NFL 2015 Season Predictions

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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back NFL Football!  We’ve missed you.  The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick off the 2015 NFL season, a season that will be capped off with Super Bowl 50  at the 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara.

As with every NFL season, there figures to be a fair bit of drama and suspense along the way.  Teams that we think will be good will flop and teams projected to be clunkers will come out of nowhere to make a playoff run.  There will be suspensions, injuries, underinflated footballs(?!?!) and who knows what else.  We asked our writers to dust off their crystal balls and make their 2015 NFL Season Predictions.  Let’s start off with the NFC…

The Packers are the overwhelming choice to prevail in the NFC North while the Lions, Vikings and even the Beloved Chicago Bears get a vote to win the division.  The Packers, who were on the brink of a Super Bowl berth until their NFC Championship game collapse against the Seahawks, are the consensus choice for good reason.  Despite losing wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the season, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers appear to have the pieces in place to make another run.

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  • The Vikings are a popular pick to take their game to the next level.  Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a player on the rise while Adrian Peterson returns from suspension with something to prove.  If Mike Zimmer can get the defense to take a step forward, look out for the Vikings.

    The Lions will have to overcome the loss of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on defense while they try to get another productive season from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on the offensive side of the ball.  Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah is getting some good buzz as a potential difference maker.

    The Bears, well, we know that writer who picked them was as high as a kite.  The reality is the Bears are in the midst of a rebuild, so don’t go making any playoff plans just yet.

    Aug 29, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith looks on against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    In the NFC South, it’s not nearly as clear of a picture.  The Saints, Falcons, Panthers and even Lovie Smith’s Buccaneers get votes to win the division.  The Saints will have a new look with Jimmy Graham shipped off to Seattle and Kenny Stills now in Miami.  The Falcons have a new coaching staff but will rely on Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to lead the offense.  The Panthers will need some serious help catching the football with Kelvin Benjamin suffering a season ending injury, making tight end Greg Olsen a nice fantasy target.  Rookie Jameis Winston will lead the Bucs, but if it’s a Lovie Smith team, we know it’s going to be about the defense if they expect to win anything.  Color me skeptical.

    Over in the NFC East, the Eagles and Cowboys are the choices to win the division. Demarco Murray jumps across the rivalry, taking his league leading rushing total to Chip Kelly’s interesting offense.  Tony Romo will look to justify Dez Bryant‘s big contract extension. The ‘Boys will face questions about who picks up all the touches that Murray took with him to Philly.

    Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) is surrounded by fans and teammates following his NFC Championship game winning touchdown catch against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    In the NFC West, the Seahawks are a popular choice to recover from their Super Bowl loss to go back to win the division while some folks think the Cardinals can take the West.  For the Cardinals, they’ll need Carson Palmer to stay healthy while the Seahawks could suffer from a Super Bowl hangover.  They need to get Kam Chancellor back in the fold or the Legion of Boom won’t be the same.

    Most of our writers like a rematch of last season’s conference championship with the Packers and Seahawks as the most common picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  I think the Eagles are an interesting pick, but is Chip Kelly’s offense built for the postseason and harsh January weather.

    Next: Now let's take a look at the AFC...