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2015 NFL Division Predictions

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Predicting the finish to the 2015 season just as it begins.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season finally kicks off tonight! Time to pull out the crystal ball...

AFC East

1) New England Patriots
2) Buffalo Bills
3) Miami Dolphins
4) New York Jets

Until one of these teams prove me otherwise, I'll keep picking the New England Patriots to win their division. They're good at what they do, and that is chea - I mean win. Or both. My mini-surprise is Buffalo, where I'm buying what Rex Ryan is selling. Whether you love or hate Ryan's big mouth (I'm assuming most here will land on the hate side), the man knows defense. Add in Tyrod Taylor to Greg Roman's offense and I think they'll score enough to make Buffalo a playoff contender. I've got Buffalo over Miami in part because of their head coaches. I don't have nearly enough faith that Joe Philbin can lead his team to continued success. Rounding out the division is the New York Jets. Poor Todd Bowles.

AFC North

1) Baltimore Ravens 
2) Pittsburgh Steelers
3) Cincinnati Bengals
4) Cleveland Browns

I don't think this division is nearly as good as the mainstream media would have you believe. The Ravens strike me as the most balanced team in the division, so I'll unfortunately give them the North's title here. The Steelers' defense still concerns me. Keith Butler is supposed to be a change in the right direction at defensive coordinator, but in my opinion the real problem has been the erosion of talent on that side of the ball. As for Cincinnati, their questions are all about offense. Suddenly, Andy Dalton's career seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Similarly, until the Browns find a quarterback better than Josh McCown, they're going to be in the basement.

AFC South

1) Indianapolis Colts
2) Houston Texans 
3) Tennessee Titans
4) Jacksonville Jaguars

The Colts are the best team in a weak division. I still don't think they're good enough to reach the Super Bowl, but coming out of this division with a home playoff spot certainly gives them a strong chance.  I have Houston finishing second but it should be a close race between the Titans and Texans. Six wins could be enough to finish as the runner-up. If Mariota exceeds already high expectations, they'll finally be able to start climbing up the ladder. As you can tell, I don't expect the Jaguars to make the leap this year. Blake Bortles needs to show improvement, fast.

AFC West

1) San Diego Chargers
2) Kansas City Chiefs
3) Denver Broncos
4) Oakland Raiders

Peyton Manning has proved me wrong several times before and I'm giving him the chance to prove me wrong yet again. I believe we start to see him decline (or continue to decline?). Philip Rivers will pounce on the opportunity to claim the division. Watch out for the Chiefs though. Andy Reid is a tremendous coach and it wouldn't shock me to see his team finish first. I can't say the same for Jack Del Rio's squad. He seems like a good coordinator but after years of seeing him lead the Jaguars, its hard to see the Raiders making significant strides this season.

NFC East

1) Dallas Cowboys
2) Philadelphia Eagles
3) New York Giants
4) Washington Redskins

This is the exact finish of the division last year, so I feel pretty confident that I've butchered this prediction. I want to pick the Eagles for the division, but can Sam Bradford play a whole season? The Giants seem like an uninspiring option too. That leaves the Cowboys as division winners, by default. In my opinion, Washington is a strong contender for the first overall pick.

NFC North

1) Green Bay Packers
2) Minnesota Vikings
3) Detroit Lions
4) Chicago Bears

Like many, the Vikings are one of my favourites to make a surprise playoff run. Aaron Rodgers should fend off the young Teddy Bridgewater for at least another season, but it'll be a close race. John Fox should really help the Bears, but I still can't bring myself to push them over the Lions. Jay Cutler just doesn't give me much hope for improvement in Chicago.

NFC South

1) Atlanta Falcons
2) New Orleans Saints
3) Carolina Panthers
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is one division where I expect a lot of turnover. Dan Quinn should fix Atlanta's defense, and that should be enough to launch them back to the top. Matt Ryan should be in line for a big season too with Kyle Shanahan at offensive coordinator. The Saints should also rebound from their down year, which spells trouble for the Carolina Panthers. Carolina's roster still has too many question marks on offense. Did I mention that Michael Oher is starting for them? Cam Newton better get ready to scramble a lot. Finally for Tampa Bay, I think Jameis Winston will have a rough first season.

NFC West

1) Arizona Cardinals
2) Seattle Seahawks
3) St Louis Rams
4) San Francisco 49ers

Let's start from the bottom up for this one. Jim Tomsula has taken over one heck of a challenge in San Francisco. The roster's talent has dropped steadily since their Super Bowl run a few seasons ago. Jeff Fisher's squad should do enough to overtake the Niners and finish around 0.500 yet again (I know you're all stunned by this statement). That leaves Seattle and Arizona to battle it out for the NFC West. Every time I see, read or hear about Seattle, the one thing that stands out is that their offensive line is much worse this season. I went back and forth in ranking the two teams, but figured I'd roll the dice on the upset because of this. Seattle still has an extremely talented roster though.

So there you have it. All divisions predicted, and sure to be 100% correct!

Let me know how wrong I'll be in the comments.