AFC East

  1. New England Patriots
    1. The Patriots found a way to vastly improve their Super Bowl winning team, and seem prepared for another successful season. As long as Tom Brady remains consistent and avoid Father Time, the Patriots will remain favorites to return to the Super Bowl in 2018.
  2. Miami Dolphins
    1. The Miami Dolphins had a breakout season in 2016, and showed improvement in every aspect of the game. If Ryan Tannehill can remain consistent, the Dolphins will have a high powered offense led by running back Jay Ajayi and receiver Jarvis Landry.
  3. Buffalo Bills
    1. Under new head coach, Sean McDermott, the Bills will look to rebound after another disappointing season. With a healthy Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins, coupled with a strong defensive unit and perennial Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy, the Bills will look to show a great deal of improvement
  4. New York Jets
    1. After a disappointing season that marked a dramatic decrease in production from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Head Coach Todd Bowles will need to show he can coach a capable team or risk losing his job. And after losing star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the Jets have major holes to fill. 2017 will mark the beginning of a dramatic rebuilding project in New York.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
    1. The Steelers were on track for another deep playoff run before the injury to Le’Veon Bell. Additionally, the Steelers were able to retain Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. As long as “Big Ben” returns for another season, the Steelers are prepared to make another run for a championship.
  2. Baltimore Ravens
    1. The Baltimore Ravens made vast improvements to their team during free agency. They shored up holes on offense and defense; however, they are not even close to the level of the Steelers. Prepare for a season around .500 for the Ravens in the upcoming season.
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
    1. The Bengals showed a serious regression in 2016. They went from a perennial playoff team, to a team who is struggling against surprising teams. After losing key members of their offensive line, the team will continue to struggle running the family and in pass protection. Add in a lack of receiving targets, the Bengals look to be set for a mediocre season.
  4. Cleveland Browns
    1. The Cleveland Browns made huge strides in free agency. Coming into the offseason with over $100 million to spend, the Browns filled a lot of holes on their team, despite possibly overpaying to do so. But with so many high draft picks coming up, look for the Browns to win more than one game in 2017.

AFC South

  1. Tennessee Titans
    1. After struggling to find a suitable quarterback since Vince Young, the Tennessee Titans have found their franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Had he not suffered a severe leg injury, they could have made a run to the playoffs. Going into next season with Demarco Murray and Delanie Walker on offense, a top receiver in the draft could be the move to make the Titans a playoff team.
  2. Houston Texans
    1. The Texans’ defense was spectacular in 2016, despite missing future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt. Along with a productive offense, the Texans not only made it to the playoffs, but gave the patriots a run for their money. The one obstacle keeping the Texans from being a top team is the quarterback position. After trading failed quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Texans will need to find their quarterback for the future.
  3. Indianapolis Colts
    1. Despite great play from Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts have failed to succeed in the last few years. The Colts will need to improve their offense line and defense to become a Super Bowl threat.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
    1. Surprisingly, the Jaguars showed a serious regression in 2016. In 2015, their offense was running on all cylinders. They had two top receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and a very capable quarterback in Blake Bortles. The Jaguars will need to continue taking the best players available to truly improve their team, and should be on the look out for a new quarterback.

AFC West

  1. Oakland Raiders
    1. The Oakland Raiders came out of no where in 2016 to make a huge impact in the NFL. However, they had been showing signs of improvement in the last few years due to smart spending and good drafting. Unfortunately, the injury of Derek Carr ended their season earlier than it should have. The Raiders should be a favorite to battle with the Patriots for a spot in Superbowl 52.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
    1. The 2017 Kansas City Chiefs will be lacking of several notable players from the team’s past. The Chiefs rid themselves of both Dontari Poe and Jamaal Charles. The emergence of Tyreke Hill should give fans hope that the team’s horrendous passing offense will continue to improve.
  3. Denver Broncos
    1. Despite having a defense that led the to a Super Bowl championship, the Broncos failed to show the same success in 2016. The Broncos need to stabilize  the quarterback positions to once again reach the playoffs.
  4. Los Angeles Chargers
    1. The LA Chargers will need to make strides in 2017 to gain support in their new home of Los Angeles. The team has a lot of potential on defense, with Melvin Gordon pulling the offense along.

NFC East

  1. Dallas Cowboys
    1. The Dallas Cowboys seemed destined for another failed season after the injury of quarterback Tony Romo. However, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott took charge of the team, and, along with fellow rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot, led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record. After a disappointing offseason, the Cowboys will need a successful draft class to continue their success from 2016.
  2. New York Giants
    1. The New York Giants returned to playoff form in 2016 with the continued development and excellence out of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., along with the emergence of rookie wideout Sterling Shepard. The Giants have an imposing defense after breaking the bank last offseason to improve that side of the ball. However, the Giants need to find a true bell-cow back to carry their rushing duties if they are going to surpass the Dallas Cowboys in 2017.
  3. Washington Redskins
    1. The Washington Redskins flew under the radar in 2016 with a solid season. While they stayed out of playoff contention due to the immense talent in the NFC East and the NFC as a whole, they put together an average season. Led by their high power quarterback, The Redskins have a main offensive piece to build around. However, after losing much of their receiving game in free agency, they will need to  address it in the draft.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
    1. Despite, potentially, finding their franchise quarterback in the 2016 draft in Carson Wentz, the Eagles had a very unimpressive season. However, the team showed signs of improvement as they shift to the new regime under head coach Doug Pederson. They shored up their abysmal receiving core by inking Alshon Jeffery to a deal, so they can focus on improving other areas of their team early in the draft.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers
    1. Under the guidance of perennial All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers rebounded from an unimpressive regular season to make a deep playoff run. They were able to knock off both the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys before being eliminated by the Atlanta Falcons. Despite the solid play from converted running back Ty Montgomery, the Packers need to find a true running back that can give their offense a bit of dual threat.
  2. Detroit Lions
    1. The Detroit Lions showed a significant mark of improvement in 2016. Quarterback Matthew Stafford finally began putting things together, and, backed up with a solid defense, was able to turn the lions into a high powered offensive team. The Lions still have holes to fill, but they should continue improving as they gain more chemistry and momentum going into the 2017 season.
  3. Minnesota Vikings
    1. After losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the offseason, the Vikings scrambled to find a capable quarterback. They paid a steep price, but were able to acquire Sam Bradford. Their offense seemd lost at times, and they will need to improve their offensive line of they are going to make an impact.
  4. Chicago Bears
    1. The Chicago Bears floundered in 2016. They struggled to get anything going on both sides of the ball. However, running back Jordan Howard flew under the radar and racked up over 1,300 yards rushing, second in the NFL Behind Ezekiel Elliot. However, they also lost their primary receiving target, Alshon Jeffery. The Bears signed former back up quarterback Mike Glennon to come in and lead the team. Yet it remains to be seen if the Bears can rebound in 2017.

NFC South

  1. Atlanta Falcons
    1. The Atlanta Falcons finally put all of their pieces together, and rode the wave of an impressive regular season all the way to the Super Bowl. However, as has been constantly repeated, they blew a significant lead in the game, and lost to the New England Patriots in overtime. The Falcons retained all of their important pieces and added some new pieces, so look for the Falcons to make another push to the Super Bowl.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    1. Under second year quarterback Jameis Winston and an imposing defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an impressive 2016 season. Although they failed to reach the playoffs, they showed potential dominance on both sides of the ball. If the Buccaneers can improve their offensive line and find a steady running back, don’t be surprised if they give the Falcons a run for their money for the NFC South title.
  3. Carolina Panthers
    1. The Carolina Panthers took a sizable step back in 2016. The team faced inconsistent play across all boards. The team needs to take some of the pressure off Cam Newton if they are going to return to dominance. That means upgrading both their offensive line and running back positions.
  4. New Orleans Saints
    1. The New Orleans Saints had a disappointing campaign in 2016. The only bright spot of the team came in the form of wide receiver Bradin Cooks. However, after trading Cooks on the offseason, the Saints lack threats and weapons on offense besides quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints may need a complete overhaul if they are going to return to any sort of threat in the NFC South.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks
    1. Despite a record that earned them the #3 seed in the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks were very underwhelming in 2016. However, some of that may be attributed to their many injures all over the field. The Seahawks have continually been plagued on the offensive line, so look for them to improve on that this offseason.
  2. Arizona Cardinals
    1. The Arizona Cardinals fell out of playoff contention rather early in 2016 based on what was expected. Carson Palmer took a noticeable step back, but was picked up by the emergence of David Johnson as a premier running back. Johnson was the star of the team, making a massive impact in both the running and passing games. The Cardinals secondary remained a strength for them, but there is still room for improvement throughout the rest of the defense.
  3. Los Angeles Rams
    1. The LA Rams failed to make an impact in their first year back in Los Angeles. Running back Todd Gurley failed to repeat the success from his rookie campaign, partially due to a horrendous offensive line. The Rams struggled in all facets of the game, but will hope former #1 overall pick jared Goff can bring the team out of obscurity.
  4. San Francisco 49ers
    1. The San Francisco 49ers were a surprise addition to the lower ranks of NFL teams. The 49ers are just a few years removed from multiple deep playoff runs, yet they showed regression in all facets of the game. The 49ers need to improve at every position, and should be looking to find the best players available in free agency and the draft.

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