NFL training camps are starting up around the country, and its got the football juices flowing. With the season just around the corner, lets dive into some division winner predictions.
NFC West: The Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
This division is the best overall division in football and the hardest to pick a winner in. The Seahawks are the Seahawks and anytime Russell Wilson is your quarterback you have a chance. The new Rams with Matthew Stafford at the helm will also put up a fight. It wouldn’t be a shock to see them win it either.
But the addition of A.J. Green to an already solid offense with Kyler Murray heading into his 3rd year, along with adding DE J.J. Watt on the defensive side of the ball… My gut says go with Arizona. (Barring a DeAndre Hopkins covid retirement lol)
NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5)
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my time watching the modern NFL, its to not bet against Tom Brady. While the 2020 Super Bowl Champs may have finished 2nd in the NFC South last year, the landscape is different this year and I expect Brady and the Bucs to pick up where they left off.
The most glaring change between this season and the last is obviously the departure of Drew Brees. Expect the Saints to still be a good football team with Jameis Winston under center, but to no avail. Tampa Bay is coming in with virtually the same Super Bowl winning team as last year. That coupled with the fact that they will get to have a full training camp and things will run, hopefully, business as usual this year, means you can forget the slow start they had last year. Expect the Bucs to come out firing on all cylinders and carry their super bowl momentum to first in the NFC South.
NFC East: The Dallas Cowboys (11-5-1)
Oh the NFC East. The division that can only be described as one thing: Garbage. But out of that garbage the one team that very clearly should emerge is the Dallas Cowboys. Let me make something very clear. The Cowboys have a top 5 offense in the league and if Dak stays healthy, points should not be a problem for this team.
Defensively however, Dallas showed us something that is a stage passed bad last season. One of the worst defenses in the history of the NFL. That, along with the week 5 injury of Prescott paved the way for Washington to take the division.
Over the summer, Dallas went for almost all defense in the draft. Additions such as LB Micah Parsons, CBs Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright along with the hiring of Dan Quinn at Defensive Coordinator and 5 free agent signings SHOULD result in an improvement this season. Though that is not saying much as I’m not sure how it could get any worse than last year.
Washington is solid on the defensive side of the ball and the Giants will be a better team this year. But as long as Jerry Jones and the Defense stays out of the way of this Cowboys offense, there is no excuse for Dem Boyz to not win the division in 2021.
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (10-7)
The NFC North is a two horse race and its between the defending division champ Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Turmoil this offseason between the Packers and their QB Aaron Rodgers makes me shy away from this team. Providing Aaron is there and playing, Green Bay will still be a good football team and is capable of winning the division again this year.
But just like my Arizona pick, I’m going with my gut here and it says Minnesota. Kirk Cousins is Kirk Cousins and you never know what you’ll get week to week. But with solid weapons in the passing game like Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, coupled with the monster that is Dalvin Cook, look for the Vikings to edge out Green Bay.
AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts (12-5)
The AFC South was a 2 man show last season and will remain so this year. The Texans are in disarray and and the Jags are in the beginning of a rebuild. Leaving the Colts and Titans to duke it out.
Carson Wentz was not spectacular in his years with the Eagles. Not a bad quarterback by any means but also not living up to his potential in the eyes of Philly fans. I expect that to change with the Colts. He is getting a MUCH better offensive line, which will mitigate his tendency to get outside the pocket and try and force things down the field like he did in Philadelphia so often.
The Titans will put up a fight and the addition of Julio Jones to their offense is an interesting one for sure. But Arthur Smith leaving for the Falcons hurts. It could come down to both teams being 12-5 and a tie breaker just as last season, but I expect the Colts to take it down.
AFC East: The Buffalo Bills (13-4)
I was actually tempted to take Miami, until I realized how dumb that is. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Dolphins may have a 10 or 11 win season this year, but the Bills are the Bills. Josh Allen is incredible and you should expect a potential MVP year from him. Pretty cut and dry here. Picking the team I think are legit Super Bowl contenders.
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens (12-5)
Pittsburg shouldn’t even be in consideration here. That leaves the Ravens and the Browns. and I think the Browns are a damn good football team. They could very easily win this division. However, I got to see it to believe it, plain and simple. Baker Mayfield is a gamer and he is capable of leading this team to a division win but-
I’m sticking with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. You can scream and yell all day that teams are figuring out how to defend him and blah blah blah. I don’t care. He is a human highlight reel and has won 80% of his games in the NFL. Baltimore takes division by a single win.
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs (13-4)
Last but not least we have the AFC West. This pick should be a surprise to no one. Kansas City made the necessary adjustments to their O-Line this off season to keep Mahomes protected, and I’d be shocked if they don’t keep the ball rolling this year.
So there you have it football junkies. your 2021 division winners. Go Cowboys.