LOS ANGELES, September 3, 2015 — The 2015 National Football League Season is upon us. Predictions are made, and after Week One, many of those predictions are discredited. With that, here are the 2015 NFL predictions.
New England Patriots: 11-5. An angry Tom Brady means even a Super Bowl champion can play with a chip on his shoulder.
Miami Dolphins: 8-8. The Dolphins are always on the verge of taking the next step. Then they never do.
Buffalo Bills: 8-8. Can somebody get Rex Ryan a quarterback?
New York Jets: 6-10. Todd Bowles will improve this team, but he will need more than one year to do it.
Baltimore Ravens: 9-7. John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco find a way to will this team to just enough wins.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7. They have lost some offensive weapons but Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger bring the toughness.
Cincinnati Bengals: 8-8. They have made the playoffs four straight years but they have lost some offensive firepower. Early adversity could cause a revolt against Red Rifle Andy Dalton.
Cleveland Browns: 7-9. Nobody knows what to expect out of Johnny Manziel. Mike Pettine has a defense, but the Browns are one year away from being a playoff team.
Indianapolis Colts: 12-4. The Colts are in Super Bowl or bust mode, having loaded up with aging free agents after coming up just short last year.
Houston Texans: 9-7. J.J. Watt will lead the defense, but at some point they will need a quarterback to inspire the offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10. Blake Bortles will improve, but this team has so many holes. Good Bradley’s defense is the only hope to keep the Jaguars competitive.
Tennessee Titans: 6-10. Marcus Mariota may be the real deal, but going from 2-14 to the playoffs does not happen overnight.
Denver Broncos: 13-3. Peyton Manning was injured late last year. He may be 39, but if he is healthy there is nothing stopping him from continuing to torch the AFC.
San Diego Chargers: 10-6. Philip Rivers now has a running game for the first time since LaDanian Tomlinson. This could be a renaissance year for Rivers.
Kansas City Chiefs: 8-8. Walrus Lite Andy Reid still believes in Alex Smith, who will throw two-yard passes on third down and four. Dink. Dunk. Punt.
Oakland Raiders: 7-9. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Latavius Murray and Khalil Mack are all the real deal, but young teams need to learn how to win. The Raiders will be special in 2016.
Dallas Cowboys: 9-7. They will rue the day they traded DeMarco Murray. The running game kept Tony Romo from being knocked on his sore back. Not this year.
New York Giants: 9-7. On paper they are not that good, but Tom Coughlin teams respond when counted out. Eli Manning is now comfortable in the new offense.
Philadelphia Eagles 8-8. If Sam Bradford stays healthy, this team wins easily. Bradford has never stayed healthy. Chip Kelly will work his players to death in the great Dick Vermeil tradition.
Washington Redskins: 1-15. This team has imploded at every level before the season has even started. The 2008 Detroit and 1976 Tampa Bay teams could get some ignominious company.
Green Bay Packers: 12-4. Despite the loss of Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers is as great as ever. Green Bay knows they should have been in the Super Bowl last year, and will play angry.
Minnesota Vikings: 9-7. Teddy Bridgewater is solid and Adrian Peterson is that rare combination of refreshed and enraged.
Detroit Lions: 8-8. Jim Caldwell is an excellent coach but the Lions overachieved last year. The loss of Ndomakung Suh will hurt.
Chicago Bears: 6-10. John Fox likes to run the ball and play defense, but then he gets stuck with phenomenal passers. No more. Jay Cutler will pass himself out of town and Fox will rebuild in 2016.
New Orleans Saints: 9-7. Sean Payton and Drew Brees are not the pinball machine they were a few years ago, but they have enough to win an awful division.
Carolina Panthers: 6-10. They won the division last year with a losing record, but going 12-4 in 2013 is starting to look more like a fluke.
Atlanta Falcons: 6-10. Dan Quinn will turn the Falcons around, but even with Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones, chemistry will not be built immediately.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-13. Love Smith is too good a man to be stuck with such a talentless team. So was John McKay. Jameis Winston, welcome to the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals: 12-4. They were the best team in the NFL last year until Carson Palmer got injured. Palmer is healthy, and their defense is as nasty as Seattle’s.
Seattle Seahawks: 11-5. They were one yard from a Super Bowl win, but Kam Chancellor’s holdout will hurt them.
St. Louis Rams: 6-10. Jeff Fisher has a phenomenal defense and Nick Foles can play quarterback. The Rams always look on the verge of improving and then don’t.
San Francisco 49ers: 4-12. The collapse is coming. Half the team has retired, and coach Jim Tomsula googles himself to find out who he is. Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines can beat this team.
Super Bowl 50 Prediction: The rematch of 1997 features the Denver Broncos against the Green Bay Packers. In 1997, John Elway finally got his ring and prevented Brett Favre from forming a dynasty. This time the Packers win. Aaron Rodgers will have more rings than Favre, leading to violent saloon debates in Wisconsin and nationwide. Peyton Manning will remain the lord of the statistics but not the rings. In 1997, the old man beat the guy in his prime. One year later, old man Elway retired on his terms. This time the guy in his prime ends the old man’s career, and not on the old man Peyton’s terms.