Don't think I've posted on here about football before, but I've been a Chiefs fan for 10 years. It's been tough, but things are looking good this year!
The Patriots will undoubtably be weaker this year, but so will the entire AFC. Miami has a decent shot this year, aside from when they will get demolished by the Patriots, but the AFC North will be too strong for them to get a wildcard spot. For some reason I really like Buffalo this year, and even if they struggle at QB, I think Manuel will be the future for them. God help New York.
The Ravens are another team that look to be weaker this year. Though I don't feel they were particularly strong last year, and really just rode the momentum to the Super Bowl (and had a lot of luck with John Fox's crucial mistake in the playoffs last year). Cincinnati is going to be good again, but I have a hard time seeing them win the division for some reason. Pittsburgh could definitely sneak in, but Ben looked terrible after the Chiefs game last year (though he looked good in the preseason). Cleveland is going to be a lot better, but the AFC North is so strong that they won't beat 6-10.
Houston is the big winner from the AFC's weakness. As long as Foster stays healthy, they should cruise to the #1 seed. Though Indianapolis won a lot of close games last year, I think Andrew Luck throws far fewer interceptions this year and they are able to get the 6th seed. Tennessee will surprise people this year, and I think Chris Johnson rebounds with Chance Warmack in place (and I'm not just saying that because Johnson is on my fantasy team :P). Jacksonville will struggle until they get their QB situation sorted out, and get some skill players aside from MJD.
Wes Welker is a great addition to Denver, but the loss of Von Miller for the first 6 games will have them getting off to a rough start. The weak AFC West will be easy for them to take care of, however, and they'll lock up the division without much trouble. San Diego is another team that I think will surprise people. Many people forget that Phillip Rivers was an MVP candidate at one time, and if he shows any sort of return to form, 8-8 is not unreasonable for them. I do like Kansas City's new offense, but I haven't been overly impressed with them in the preseason. After last season, I refuse to put much faith into them until I see them start winning games. I predict between 6-10 and 8-8 this season, which is still pretty generous. Oakland is the only team that I think is in more trouble than the Jets this year :/
New York Giants
Dallas is a team that has been plagued with numerous problems, but Tony Romo's great play always keeps them competitive. I think this is the year they finally put up a decent showing, as the rest of the division is somewhat in turmoil. The Giants will again show flashes of brilliance and mediocrity, and that will ultimately keep them from the playoffs. Philadelphia will be much improved under Chip Kelly as long as Vick doesn't turn the ball over. Washington is a great team, but I think RG III goes down early in the season and Kirk Cousins steps in admirably, but can't salvage the season.
Green Bay (3)
Never before has a season been so dependent on one player, as Green Bay's backup QB situation shows. If Rodgers goes down, that's it. Still, he's the best QB right now, and will once again lead GB to the playoffs. Chicago is a stacked team, and Trestman is a great coach. I don't know if they'll be able to make the playoffs given how tough the conference is, but I see them posting 8-8 at the very least. Detroit will be better than last year with a monstrous defensive line leading the way. Minnesota will unravel when it is revealed that both Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel are not starting quality QB's.
New Orleans (5)
Every team in this division is stacked. Atlanta is far more well-rounded than New Orleans, and they also have the best receiving core in the league. Brees won't throw as many picks as last year, and the Saints could easily finish 12-4, but I don't see them beating out Atlanta this year. Carolina will continue their momentum of the second half of last year and post a decent showing. Tampa Bay may not match last year's 7-9, but will prove formidable in a tough division. This is the make or break year for Freeman.
San Francisco (6)
Seattle is the most well-rounded team in the NFL, and even if Wilson struggles a bit, they should be ok. San Fran is likewise a similar team, but I really don't like Kaepernick and Harbaugh, and I feel like they won't be as competitive as Seattle. The Rams are an improving team, and this should be the year that Bradford steps up to the second tier of QB's. I really liked Arizona until their first-round draft pick was hurt this year. If they weren't in such a tough division, they'd have a shot at 8-8, but much like the NFC South, this division is too good.
(6) San Francisco over (3) Green Bay
(4) Dallas over (5) New Orleans
(3) Denver over (6) Indianapolis
(5) Cincinnati over (4) Baltimore
(1) Seattle over (6) San Francisco
(4) Dallas over (2) Atlanta
(2) New England over (3) Denver
(1) Houston over (5) Cincinnati
(1) Seattle over (4) Dallas
(1) Houston over (5) Cincinnati
Seattle over Houston