Less than a year ago the Chiefs were considered the laughing stock of the NFL. They realized they had to start over. They made key moves on their roster like adding Alex Smith and finally signing the difference maker, Coach Andy Reid. Now everyone is talking about the team with the number one pick in last year's draft potentially having a perfect season and moving to the 32nd pick. Other teams have performed well when not expected like the Jets, Lions, and Panthers. And some have disappointed like the Falcons, Texans, Redskins, and Vikings. Ultimately, we have found the contenders and pretenders and the contenders have a chance to make a run for the playoffs.
North- This division consistently is competitive but this year has been hard because the Bengals have been the only elite team. It has been closer because of Cincinnati's inconsistency on the road. They have struggled to win close games on the road but have showed up against challenging teams. Due to the poor play by the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns they will get it done and make it to the postseason. Winner- Bengals.
South- Again, inconsistency has been shown from each team. The Colts are leading the division but showed many weaknesses against the Rams. This might affect them but they won't have to do much to win this division. Winner- Colts
East- This division will be a battle if the Jets could break the streak of not winning two consecutive games. The Patriots however need to win one of their tougher games against the Broncos and Panthers. Those are two tough requirements, but I think it comes down to the Patriots being two games ahead of the Jets. I think the Pats will take advantage of that and barely win the division. Winner- Patriots
West- This will be a great battle. The #1 offense and #1 defense are fighting to win the division. It will be tough but I think the Chiefs haven't played any challenging games yet and will be brought back to earth by playing Denver. The Broncos will upset Chiefs fans by winning the West. Winner- Broncos.
AFC Wild Card- The Chiefs will be angry and definitely make the playoffs with their record. But the final spot comes down to the Jets and the Chargers. I think Rex Ryan will have the Jets fired up and ready to play. But the Chargers will fall short of the playoff spot and finish third in the west. Winner- Chiefs and Jets
North- Earlier this season everyone would have predicted a down to the wire fight for the NFC North. But what happened? Injuries! The loss of Aaron Rodgers has affected the whole Packers team. The Bears lost Jay Cutler to an injury. That leaves the Lions to take charge. They have the talent but just need to be consistent enough to sustain a lead. I think they will perform and come back from a poor start to the season. Winner- Lions
South-The Saints have been an elite team but still have the Panthers to finish off. It will be tough because of Cam Newton and their stout defense. But the Saints are just too hot and will continue that in the playoffs. Winner- Saints.
East-Each team in this division has struggled. I think the two main teams will be the Cowboys and Eagles but I think Dallas has played better games than the Eagles. It will come down to the last game of the season but Dallas is the more complete team. Winner- Cowboys.
West-The experts thought the Seahawks and 49ers would have an all out battle for the division. But so far the 49ers have struggled to keep up with Seattle as Collin Kappernick has not been as explosive. I think it stays with the Seahawks being dominant. Winner-Seahawks.
NFC Wild Card- This leaves a handful of competitive teams. I think the Panthers have been hot and they will continue to perform. That leaves the 49ers, Packers, Bears, and Cardinals. The Packers have struggled without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and will lose at least a couple more games. The Bears struggled with Cutler back and now he is out again. The Cardinals have played better and the 49ers are coming of a disappointing loss. I still believe the 49ers are the better team because they are getting stars like Michael Crabtree back and they are the most complete team. Winner- Panthers and 49ers
Once the playoffs shake out there will be award talk. Who's the MVP? Who is comeback player of the year? Who is the rookie of the year?
MVP- Peyton Manning is the first name to come to mind but Drew Brees and maybe even Jimmy Graham have to be a consideration. Brees has been great this year making plays and throws to Jimmy Graham. But I still think Peyton Manning has more production and will win the award. Winner- Peyton Manning
Coach of the year- Andy Reid has taken the worst team to one of the best. But Rex Ryan has taken a Jets team with little expectations and has put them in the playoff hunt. If Rex's team can be consistent he has a shot at winning the award But for now Reid is leading the competition. Winner- Andy Reid
Comeback Player of the Year- This award will be easier to decide because of the candidates. I think it will be easy for Jammal Charles to win. He has had a really good year coming of an injury from last season. He has been explosive making plays into touchdowns in both running and receiving. Winner- Jammal Charles
Rookie of the Year- It has been back in forth with Kiko Alanso and Sheldon Richardson but I think Alanso has the edge. He makes more plays including interceptions. Even though Richardson can pressure the quarterback Alanso has had a better season already and is becoming a legend in Buffalo. Winner- Kiko Alanso
Each team and player will be hard to predict their impact in the last 7 games. But right now we know who is and not in the hunt for an award and a playoff berth.