Dallas Cowboys – The season that could have been. Stud quarterback Tony Romo missed 12 regular season games, and what do you know, they went 4-12. With Romo back in the lineup they were able to finish strong, going 2-1 over the last 3. Now that he is able to reconnect with touchdown machine Austin Miles expect the Cowboys to take the NFC East. New York Giants – After watching his brother permanently shut the door on the one argument you could have made for Eli over Peyton, watch for some potential FU energy from the dorky kid brother this season. It doesn’t matter because the Giants are terrible and with the departure of Tom Coughlin the team is doomed. You should watch to see them get destroyed by superior teams. Philadelphia Eagles – Bleed Green is a catchphrase of the team that boasts the most hated fan base in the nation. This allows them to stay classy even when their team shuffle around otherwise great players under a college coach’s college level offense. Their no huddle, no time off the clock offense led them to a pedestrian 7-9 record. Washington Redskins – Dan Snyder has gotten a pretty good boost in the brand name of his franchise by virtue of the fact he is caught in the middle of a PC witch hunt. Now that we have moved on to other, even crazier social pursuits, the Redskins have emerged in tact with renewed interest in an otherwise middling brand. Will their excellent draft propel them to repeat division championships? Chicago Bears – The Bears been an inconsistent playoff team since their last Super Bowl appearance 9 years ago. Kevin White is hoping to come back healthy from a stress fracture that curtailed his 2015 season. Hopefully some of their joint practice with the Patriots will instill competence via osmosis in this once pretty good team. Detroit Lions – The talent level in Detroit is very high. What has caused them to settle for mediocrity last year was their inconsistency. They started hot and finished hot, but in the middle hit a patch that knocked them out of playoff contention early. With Calvin Johnson, the Megatron, retired the rest of the wide outs need to step up. Expect sparks to fly as Jimmy Clausen is working out against Matt Stafford. Minnesota Vikings – Will the ghost of Dennis Green haunt the Vikes or propel them to greatness? Like Dennis Green, the Vikings displayed flashes of brilliance through Teddy Bridgewater and the future hall of famer Adrian Peterson. Hopefully the discipline of Dennis holds and not like the Brad Childress, sex boat Vikings who could only go 8-8 every year. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers has tasted Super Bowl glory before and he wants to cement his legacy. Every year The Pack are a threat to take it all the way. This year is no different. Even with an injury plagued ending to their season, they still finished strong and made it to the playoffs. Expect a rejuvenated team to take the NFC North, and rule the Winterfell of the NFL. Atlanta Falcons – Boston College’s interception machine, improbable NFL winning QB Matt Ryan returns for his eighth season at the helm of the Falcons. Under his tenure they have enjoyed their place as the successors to the Saints as NFC South king. Lately though the Robert Baratheon reborn, Cam Newton has usurped the Iron Throne and seated a new dynasty upon it. Carolina Panthers – The brash and brave Panthers almost ran the table last year. Going 15-1 during the regular season, including a 14-0 start, they crushed the NFC but fell short in the Super Bowl. Like the Baratheon usurper in A Song of Ice and Fire, they are surrounded by former champs who want the crown back. Who will win the Game of Thrones? New Orleans Saints – Spoiler Alert: if you aren’t caught up on your Game of Thrones yet you are wasting your life. Jon Snow and the North have the blood of First Men, and they are the defenders of men from the dead North of the Wall. Similarly, the Saints are what defended the NFC South from irrelevance for years. Now they will beat back their Andal oppressors and rule Westeros. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Pirates of the Tampa Bay are the true Ironborn of this Game of Thrones. Even without the flashiest of offenses, this team has always put together a team as stifling as the humidity. It’s small wonder Aqib Talib who would go on to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos would have come from there. Arizona Cardinals – Attention all hater from poor all of the states that are poor and hate New England: he Cardinals have the potential to bury New England this season. Their rough defense will be more than enough for back up Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Palmer is channeling the Carson Palmer that made Matt Cassel cuck into holding the clipboard at USC. Los Angeles Rams – If you are a time traveler from 1976, the Rams left LA and then returned. If you are a time traveler from 1996, the Rams left St. Louis for LA. Even though this is their historical city, this doesn’t sit well with the general NFL fan base who thought St. Louis was a great NFL city. Greed by a billionaire owner cost a city a program they took in and made home. San Francisco 49ers – Jim Harbaugh should have told the press that “Joe Montana isn’t walking through that door, Jerry Rice isn’t walking through that door, and even if they did they were old”. He brought the 49ers to the Super Bowl with a completely different character than the 80s. They are lukewarm about whether or not Kaepernick is the future of the franchise. Seattle Seahawks – Pete Carol has proven that he could hack as an NFL coach. After joining the Super Bowl Champions club he has solidified himself as an all-time great coach who built a pro team and a college team from scratch. He may have grabbed the last parachute off of Air USC, but they sure did enjoy the ride. If they can keep him and Wilson together they will be a force for the next decade.
Buffalo Bills – Rex Ryan has once again promised big things this year. This season is put up or shut up for this over talented band of underperformers. After an injury shorted 2015 campaign, last year’s big acquisition Lesion McCoy is looking to make an impact and show that he’s still a force in the backfield. Miami Dolphins – Seemingly in the middle of a multi-season rebuilding phase, the Dolphins are going to look to build the experience of rookie cornerback Xavien Howard as part of their revamped defensive backfield. Will it be enough to stop the pass happy Patriots when the two meet? One thing is for sure, Tannehill’s offense isn’t going to save the team if their defense can’t hold. New England Patriots – The Patriots are going to be start the season without GOAT Tom Brady due to his 4 game suspension resulting from Deflate gate. That’s going to be a tough stretch that includes NFC Championship contender Arizona Cardinals. Bill Belichick’s offenses have proven to be plug and play in the past, so look for Garoppolo to make waves in his offseason audition. New York Jets – The NY Jets haven’t made it to the play offs in 5seasons. The toughest schedule in the AFC isn’t going to help their cause. To make matters worse, their first round draft pick Darron Leestill hasn’t signed his rookie contract. This has left the Jet’s a little desperate to the point where they have been working out multiple quarterbacks to compete for the position. Baltimore Ravens – Since their Super Bowl XLVII win, the Ravens have failed to find the selves consistently at the top of the AFC. This could be their year. Steve Smith Jr. has proven to be ageless and Breshad Perriman will back and completely healthy this season. On the other side of the ball, offseason pick up Jerraud Powers has been wowing everyone at minicamp. Cincinnati Bengals – After their season was tragically ended by the ill-timed melt down of Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals are looking to show that they can become one of the new elites in the AFC. If Marv Lewis can hold his squad together they definitely have the tools. With quiet superstar Andy Dalton back under center, look for the Bengals to repeat as AFC North champions. Cleveland Browns – After the Cavaliers finally brought final victory back to the city, the fans want more. Unfortunately this year’s Browns aren’t going to deliver. Josh Gordon following a questionable supplementation plan is an offseason distraction but removing Johnny Manziel from the roster was a step in the right direction. If for no other reason, the Browns are worth following to see who the new QB is going to be. Pittsburgh Steelers – Injuries are a pretty poor excuse for a season’s outcome, but the Steelers have a legitimate gripe. Even with Big Ben missing half of the season, the Steeler’s kept it together and made some serious waves at the end of the season. Even with the loss of Antonio Brown in the Bengals/Steelers divisional round playoff game they still were competitive against eventual Super Bowl champs, Denver Broncos. Houston Texans – Offseason pick up Brock Osweiler looks to reinvigorate this Texans squad and build on their playoff appearance last season. The recent back injury to stud d-end JJ Watt is going to hamper the team’s defense, but competition for the roster spot has been reported to be fierce which bodes well for the future of the team. Indianapolis Colts – last season TY Hilton emerged from the shadow of veterans Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson to establish himself as the number one weapon for Andrew Luck. With the rest of the eventual wide out starters returning, the balanced load should be a boon for both his and Andrew Luck’s stats this year. Look for special teams standout Quan Bray to try and break into the rotation as well. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville already has one thing going for it, they ended their season very strongly. This could be an encouraging sign that their rebuild of the franchise is finally complete. Blake Bortles established himself as a top tier quarterback and while the defense established themselves as firm pass rushers while going 3-3 to close out the season. Tennessee Titans – No player ever elicited as much excitement as Marcus Mariota in their rookie debut. The phenom QB from Oregon became the first QB in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating in his very first NFL start. Their season didn’t end as strongly as it started though and the Titans failed to secure a wild card spot. With some big offseason additions look for them to contend for the AFC South this season. Denver Broncos – The Patriots may be the Vegas favorites to win the Super Bowl, but no team is better positioned than the Broncos. The core of the defense returned this season. Super Bowl MVP Von Miller just signed a long term deal. Even with the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure of Brock Osweiler, the Bronco’s defense is more than prepared to win every game no matter who is under center. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have tasted their old greatness under the Mormon Maestro, Andy Reid. Last season they were the hottest team in the NFL heading into the playoffs behind a 10 game win streak. Alex Smith will continue his role as the absolute unsung hero while Jamaal Charles looks to continue to run roughshod over opposing defenses. Oakland Raiders – Relocation isn’t the only struggle that the Silver and Black are having. After failing to post a winning season for 4 straight seasons, the 2016 flavor of the Raiders isn’t looking any better. They open the season with two straight road games and end the season on the road. That means they better be prepared to make the most out of the stretch, including their 3 primetime games. San Diego Chargers – The Bolts are a team in flux. Despite being awarded the right to move the franchise to LA, they have opted to stay in sunny San Diego (it must be the perfect 80 degree weather 360 days a year). Aging stars Philip Rivers and the resurgent Antonio Gates are looking to bring the squad back to elite status for the first time in over 10 years.