NFL

Predicting the 2021 NFL Division Winners

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 29: The Kansas City Chiefs run onto the field before an AFC West game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs on December 29, 2019 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

All 32 teams made moves this offseason. Some teams spent a lot of money in free agency, and others made moves in the draft to rebuild with some young talent. With free agency and the draft over, we will be predicting the eight NFL division winners for the 2021 season.

AFC West

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC West will be a competitive division, but it’s still the Chiefs’ division to lose. The Raiders proved that they have the offensive firepower to compete with them but lack the defensive talent to stop them.

The Broncos and Chargers are also much improved, which will make for some exciting matchups in 2021. However, the Chiefs are still the favorites in the West.

The team addressed its offensive line and added some linebacker talent in the draft. The defense still has some holes, but the offense is still one of the best in the league.

The Chiefs are still favorites in the West and one of the favorites representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart (90) and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Tyquan Lewis (94) yell in excitement after a possible turnover at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Tennessee Titans are leading after the first half, 35-14. Ini 1129 Colts Vs Titans
Grace Hollars/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

It is going to be an exciting battle between the Colts and Titans. I’m giving the Colts the upper hand because of their defensive talent, and I think the Titans’ offense will hurt with the departures of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. The second-best receiver behind AJ Brown is Josh Reynolds. 

The Colts brought in Carson Wentz to be their new starting quarterback, and a fresh start is what he needs. He has talented running backs to hand the ball to and a solid offensive line to protect him. 

The Titans are still a playoff team, but their offense is going to be more one-dimensional. Derrick Henry will be great like he always is, but how will the offense look when they need to move the ball through the air?

AFC East

Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going to see a battle between the Bills and Dolphins for years to come. However, I think the Bills are going to keep the crown in the 2021 season. 

Josh Allen will play at an MVP type level again and have that team in serious playoff contention. 

Buffalo improved on the offensive side of the ball and brought back most of their starters on defense. I believe Miami will be in the playoffs next season, but I think they’re a year away from being serious contenders in the AFC.

AFC North

Dec 15, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80), Odell Beckham Jr. (13) and Rashard Higgins (81) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC North had three representatives in last year’s playoffs, which could very well be the case this season. The only thing different will be the team hosting a playoff game.

The Browns have a lot to build off from last season and are set to make some giant leaps forward in 2021. Cleveland had some big free-agent signings on the defensive side of the ball and had a great draft.

The Browns are also getting Odell Beckham Jr. back, which will only make that offense more dynamic. If Baker Mayfield can build off the success he saw at the end of last season, Cleveland will win the AFC North and have a chance to make a serious run in the postseason. 

NFC West

Jan 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) is pursued by Arizona Cardinals free safety Jalen Thompson (34) in the second half at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 18-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC West is the toughest division to predict a winner because it’s the only division where you could make a case for all four teams. I’m choosing the Rams because I feel the only thing that kept them from winning it last season was consistent quarterback play.

Matthew Stafford is getting the fresh start he needs, and he is heading to a team where he won’t have to do everything. The Rams have a great defense and have a solid receiving core with many options for Stafford to throw to.

This division race will most likely come down to the final week of the season. The Cardinals are much improved, and the Seahawks are still the Seahawks, so they’ll be in the mix. Don’t forget about the 49ers either because they have a lot to prove after struggling last season with injuries. 

I still feel the Rams will win the NFC West, but it will not be easy.

NFC South

Feb 10, 2021; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (left) and quarterback Ryan Griffin after a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC South is the Buccaneers’ division to lose. The defending champs are bringing back every single starter from last season, which is unheard of. 

The Saints will continue to be competitive and one of the top teams in the NFC, even with Drew Brees retiring this offseason. However, Tampa Bay is the favorite in this division and the favorite in the entire conference.

The Buccaneers didn’t have many needs going into the draft but still found ways to add some depth on the defensive side and possibly their quarterback of the future in Kyle Trask. 

NFC East

Sep 14, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive guard Kevin Zeitler (70) blocks during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have had a busy offseason. They spent some big money and brought in some big-time free agents. They also had a solid draft after trading down and found ways to grab some early-round talent.

It is going to be a substantial prove-it year for Daniel Jones. He has an actual number one receiver in Kenny Golladay, and the offense is getting Saquon Barkley back. If Daniel Jones can produce and limit the turnovers, the Giants will make some noise in 2021. 

The Giants have a talented defense that can force turnovers, so limiting the turnovers on offense will be key. Daniel Jones has a turnover problem, so fixing could help him take his next step as a quarterback and the Giants’ next step as a franchise.

NFC North

Jan 24, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) during the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A lot is going on with this organization over the past week. According to reports, Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the organization and doesn’t want to play in Green Bay unless their General Manager is fired.

However, since he is still on the team, I believe the Packers will win the NFC North. However, it is not going to be a cakewalk.

The Bears, Lions, and Vikings all had a solid draft and addressed some serious needs. The Bears got their quarterback of the future in Justin Fields, the Lions beefed up both the offensive and defensive line, and the Vikings did the same. 

The Packers are still prone to win the division but don’t be surprised if it comes down to the season’s final weeks.

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