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Predicting 2015 NFL Post-Season Seeding

Updated on August 12, 2015

AFC

#6- The Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens are well built and well coached, I'd feel silly if I made any list where the Ravens aren't involved in the post-season hunt.
There hasn't been a ton of overhaul on offense with the exception of Torrey Smith, and if the team is smart, they'll stick the old strategy.
Feed Justin Forsett.
Questions-
Will Marc Trestman ruin Joe Flacco?
Marc Trestman is one of those guys who is known as a "pass game guru" but let's be real... He couldn't fix Jay Cutler, not that anyone could, but... If you think feeding Joe Flacco passing attempts will work on offense...
Who is gonna catch all these passes?
The loss of Torrey Smith didn't cripple the offense, but it wasn't great that it went unfixed.
Steve Smith is playing his last season, and... who the hell is Kamar Aiken? It's not a comforting look for an offense that might need to carry a team with a rough secondary.

#5- The Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins have all the tools in the world, I just don't have the confidence in them to beat the Patriots when Tom Brady comes back.
Suh is a welcome... if expensive addition to the defense, and Ryan Tannehill has the pressure of a massive contract on his back.
This team has all the pieces, now they just have to prove it.
Questions-
Can Tannehill go deep?
There have been rumors for quite some time that Tannehill struggles to throw the ball deep down the field. This isn't a problem until teams start planning accordingly. See- Denver's Super Bowl loss two years ago.
Will pressure pay?
The Dolphins have spent millions and millions and millions on that pass rush... Will it be enough to provide consistent wins?

#4- The Pittsburgh Steelers.

This division will be closely contested with Baltimore and Cincy on their heels, but I think the Steelers have the most pure talent of any team in the division. Big Ben, Bell, and Brown can score plenty of points, and I expect them to do just that this year.

Questions-
Will Bell's suspension hurt the team?
Le'Veon Bell will miss the first two games of the season, will he be able to jump back in and hit his stride early? If not, they might struggle finding balance on offense.
Will the defense grow up?
They've got plenty of young talent on defense like Shazier and Shamarko Thomas, but if they're going to keep a stranglehold on the division, they're going to need to grow up fast and start playing up to their potential.

#3- The New England Patriots.

I think the Patriots are coming away from this as the AFC champions.
Yeah.
They're probably going to lose the first four games, but the AFC East is still wildly overrated, and the offense didn't really lose anything during the off-season.
True, the secondary is hurting, and the front seven needs some work, but c'mon... Tom Brady.
Pissed off Tom Brady, at that.

Questions-
What happens if the Patriots go 4-0?
There have been rumblings of a schism between Brady and owner Robert Kraft for years now... If Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to go... Is there a chance Brady catches the Bledsoe treatment?
Will the Patriots be able to win the AFC Championship while traveling?
They'll likely have to travel to team's #1 and #2 on this list... Traveling isn't easy on the body or the mind. Do the Patriots pull it off?

#2- The Denver Broncos.

Honestly, the Broncos have it easy.
The schedule isn't all that hard, the offense still has it together, and the rest of the division hasn't caught up yet. They've got a few more months of Manning, and the addition of Kubiak as a head coach automatically reinvigorates their run game. The Patriots being without Brady gives the Broncos a huge bump.

Questions-
How long will Manning's "lazer rocket arm" hold up?
Just go re-watch that playoff game against the Colts from last year.
Watch how Peyton Manning delivered duck after duck as he destroyed a Super Bowl opportunity. Don't get me wrong, a run game helps... But there's no question this team wins and loses on the arm of #18.

Can they hold off San Diego?
The Chiefs have some pieces, and the addition of Jeremy Maclin makes them exciting... But let's be honest, the Chargers are the number one contenders for the AFC West Championship.
Will the Broncos be able to handle Rivers and surging San Diego?

#1- The Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts have a loaded roster, an easy schedule, and a relatively easy schedule.
As long as most of their off-season additions pay off, and they avoid key injuries, they should be dominant this season.
Questions-
Can the Colts beat the elite teams?
They play the Broncos and the Patriots this season,and while Luck has a winning record against Peyton Manning... The same can not be said for Brady.

How long can Frank Gore and Andre Johnson play young?
Gore and Andre made absolutely huge off-season additions for the Colts this year, and if they can play as well as we expect them to, the Colts will be complete contenders. But they're not getting any younger.

NFC

#6- The Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys are still loaded.
They've still got Romo, they can plug and play at runningback, and they managed to re-sign Dez Bryant.
However, they need to find someone to plug at RB, and I still have plenty of questions about that defense.

Questions-
Will the contract curse haunt Dez?
Dez Bryant just signed a huge contract, is that going to change the way he plays? Will he still be arguably the second best receiver in the league?
Will the locker room cancers hurt the team?
They added plenty of troubled players, none more troubled than Greg Hardy...
With all that nonsense in one locker room, will they be able to survive the distractions?

#5- The St. Louis Rams.

In almost any other division, I think the Rams are champion.
They've added a franchise QB, they added a stud runningback, and they have too many talented defensive linemen to play at one time.
This. Team. Is. Dangerous.

Questions-
Can they facilitate a passing game?
Who is gonna play receiver? Kenny Britt? Tavon Austin? They're definitely not gonna usurp the Legion of Boom with a WR corps like that.
Is Foles a system player?
He was nobody before Chip Kelly's system, and outside of one good season, we haven't seen much out of him. Will he be able to give Gurley enough space to succeed?

#4- The Carolina Panthers.

The NFC South is the worst division in the league, and somehow, the Panthers keep winning it.
Nobody else in the division took a huge step forward, so I'm gonna stick with the status quo.
Kuechly is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, and he's led the team to consecutive division titles.... I won't shake it up now.

Questions-
When are we going to start blaming Cam Newton?
This is his fourth season in the NFL and... We haven't seen any improvement?
He hasn't sniffed 4,000 yards, he almost never throws for over 300 yards in a game, and even then, they usually lose...
When are we gonna start blaming Cam Newton for this team's failures?
Will they recommit to the run?
They can't win behind Cam, so when are they gonna start running the ground and pound again? Almost a decade ago, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams carried the Panthers to a 12-4 record. Maybe they should revisit that system.

#3- The New York Giants.

The Giants have so many tools on offense.
They've got a reliable quarterback.
They have a couple guys in the backfield who can carry the load.
They have enough pieces to be competitive on defense.
WHY HAVEN'T THEY BEEN WINNING?
This year, I'm giving them the nod.

Questions-
Which Eli plays this year?
The guy who's thrown more interceptions than any other player over the last ten years, or the guy with two championship wins over Tom Brady?
Will JPP play at all?
He definitely proved he isn't the smartest player in the NFL when he blew part of his hand off with fireworks, but will he be able to return and provide a pass rush for the Giants?

#2- The Seattle Seahawks.

This might be a Seahawk Swan Song.
Keeping talented players around in the NFL isn't cheap, but the Seahawks have tried their damnedest. They've still got the meat and potatoes of the team, and they'll get another run, but I don't know that this won't be the last chance they get.

Questions-
Will Jimmy Graham fit in the offense?
Jimmy Graham gives Seattle a huge passing option, and that's something that Russell Wilson has never had. Will he boom or bust on a team that invested a first round pick in him?
Can the Seahawks generate a pass rush?
Despite being #1 in compete and pass defense, the Seahawks were 20th in sacks last year. Will they be able to find a way to generate pressure on quarterbacks in 2015?

#1- The Green Bay Packers.

Too many weapons.
Too. Many. Weapons.
And what a crummy division.
The Packers are gonna breeze to the best record in football.

Questions-
Will Rodgers win MVP again?
With a schedule that weak, will Rodgers fulfill his promise to become the second coming of Peyton Manning, winning faux meaningful awards?
Can the Packers win on the road?
They struggle mightily on the road. It's just a Packer-Fact. They lost in Buffalo for Bart's sake. Can they fix that this year?

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    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 21 months ago

      I think the bengals will make the playoffs instead of the ravens. Also I do not see the Giants making the playoffs. I think the cowboys will win the division and the eagles will find a way into the playoffs.

    • Ryan Daniel Smith profile image
      Author

      Ryan Smith 21 months ago

      Both of those divisions are crapshoots lol. With the exception of the Redskins and Browns, it seems like anyone could win the division/miss the playoffs on a single play

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