We are already halfway through the 2016 NFL season, so it’s time to start thinking about the playoffs and home-field advantage. Who is going to be the surprise team that sneaks into the playoffs? Who will take a bye in the Wild Card round?


AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE


1.- New England Patriots

The Patriots were 3-1 with the second and third string QBs. They also didn’t count with important players like Dion Lewis, Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower. Now, the Patriots are all healthy and are starving for a ring. Tom Brady is the biggest reason why I chose the Pats as the best team in the NFL after 17 weeks. He came in “rusty” after missing the first four weeks of the season. He threw 400 yards and 3 touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over. My only concern on the Patriots this season, was the first four games. I honestly thought there was no way the Patriots would beat the Cardinals or Texans (They beat both).  This is a fabulously coached team that will most definitely be trouble for anyone out there.

Record Prediction: 13-3


2.- Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are (in my opinion) the only team that can beat the Patriots right now. They have a top 5 QB in Big Ben, the best WR in Antonio Brown, and the best RB in Le’Veon Bell. If there is something I don’t like from the Steelers this year, it’s their defense, and I love it. The Steelers defense is currently ranked 18th and the secondary is noticeably better. However, their coaching staff is in my opinion one of the worst. People see Mike Tomlin as an elite Head Coach, but having the best WR and RB in the NFL with a top 5 QB has to make you a playoff team EVERY YEAR. Anyway, with such an amazing offensive talent and the presence of incredible athletes on the defensive side of the ball such as Artie Burns and Bud Dupree, you don’t need to be a spectacular coach to lead this team correctly.

Record Prediction: 12-4


3.- Denver Broncos

A team many thought would be horribly affected by their “horrendous” offseason is now 5-2 and definitely looking like an elite contender in the West. The Broncos (again) have a top 2 defense and the offense is not playing as bad as people believed they would. CJ Anderson is having a bounce back year from his horrible 2015 campaign and is leading this offense with 300 yards and 3 TDs, even though he is in a platoon with rookie Devontae Booker. They are slated to face the Chargers, Raiders and Saints which will probably give them at least 2 wins. If everything goes well, the Broncos should have an 8-2 or at least 7-3 record after the next 3 weeks.

Record Prediction: 11-5


4.- Indianapolis Colts

Yep, I believe in Andrew Luck. The Colts are looking at a 3-4 record, just 1 game behind the Texans. They count with weapons such as T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen and Frank Gore. The defense is hurting right now and they are taking a lot of trash from other teams, but wait for Vontae Davis to come in and pump the team up with his veteran presence. I believe that Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback that has never been given a good team. They will not get in the playoffs with a pretty record and probably won’t last long in there, but they will sneak through with a very bad AFC South Division.

Record Prediction: 9-7


5.- Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders are currently 5-2 and count with one of the best QBs in the NFL. Derek Carr is on pace to have career highs in passing yards, touchdowns, and QBR. He currently is on pace to throw 4,105 passing yards, and 35 TD passes. They also have an outstanding WR corps in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Their running game counts with Running back Latavius Murray, Deandre Washington and Jalen Richard (That’s not counting that Derek Carr can also make plays with his legs.). The Defense is their weakness, but, is it? They have elite players like Khalil Mack, Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin and Malcom Smith. However, their Defense is under performing. If their Defense can turn it around, this team has a good chance to make the playoffs and even compete with the Broncos for the AFC West title.

Record Prediction: 10-6


6.- Kansas City Chiefs

This one might come as a surprise, but it also might not. I chose the Chiefs over teams like the Ravens and Bills. Why? Spencer Ware is doing an amazing job replacing Jamaal Charles during his injury, but now it’s Charles’ team. Wait for Jamaal to return to full health and let the Chiefs use those 2 RB sets leaving one-on-ones on play makers in the receiving corp like Chris Conley and Jeremy Maclin. Also, the Chiefs following four games are against the Colts ( yes, I have them in too, but I said it wouldn’t be pretty ), the Jaguars, the Panthers and the Buccaneers. After those four weeks, I am predicting an 8-2 record. This AFC West is easily the best division in football, that’s the reason why I have three teams going in to the playoffs.

Record Prediction: 10-6



NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE


1.- Minnesota Vikings

It seems like Sam Bradford has finally found a place to stay. If you remember, the Eagles traded Bradford just before the offseason was over and, so far, it has worked out perfectly for both teams. No, I do not believe Sam Bradford would’ve thrived in Philly, he didn’t have the team or the defense he counts with in Minnesota. And, talking about that defense, they are averaging 4 sacks per game, 1.7 picks per game, 1 fumble per game and have a +10 turnover differential. This is a team you obviously don’t want to face, especially in the playoffs. They are 5-1 and all of this, without their franchise player Adrian Peterson.

Record Prediction: 14-2


2.- Atlanta Falcons

The 2015 CHOKERS. Last year they started 6-1. Yep, you now how that ended, they had an 8-8 record by the end of the year and a top 15 draft pick. However, I do believe this year is different. They count with arguably the best WR in the NFL, two amazing running backs with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and Matty Ice is playing like never before. Matt Ryan is on pace to destroy the record Peyton Manning set in 2013 for most passing yards in a single season (Even though I don’t believe he will break it). He also is on pace to throw for 40 passing touchdowns and throw only 6 Interceptions. If Matt Ryan keeps his momentum going, there is no doubt this team will win their weak division by a mile.

Record Prediction: 12-4


3.- Dallas Cowboys

In my opinion, there is no way Dak Prescott should be benched. As a matter of fact, he should be considered for the MVP race or at least, he should be above Carson Wentz in the Rookie of the Year. He has thrown for 1,231 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, these are by no means mind blowing stats, but they’re stats that will put you in playoff contention. He has also rushed for 61 yards and 3 touchdowns, so yes, he is a Dual-threat. Also, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot is averaging 109 yards per game and 5 yards per carry. If it’s working with Dak, keep him in there, he is a better option for the next 10 years and, benching the guy will just lose all his momentum and confidence.

Record Prediction: 11-5


4.- Seattle Seahawks

I don’t know how, but they will sneak in there, they always do. The Seahawks always start the year with a losing record and finish it on a high note. This year, it seems they want to start on a high note and finish on an even higher note. That secondary has never been a problem with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III. Besides, Russell Wilson is hurt and winning games, just imagine the guys with a healthy Russell Wilson. Also, Thomas Rawls has been out for most of the season, a player that most believe has been replaced by Christine Michael but, for me it’s Thomas Rawls’ team there. Christine is having a great season so far, but the talent and explosiveness Rawls has shouldn’t even be compared with Michael’s. The concern here? O-Line! They need Offensive Line to step it up and start building some pockets and holes for Russell and the running game, at least while the quarterback is hurt. Whenever he is 100% again, they can basically play without and offensive ine and win with Russell Wilson’s ability to make defenders look like dummies.

Record Prediction: 10-5-1


5.- Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers. That’s the only explanation I need to give you. Ok, I know he is having the worst year of his career and also counts with the worst completion percentage so far but, would you really like to face the Packers even with their “struggles”? They can beat nearly anybody in the league and, if Aaron Rodgers starts getting some momentum going, watch out, Vikings! With talent like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, Davante Adams, and James Starks, this team is a no-brainer contender. Aaron Rodgers will start his actual 2016 season going on Sunday vs the Falcons and, even though they might not beat them, Aaron will keep his momentum from last TNF going. Also, the Packers are 4-2, and those losses were against arguably the best teams in the NFL. Should we really be concerned for the Packers?

Record Prediction: 10-6


6.- Philadelphia Eagles

Okay, I am going to admit it, I had the Eagles as the worst team in 2016 with Sam Bradford. I predicted them to go 3-13. Today, they have more wins through week 7 than I thought they would get all season. Carson Wentz is balling like an elite veteran out there, he absolutely does not look like a rookie. For me this division comes down to week 17 in a match up between the Eagles and the Cowboys. Anyway, as you can see, I have the Cowboys winning that game. The Eagles have been amazing at defense (surprisingly) and offensively. Coach Doug Pederson has somehow found a way to put the pieces together in Philly and has a contender in the East. Their running game is the iffy part, but anyway, I truly believe Ryan Mathews ends up putting together an 800+ yds season and actually plays at least 14 games.

Record Prediction10-6

About The Author Jose Wehber

Teenager. MLB, NFL, College Football writer since 2014.