Let's predict each NFL team's win-loss record!

Let's predict each NFL team's win-loss record!

How will Tom Brady and the world champion Bucs fare this year?
How will Tom Brady and the world champion Bucs fare this year?
Image: Getty Images

The NFL season is still four months away, but with the draft, the schedule release, and most of free agency in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to start looking forward to a season with lots of storylines to follow, more games than ever before, and fewer preseason games than ever before (three is still too many though). There are still a lot of question marks prior to the NFL’s start on September 9 that could affect the outcome of the NFL season: Where will Aaron Rodgers play? What’s going on with Deshaun Watson? Will Tim Tebow earn a spot on the Jaguars roster? OK, that last one probably doesn’t matter at all. That being said, rosters are mostly set, and barring some earth-shattering trades or cuts, we know what each team is, more or less, capable of. Therefore, here’s how the NFL will play out in 2021.

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AFC East: 1) Buffalo Bills

AFC East: 1) Buffalo Bills

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The Bills have a difficult start to the season facing Pittsburgh and Kansas City at home as well as Miami and Tennessee on the road within the first six weeks of the season. Their schedule cools down a little bit after that, but still remains rather difficult throughout. There is only one point in the season where the Bills will not have to play two playoff teams from last season within four weeks of one another, and that’s their final four games of the season. That being said, the Bills shouldn’t have much competition for this division. Miami showed signs in 2020, but until quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can be ready to be a franchise quarterback, it’s the Bills’ division to lose.

Prediction: 13-4

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AFC East: 2) Miami Dolphins

AFC East: 2) Miami Dolphins

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The Fins missed the playoffs by the hair of their chinny, chin-chins last season, and will be hungry for their first playoff berth since 2016. They won’t do it this year though. Despite an incredible offseason and stellar draft class, the Dolphins are built to win down the road, when Tua realizes his potential. We haven’t seen any signs of that, but maybe a reunion with his old college teammate, Jaylen Waddle, will help speed up the process.

Prediction: 9-8

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AFC East: 3) New England Patriots

AFC East: 3) New England Patriots

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What happens when you lose your best O-lineman, your most consistent receiver, one of your key defensive veterans, and use your draft picks on players that won’t play until halfway through the season? You lose 12 games for the first time since 1992, that’s what. The Patriots have a few good things going for them — Michael Onwenu and Mac Jones. As a rookie in 2020, Onwenu was a bright spot on an otherwise mediocre offense for the Patriots. The Michigan product allowed just three sacks while earning a PFF grade of 84.3. He’ll be an anchor on that line for years to come. Meanwhile Jones is unlikely to start early on this season. His accuracy and decision-making have been heralded coming out of Alabama, while receiving a lot of criticism for his lack of mobility. Yet, if anyone can succeed with that style of quarterback, it’s Bill Belichick.

Prediction: 5-12

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AFC East: 4) New York Jets

AFC East: 4) New York Jets

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With a new man wearing the headset in Robert Saleh (above) and a new young talent under center, Jets fans have reasons to be excited. That hopefulness will quickly be squashed after Sam Darnold and the Panthers trounce the new-look Jets in Week 1. That’ll be a real kick in the stomach. The Jets schedule is full of winnable games, and they have done a great job surrounding Wilson with both protection and weapons, but that defense is still a monumental challenge to overcome — even for someone as defensive-minded as Saleh. They could be a surprise 7 or 8-win team if everything lines up.

Prediction: 4-13

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AFC North: 1) Cleveland Browns

AFC North: 1) Cleveland Browns

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When it comes to complete rosters, it’s hard to find one that competes with Cleveland’s top to bottom. 2021 will be the year the Browns break their division title drought. While the team may not be as threatening as Buffalo or Kansas City just yet, Cleveland boasts arguably the best offensive line in the league, and a defense that’ll be sure to give even Patrick Mahomes trouble in Week 1. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs start the season 0-1 after facing this Browns squad. They’re not to be taken lightly.

Prediction: 11-6

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AFC North: 2) Baltimore Ravens

AFC North: 2) Baltimore Ravens

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This is Lamar Jackson’s year to prove he can be what he was in 2019. He’s got incredible weapons on the outside with the addition of Rashod Bateman through the draft, and — even with the loss of Orlando Brown — an offensive line that can hold its own with the best in the league. Baltimore doesn’t have much going against it, and if Lamar can regain his MVP form, the Ravens will be the most frightening team in the NFL.

Prediction: 11-6

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AFC North: 3) Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC North: 3) Pittsburgh Steelers

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We don’t show enough respect to Mike Tomlin. Fourteen years — not one losing season. That streak won’t end in 2021. Yes, I know the team lost a lot of key pieces on defense and on the offensive line and used its first-round pick on a running back, but this team transcends all of that. The Steelers have been a model of consistency the last 15 years only rivaled by Brady’s Patriots and Manning’s Colts. Go ahead and doubt this team. I doubt you will fare well.

Prediction: 9-8

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AFC North: 4) Cincinnati Bengals

AFC North: 4) Cincinnati Bengals

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Head coach Zac Taylor is on the hot seat. He has serious pressure to do well this season after going just 6-25-1 over his first two seasons. Quarterback Joe Burrow (above) is coming off a torn ACL and MCL, so protection had to be the Bengals’ No. 1 concern in the offseason. Cincinnati addressed that issue by signing Riley Reiff and drafting Jackson Carman. If those two can keep Burrow standing upright, then an aerial attack featuring Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and LSU rookie Ja’Marr Chase could be one of the most devastating in the league. The defense is another story. Not much has changed on that end. The team refused to re-sign Carl Lawson opting instead for a more expensive, less efficient version of Lawson in Trey Hendrickson. The addition of Mike Hilton was an underrated signing, but doesn’t do nearly enough to make up for all the other holes that the team faces on defense. This team will score a lot of points next year, but they’ll probably give up a ton more.

Prediction: 5-12

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AFC South: 1) Tennessee Titans

AFC South: 1) Tennessee Titans

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Still think 2019 was a fluke? The Titans turned in an 11-5 season in 2020 after four consecutive 9-7 seasons. The team also addressed most of their offseason roster losses as well. After losing Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, and Desmond King, the team went out and got Janoris Jenkins and Caleb Farley. The offense did lose some pieces in Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis, but A.J. Brown, Derrick Henry (above), and Ryan Tannehill are more than capable of succeeding without those two.

Prediction: 13-4

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AFC South: 2) Indianapolis Colts

AFC South: 2) Indianapolis Colts

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Imagine if Philip Rivers was slightly more mobile and had a stronger arm. Congratulations! You’ve seen the 2021 Indianapolis Colts with newly acquired QB Carson Wentz, who’ll continue his search for his lost career in Indiana. With a strong defense and great offensive line to go along with a heavy emphasis on the ground game that features Jonathan Taylor (above), the Colts will be one of the most solid teams in the league once again. But let’s be honest, they’re not winning the Super Bowl.

Prediction: 12-5

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AFC South: 3) Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC South: 3) Jacksonville Jaguars

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Trevor Lawrence (above) and head coach Urban Meyer have arrived, both ready to pull Jacksonville out of the cellar. For the first time in a long time, the Jaguars will actually have some claws. An offense led by the most highly-touted prospect since Andrew Luck, his college teammate in the backfield in Travis Etienne, and a rather deep receiving corps will cause some problems for even the most elite teams in the AFC. That being said, the Jags are still multiple years away from competing for a division title. But we’ll get to see if Meyer’s style can win at the the pro level.

Prediction: 6-11

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AFC South: 4) Houston Texans

AFC South: 4) Houston Texans

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There’s almost nothing good to say about this team....Laremy Tunsil is a good left tackle….David Johnson still has some pep in his step. That’s about it. I’m not even going to get into the Deshaun Watson (above) saga. It’s likely that the former Clemson signal-caller won’t see the field in 2021. That spells disaster for Texans.

Prediction: 2-15

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AFC West: 1) Kansas City Chiefs

AFC West: 1) Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs were exposed in the Super Bowl. Without protection, Super Mahomes (above with head coach Andy Reid) is a mere mortal who can be defeated and humiliated just like the rest of us. So, the Chiefs retooled their entire offensive line grabbing two All-Pros in the process. Yeah, we all know this team is going to be good. Not much else to say about them.

Prediction: 14-3

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AFC West: 2) Los Angeles Chargers

AFC West: 2) Los Angeles Chargers

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So, two seasons ago, the Buccaneers went 7-9, drafted an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick, drafted a defensive back named after his father in the second round, and then won the Super Bowl in their home stadium. The Chargers finished 2020 with a 7-9 record, drafted an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick, drafted a defensive back named after his father in the second round, and the Super Bowl is being held at SoFi Stadium, home of the Chargers this year. There’s nothing fishy about that. In all seriousness though, the Chargers are building around their young quarterback better than any team in the league. If Justin Herbert (above) continues to improve, this squad will give the Chiefs a run for their money in this division.

Prediction: 10-7

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AFC West: 3) Las Vegas Raiders

AFC West: 3) Las Vegas Raiders

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The Raiders have been made fun of to no end this offseason. They had a poor draft. They’re putting a club behind one of their endzones. They even lost one of their best receivers in *gulps heavily* Nelson Agholor. All that said, year in and year out, the Raiders pull off some of the biggest upsets of the season. They beat the Chiefs in 2020, then were one awful defensive call away from losing to the Jets. Vegas is a team that rides the perpetual treadmill of mediocrity. They’re not getting off any time soon.

Prediction: 7-10

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AFC West: 4) Denver Broncos

AFC West: 4) Denver Broncos

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Now, this could be subject to change. I personally believe Aaron Rodgers will end up in the Mile High City. It just makes too much sense, but until that notification pops up on my phone, the Broncos are headed by bologna on white bread Drew Lock. Denver has a lot of the right pieces in the right places, but just needs a franchise quarterback to become perennial contenders. If Rodgers does find his way over to Colorado, this team will end up with 12 or 13 wins. For now though — cellar dwellers.

Prediction: 7-10

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NFC East: 1) Dallas Cowboys

NFC East: 1) Dallas Cowboys

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It’s the return of the...everybody. Dallas’ offense suffered more injuries than any team should ever have to bear last season. Three key pieces of the offensive line and, of course, their starting quarterback all missed significant time. The Dallas offense has shown incredible promise in recent years and should finally reach its potential barring any major injuries once again. On defense, The Boys are still struggling to find their footing. Drafting LB Micah Parsons was a good start, and the hiring of Dan Quinn to replace Mike Nolan to run the defense could be the most under-appreciated coaching hire of the offseason. Hopefully, it pays off for the Cowboys.

Prediction: 10-7

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NFC East: 2) New York Giants

NFC East: 2) New York Giants

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The Giants are hoping Kenny Golladay lives up to his price tag. Even if he does though, this team does not have the pieces in place to set up a playoff run in 2021. Saquon Barkley is back, Daniel Jones (with Barkley, above) might take another leap forward, and the defense was bolstered in the offseason with the additions of Adoree Jackson and Azeez Ojulari — doesn’t matter. This team is still a far cry from contending in the deep NFC.

Prediction: 7-10

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NFC East: 3) Washington Football Team

NFC East: 3) Washington Football Team

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Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke are not playoff caliber quarterbacks. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. This team’s defense, led by Chase Young (above) will once again be its strong point. And while this team managed to sneak into the playoffs last year, that was against an injury-marred Cowboys team and the Carson Wentz-led Eagles. The Football Team won’t see the playoffs again in 2021.

Prediction: 7-10

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NFC East: 4) Philadelphia Eagles

NFC East: 4) Philadelphia Eagles

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Trading away Carson Wentz was a smart move, but Jalen Hurts’ passing ability is still a major question mark. Hurts (above) showed signs of remarkable explosiveness during his short stint under center last season, but only completed 52 percent of his passes. Drafting Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith 10th overall should help the passing game, but it won’t help enough to make this team a threat.

Prediction: 5-12

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NFC North: 1) Chicago Bears

NFC North: 1) Chicago Bears

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Rejoice Bears fans! Justin Fields is yours! Now, when you’re ready to start winning some football games, bench Andy Dalton, and start the rookie. Chicago has one of the toughest schedules in the league, so the sooner Fields sees the field, the better off they will be. The Bears’ success rests solely in the hands of head coach Matt Nagy (above).

Prediction: 10-7

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NFC North: 2) Minnesota Vikings

NFC North: 2) Minnesota Vikings

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The fact that the Vikings wanted to trade up for Justin Fields shows just how much the team trusts Kirk Cousins to lead them to the playoffs. The NFC North will likely be one of the weakest divisions in the NFL if Aaron Rodgers leaves Green Bay. Therefore, the division could be Minnesota’s for the taking. However, the Vikings play Chicago twice in the final four weeks of the season. It’s likely that Fields will be starting for Da Bears by then. Those two games will be pivotal in revealing the division winner. I choose Fields.

Prediction: 8-9

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NFC North: 3) Green Bay Packers

NFC North: 3) Green Bay Packers

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Even if Aaron Rodgers (above) isn’t traded before the season, he’s said that he will not suit up for the Packers ever again. So, it’s up to Blake Bortles or Jordan Love to repeat Green Bay’s 13-3 performance each of the last two seasons. That won’t happen. The Packers have just seven games against teams who finished under .500 last season, and four of those are on the road. It’s going to be a looooooooong season for Packers fans.

Prediction: 5-12

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NFC North: 4) Detroit Lions

NFC North: 4) Detroit Lions

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Even without Rodgers, the Packers own the Lions. Detroit has put the pieces in place to be a formidable adversary in a couple years, but 2021 will — yet again — be a difficult season to watch for Lions fans. The team has lost its identity on offense after trading long suffering Lion Matthew Stafford and losing its top two receiving targets — Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. However, the team has built up a plethora of draft picks over the next two years, and put together an underrated offensive line with Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, and 7th overall pick Penei Sewell. Your time is coming, Detroit. It’s just not in 2021.

Prediction: 5-12

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NFC South: 1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC South: 1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The rich get richer. After winning the Super Bowl, Tampa Bay was blessed with one of the easiest schedules in the league. Not only does it get two games against everyone else in this cupcake of a division, but it also faces every team in the NFC East — a division that saw none of its teams reach the .500 threshold in 2020. The team brought back all 22 of its starters on offense, including Tom Brady (above), and defense, so there’s no reason to believe this team won’t be just as dominant as it was last season down the stretch.

Prediction: 13-4

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NFC South: 2) New Orleans Saints

NFC South: 2) New Orleans Saints

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Oh, you thought this team would become irrelevant without Drew Brees? Think again. The Saints have gone 8-1 over the last two years with Brees out of the lineup. If Taysom Hill (above) becomes the starter, the Saints will have a versatile playmaker who went 3-1 last season. If Jameis Winston earns the starting role, the Saints will have a strong arm who’s flashed incredible talent and just spent a year on the bench learning from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Throw in the fact that Michael Thomas is a great candidate for a bounce-back season and that the defense continued to put up top-5 numbers last season, and you’ve got yourself a stellar choice for “Most Surprising Team” in 2021.

Prediction: 10-7

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NFC South: 3) Carolina Panthers

NFC South: 3) Carolina Panthers

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This is the break Sam Darnold has been looking for. He went from the miserable Jets to a team with Christian McCaffrey (above), D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson. However, that offensive line is still a huge problem with all but one of its pieces finishing outside the top-20 in PFF grade for their position last year. Carolina’s defense will likely be a problem, as well, despite the Panthers spending a first-round pick on major upside cornerback Jaycee Horn.

Prediction: 7-10

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NFC South: 4) Atlanta Falcons

NFC South: 4) Atlanta Falcons

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The Falcons could be a tank next year. Capable of doing incredible amounts of damage on offense. Rookie TE Kyle Pitts, Calvin Ridley, and Julio Jones (above) are undoubtedly the most formidable receiving trio in the league. It’s just too bad that tank is made of paper. The Falcons finished 29th in yards allowed last year and proceeded to hire an offensive-minded coach in Arthur Brown. If that doesn’t make the list for biggest head scratchers of the offseason, I don’t know what does. They didn’t address the defense in free agency either with their biggest additions on that end being...Brandon Copeland and Barkevious Mingo. That’s not good.

Prediction: 5-12

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NFC West: 1) Los Angeles Rams

NFC West: 1) Los Angeles Rams

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This division will likely come down to the wire as the 49ers and Rams will face off in the final week of the regular season. The Rams and coach Sean McVay (above) have put all their eggs into the “win-now” basket giving away a king’s ransom to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Lions this offseason. There isn’t a more top-heavy roster in the NFL. However, the Rams have put all their money into the right places. They’ve put together the best offensive line that Stafford has ever played with, and have a defensive line, led by Aaron Donald, unrivaled by anyone else in the league. They’ll be good, but have very strong competition in this division.

Prediction: 12-5

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NFC West: 2) San Francisco 49ers

NFC West: 2) San Francisco 49ers

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No team had players miss more time due to injury in 2020 than San Francisco. Among the 49ers who missed multiple games last season includes — Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa (above) — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The 49ers have one of the most complete rosters in the league. While “Jimmy G” may not be the guy to lead San Francisco to another Super Bowl appearance, third-overall pick Trey Lance has shown an explosiveness unlike any other quarterback in this year’s rookie class. He should be incredibly fun to watch...if he gets to see the field at all this year.

Prediction: 11-6

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NFC West: 3) Arizona Cardinals

NFC West: 3) Arizona Cardinals

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Isaiah Simmons will rebound. It’s hard to think that a linebacker as versatile and skilled as Simmons won’t bounce back, especially considering he’ll be paired with Zaven Collins now. The Cardinals boast one of the scariest front sevens in the league as well as a passing attack with more weapons than the U.S. military. DeAndre Hopkins (above), A.J. Green, and Rondale Moore is a combination I never knew I needed.

Prediction: 10-7

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NFC West: 4) Seattle Seahawks

NFC West: 4) Seattle Seahawks

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It’s tough to put Seattle here, but the Seahawks are unquestionably the least complete team in this division. Russell Wilson (above r.) may be the best quarterback, but he’s got no protection. The team made an effort to fix the issue with the signing of Gabe Jackson — who gave up zero sacks in over a thousand snaps last season — but that’s like trying to fix the Titanic with a roll of duct tape. It’s hard to bet against Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Chris Carson, but unless the defense vastly improved despite zero impact signings in the offseason, then betting against them might be the most logical thing to do.

Prediction: 9-8

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