NFL Mid-Season Report: All Your Questions Answered

We are halfway through the season.  It’s time to get real.  Who is going to the Playoffs?  How will the divisions turn out?  I can answer all of those questions in my opinion throughout this mid-season report.  This NFL season is the NFL gone wild, and I am trying to “tame” it.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (14-2, 2nd seed)
  2. New York Jets (10-6, 5th seed)
  3. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
  4. Miami Dolphins (7-9)

This division is very strong, but has its ups and downs.  The Patriots can almost guarantee they will make the playoffs.  Their Revenge Tour mission may not go perfectly in the regular season, but the Patriots can get their revenge and be ready to get Brady’s 5th ring in the postseason.

The Jets have been a disaster the past couple weeks, but they still have enough in them to make it in to the playoffs.  Look, the AFC, besides its really good division winners, isn’t that great of a conference. That makes it so that the Jets have an easy schedule towards the end of the season, based on the fact that they only play two more NFC teams. Plus, those NFC teams are from a division where the winner might make the playoffs at 8-8.

But the Bills and Dolphins have not proved to me that they can take action yet, and that leaves the Pats and Jets.  Look, somebody in this division, one of the better divisions in the league, will follow the Pats to the playoffs.  Only the Jets in this division has what it takes to follow Brady’s Bunch.

AFC North

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (14-2, 1st seed)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8, 6th seed)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (6-10)
  4. Cleveland Browns (4-12)

This division looked tough to begin the year, but its falling apart.  Cincy is done being the “little brother” of the Ravens an Steelers.  Here’s the case with the Bengals.  They just had a hot start, and they have a relatively easy schedule down the road.  Even with home field advantages, that doesn’t mean playoff dominance.  New England has that role already.

The Steelers have been hurt, or suspended too much to do anything when they just make playoffs this year.  Next year may be a possibility, but how is a team supposed to reach their full potential when the star quarterback and star running back can never play together, and they always have injured stars?  Really.  How? The Ravens are also in that situation, but also had an extremely tough start, and lack depth, which just makes the case more severe in Baltimore.  Next year, the Steelers are totally a road block, but for now, Cincinnati has locked this in.

And the Browns?  Until Johnny Manziel can man up and become better, causing Mike Pettine to make him everyday starter, and the Browns add a couple extra offensive puzzle pieces, they don’t have a chance at anything but nipping at the Ravens in this division.

AFC South

  1. Indianapolis Colts (9-7, 4th seed)
  2. Houston Texans (7-9)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
  4. Tennessee Titans (3-13)

The only reason the Colts get this division is, the rest of it is even more of a disaster than they are!!  The Jaguars will not win the division until they get another veteran on defense besides Paul Posluzsny.  The Texans offense is going nowhere, even if J.J. Watt and the defense rules the league.  Personally, I think currently, besides Tom Brady and Gronk, J.J. Watt is the best player in the NFL right now, and without a doubt the best defensive player in the NFL right now.  Oh, and the Titans are a mess without Marcus Mariota.  Zach Mettenberger has played worse than Johnny Manziel did in his NFL debut.  So, these three teams make Indy look as scary as they did when Peyton Manning was in his prime.  But when it comes to facing other divisions in the postseason, the Colts are dead meat, even if they host the Jets again.

AFC West

  1. Denver Broncos (13-3, 3rd seed)
  2. Oakland Raiders (7-9)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
  4. San Diego Chargers (6-10)

Well, you thought the Chiefs were done when news hit that Jamaal Charles was done for the year. WRONG. Kansas City still has an extremely sharp defense, and Charcandrick West combined with Knile Davis is nearly enough to make up for it. West could be an important companion to the Chiefs future offense. So, they at least will make the playoffs. It doesn’t mean they’ll even win a playoff game, just make the playoffs.

The Raiders have definitely improved greatly. But some of the young guns need a little experience before this can become an above .500 playoff team. But they aren’t going to be the same Raiders. They’ll look like an average team as supposed to a sucky team. The Chargers are facing some trouble of their own. Keenan Allen is done for the season. Antonio Gates is coming off a sprained MCL. The running game has not performed, an the rush defense, even the secondary isn’t that functional either, making them borderline bad this season. As for Denver, just and average division winner. Nothing special or nothing much to say about them.

AFC Playoff Seeding

# Team                          Record

  1. Cincinnati Bengals     14-2
  2. New England Patriots 14-2
  3. Denver Broncos         13-3
  4. Indianapolis Colts         9-7
  5. New York Jets             10-6
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers       8-8

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7, 4th seed)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
  3. New York Giants (7-9)
  4. Washington Redskins (4-12)

The Cowboys, Eagles and Giants all kind of stink. But if they and the Redskins both stink, who wins this lazy division? The Redskins are out, because they stink pretty darn bad. But Cowboys, Eagles, Giants. So close! But, there is a slight difference and in Week 17, the Eagles could put n end to it by beating the Giants.  That’s my pick. So, surprisingly, the Eagles will come out of this feisty battle with the division win, and neither Dallas nor New York will get a chance at the postseason as long as Dallas wins.  If New York beats Philly but Dallas can’t, the Giants do. It’s still a competition.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers (12-4, 2nd seed)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
  3. Chicago Bears (6-10)
  4. Detroit Lions (5-11)

The Packers obviously have a playoff spot down. They let go of the fact that Jordy Nelson was done for the season, and last minute signing James Jones just did the same thing Nelson would’ve done, and just as good, if not BETTER. Now, the Vikings are getting a lot better. Their youth is clearly paying off. Stefon Diggs has suddenly broken out as a starting receiver, and they still have Mike Wallace AND Kyle Rudolph to help Diggs in their improvement.

However, the defense hasn’t had enough growth to make this team a playoff team without a year of intermission and evolution to rebuild, (aka getting somewhat better) before they are for real and really give Green Bay the first serious challenge at the NFC North in a while.

The Bears and Lions are having different stories. The Bears just need to go young. Everyone is getting too old and shaky, and should be given up on, like Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery. Not necessarily Matt Forte. And the Lions have the same story, just this is a new issue in Detroit. Is Detroit going towards another 0-16 depression next year, just managed to win some this year, or are they just somewhat on the bad side?

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers (12-4, 1st seed)
  2. New Orleans Saints (10-6)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)

The Panthers are the most underrated team in the NFL. Seriously, Cam Newton is a beast. So is Greg Olsen. Imagine this team next year when they have Kelvin Benjamin too. The Falcons are also good, but not enough to beat out the improving Saints in the division. Drew Brees is up to full par, Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Willie Snead and Ben Watson are all on fire, and have I mentioned running backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller? This offense and defense is still great. This is absolutely not the end of the Saints as we know it. This division is becoming one of the better of them, joining the AFC East, AFC North and NFC West. However, Jameis Winston has looked sloppy and the Bucs still need time to form dominance. But despite missing playoffs, the rest of this division is pretty fierce.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks (11-5, 3rd seed)
  2. Arizona Cardinals (11-5, 5th seed)
  3. Louis Rams (10-6, 6th seed)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (2-14)

The Seahawks haven’t been themselves all season. Jimmy Graham has stunk, Marshawn Lynch has been hurt, leaving the offense in horrible shape. The defense is still very smooth moving, but the offense is not performing to Pete Carroll’s expectations. But although Carson Palmer is the next most underrated NFL QB behind Cam Newton, the Cardinals still have some adversity to overcome and could just fall to seattle in the division. The Rams have also looked better, especially on offense, and that could pay off and give the Rams a playoff spot. This division is pretty intense. The only exception is the

49ers, who should count on getting the 1st overall pick in the draft, especially after trading away Vernon Davis to Denver at Tuesday’s trade deadline.

NFL Playoffs 2016

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Wild Card Weekend

I’ve already explained how the Colts are toast. But I haven’t said much about the other teams yet. The Steelers also are likely dead meat. They nearly lost their spot to either the Chiefs or Raiders. In the NFC, this round will actually be a competition. The Eagles just squeezed in the division win. The Cardinals will have a competition, but there’s one thing Arizona has a ton of that Philly has slightly less of. Defense.  The Cardinals have a little more defense than Philly.   On offense, both teams are good but on defense, Arizona has slight edge.. Oh, by the way, they even have stars in Ellington and Larry Fitzgerald. Now they can really compete. And the Rams may have a building offense, but their core isn’t strong enough to quite catch the Seattle D.

Divisional Round

Well, lets start in New England. The Broncos do have a very powerful offense, however, the Pats have more depth than Denver on the offensive side of the ball. And the defense has different form, but equal power. So, the Pats likely will just barely edge the Broncos at Gillette. Next. The Jets also have more depth than Cincinnati’s offense, but the Bengals have more very clear stars. Gio Bernard. A.J. Green. Tyler Eifert. Jeremy Hill. But, on defense, the Jets by far have more depth and balance in their defense, which will make a huge twist in the way this game turns. And it will turn into the Jets favor. Yup. Pats-Jets is the AFC Championship in this case. Meanwhile in the NFC, Green Bay does lack defense compared to the Seahawks, but the Seattle offense is so worn down. The Packers offense. Oh yeah. Even without Jordy Nelson, having some stars of their own could really pay off for the Pack. And Carolina does have some awesome to weapons, but Arizona’s depth will help the Cards to be victorious.

Conference Championships

In the AFC, this isn’t even a game. Pats. Blowout. Jets. Nothing but a blowout for Brady and Belichick against one of their arched rivals. And Arizona sure has depth and stars on their offense, but the Packers have the same, but more. Okay, it is a little shaky, but imagine the weather. January + Green Bay = Freezer Bowl 2.0. That’s what the Pack can hope for. And the Cardinals will freeze after a temperature change from red hot Arizona to freezing cold Green Bay.

Super Bowl 50: Patriots vs. Packers

 

The Packers sure have offense, and they sure have depth, but New England has that. Everything matches up evenly except, … GRONK!!!!! Expect Rob Gronkowski to have a field day as the Pats take on the Pack. Gronk will lead them to victory!!! Simple as that. Brady will have 5 rings, more than any other QB in NFL history, but it won’t be Brady with the MVP award.

Super Bowl 50 Champions: New England Patriots

 

MVP: Rob Gronkowski, TE, #87

 

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