AFC 2015 NFL Football Season Predictions, Division Winners

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)
AFC East
1. Buffalo
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.

3. Miami
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)
AFC West
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.

3. Denver
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.

4. Oakland
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)

AFC NORTH
1. Cincinnati
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.

2. Baltimore
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.

3. Cleveland
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.

4. Pittsburgh
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)

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis
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.

2. Houston
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.

3. Jacksonville
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.

4. Tennessee
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!

2014 NFL Predictions By Division And NFL Playoff Predictions

Another season of NFL football approaches and SafePicks.com is fired up for what promises to be yet another “highly successful” year of NFL and NCAAF picks & predictions. Serving the global NFL betting community for over a decade, SafePicks.com NFL Handicapping is proud to deliver eleven “very successful” years of picks and predictions as we head into our 12th year!  With about three weeks to go before the 2014 NFL Regular Season kicks off, let’s get right into our 2014 NFL Predictions by division and NFL playoff predictions.

Last year, in Vegas, the top four teams to win the Super Bowl were San Francisco, Denver, New England and Seattle. All four teams‎ made it to their conference championship. It was a great season of NFL playoffs last season as SafePicks.com went an astounding what??  That’s right, SafePicks.com went 9-2 ATS in the NFL Playoffs, our users cashed in big time!  Anyway, this year, those very same teams mentioned above have the lowest odds of winning the Super Bowl.  Albeit so, we are looking at the Packers and Saints to make some legitimate noise in the NFC this year.  We also have “chalked” some potential surprise sleeper teams this year, checkout the site for more details.  Of course though, the Seahawks are the favorites in Vegas, and remain darlings of the wagering public.  But repeating has been a difficult thing to do in this ever-tough NFL.

Let’s see where we’re leaning this coming NFL season, predicting AFC and NFC division winners for 2014 (oh and we get bold in the AFC):

National Football Conference (NFC) –
2014 NFL Predictions: Final Division ‎Finishes and NFC Playoffs

NFC East Prediction
1. Philadelphia:  Great offseason in Philly. If quarterback Nick Foles can stay the course and the defense improves, then this could be a 10-win team.
2. NY Giants:  Several offseason changes, but they have a long way to go yet and quarterback Eli Manning could arguably be on the decline.
3. Washington:  This team is in re-group mode and will be hard pressed to break the .500 mark.
4. Dallas:  Quarterback Tony Romo is recovering from yet another surgery (back) and 100% or not, he cannot do it all on his own. One day Jerry Jones will wake up to such a plague of a reality and relinquish his GM duties, plain and simple. This team will need lots of luck to break. 500 this season.

‎NFC South Prediction
1. New Orleans:  The Saints offense needs no introduction, but look out for their re-vamped & upgraded defense coming off 4th best in the league last season. Potential to champion the NFC.
2. Tampa Bay:  This team might surprise under coach Lovie Smith’s direction. In fact, this is a ‎possible sleeper team here. Be warned.
3. Atlanta:  Talented team, but won’t be enough to get the job done deep into the playoffs. Possible 9-win team though.
4. Carolina:  Defensively talented, but offensively weakened thanks to offseason alterations. This might be a tough year for the Panthers coming off a great season.

NFC North Prediction
1. Green Bay:  We have both Chicago and Green Bay tied for top spot in this division, but the Packers have the edge when it comes to tie-breaking the final finish.
2. Chicago:  This team will be better in 2014 and they should give the Packers a run for their money. This is another sleeper team to be weary of in our books.
3. Detroit:  Coach Jim Caldwell‎ will have his hands full this season, but could very well be the answer the Lions need from a “long-term” perspective.
4. Minnesota:  This team is still a couple of years away from the big dance, but the addition of talented head coach Mike Zimmer will help… almost instantly.

NFC West Prediction
1. Seattle:  Granted, this team changed a little in the offseason, but it is still hard to go against them here, until proven otherwise, they are the defending champions.
2. San Francisco:  A few player losses have taken place along with some pending contract issues, it will be hard for these Niners to stay in division contention.
3. Arizona:  The defense is good. Carson Palmer is capable of leading Arizona.  But can they get past the other two beasts, (Seahawks and Niners)?
4. St. Louis:  Make no mistake, the Rams are making great progress and will pull off a few wins, even maybe an upset or two. ‎ But that’s about all.

NFC Division Winners:  Philadelphia, New Orleans, Green Bay, Seattle

NFC Wild Card Teams:  San Francisco and Tampa Bay

NFC Championship Game:  New Orleans vs. Seattle

 

American Football Conference (AFC) –
2014 NFL Predictions:  Final Division ‎Finishes and AFC Playoffs

AFC East Prediction
1. New England:  The Pats need no introduction and will remain division owners as long as the duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick remain in place.
2. Buffalo:  This could potentially be the year for Buffalo fans, but success will depend upon quarterback EJ Manuel’s progress though.  Potential sleeper team.
3. NY Jets:  Rex Ryan will try to squeeze the most out of this capable group – in what will be a make-or-break year for Rex.  It will be a tough run though.
4. Miami:  The chalk tells us that there is not enough talent nor depth on this roster to consistently ‎compete, let alone making a (“must make”) playoff run.

AFC North Predicition
1. Cincinnati:  New contract for quarterback Andy Dalton, new season, new coordinators, and finally a potential playoff game win, then beyond?  Let’s see.
2. Cleveland:  Whoever gets the call to hold the quarterback reigns, (we prefer Hoyer over Manziel) this should be a better team overall.
3. Baltimore:  With a lot of new faces, the turnover effect from last season should settle in…. this team will potentially digress this season.
4. Pittsburgh‎:  This team has the potential to steal a few wins under Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, but that’s about all.  There’s nothing telling us otherwise.

AFC South Prediction
‎1. Indianapolis:  With a fairly veteran roster and quarterback Andrew Luck, the road to the division title will still go through Indy, this could be a one-horse race – all the way.
2. Tennessee:  The Titans will be a better team this season under coach Ken Wisenhunt, let’s see if quarterback Locker can improve his play though.  Decent offseason.
3. Jacksonville:  Believe it or not, this could very well be a .500 team this season, and quarterback Blake Bortles (remember his name) could fit in quite well for the Jags offense.
4. Houston:  The way things are going for Houston, we would not be surprised if they are closer to the 2-14 team of last year than they are to the 12-4 team of yesteryear.

AFC West Prediction
1. Denver:  We have quarterback Peyton Manning, along with a re-vamped defense, and this team should be well on their way to punching another Super Bowl ticket.
2. ‎San Diego:  Coming off a playoff victory, the faster Chargers should be primed for a good season led by quarterback Philip Rivers.
3. Kansas City:  Coach Andy Reid’s second season, limited offseason changes, and a far more difficult schedule. They are good enough to make a playoff push, but it will harder this year.
4. Oakland‎:  An overhaul took place in Oakland this offseason with acquiring a more veteran team led by ousted quarterback Matt Schaub. It will be a rebuild season in Oakland though, at best.

AFC Division Winners:  New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver

AFC Wild Card Teams:  San Diego and Buffalo

AFC Championship Game:  Denver vs. Cincinnati

Hope to see you at SafePicks.com!