Allen Robinson's Injury

Allen Robinson’s injury

Allen Robinson left the game against the Houston Texans in Week 1 after landing awkwardly after a 17-yard catch and was forced out of bounds. It was confirmed by the Jaguars that he did tear his ACL.

He was the main target back in 2015 with 80 receptions for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He struggled in 2016 with 73 receptions, 883 yards and six touchdowns. However, it’s hard to fault Robinson for the struggles because of bad quarterback play.

With Robinson out for the season, we look to other Jaguar receivers to pick up the slack after the Robinson injury and for some fillers to replace him on your fantasy team.

The role for other Jaguar receivers

Even though the significance of Robinson’s injury is high, the Jaguars have depth behind him. If there is one place they might have an excess of talent, it’s at wide receiver. This will open the door for Allen Hurns, who broke out in 2015 with Robinson having 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Allen Robinson injury

Robinson, Hurns, Lee (Photo by: firstcoastnews.com)

In 2016, he struggled as did most players for the Jaguars and also dealt with injuries. He was demoted for the 2017 season to the slot with the emergence of Marqise Lee, but will now likely be back to the outside.

After the injury, Hurns led the way in receiving against the Texans with three catches for 42 yards. Hurns is worth the look to replace Robinson on your team if Lee is already owned.

Lee showed some promise after 2016. He finally played all 16 games after three seasons and got 105 targets, 63 receptions, 851 yards and three touchdowns. In an article from Bleacher Report, writer Adam Wells had a quote from Bob Sylvester of Fantasypros about Lee’s progression.

“Lee started just six games last season but arguably outperformed Allen Robinson. It is possible that he sees an extra 30 targets this season now that they know what they have in Lee. He is due for significant positive TD regression too.”

Now this doesn’t mean start Lee week to week. However, he does become a more dependable option at the flex position.

Players to Replace Robinson on your team

Although a disappointing 2016 season, Robinson was still the number one target in Jacksonville. That’s not easy to replace, especially in fantasy.

The first option to look to is the backup on the Jaguars, which is Hurns. Lee is also available in many leagues. Though this option could be risky because they don’t throw the ball like they used to. Now they just hand it off to rookie Leonard Fournette, who had 26 carries on Sunday.

Allen Robinson injury

Allen Robinson (Photo by: jaguars.com)

One receiver that could help in the long run is Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor. He has trouble since entering the NFL, but last Sunday looked like an improvement with six catches for 86 yards and a 58-yard touchdown. He still has other receivers in front of him, but if this is the breakout we’ve waited for, then this might be the time to pick him up.

Another receiver is preseason sensation Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions. Golladay just caught four passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He is a big red zone threat thanks to his 6-foot-4 height.

But Detroit has a lot of options such as Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron. However, he does have a hot hand and has proven himself in preseason.

If Robinson was a WR3/flex, then you could look at trending running backs. Kerwynn Williams is now the starter in Arizona after David Johnson’s injury. Javorius Allen could slide to fill the role in Baltimore now with Danny Woodhead out four to six weeks. Rookie Tarik Cohen could also be an interesting pickup. The Human Joystick led the Bears in both rushing and receiving in his NFL regular season debut, finishing with 113 scrimmage yards on 13 touches. He will continue to be a key contributor in the offense.

 

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Three waiver wire pickups after week one.

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

Now that the first week of the football season is over, fantasy teams saw key players go down like David Johnson and Allen Robinson. Now people must be wondering who the key pickups are after week one is concluded and I have three for you.

Allen Hurns

Allen Hurns hasn’t looked like himself since his magical 2015 season with over 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He dipped off dramatically last season and is looking for a bounceback year in 2017. Now he has an even better opportunity to do so with Allen Robinson going down with a season-ending torn ACL.

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

(Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

In 2015 Allen Hurns was not only a productive receiver but he was one of the league’s most efficient receivers. In terms of red zone receptions and touchdowns, Hurns ranked 16th and seventh respectively. A big red zone threat, and now without Robinson in the mix, Hurns may see the bulk of the red zone targets.

In the win against a stout Houston Texans defense week one, Hurns had three receptions for 42 yards. You never know what to expect with Blake Bortles but when he was at his best in 2015, Hurns benefitted in a big way. If Blake Bortles can produce like we all expected him to, then big things can happen for Allen Hurns.

Kerwynn Williams

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

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The toughest blow that happened in week one and maybe the toughest blow that could’ve happened all year was the injury to David Johnson. The Cardinals offense may struggle mightly with the loss of DJ. Next man up is Kerwynn Williams, and he has been with Arizona since 2014 but hasn’t seen too much of the field and there’s nothing to back up his production.

The good sign is how the Cardinals turned David Johnson into an every down, MVP caliber player. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Kerwynn Williams is as good as David Johnson, but he is in a position to succeed with Johnson sidelined for a extended amount of time.

Now the Cardinals aren’t particularly known for running the ball as they ranked 18th in rushing last season, but they beauty of Williams is how he can be utilized in both the rushing and passing game. David Johnson was a gifted pass catcher and rusher and if Kerwynn Williams can step up and take advantage of his opportunity, he’ll succeed.

Tarik Cohen

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

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The best performance from week one might’ve came from the Chicago Bears running back. No I don’t mean Jordan Howard, I’m talking about Tarik Cohen.

With a combined 113 yards and a touchdown in his debut, Cohen looks like he’s here to stay in the NFL. I don’t think that he will take over Howard’s starting job right now, and if Jordan Howard keeps producing then there’s no reason why he should.

The North Carolina A&T product is in an unlucky situation behind the running back with the second highest rushing total from the 2016 season. With the Bears receiving corps getting thinner and thinner it looks like the Bears may use two running backs more often. T

arik Cohen made some noise against the Falcons week one and he should be on everyone’s fantasy radar from here on out.

 

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Blake Bortles fantasy 2017

The case for Blake Bortles to bounce back

Blake Bortles looked to be the quarterback the Jacksonville Jaguars hoped for back in 2015. He threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns to finish third in fantasy at the position.

In 2016 his numbers declined to 3,905 yards and 23 touchdowns. It was expected that Bortles may not produce the monster 2015 season the following year. However, people forget that he still finished in the top 10 at the position in fantasy. He still has plenty of potential and there’s a case for Blake Bortles to bounce back in 2017.

2016 Season

Part of Bortles’ decline was the lack of fire power in the offense. The lack of production on offense led to a decrease of 3.6 points per game from 2015 to 2016. He had a horrendous running game, which led to him throwing the ball more and ranking third in pass attempts.

Bortles actually attempted 19 more passes in 2016, but threw for 523 fewer yards and 12 fewer touchdowns. He completed 59 percent of his passes for the third straight season (sixth worst), was off target on 19 percent of his throws (ninth worst) and averaged 6.2 yards per attempt (fifth worst).

Blake Bortles fantasy 2017

Blake Bortles (Photo by: nationalfootballpost.com)

But believe it or not, there’s a little bit of optimism for Bortles heading into 2017. He finished last season strong, completing 66 percent of his passes in two games for 8.1 yards per throw in consecutive 300-yard efforts. He almost looked like the Bortles of 2015 as he made quick, accurate strikes while mixing in some deep passes. Part of this was the coaching change with Doug Marrone, who is the head coach now.

Part of the success for Bortles in fantasy was the high-scoring, coming from behind games. He has been labeled as the Tom Brady of garbage time.

That’s not a bad thing in fantasy. That means more opportunity to throw the ball, especially when defenses play without the hustle they did in the first half.

Over the last two years, Bortles has thrown for 1,551 yards and six touchdowns in the first quarters of games and 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns in the fourth quarters.

2017 optimism

There is reason for optimism for Bortles. The Jaguars’ improved defense and the addition of Leonard Fournette is a start.

Blake Bortles fantasy 2017

Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette (Photo by:dailyherald.com)

The Jaguars might have the best young running back in the game. This helps limit the number of throws Bortles has to make. Instead of throwing 35 times a game, he can throw potentially just 25 times a game (he had 21 from 2015-16). This also helps make better throwing opportunities with a good receiving trio of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee.

This defense is now officially loaded. This offseason they signed Calais Campbell, Barry Church and A.J. Bouye. They join stars Malik Jackson, Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey on a unit also stocked with intriguing prospects that include Dante Fowler Jr., Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue. This can give Bortles better opportunities with defensive stops and turnovers.

Conclusion

I think Bortles can turn it around. For him it’s all about production. He still needs improvement. I don’t think he will produce what he did in 2015, but I think he will have more consistent numbers, especially with a running game now.

Bortles is viewed as a low-end QB2 to not being drafted. I think Bortles could be a valuable wavier wire pickup for weeks you need a quarterback on bye week or favorable matchup for the Jaguars.

 

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Fantasy Football Tight End Sleeper: Julius Thomas

Fantasy football tight end sleeper: Julius Thomas

The 2017 season is approaching and tight end Julius Thomas begins a new chapter with the Miami Dolphins. His two seasons in Jacksonville were a bust, but being reunited with former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator and current Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, he is my pick as the top tight end sleeper.

Adam Gase Connection

Gase became the offensive coordinator in Denver under head coach John Fox in 2013. 2013 was also the year Thomas became the starting tight end with Peyton Manning and company. Thomas broke onto the scene with 65 catches for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. He would finish as the third tight end in fantasy that season.

He also excelled as one of Manning’s favorite targets in the red zone. From inside the 20-yard line, he finished seventh in receptions (14), second in yards (112) and sixth in touchdowns (8). He finished fifth in yards (33) and sixth in touchdowns with five from inside the 10-yard line.

Fantasy Football Tight End Sleeper: Julius Thomas

Julius Thomas (Photo by:nfl.com)

The following season, Thomas slipped a little but still had another good season. Although his numbers in receptions (43) and yards (489) dropped from the previous season, Thomas recorded 12 touchdowns for the second straight season. Thomas still finished seventh in fantasy under tight ends.

He was efficient in the red zone especially inside the 20-yard line. He was seventh in receptions (13), eighth in yards (94) and third in touchdowns with nine. From the 10-yard line, he improved to fourth with seven receptions and six touchdowns.

In the two years under Gase in Denver, Thomas reached elite status. He finished no worse than the number seven fantasy tight end in standard leagues over that span, combining for 108 catches for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Down production in Jacksonville

Fantasy Football Tight End Sleeper: Julius Thomas

Julius Thomas (Photo by:profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)

In 2015, Thomas got his big pay day as he signed a five-year, $46 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. What people forget is that Thomas wasn’t going to have the same amount of success he had in Denver. Not having Manning was a a big factor to some for Thomas’ decline.

In the 2015 season, he had a stretch of four straight games in which he caught a touchdown. He finished with 46 catches, 455 yards but only had five touchdowns. Catching touchdowns was part of the popularity with Thomas in fantasy. Most of the targets went to wide receiver Allen Robinson. Players like Robinson, Blake Bortles and Allen Hurns improved in fantasy and this hurt Thomas’ production as an elite fantasy player.

The following season, Thomas caught four touchdowns from weeks 1-11 before missing the rest of the season due to injury. His four scores in that span were tied for second among all tight ends.

Thomas had moderate stretches of success while in Jacksonville, but injuries plagued seasons (missing 11 games in two seasons) and limited him to 21 games with nine touchdowns and 35 yards per game.

2017 Outlook

Fantasy Football Tight End Sleeper: Julius Thomas

Julius Thomas and Adam Gase (Photo by:oregonlive.com)

The move to Miami could be the best situation for Thomas as he reunites with Gase. He was a fantasy stud in Denver, and Gase could be a big reason why, given his track record with tight ends.

In 2015 as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, Gase helped Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller combine for 87 catches for 878 yards and eight touchdowns, which would have been the number seven Fantasy tight end in standard leagues.

Last year with the Dolphins, the combination of Dion Sims, Jordan Cameron, MarQueis Gray and Dominique Jones had 55 catches for 551 yards and six touchdowns. It would’ve been good for the number 10 fantasy tight end. So there is some optimism for Thomas to bounce back.

However, there could be some problems for Thomas. Dolphins’ running back Jay Ajayi had a breakout season, and they have a core of young receivers in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker along with re-signing Kenny Stills. Thomas will have a role in the offense, especially closer to the red zone, but he will likely be the third or fourth option in a balanced offense with a lot of guys to feed the ball to.

If Thomas stays healthy, he could reemerge as a top fantasy tight end. He’s worth a late-round flier as a second tight end. There’s little risk and plenty of reward with Thomas and Gase back together.

 

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If NFL Players Were Presidential Candidates

With the 2016 Presidential election just around the corner, I figured it was time that we compare NFL players to politicians…while politics are still relevant.  Everyone has their own views on politicians, but hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll see that they’re just like some of our favorite football players.  Whether we fight on the gridiron or on the podium, let’ get started.

 

Richard Sherman is the Donald Trump of the NFL.  They’re both loud and egotistical and claim they’re “the best” at what they do.  Sherman says he’s the best cornerback in the game and Trump says he’s the best businessman, presidential candidate, and human being there ever was.  They also each come from an experienced background.  Sherman maintained an excellent GPA at Stanford University and Trump created many jobs and has had much success as a real estate businessman.  These two bullies trash talk an insane amount as well.  The one caveat is that Sherman isn’t as disliked nationwide as Trump, I think?

Image result for Richard ShermanImage result for donald trump

 

 

Tom Brady is the Hillary Clinton of the NFL.  Alleged lies galore.  Tom, you did deflate those balls.  You did know about it, and you are a cheater.  And Hillary, you know you meant to use a private email to hide secret State Department information.  You did know about it, and you are a cheater.

Image result for tom brady lieImage result for hillary clinton lie

 

 

Colin Kaepernick is the Bernie Sanders of the NFL.  Interesting hair styles for these two to say the least.  All Bernie has stressed to us time and time again is how certain groups of people are treated unfairly in the United States and that that needs to improve.  All Kaepernick has emphasized during his sudden resurgence of fame is how our nation doesn’t represent the liberty and justice for all like it’s supposed to.  Both of these men stand for equality and they also attract the much younger crowd.

Image result for colin kaepernick sitImage result for bernie sanders

 

 

Kirk Cousins is the Barack Obama of the NFL.  Okay, here me out on this one.  They each took over for someone who was arguably disliked more than them (Robert Griffin III and George Bush); they each created their own catchphrase or slogan (“You Like That!” and “Yes We Can!”); they’re each the captain of their team or leader of their nation; and they’ve each mentioned about 50 times how they’re either looking to get better or how things have gotten better under their reign.  Wow, that’s four similarities!

Image result for kirk cousins you like thatImage result for obama yes we can

 

 

Eli Manning is the Jeb Bush of the NFL.  You ever notice how each of them always have that little boy whining look on their face?  Not to mention, they each have an older brother who was arguably better at their respective jobs.  Jeb didn’t win the primary while George Bush was president for two terms.  In a slight difference, Eli (somehow) beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, but just as Bush won the nomination two times, Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl two times as well.  Furthermore, because of 9/11, George Bush won two very different elections for our nation in 2001 and 2004.  Speaking of difference, Peyton won the Super Bowl with two different teams, the only quarterback to do so.

Image result for eli manning faceImage result for jeb bush face

 

 

Tony Romo is the Gary Johnson of the NFL.  Some love him and some hate him, but Gary Johnson still remains relatively unknown among third party candidates.  Similarly, you either love Romo or hate him and he seems like he’s never around either because of his recent injury bug.

Image result for tony romoImage result for gary johnson

 

 

Martavis Bryant is the Ben Carson of the NFL.  Bryant is suspended for one year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and Carson looked like he was abusing some substance during every debate this past year.  I mean every time I look at Carson I feel like I don’t know if he’s just high or if I’m getting high from just looking at him.  Cheap shot?  Probably.

Image result for martavis bryant weedImage result for ben carson

 

 

Allen Hurns is the Jill Stein of the NFL because he came out of nowhere, didn’t receive much press and is now performing well on a losing team.  Jill Stein came onto the scene in 2012 seemingly out of nowhere, didn’t receive much attention, and performed well on a platform that will never win the presidential election.  Poor Jaguars and poor Green Party.

Image result for allen hurnsImage result for jill stein

 

 

Johnny Manziel is the Ted Cruz of the NFL because they have very similar faces and egos. Need I say more?

Image result for johnny manzielImage result for ted cruz

 

Whether they’re deflating balls or using private emails, fighting for extra yards or for extra bucks, signing four year deals or serving four year terms, our NFL players and Presidential candidates are more similar than one may think. while this is true, one decides the victory on Sundays and the other decides the direction of the United States.  Small difference there.  This November, we have a very important decision to make as Kirk Cousins leaves office and Richard Sherman and Tom Brady square off for POTUS.  If that’s not potentially scary then I don’t know what is.  And with that, happy cheering and happy voting.

What To Watch For In The Preseason

With the start of training camp beginning, it’s about that time of year when fans of all teams start to tell themselves, “The preseason doesn’t mean anything; the starters hardly even play.” While it is historically and undeniably true that starters receive extremely limited playing time in preseason games, that’s not the point. The preseason is the time for the second, third, and fourth stringers to prove what they can add to the team in hopes of earning a roster spot. While these four games in August may display some of the sloppiest moments of football you’ll see all year, they’re worth watching so you’re not clueless when week one rolls around of guys like Allen Hurns or Malcolm Butler, two of the more well-known emerging sleeper additions.

Undrafted free agent Wide Receiver Allen Hurns of the Jacksonville Jaguars hurdles a defender.

The preseason is when the identity of a team should start to take shape.  OTAs establish which players want to continuously improve their craft, training camp is the mental and physical installation of offensive and defensive schemes, and the preseason is the opportunity to put it all together. Questions to ask yourself as you watch a preseason game are: Is the timing of completed passes evident?  Are the lineman making the correct checks? Can you see wide receivers blocking with tenacity? Are the defensive backs communicating to each other?  Does everyone appear to know their assignments?

Ultimately, the preseason is more than a mere four week stretch for the first team to develop chemistry. It’s also a time to uncover what secret weapons you possess on your team, who shows potential, who demonstrates drive, character, and work ethic, and ironically, who isn’t trying. Coaches uncover the gems on their team, the players who aren’t expected to do much but are in fact making plays. Similarly, coaches begin to notice bad habits and players who may turn out to be draft busts or free agent busts only in it for the money. Most importantly, the preseason is the most competitive time of year within each team. Players are trying to beat the next man up because trimming rosters from 80 to 53 players means a lot of guys are going to be packing their bags.

August is the time for those later draft picks and undrafted players to surprise people, raise a few eyebrows, and make a name for themselves. Who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog? Granted, these players may not have the longest NFL careers but it’s still fun to tell your friends that you’ve been watching some long-shot since the first preseason game.

 

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Top 100 NFL Players (100-91)

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(http://thewellwrittenwoman.com/sorry-nfl-im-throwing-a-flag-on-domestic-violence/#.V4_fYldlmT8)

NFL Network has an annual list they put out of the top 100 players in the NFL. They claim the list is chosen by the players. A few players have come out and said they have never received a ballot for this list. For many years I have seen the list and have usually had much different opinions. Their list has inspired me to do my own list of the top 100 NFL players.

My list is going to be a bit different. There may be some similarities such as, I will release ten players at a time while counting backwards from 100. My list will differ for the fact it will be my own personal opinion on which players I think are the best in the NFL. I rank them based on how I would pick players to have if I were running a team as a general manager.

I also take into account how valuable a player is to his team. Also, previous production does matter but, my top 100 is also more of a prediction list. I take into account who I think will have the best upcoming season.

Another difference is that the NFL Network Top 100 is a look back at the previous season while my list is looking forward to the upcoming one. My top 100 list will have rookies that I envision will have immediately impact in the league.

Hopefully you enjoy this list. I know people will take issues or have different opinions but to me, that is one of the beautiful things about sports. So much can be debated. Here is the start of my top 100 players for the upcoming 2016-2017 NFL season. Let the debating begin!

Next Page

Surprise NFL Teams in 2016-2017

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 29: Defensive players Mitch Unrein #96, outside linebacker Von Miller #58, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton #94, defensive end Robert Ayers #91 and defensive end Malik Jackson #97 of the Denver Broncos look on from the sidelines against the Arizona Cardinals during preseason action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 29: Defensive players Mitch Unrein #96, outside linebacker Von Miller #58, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton #94, defensive end Robert Ayers #91 and defensive end Malik Jackson #97 of the Denver Broncos look on from the sidelines against the Arizona Cardinals during preseason action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

A surprise is usually thought of as a good thing, but we all have had surprises that turned out to be bad as well. I know it is early but if you’re like me you are itching for football to start again. The first training camps will open up in approximately three weeks. Last year four teams made the playoffs after missing the playoffs in the previous year. It is never to early to start talking about which teams may surprise the NFL this year by making the playoffs. Some teams may even surprise us and miss the playoffs.  This list will have both good and bad surprises for how a few teams will perform this upcoming NFL season.

Minor Surprise:

San Fransisco 49ers: Better than expected

There are low expectations for the 49ers this season. They play in a tough division with the Seahawks and Cardinals. Also, it will be Chip Kelly’s first season as the head coach. They seem to be in a rebuilding phase but they will finish second in the NFC west, behind the Seahawks. This is a surprise because many expect the Cardinals to be a playoff team and it would be a shocker for the 49ers to surpass them. It will also mean they will possibly in the hunt for a wild card.

Chip Kelly has a bad reputation in the NFL but in his first season he took the previously 4-12 Eagles to a 10-6 record. That 10-6 record resulted in a division title. He finished with an identical record in his second season, although they missed the playoffs. In his first two season he was a combined 20-12. He was fired in his third year after going 6-9, but has proven he can win games in the NFL. It will be fun to see Colin Kaepernick in his offense and it should result in more wins in the bay than most expect.

Playoffs??

Jacksonville Jaguars: Make the playoffs

The Jaguars are young and hungry to make the playoffs.  They are in the midst of their longest playoff drought in franchise history which sits at eight years. The Jaguars only won three games last season so mentioning the playoffs seems kind of crazy. The reason the Jags will make the playoffs though is because they already have an above average defense and the offense is catching up. Blake Bortles will have a good year because he has been surrounded by a great receiving core with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and tight end Julius Thomas. The AFC south is also a rather weak division and it is time for the Jaguars to take the next step and make the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills: Playoff drought over

Just like the Jaguars the Bills are in the midst of their longest playoff drought in franchise history. Their drought sits at 16 years and they haven’t won a playoff game in 20 years. Rob Ryan has been told he will be fired if he doesn’t make the playoffs. He will no doubt have one of the best defenses in the NFL but for the Bills to grow Tyrod Taylor must take the next step at quarterback. It will be his second season as an NFL starter and he will lead the Bills to the playoffs as a wild card team. Winning a playoff game is an entirely different story but making the playoffs would be a huge step.

New York Giants: Division champions

I truly believe Kirk Cousins is entirely overrated. Last season the Redskins were a one hit wonder.  That leaves the NFC East open for a new winner. Philadelphia is in rebuild mode and will be starting a rookie quarterback by week eight or nine. The Cowboys defense is below average and Tony Romo has broken his collarbone three times. It is safe to say he is injury prone. This leaves the Giants, who will have a very solid passing game, with a chance to win the division. Look for Sterling Shepard to have a huge rookie season alongside Odell Beckham Jr. who will command most of the attention from defensive coordinators. The Giants also made splashes defensively in free agency signing Oliver Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins. They will win 10 or 11 games and will win the division.

Oakland Raiders: Divison champions

Photo: Steven Senne, STF / Associated Press

Photo: Steven Senne, STF / Associated Press

People are going to call me absolutely crazy for this one. Yes, the Raiders are improving, but division champs? With the defending Super Bowl champions in their division? Yes, the Raiders have finally made the right moves over the past two and a half seasons.  They have suffered a playoff drought for long enough. Derek Carr will continue to blossom into a great NFL quarterback. Amari Cooper will help him to improve the offense. The Raiders defense is on its way to becoming nasty and is led by the first ever All-Pro at two positions, Khalil Mack. Mack is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. The Raiders will surprise the league and win the AFC West this year thanks to being led by the young stars on both offense and defense.

Fishing Early

Denver Broncos: Miss the playoffs

The defending champs will be fishing early this year. Losing Peyton Manning, no matter his age or diminishing ability, is a huge loss. Being able to fix minor mistakes, or make adjustments mid game will prove to be a huge difference. Mark Sanchez is an accident waiting to happen. Paxton Lynch played in the American Athletic Conference. It will take him quite some time to adjust to the next level. The defense will still be a top five defense but it will only carry them so far. With the Raiders on the come up and the Chiefs staying competitive I just see the Broncos suffering from a Super Bowl hangover. Sorry Denver, last year was your year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Miss playoffs

The Bengals have made the playoffs for five straight season. In those five straight seasons they lost their first playoff game. The Bengals need a new voice at head coach but still have Marvin Lewis. He is the only coach who can stay with the same team 13 years without a single playoff victory. He sits at 0-7 in the playoffs. Any other coach would have been fired. They have had a great defense for a long time but it is starting to fade a bit since Mike Zimmer left for Minnesota.

To further hinder the Bengals, the Steelers will be the best team in the division barring injuries. The Ravens will be better than they were last year too. This is already a very tough division and I think the Browns will surprise some people this year and win somewhere around seven games. At the end of the season the Steelers will win the division and the Bengals will finish second or third. They won’t compile enough wins for a wild card birth. The Bengals had five straight years to win a playoff game, they won’t have a sixth.

A Surprise Champion?

Minnesota Vikings: Super Bowl contenders

I am sure a lot of people see the Vikings on this list and are asking themselves, how can they be a surprise team? They already surprised the NFL last year by winning the NFC North. Most people know they are a young, talented team on the rise.  The reason they will be a surprise  in the NFL this season is because they will be a dangerous Super Bowl contender. So dangerous in fact, they might just win the Lombardi Trophy.

Mike Zimmer will be entering his third year as the head coach of the Vikings and each year his defense has improved vastly. In 2014 the Vikings ranked 11th in scoring defense and last season ranked fifth. It is very possible that the Vikings will have the best defense in the NFL this year. Pair that with the best running back in the NFL with a vastly improved offensive line and the Vikings should be one of the best teams in the league.