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NFL Division Predictions for 2021

AFC East
1. Bills 13-4
2. Dolphins 10-7
3. Patriots 9-8
4. Jets 4-13

The Bills are going to be so fun to watch this year. If I had to put money on a player to win MVP this year, it would be Josh Allen. In the preseason, Allen looked like he was already in mid-season form. With the added threat of Emmanuel Sanders, the Bills offense is going to be even better this year. I also love the addition of Gregory Rousseau to this defense. He will be their best pass rusher and Ed Oliver should be coming into his own this year. The Dolphins should be an exciting team to watch this year. Tua Tagovailoa has looked unbelievable in training camp and Jaylen Waddle has been electric. With the addition of Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, and Jason McCourty to the defense, the Dolphins defense could be the best in the NFL this season. Holland is the biggest sleeper on this team and should be in the running for defensive rookie of the year in 2021. As for the Patriots, I honestly have no clue what to expect out of their offense. With Mac Jones leading the charge and no true number one receiver, my expectations aren't too high. Jones has proven me wrong so far and beat Cam Newton out for the starting job. I still expect the Patriots to be decent under Bill Belichick, but I'm not confident enough to call them a playoff team. I absolutely love Robert Saleh and the Jets entire coaching staff, but I don't think they have the pieces yet to be a winning football team. Elijah Moore will be the best player on this offense, but I still think they're missing their "superstar". The Jets will be a lot better than they were last season, but my expectations still aren't very high.

Josh Allen.jpg
Jevon Holland
AFC North
1. Browns 12-5
2. Ravens 12-5
3. Steelers 10-7
4. Bengals 4-13

The Browns almost pulled off a miraculous upset win over the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round last year, and I expect the entire city of Cleveland to rally behind the Browns in 2021. Baker Mayfield has become the face of the city and is now a top ten quarterback in the NFL. With Odell Beckham Jr. returning and the additions of Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to this defense, I see the Browns only getting better this year. This division should be tight at the top, but I expect Owusu-Koramoah will be the key to slowing Lamar Jackson down this year. The Ravens should be great again this year. This franchise is as solid as it comes, but they've already suffered two big injuries: JK Dobbins and Rashod Bateman. While Bateman is expected back this year, we unfortunately won't see a completely healthy Ravens team for a while. The Steelers are a very interesting team. They added one of the best players in the draft with Najee Harris, but they aren't going to be much better than they were last year. They lost a lot of key players on their offensive line and I'm not confident in their offensive coaching. The defense should be near the top in the league, but I don't expect the Steelers to be legitimate contenders in 2021. It's hard to not love Joe Burrow, but the Bengals haven't done a good job in helping him out this year. The Bengals NEEDED to improve their offensive line, but passed on Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater for Ja'Marr Chase. I wasn't very high on Chase coming out of LSU this year, and he has disappointed in camp this year. I expect Chase to start to turn things around later in the season, but I don't see much success coming from Cincinnati this year.

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Joe Burrow
AFC South
1. Titans 11-6
2. Colts 10-7
3. Jaguars 6-11
4. Texans 1-16

Julio Jones in a Titans uniform is going to be strange, strange but fun. I don't think anyone knows what he is still capable of. After having a relatively quiet year filled with injuries, it feels like everybody is underestimating what he can do (including myself). Jones on the other side of AJ Brown with Derrick Henry in the backfield should tear defenses up. The Titans defense is also much better this year with the additions of Bud Dupree and Elijah Molden. Jeffrey Simmons should be dominant this year from the interior of the defensive line and Taylor Lewan is going to come back better than ever. I like the Titans to win this division. The Colts are a team who I can see getting hot late in the year. The first five weeks of the Colts season has to be the toughest in the NFL. They play the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins, and Ravens. After that stretch of games, their schedule gets much easier. Don't give up on the Colts this season even if they have a rough start. The Jaguars should be a fun team to watch, but I don't expect them to win many games. I'm not buying into the Urban Meyer hype. While Trevor Lawrence is going to ball out this season, the team is just so young. I like Laviska Shenault, but I still feel like they're missing a "star" on their offense. Trevor Lawrence is going to be the next Matthew Stafford. He will absolutely ball out and put up monster numbers, but his team won't win very much. To be completely transparent, I expect the Texans to be bad this year. I'd put their over under win total at 1.5 on the season. While I expect Tyrod Taylor to at least mustard out one win this season, the Texans will most likely be the worst team in football.

Trevor Lawrence
AFC West
1. Chiefs 12-5
2. Chargers 11-6
3. Broncos 7-10
4. Raiders 6-11

The Chiefs are always just a safe bet. I am a little worried about their offensive depth, but they are going to be great once again this year. Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the NFL and I don't think it's very close. The Chiefs are almost boring to write about because they are so damn good. It's similar to the Lebron James affect, you could technically give him the MVP every year, but the league would never do that. A bold prediction of mine this year is that Tyrann Mathieu finishes top three in the NFL for the defensive player of the year award. The Chargers are going to be awesome this year. I expect the MVP race to be between Justin Herbert and Josh Allen by the end of the season. This is the first time we've seen a fully healthy Derwin James in two years. He'll be in the running for comeback player of the year, while Asante Samuel Jr. should be in the running for defensive rookie of the year. The Broncos are always a "what if" team. I love Teddy Bridgewater, he's an awesome guy and a great quarterback, but the story line for the Broncos this year will be "what if they had a better quarterback". The Broncos should really be first in line when it comes to trading for Deshaun Watson. There is a ton of talent in Denver, but I still feel as if they're an offensive guru and quarterback away. The Raiders are the most anti-climactic team in the NFL. Ever since Jon Gruden has been the coach, the team's defense has been brutal, bottom ten in the league. The Raiders are still missing an alpha dog at receiver and I have no clue what they are doing with both Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake in the backfield. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to be a Raiders fan in 2021.

Tyrann Mathieu
Josh Jacobs.png
NFC East
1. Football Team 10-7
2. Cowboys 9-8
3. Eagles 6-11
4. Giants 5-12

From head to toe, the Washington Football Team (WFT) is built really well. Defensively, they are at the top of the league. Chase Young is a monster and will be in the running for defensive player of the year in 2021. Jamin Davis and William Jackson are going to play pivotal roles for the Football Team's playoff run this year. Curtis Samuel is going to be a spark for this offense that will lean on Antonio Gibson in the run game. I also expect Terry McLaurin to have an all-pro year. The team's success really depends on how Ryan Fitzpatrick plays. I can't wait to see Fitzmagic go on a special run this season. The biggest problem with the Cowboys is the coaching. Offensively, Mike McCarthy lacks situational awareness and creativity. They always come out with a solid game plan and are a team that starts fast, but slowly falls off the rest of the game. With Dak Prescott back at quarterback, I expect them to be much better, but their defense is going to be a cripple. With all due respect to Demarcus Lawrence, they are still missing a star pass rusher. The Cowboys are also missing an alpha at corner; however, I could see Tre'Von Diggs developing into one. I see another year of mediocrity coming out of Dallas that forces Jerry Jones to re-evaluate the coaching staff. The Eagles are a team that are being underestimated. Jalen Hurts is the real deal, but he doesn't have a lot of help. There has to be a gigantic chip on his shoulder from all the hate he's received this offseason. I think he's going to be a monster, but I expect the team to struggle. While the Eagles record may not be great after this season, I do expect them to have hope for the future. The Giants on the other hand will have to re-evaluate the quarterback position after this season. They are another team who should be in the running for Deshaun Watson once his legal issues get cleared up. While they do have some promising pieces on their defense, their offense looks like a mess. Andrew Thomas and their entire offensive line has digressed, Saquon Barkley's health is still up in their air, Ka'Darius Toney has struggled in camp, and Daniel Jones looks like he's taken a few steps back. Hopefully Barkley will bounce back and Toney does what I know he's capable of. 

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CeeDee Lamb
NFC North
1. Packers 11-6
2. Bears 11-6
3. Vikings 8-9
4. Lions 3-14

After nearly an entire offseason spent in feud with the organization, I expect Aaron Rodgers to start off the season a little bit slow. With that being said, the Packers will get back on track fast. People are acting like he didn't win the MVP award just seven months ago. Davante Adams and Aaron Jones are both still there as well as Robert Tonyan, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Eric Stokes also showed some promise in the preseason at corner for Green Bay. Stokes on the other side of Jaire Alexander could end up being one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. I don't expect the Packers to be as dominant as they were in 2020, but with #12 at quarterback, they will still be a top team in the NFC. The Bears are back baby! Once Justin Fields gets behind center, I expect this team to take off. I could see Fields starting as early as week two in the regular season. He should really be the starting quarterback from day one, but I'm confident he will get in the game early in the year. I expect David Montgomery to take a big step this year and have another 1000+ yard rushing season. I like the Bears as a wildcard team in 2021. The Vikings are a hard team to get a grasp on. Not to get political, but Kirk Cousins' refusal to take the vaccine could really hurt the team. If he's exposed to COVID-19, he'll miss time, which means the Vikings are going to be without their starting quarterback. While I do love Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, I just don't love the Vikings this year. I see them being mediocre at best. The Lions are a team that will be hard to watch this year. While I love Dan Campbell and the Lions coaching staff, I don't think they have the talent to keep up with anyone in this division. The Lions are in the worse before better stage, but I like a few of the pieces they've brought in.

Aaron Rodgers
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NFC South
1. Buccaneers 13-4
2. Panthers 8-9
3. Saints 7-10
4. Falcons 7-10

It's hard to find a reason as to why the Buccaneers wouldn't be great this year. They are bringing back all 22 starters and have added Joe Tryon, Giovanni Bernard, and Jaelon Darden to the equation. The Bucs ended the season about as hot as you can by winning the Super Bowl after a miraculous run in the playoffs. The only reason why they wouldn't be good this year would be Super Bowl hangover. The Panthers have a lot of good pieces as well, but I still think Sam Darnold will prevent them from being great. Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson are all great weapons, but I don't think Darnold is as good as everyone makes him out to be. With that being said, I am a fan of Carolina's defense. From Jeremy Chinn to Jaycee Horn to Brian Burns and Derrick Brown, this is a really promising young defense. The Panthers are still a year away. The Saints have to be the most unpredictable team in the NFL and it's all because of Jameis Winston. Watching Winston is like going on a rollercoaster. His highs are really high and his lows are really low. Marquez Callaway is a player on the brink of a breakout season. Similar to Darren Waller in 2019, he could be a guy who comes out of nowhere and ends up as one of the best players at his position. I honestly have no clue how the Saints are going to play this year, but I know they'll be fun to watch. It's rare that a coach makes me excited to watch a football game, but I am super excited to see how Arthur Smith coaches the Falcons. I want to see Mike Davis get a similar workload to Derrick Henry. While he won't get as many carries as Henry, he will get a lot of handoffs with unique blocking patterns. Kyle Pitts is going to be so fun to watch this year. I think he'll be "the guy" from day one and end up a top five tight end after his rookie season.

Jeremy Chinn
Kyle Pitts
NFC West
1. Rams 12-5
2. 49ers 12-5
3. Seahawks 10-7
4. Cardinals 9-8

The NFC West is going to be an absolute blood bath this year, and I'm here for it. While I do have the Rams winning the division, I think the 49ers will go further in the playoffs. The Rams are going to be tough to stop this year. With Matthew Stafford slinging the rock, Sean McVay will be able to open his offense up entirely. Stafford brings out the best in his teammates, and I think that will come into fruition with Tyler Higbee who will become a top ten tight end in the NFL. The Rams still have arguably the best defense in the NFL. While they lost Brandon Staley this offseason, they still have Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. The Rams should be awesome this year, but I see their lack of run game hurting them in the playoffs. A team that won't be lacking in the run game are the 49ers. Raheem Mostert looked unstoppable in the preseason and the 49ers three headed monster, Mostert, Trey Sermon, and Jeff Wilson (once he returns), will be running all over teams this season. I love Jimmy Garoppolo, but I still feel like Trey Lance ends the season as the 49ers starter. Once Lance is plugged into the lineup, the 49ers are really going to take off. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have the deepest defensive line in the NFL. They have about nine guys who could be starting on almost any other team. This team is going to wake the NFL up and are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Seahawks will always be contenders as long as Russell Wilson is at quarterback. While DK Metcalf has already proven to be a top ten receiver in the NFL, this year I believe he takes the step up into the top three. Hiring Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator was a phenomenal move by Pete Carroll. Defensively, I'm still concerned about their defensive line. It lacks real depth and star power. Seattle will be a playoff team, but I don't see them being in the race for the Lombardi. For the Cardinals, it is playoffs or bust. While I love Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins, I'm not too sure about their coaching staff or the rest of the offense. The Cardinals have a lot of star power, but football is the ultimate team game. They have relatively no cornerback depth, no tight end, and a questionable coaching staff. While I expect Murray and Hopkins to have an incredible year, I'm not confident in the rest of the team.

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