Sports Football

NFL predictions for the 2017 season

By Torben Rolfsen

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos waves to fans during a preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos waves to fans during a preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

After an offseason that featured people protesting outside NFL headquarters (most of them players injured during the unnecessary four-game exhibition slate), it’s time for the games to start counting.

The 2017 season kicks off Thursday night with Kansas City at New England.

Here are how the teams are shaping up in September (with record predictions) :

AFC EAST

New England Patriots 13-3

Julian Edelman loss is tough, but they’re effectively replacing him with Rob Gronkowski.

Miami Dolphins 8-8

Too many injuries and a lack of identity.

Buffalo Bills 6-10

Not sure what’s worse: the offence or the defence.

New York Jets 3-13

Threatening the Knicks and Trump as the worst New Yorkers.

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4

Possibly the best offence in the league.

Baltimore Ravens 8-8

Offensive snooze-fest won’t improve enough this year.

Cincinnati Bengals 6-10

Boring team might be boosted by speedy rookies.

Cleveland Browns 3-13

Third-best pro team in Ohio after Bengals and Buckeyes.

AFC SOUTH

Tennessee Titans 9-7

Too many question marks.

Houston Texans 9-7

Terrible offence will sabotage a great D.

Indianapolis Colts 8-8

Not even a healthy Andrew Luck can do it all himself.

Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10

Bad QB-ing will sink promising defensive team.

AFC WEST

Oakland Raiders 12-4

Potentially great offence could be hampered by average D.

Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

Solid team being held back by the QB shortage.

Denver Broncos 8-8

Another great D troubled by QB chaos.

Los Angeles Chargers 7-9

Will they outdraw the Galaxy?

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys 10-6

So-so D will sink potent offence.

New York Giants 10-6

OL could continue as Achilles Heel.

Philadelphia Eagles 6-10

Average almost everywhere won’t get them into playoffs.

Washington Redskins 6-10

Kirk Cousins?!?!? Um, no.

NFC NORTH

Green Bay Packers 12-4

Serious threat, but defensive questions linger.

Minnesota Vikings 9-7

Good D, but not enough on offence.

Detroit Lions 5-11

NFL’s highest-paid player should be good for five wins with this group.

Chicago Bears 4-12

When does hockey season start? Chelsea Dagger to the heart before they start.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons 12-4

Should bounce back to prove staying power.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6

Will contend for a wild card.

Carolina Panthers 8-8

Secondary will get lit up.

New Orleans Saints 7-9

Drew Brees following Tom Brady as an ageless wonder.

NFC WEST

Seattle Seahawks 11-5

Offensive line is the Bermuda Triangle of the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals 9-7

Too many question marks at QB.

Los Angeles Rams 4-12

Might need to move back to St. Louis or San Diego or Saskatoon or wherever they’re from.

San Francisco 49ers 3-13

Send the whole franchise to Alcatraz.

SUPER BOWL: Patriots over Packers