I predict that Roger Goodell will avoid stepping foot at Missouri at all costs, going so far as to watch any Kansas City games from Kansas.
More seriously, Manning will retire within a few weeks (officially).
Matt Forte is traded to the Cardinals, Cowboys, or some other would be contender
The NFC North us a 3 way race with the Vikings winning, the Bears and Packers fighting for the 2nd wild card. Neither is very good and the winner loses the first round.
Indianapolis continues freefall, as they are unable to solve their O-line woes. Andrew Luck suffers through a second injury shortened season due to constant hits. The Texans approach competence, and are actually a worthy playoff team, instead of being one by default. The Titans are a close second in the division, possibly a wild card.
Carolina bucks the trend of Super Bowl losers, and makes the NFC championship again. The rest of the division is a tire fire, with Tampa being the worst team in the NFL.
The NFC East is a 3 way tie for first, at 8-8. The Eagles are 4th at 5-11.
Arizona tries for one last run for Fitzgerald and Palmer, but they pull back from this season. They trade for Matt Forte, giving their offense enough spark to make a run deep into the playoffs, but they fall short.
The AFC East? repeat the same thing we’ve said for the last decade. Pats win, Jets decidedly average, Miami shows promise before falling into embarrassment once more, the Bills D-line is great, but the other 18 starters…
The AFC North… Steelers probably less good, Bengals can’t get over the hump in playoffs, Ravens? no idea, Browns LOL
The AFC west… I’ll make my biggest upset pick. Broncos D enough to win the division, but the Raiders are 2nd best team, and challenge for a wild card.
I look forward to seeing how wrong I am.
EDIT: as you can also tell I have no strong feel for who might be possible AFC contenders. While it is a bit of a cop out to pick the two NFC contenders to rematch, it also feels right. Perhaps after free agency/ draft it’ll change. But the Panthers made the Super Bowl without their best WR, next year they could be even better. They feel much like Seattle did after their Super Bowl win, destined to repeat. The Cardinals I project because I don’t see any other strong NFC teams. Maybe the Vikings step up?
I think the Saints will go to the playoffs, most likely as a wildcard team. They were an Pretty Darn Good offense last season attached to possibly the worst defense in history (the worst, if you go by DVOA) and still went 7-9. It’s really hard to stay that bad two years in a row, especially on defense. Even a slightly worse than average defense could take that team at least to 9-7 or even 10-6 which is basically where you need to be to compete for a wildcard spot.
I like the Vikings to repeat in the North and have a chance to go somewhere in the playoffs in 2016. They lost their two best O-linemen in preseason and won (by a whisker) last year, and they’re not losing any players of note other than perhaps Zombie Terence Newman realizing he’ll be 37 freakin’ years old.
Vikings (11-5) win the North with an average-ish offense despite AP noticeably declining. Top-3 defense helps.
Rodgers’ happy warrior schtick starts to fray as GB’s (8-8) roster just isn’t deep enough to contend and they just miss a wildcard berth.
Lions…oh, Lions. (5-11)
Bears (7-9) have neither the talent nor the coaching to rise above mediocrity.
…I don’t pay enough attention to the rest of the league to have anything useful to say.
The Browns will win between 1 and 4 games this season, and the fans will (undeservedly) be calling for Hue Jackson’s head. Goff will be drafted with the second pick and will get pummeled by the AFC North’s defenses. Whoever the next QB drafted is will have a great rookie season, leading to more questions about the front office’s competence.
I actually don’t mind the coaching (although lose the OC Gase hurts), but the roster is just full of garbage right now. It will be really interesting to see what they are able to do in the off season. You’re never more than a good draft and a decent free agent run (or vice versa) from competition in the NFL. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Long way to say that I agree right now but think the Bears roster will be vastly different come the spring (for better or for somehow even worse).
I’m only marginally competent to comment on the AFC West
1st Broncos by a nose, assuming Brock doesn’t get snatched or regresses. Definitely not SB 51 bound
2nd/3rd Raiders/Chiefs. Tossup. Raiders got that up-and-coming feel to 'em. It hurts so much to say that. Chiefs have the talent, but they also have Reid.
4th Chargers. Cry me a Rivers.
Which is pretty much the inverse of my best friend’s marital dynamic. He grew up a Bears fan, his wife is from Ohio and is a Broncos fan for… reasons. Suffice to say it is a good thing those teams only play each other every 4 years.
Well it seems that my feeling that Forte would be on another team this year are correct. Granted I wasn’t paying attention and thought he had a year left (and so would get traded), but instead he is a free agent. Regardless he will be starting elsewhere
Sad he is gone, as he has been the best player for years now, but it does make sense. If Arizona, Carolina, and Dallas aren’t calling, I’d be shocked.
Yeah, his days were numbered when they didn’t extend him before the season. It blows my mind that they didn’t trade him at the deadline, I’m sure they could have picked up a good second rounder (or maybe even a first rounder from a dumb team since Trent Richardson’s corpse got one in return afterall). Seems silly to just let him expire and walk.
Forte is a great player and I hope he signs on with a good team. If I were the Patriots I would press hard to get him. He is at the point in his career where I think he would take less for a good shot at winning.
The problem for Forte is that 30 year old running backs are a hard sell in the NFL now. He really needs to find a team that is desperate for an established running back because most teams seem to prefer to grab a back in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft before signing a veteran. Im sure he will find a team who wants him but he may not get the contract value he is actually worth.