Saturday 19 August 2017 / 11:33 AM

CONFERENCE CHAMPS PREDICTIONS

We’re almost a third of the way through the NFL season, so it’s about time to do some preliminary conference standings predictions and see how they hold up.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

AFC East

The Patriots lead the conference with a 4-1, but they have to keep an eye out on the Buffalo Bills, who are a few wins away from taking the lead with a 3-2 record. The competition intensity is higher than it normally is between these two teams, especially since the Bills were able to shut out the Pats 16-0 in Week 4. This is going to be a Bill Belichick v Rex Ryan scramble, but the Patriots are the heavy favorite to win. The Jets and Dolphins are non-threats.

AFC West

The Raiders and Broncos are tied with 4-1 records, but the Raiders have a 1-0 division lead over the Chargers, putting them ahead of the Broncos. If the Broncos play like they did on Sunday and Paxton Lynch isn’t able to develop, the Raiders will likely hold onto that No.1 spot.

AFC North

The leader of the AFC North is the Cleveland Browns. Just kidding, they’re awful. The Steelers and Ravens are going to be battling it out for the top spot. The Steelers are gripping that No.1 position with a 4-1 record, and with Ben Roethlisberger heating up are likely to steamboat past the Ravens.

AFC South

The Texans lead this conference with a 3-2 record, with the Titans, Colts and Jags trailing behind. The AFC South is more of a toss-up between the Titans and Colts, and the Titans will probably end up being first. I don’t expect any of these teams to advance anywhere near the Super Bowl, but a conference championship matters too, right? Well, not really.

The top Super Bowl contender out of the AFC is the New England Patriots. With Tom Brady back and thirsty for blood after being in time out for four games, I believe the Patriots are going to destroy every team on their way to a near-undefeated season.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

NFC East

Surprisingly, the Cowboys lead the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles trailing behind. I am expecting Carson Wentz to shut the Cowboys down in week 8. It might be too soon to tell, but Wentz leading the Eagles to No.1 in their conference in his rookie season is not a bad look at all. A shot at the Super Bowl would be amazing, but it isn’t likely for any of these teams.

NFC West

The Seahawks are holding onto the top seed with the new contender Los Angeles Rams in second. Somehow, the Cardinals are trailing in third. The Cardinals were expected to be leaders of their conference and were favorites to head to the Super Bowl, but things are just not playing out how Arizona want them to. Things look dire with Carson Palmer still out. The Seahawks lost to the Rams in Week 2 and have tallied up their wins against pretty bad teams like the Dolphins, 49ers and Jets. They will be put to the test next week against the Falcons.

NFC North

The Vikings will be number one. Period. They are playing at a phenomenal level, not to mention handing the Packers an L in Week 2. Aaron Rodgers is still throwing picks left and right and it is doubtful Minnesota will lose enough games with Green Bay winning enough to really change the rankings here. The Lions and Bears are a non-factor, as per usual.

NFC South

The Falcons reign supreme over the NFC South with a 4-1 record. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense ignited out of nowhere and were able to cruise through 2015 Super Bowl Champs Denver at Mile High Stadium. They did lose to the Buccaneers in the first week, and the Buccs are trailing in second. The Carolina Panthers were one of the top picks for the season, but with Cam Newton out with a concussion things are not looking good.

With the Cardinals and Panthers subdued, the NFC is up for grabs. The most likely Super Bowl contenders are the Vikings, Falcons, and Eagles. The Vikings are doing great and are off to a 5-0 start with a defense that seems to be everywhere, but we’ll see how they do next week against the Eagles. The Eagles are performing as well with a rookie QB, but their disintegration to a team like the Lions makes them an unlikely Super Bowl contender. The Falcons, however, are looking better and better. If that first week loss to the Buccaneers can be disregarded as a weird occurrence, they are in the same neighborhood as the Vikings but with more firepower on offense.

My Prediction for the Super Bowl in 2017: New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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