Browns could very well make a legit push for postseason contention or at least be a significant Sleeper team, but..
Worst Case Scenario: Injuries could ruin this team and a more maturated Manziel could be a total failure of a franchise QB in Cleveland, next up.
Best Case Scenario: A lot of things need to happen if the Steelers intend to capture the division crown. Some promising changes in the secondary along with veteran RB DeAngelo Williams coming to fill-in for suspended Le’Veon Bell should help behind QB Ben Roethlisberger’s attack in an 8 or a lesser 7-win campaign.
Worst Case Scenario: Injury has already claimed C Maurkice Pouncey and if it further claims other personnel – this could be a frustrating & dismal below .500 year for Steelers fans.
NFL Prediction – AFC SOUTH (Final seeding: 1. Colts 2. Texans 3. Jaguars 4. Titans)
Best Case Scenario: QB Andrew Luck needs no introduction and off season changes could propel this team to a Super Bowl appearance. This could very well be an 11-win campaign for the Colts but…
Worst Case Scenario: The defense fails to produce ‘key stops’ and slow opposing offenses while aging veterans show signs of slowness & late season fatigue, this could be a under-performing team in a “one and done” postseason scenario for the Colts.
Best Case Scenario: The Texans are coming off a winning season that utilized a quarterback carousel of sorts. The post season promise land will come for the Texans if they could rely on one solid QB starter (Brian Hoyer) to tie in with a fierce rushing attack, complimenting an above-average defense. That, with little or no impact of injuries could make this a 9-win team and a postseason contender.
Worst Case Scenario: The quarterback carousel continues to spin, although Brian Hoyer is supposed to start over Ryan Mallet. RB Arian Foster is aging and the offensive stat sheet could suffer as a result. The Texans could very well make .500 but miss the playoffs yet again.
Best Case Scenario: QB Blake Bortles in a second year role could pay dividends, if both the O and D lines can improve from last year, this could very well be a .500 team with 8 wins – which would be a significant improvement from yesteryears.
Worst Case Scenario: An atrocious defense could ruin this team’s chances of .500 success and if Bortles fails to impress, the Jags will be competing with Tennessee for the division’s cellar dweller position.
Best Case Scenario: Could QB Marcus Mariota be the one to take the Titans to the postseason? If the offensive line has improved as we have assessed so, then why not? If the defense could play formidably under Dick LeBeau’s scheming, then the Titans could potentially be knocking on the door of a mathematical playoff berth with 8-wins but…
Worst Case Scenario: Mariota might be plagued by typical rookie failure and the O-line might not hold up in strength for the entire season. We project this team to be at the bottom of the AFC South with a below .500 season.
See you at SafePicks.com!