1. Atlanta Falcons (4-12. fourth in NFC South)
The Atlanta Falcons finished dead last in the South, their star quarterback was put in jail, they cut their most effective offensive players. But the numbers back me up on this one: In the last four years this division has gone to the team that finished dead last the year before, and I feel confident a veteran starting QB will be coming in to hold the reigns for Matt Ryan. On paper, the team is terrible but I said that about the Giants defensive secondary and it did just fine.
2. St. Louis Rams (3-13, fourth in NFC West)
Rams fans endured one of the worst seasons for a potential playoff team I've ever seen. That team was hammered with injuries in a ton of key areas, and with a hit on draft day, they may well be the playoff team many expected them to be.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9, third in AFC North)
The orange jumpsuits had a bad year, almost all-around. And with Chad demanding a trade, this could get ugly. I, on the other hand, don't think so; they have the talent on offense to compete with anyone, and it all comes down to the pass rush and secondary. I have to believe Marvin Lewis can get it done on draft day to supply that team with what it needs.
4. Washington Redskins (10-6, third in NFC East)
The Redskins are a good football team, but next season they are going to slam into the division top spot, and knock the champion Giants right out of the playoffs. Why, you ask? For starters they have a good defense, and good special teams. And that offense is going to get better because Jason Campbell has one more step left to his development.
1. New England Patriots (16-0, first in AFC East)
Yes, that's right I have to do it. The Patriots lost in the Super Bowl, over the last six years the loser of the Super Bowl has not even finished in the Playoffs. Sure, they kept Randy, but I can see that linebacking core getting old real fast and the secondary is awful now. The O-line was exposed, and they have mediocre special teams. 16-0, to 8-8 is my projection as it sits now.
2. Green Bay Packers ( 13-3, first in NFC North)
Now everybody knows the reason for this one. I'll be honest, I like Aaron Rodgers, he played great in that Cowboys game, and I see a good QB there, but he's a rookie. And Donald Driver isn't getting any younger, I see them falling behind Minnesota.
3. Tennessee Titans (10-6, third in AFC South)
It's happening, just like I feared. The NFL is sapping the scramble out of Vince Young and leading to his decline—just like it did to Micheal Vick, and Randal Cunningham—and it's happening again. Why can't people just leave well enough alone? Alas they can't and the Titans will drop off this year.
4. Dallas Cowboys (13-3, first in NFC East)
The Cowboys had a great year, but they hit the skids—leading many to call for Wade's job. The change of pace he brought was needed from the drill sergeant Bill Parcells, but Huggy Bear is going to have to crack the whip or this season won't go very well. That division is too good and I see them sliding out of the top spot this season.