Official 2016 NFL Season PREDICTIONS

As of Thursday night, the NFL will be officially back and we will all collectively get to see if our faith in our favourite teams will be rewarded with wins or crushed in a sea of indescribable disappointment.

So, lets just hop right into my predictions for this upcoming season. Instead of just guessing a record out of thin air, I actually used a week-by-week simulator to guess each game. While I’m completely confident in where each team placed in their conference and in their respective divisions, I understand that the records will look OFF due to me not factoring in upsets, random injuries and other shit that can cause a bad team to trend good, and a good team to break bad.

So first, let’s start with the AFC NORTH and the AFC SOUTH:

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AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh, when at full strength, has the best offence in the NFL. They also have a deep, young, fast, hard-hitting defence that will carry them through their suspensions and injuries, which is why I have them winning the division.

Cincinnati has a rough year coming up due to a multitude of horrific preseason injuries, and the fact that AJ Green just doesn’t have enough help to distract defences away from him.

I don’t have much faith in Baltimore’s defence as I feel their best years are behind them.

I think RGIII will shine in Cleveland and I believe Josh Norman will have a great comeback season, but Hue Jackson will just use this year to get comfortable. 2017, with good drafting, could be the start of something special in Cleveland.

AFC SOUTH

Houston has one of the most talent-laden defences in the entire NFL. If Clowney can stay healthy AND prove that he’s a beast, they will roll over the rest of their division.

Jacksonville is a year away. Let Ramsey, Jack and the Allen’s develop another year, and that team will be a force to be reckoned with. This year they will get a taste of winning, but next year they will be taking teams down.

Indianapolis will be decent with Luck coming back, but that roster is TRASH.

Tennessee’s defence is going to be a problem. This team should be able to amass a lot of rushing yards BUT you can’t rush the ball when you’re down 17 in the 4th quarter. The fact that 5th round rookie draft pick Tajae Sharpe is their #1 receiver is promising – for the future – but not so great for this year.

REGULAR SEASON

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AFC EAST

New England = Revenge Tour 2.0. We remember what happened on the 1st tour in 2007. right?!

Buffalo is not going to be as bad as people think they are, because they have a pretty formidable offensive trio in Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and Lesean McCoy. If their top rated rookies weren’t hurt, they may be a wild card team.

Miami needs to evaluate if Tannehill is the best man for the job. If he can’t make it work under a QB-minded coach like Adam Gase, it’s gonna be a long-ass year in South Beach – waiting for Deshaun Watson.

The New York Jets are gonna realize that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the worst-kind of fool’s gold.

AFC WEST

I don’t get the whole ‘Denver is gonna be SO much worse without Peyton Manning’ argument. He threw 9 TD’s and 17 interceptions, and threw passes like how 50 Cent throws opening pitches. If Simien can play with a little common sense, their defence will carry them back to another division title.

As long as Alex Smith is the Chief’s quarterback, they will never play foolish enough to carelessly loose games. But, as long as Alex Smith is their quarterback, they will never be explosive enough to COME BACK and win games. That’s the problem.

This looks to be Oakland’s year to break their streak of ineptitude.

The San Diego Chargers will see if they can pair they young pass rusher Bosa with Myles Garrett, or pair they young running back Gordan with LSU’s Fournette in the 2017 draft. The season’s main highlight.

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NFC NORTH

The scary thing about a healthy Packers squad is how well they know how to play on offence and defence AS A UNIT. The fact that Rodgers will have more targets back and Eddie Lacy will be fit, gives them the power they need to run through their division.

Teddy Bridgewater may not have put up alarming numbers, but he was a multi-purpose threat that kept the defence honest – something Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford can’t do. AP will only be able to do so much for Minnesota.

Matthew Stafford will be able to fling the ball around more freely without Megatron there – but Detroit is gonna lose a lot of games without Megatron being there.

I don’t really know what the Bears have to look forward to…

NFC SOUTH

Although Carolina’s secondary is unproven, Cam with Kelvin Benjamin is gonna be hard to stop.

Jameis Winston is gonna make big strides this year, but Tampa Bay’s roster is too talent-deficient.

I have no faith in the Saints defence this year.

I have no faith in the Falcons anything this year (well, except for Julio Jones.)

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NFC EAST

Tony Romo has a broken back. He’s not playing meaningful football in 2016 – if the Cowboys are smart and stick to their guns. If Dak plays the entire season, the Cowboys may go 12-4, but if they rush Romo back it won’t be anywhere near that good.

The New York Giants have a playoff calibre team. Look out for Sterling Shepard and the other rookies on the team who will contribute from day one.

The Redskins are not who many people think they are. Kirk Cousins is a better story than he is football player right now.

Carson Wentz is not ready to lead a team to the playoffs. That sucks for Eagles fans.

NFC WEST

The Seattle Seahawks just know how to win – and that will continue even without Beast Mode.

The Arizona Cardinals, who may have the best roster in the NFL, are due for another impressive season.

The Rams still need a QB, a #1 WR, and playmakers in the secondary and at linebacker before they become a huge threat. There’s only so much Gurley and Aaron Donald can do.

If the 49ers DO NOT start Colin Kaepernick, they are a 2-14 team. Blaine Gabbert is trash.

PLAYOFFS

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AFC WILDCARD

In their 3rd matchup of the year, Denver’s stifling D in brutal-ass Mile High stadium will shut down Alex Smith and the Chief’s offence.

In the 2nd game of the year, the Oakland Raiders would fall to the Houston Texans simply because they won’t be able to move the ball on them a SECOND time around.

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NFC WILDCARD

If Dallas had a defence that was able to gel over the course of an entire season, this would be a closely contested game. But their chemistry is not there yet, so they will hemorrhage points to a far better Arizona offence.

The Seahawks will expose the one big flaw in the Giants game that few other teams could successfully exploit – their lack of a running game. Even with OBJ, Cruz and Shepard, it’s advantage LOB, which puts Eli Manning in the worst position a quarterback could find themselves in: on the road, in Seattle, with that loud-ass crowd, in wet-ass conditions, having to pass damn near every down because you’ve been rendered one dimensional.

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AFC DIVISIONAL

If there’s one thing that Bill Belichick is BRILLIANT at, it’s game-planning for teams and schemes that he’s previously lost to. There is very little that Denver will be able to show the Pats, that they won’t be ready for. Oh, and another thing he is damn near flawless at, is confusing and destroying rookie quarterbacks. Seeing as this is basically Simien’s first year playing in games that matter, it’s gonna be a rude awakening for him.

Houston simply doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Steelers offence.

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NFC DIVISIONAL

The two most talented rosters in the NFC clash in this epic duel, but Carolina beats Arizona late in a super close game.

The Green Bay Packers, unlike the New York Giants, do have a run game. And they also have run D that will make Russell Wilson have to force passes. This is the same D that picked him off 4 times in the NFC Conference Final a couple of years ago. Here they get their revenge on the Seattle Seahawks.

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AFC CONFERENCE FINAL

The New England Patriots have a beastly defence that is well-coached, disciplined and calm under fire. Big Ben’s scrambling and forcing passes is not going to get it done for the Steelers.

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NFC CONFERENCE FINAL

The Green Bay Packers, with a full healthy team, will host Carolina in frozen-ass Lambeau Field deep in January, and they will punch the Panthers right in the mouth in a way they aren’t used to.

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In the Super Bowl matchup we’ve ALL been waiting for, Rodgers vs. Brady, the Green Bay Packers upend the Patriots angry run due to the continued magic of Aaron Rodgers.

Who do YOU think will win the Super Bowl?

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.