Scrolling through my Bleacher Report feed yesterday morning, I came across an article titled, “Post Draft Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team.” This immediately caught my attention because I love seeing the opinions of different NFL experts. What I was mostly looking for was who this writer had as surprise teams or teams who have great expectations who will fail to live up to them. After looking through the record for each team, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
The worst record given to any team in these record predictions was 6-10. I asked myself, “When was the last time the worst team in the NFL was 6-10?” I then proceeded to find the best record given, which was 11-5. “When was the last time the best team in the NFL was 11-5?,” I asked myself. Before even looking into the numbers, I knew these record predictions were not an accurate representation of what the NFL standings will look like when next season is over.
Just to be sure, I went to NFL.com to check out the team standings from previous years. The records date back to 1970, but the league didn’t start playing 16 regular season games until 1978, so we’ll go from then to now. Excluding 1982 (Only 9 games played that year), the best record of the worst team in the NFL is 4-12. The worst record of the best team in the NFL is 12-4.
To add some additional insight to these numbers, most of the time there’s at least one or more teams who match or are within one or two games of being the best or worst team. If you look through the numbers, you won’t see just one team who’s 1-15 and then the next worst team is 6-10. Almost always there’s a team who went 2-14 or 3-13. It’s the same with the best teams.
So what I’m saying is, the record predictions in this Bleacher Report article are not what you’re going to be seeing when the 2018 regular season comes to an end. The best team will be better than 11-5 and the worst team will be worse than 6-10. There were only five teams who were predicted to get double digit wins. Again, something that’s not likely to happen. The last time there were less than 10 teams in the NFL who had double digit wins was in 2011. Nine teams had double digit wins that year. Basically what this Bleacher Report writer is saying, is that almost every team in the NFL is going to be mediocre. No. No way. Like every other year, there will be teams who are horrible and win four games or less and there will be very good teams who win 12 or more games.
Below you’ll find my post draft record predictions for every team in the NFL next season. I’ve taken a look at each teams recent history, who they’ve acquired this offseason, and who they play this year to predict each teams record.
Arizona Cardinals: 7-9
The Cardinals lost some key pieces during the offseason, but they’ve also made some good additions. They’ll get David Johnson back, who will help the offense a ton. Between Sam Bradford and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, there may be some struggles there, but I can see the Cardinals being a decent team.
Atlanta Falcons: 9-7
Starting the season against the Eagles, Panthers, and Saints will be tough. Their best situation coming out of those games I think is 2-1. They play the Steelers a couple weeks later, with the Packers, Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins later in the season. I still think this team can make the playoffs, but they won’t have it easy.
Baltimore Ravens: 6-10
Baltimore’s defense can only do so much to keep them in games. Joe Flacco got some new weapons, but it may take a while for those weapons to develop. With Lamar Jackson waiting behind Flacco, there will be a lot of speculation about when he’ll play. If Flacco has a few bad games, Jackson is in. It may take him a while to adjust to the NFL game.
Buffalo Bills: 5-11
Tyrod Taylor is better than both quarterbacks who could potentially start for this team when the year begins. McCarron can win a few games, but Josh Allen will start at some point and there’s not going to be instant success with him.
Carolina Panthers: 9-7
This team can’t seem to put together good back to back years. They’re good one year and the next they struggle. Well last year they were good, so now they struggle again. I don’t really see them as an improved team going into this year.
Chicago Bears: 6-10
Chicago is getting better. They made some good picks in the draft and offseason to help their defense, and more importantly their young quarterback. They’re not going to be contenders just yet, but I do see them improving from last season a little bit.
Cincinnati Bengals: 5-11
Let’s face it, Andy Dalton is not the answer at quarterback for the Bengals. They’ve now missed the playoffs the last two years and Dalton’s play is a big reason why. I predict they’ll be picking at the top of the draft next year, meaning they should target Dalton’s replacement.
Cleveland Browns: 4-12
Yes, the Browns have acquired a lot of good talent this offseason, but you have to remember they went 0-16 last year. They have pieces to be better, but how long will it take them to put it all together? I can see them improving to be contenders in the near future, but not the future of next season.
Dallas Cowboys: 10-6
Dallas has a tough schedule this year. Put that with the probable loss of Jason Witten and the release of Dez Bryant and everyone thinks they’re going to be terrible. Last year they were 9-7 and almost made the playoffs. That was without Zeke for 6 games, arguably the best left tackle in the game for several games, and one of the best linebackers in the league for several games. Those were just some injuries. This team was right there without their best players. Enter Zeke for 16 games and healthy star players, and the Cowboys are back to having the best run game in the NFL and are in the playoffs.
Denver Broncos: 9-7
Even with the signing of Case Keenum, I still see the Broncos offense holding them back from being true contenders. Their defense can still be a force, especially the pass rush, but the defense needs a capable offense to function properly. They’ll be better than last season, but not where they want to be.
Detroit Lions: 9-7
I think the Lions running game will be better this year with the additions they’ve made, but not where it should be for the Lions offense to reach its full potential. With the Packers and Vikings in the division, it will be tough for the Lions to not only win the division, but make the playoffs. I think they’ll be close again, but just miss out.
Green Bay Packers: 12-4
Green Bay doesn’t have an easy schedule, but that doesn’t matter when you have Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback. Rodgers wasn’t healthy for much of last season, which is why they struggled. With Rodgers back, the Packers are contenders. They also made some nice additions to their team in the draft, boosting their defense. A better defense can only benefit Rodgers.
Houston Texans: 8-8
Houston has made improvements to their defense, which should get a boost if their star players can get and stay healthy. With Watson coming back from injury, it may take him some time to adjust. I expect him to be a little shaky early on and then settle in once he gets more comfortable. It’s not an overly tough schedule for them, but the start the season has them against the Patriots and a few playoff teams from last year.
Indianapolis Colts: 5-11
Andrew Luck is hopefully coming back, but will he be the same Andrew Luck right away? I think it will take time for him to get back in the swing of things. This team has problems way past Andrew Luck. The defense has to play much better. It made strides at the end of last season, but we’ll see if they can build on that.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 10-6
This team had one of the best defense’s in the NFL last season, and I expect it to be that way again. Their running game on offense was pretty good, but the passing game wasn’t great. With the loss of both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, I don’t expect this passing game to be any better. The defense is going to ball out, keeping the Jaguars as contenders, but can Bortles get the passing game going?
Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7
Alex Smith was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL last season, and now he’s gone. Patrick Mahomes has shown in a small sample he can play well, but I don’t expect him to dominate right away. He’s got some very good weapons around him, but let’s not get too hyped about this offense just yet. The offense will be good, but I don’t think it will be one of the best. The defense took a big hit losing Marcus Peters, so we’ll see how they can function without him and his great playmaking abilities.
Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6
Phillip Rivers and the Chargers won six of their last seven games last season, so I expect that to continue into this upcoming season. The defense is emerging, and they just got a steal in the draft with safety Derwin James. Perhaps the best pass rushing duo in the league may have an easier time with some improved coverage from the rookie safety. The offensive line should be better, giving Rivers more time in the pocket and an improved run game. It’s an average schedule for the Chargers this year, so I think their improvement on both sides of the ball gets them into the playoffs.
Los Angeles Rams: 12-4
I love what the Rams have done this offseason. Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, etc. An already very good defense looks like it will be one of the best in the NFL. Their defensive line dominates and their cover guys can really cover. The guys they acquired aren’t just big names, they’re good players. They’ve got some tough games on the schedule just like everyone else, but I expect this team to continue winning playoff like games, which will hopefully allows them to win a playoff game next year.
Miami Dolphins: 3-13
This team has lost probably its three best players in Landry, Suh, and Pouncey this offseason. That’s not a winning formula. I don’t believe in Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback. I don’t see this offense or defense being good enough to win games for them. It’s time for a rebuild in Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: 11-5
This defense is still going to be one of the best in the NFL. Having Kirk Cousins as quarterback is solid, but I don’t see a real improvement there from Case Keenum. They’ll get Dalvin Cook back, who will hopefully get back to his pre-injury self. He was having a great rookie year until the injury. This team has a tough schedule, having to play the Packers twice, Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Saints, and Patriots. Despite the schedule, I believe they can win several of these games because of their defense.
New England Patriots: 13-3
New England is always one of the best teams in the NFL. That will continue next season. We thought they might struggle last season after starting 2-2, but then they finished with a 13-3 record anyway. Like every year, the Patriots lost pieces and add pieces, but it doesn’t really matter who those pieces are as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around.
New Orleans Saints: 10-6
If the Saints offense continues to dominate and the young players on their defense continue to improve, I don’t see them taking a step back. This team knows its Super Bowl window is open right now, but won’t be for long with Drew Brees getting up there in age. Their division gives them a tough schedule, but they also have to play the Rams, Eagles, and Steelers. If they start 0-2 again, I’m not sure they’ll be able to get out of that hole this time, but I don’t see the bad start happening. Their first two games are against the Buccaneers and Browns.
New York Giants: 10-6
One of the worst offense’s in the league should be much better this season. Their offensive line wasn’t great last year, they had a lot of injuries, and they didn’t have a running game. Right now they’re healthy, they addressed the offensive line, and they drafted the best running back in the draft. Saquon Barkley and the rushing attack is going to boost the passing game significantly. I expect the Giants to be one of the most improved teams.
New York Jets: 6-10
I like what the Jets did in the draft. They got some good pieces who should contribute right away. I think the Jets are an up and coming team, especially if Sam Darnold develops like he’s expected to, but they’re not ready to be contenders right now. Give them a couple more years to develop, but know they’re on their way.
Oakland Raiders: 5-11
Having Jon Gruden as their coach is exciting, but I feel like Gruden is building the team for the past NFL, not today’s NFL. I don’t like what they did in the draft and I don’t think they addressed their biggest needs. I expect this team to struggle all around once again. Maybe Gruden’s plan is more of a long term build, but I don’t think it’s going to help much right now.
Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4
If you look at what the Eagles did this offseason, they’ve reloaded the roster. They added to the defensive line that was already dominating teams, and they got some new weapons for Carson Wentz. The reigning Super Bowl champs will remain one of the best teams in the NFL, but winning 13 games is not easy. Everyone is coming after them now.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5
If Le’Veon Bell is on the field, this team is going to do well. Roethlisberger can still play at a high level, and of course Antonio Brown will be a huge factor. The defense played very well last season, so if they can continue that play they’ll be able to win their division easily. Playing the Browns and Bengals twice should give them wins, although they’re not automatic victories, and the Ravens are on the decline I feel.
San Francisco 49ers: 10-6
Having a long term quarterback in place will allow this offense and team to thrive. Ending last season on a high note will give this team a lot of confidence going into this next season. 49ers fans should be excited for their future. They have a favorable schedule, especially during the second part of the season when it matters most. 49ers are going to the playoffs.
Seattle Seahawks: 8-8
Russell Wilson is going to have to carry this team this year. They lost a lot of pieces who still need to be replaced. They didn’t really address their offensive line problem, so I expect that to still be an issue. Wilson will keep them in games, but the defense isn’t what it once was. It could get even worse if Seattle trades Earl Thomas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-13
The Bucs start the season off against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers. An 0-3 start is going to be tough to recover from, especially when they have to play the Saints again, Panthers twice, Falcons twice, Cowboys, 49ers, Redskins, and Giants.
Tennessee Titans: 9-7
During the NFL Draft the Titans took care of two of their biggest needs, so I expect the defense to improve because of those. The offense on the other hand didn’t get much better, if better at all. This passing game wasn’t highly ranked last year and they didn’t get any big additions. I expect the running game to be about the same, even with the loss of DeMarco Murray. Derrick Henry can handle things. I see this team being about the same as they were last season.
Washington Redskins: 8-8
I expect the NFC East to be one of the most competitive divisions in football this coming season. I have the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants all winning double digit games. Unfortunately for the Redskins, it means they’re left out. They won’t be a bad team, but they’ll keep getting knocked off by their NFC East opponents.