Pumped Up for Football?
The prime week of a new season of professional football means all team hold hopes for the NFL Championship. Everyone likes to think they can predict the future and we at Hydra-Tech Pumps will join that crowd and offer a few observations and our best predictions for division winners, playoff teams and the ultimate champion.
Surprise Team of the Year – Tennessee Titans, Runner Up Tampa Bay Bucs
Disappointments of the Year – Oakland Raiders, Runner Up – Buffalo Bills.
AFC East: The Jets and Dolphins pump some excitement in to the division race as they make headway in the annual quest to overcome New England’s dominance. The Bills disappoint early and often, Rex Ryan hears the boos and is the first coach flushed. In the end, and in honor of a great Patriot fan, Laurie Auger from BJM pumps, we are predicting one more divisional championship for the Patriots.
AFC North: With many new faces, the Steelers defense needs to quickly move up the performance curve to balance the force that will be Ben Roethlisberger and the offense; Cleveland’s rebirth will not overcome the centrifugal force caused by years of poor personnel moves and that mean three wins at best; Under the negative pressure of relying on youth and aging veterans, the Ravens will make an early push before cavitating down the stretch and fall from the playoffs. With one of the best rosters in the league, the Cincinnati Bengals will overcome some early head pressure and capture this division.
AFC South: Mining a diamond out of this slurry of mediocrity — the Texans, Jaguars, Colts and Titans– is not easy…The Texans fail with the overmatched Brock Osweiler; the underachieving Jags and Gus Bradley fail to meet the duty point and Andrew Luck may not pass solidly through week 3 if his offensive line continues to perform like a leaky suction hose. Powered by a dynamic two headed run game and some added lift from Marcus Mariota the Titans and their dynamic defensive front the go from worst to first and make the playoffs.
AFC West: We will bypass on the resurgence of the Raiders. The lack of skill position talent and depth means 8-8. As solid as they have been in recent years on defense, Chiefs front will struggle to push the pocket and the offense will not win shootouts. The Chargers, recirculating for one more year in San Diego will improve on both sides of the ball and surprise many by finishing second to the defending champion Broncos…a team whose defense will help maximize the performance curve of an average offense.
AFC Winners: Patriots, Bengals, Titans and Broncos
AFC Wild Cards: Pittsburgh and NY Jets
AFC Title Game: Pittsburgh and Bengals (yes they will finally win a Playoff game).
AFC Champion – Pittsburgh
NFC East: With a weak offensive line, the Giants will need to count on a repaired defense and big plays from Eli and Odell, it won’t be enough as they struggle to keep Manning upright. The favored Redskins filled holes on their defense, but the O-Line may struggle. While their defense will be surprisingly strong, Dallas with no Romo is like a pump without an impeller… It just doesn’t work. Putting Carson Wentz behind a poor offensive line may doom the future of the franchise and certainly keep the Eagles at the bottom half of division.
NFC North: Maybe not any team’s division to win, but it will be competitive top to bottom as the lions build on last year’s late success, the Bears improve on defense and at Soldier Field and the Packers and Vikings fight it out for the top spot. In the end, Aaron Rogers while still in his prime, Eddie Lacy and a strong group of receivers overcome Adrian Petersen’s big year and the stout Minnesota defense to propel the Packers to the top of the division.
NFC South: The offensive arsenals of all four teams will make the games exciting. But with the Saints and Falcons both trying to rebuild on the defensive side and Tampa Bay running with a new head coach, the class of this division is clearly the Carolina Panthers led by Cam “MVP” Newton.
NFC West: Some like Seattle some Arizona and no-one gives San Francisco or the Rams much of a chance. We have to agree. The 49ers need players and the Rams need coaching and front office reboots. The Seahawks will dredge up enough offense to dominate at home and do enough on the road to secure a Wild Card, but the Cardinals roster strength will carry them to more road wins and the division title.
NFC Winners: Redskins, Packers, Panthers and Cardinals
NFC Wild Cards: Seahawks and Vikings
NFC Title Game: Panthers and Cardinals
NFC Champion: Cardinals
Championship Game: In a rematch from 2009, the outcome is reversed as the Cardinals deadhead the Steelers 42-27.