The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back with predictions for the 2015 NFL season as we begin the long wait to training camp. Check out our latest podcast and make sure to give a follow to our newest staff members: AJ Sicignano and Jason Wiles. Let’s get into it…
1. Taking The Under – On the San Francisco 49ers at 7.5 wins. Even if you think Jim Tomsula won’t be a monumental downgrade from Jim Harbaugh (he will), there has been too much of a talent and leadership exodus for an already average team to overcome in the stacked up NFC West. In the AFC, Houston is a tempting pick at 8.5 wins. Their quarterback situation is equally messy as it was in 2014, Arian Foster is a year older, Andre Johnson is gone and both Jacksonville and Tennessee should be more competitive in 2015.2. Taking The Over – Atlanta at 8.5 wins. The division is still wide open, Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan should provide a nice upgrade to their coaching staff and their defense should take strides in the right direction this season. In the AFC, Jacksonville should be able to surpass 5.5 wins this season, particularly if Blake Bortles makes any type of progress.
3. Not Quite There Yet – The Jets offensive line is still concerning but at least they finally added a backup tackle with some experience by signing Charles Brown and another blocking tight end in Steve Maneri. It is shame the Maneri addition had to come at the cost of releasing TE Zach Sudfeld due to torn knee ligaments. Twitter was ready to put Calvin Pryor on a shame walk today over a play many did not see (including this writer) but multiple people at the practice confirmed there was nothing malicious about his actions. Pryor led with his shoulder up high and knocked Sudfeld off balance, leading him to land on his leg awkwardly. This was a young player going a tick too fast in a non-contact drill, which is a fairly common occurrence. I’d save the outrage for when it is warranted.
4. Still The King – It is hard to justify an evaluation that says New England had a good off-season. They lost Darrelle Revis, Shane Vereen, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Browner, Stevan Ridley, Kyle Arrington and of course Tom Brady for a likely 2-4 games. Their secondary looks incredibly thin on paper and there are always questions about Gronk staying healthy. However, they are still the favorite in both the AFC East and AFC until proven otherwise. They have the coaching and quarterback advantage (for at least 3/4ths of the season) over every team in the conference. Miami, Buffalo and the Jets are much more equipped to take a run at them than they have been in recent years but all of those team still have their own share of question marks.
5. Speaking Of AFC East Teams – I’m more bullish on Miami then Buffalo, even though you can make a fair case for either team winning 10 games this year (or on the flip side not reaching 8 wins). Miami has a competent, ascending quarterback and a well rounded roster but a putrid coaching staff. Buffalo should have a terrific defense and has compiled a strong collection of weapons at the offensive skill positions but nobody at quarterback and a weak offensive line. Rex will be Rex and have the Bills pull off a few upsets but then napping the week after so who knows if they can avoid the roller coaster and climb past .500?6. Jet Expectations – Fan expectations seem to be playoffs or bust. I’d expect many pre-season prognostications to have the Jets somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7. This feels like a team who should be playing relevant football in December but so much is going to hinge on the offensive line stabilizing and Geno Smith being somewhere around league average on a week to week basis. They will be tested right out of the gate in the first quarter of their schedule pre-bye with an opportunity to have statement performances on Monday Night in Indianapolis (a popular Super Bowl pick) and home vs. Philadelphia (a team many think is playoff bound and poses unique challenges under Chip Kelly). Week 4 in London against Miami is a chance to get off on the right foot in the AFC East, where the Jets have been terrible the past three years with a 6-12 overall record.
7. Crosstown – Judging by he how finished last year in a new offense and the weapons around him, I’d expect Eli Manning to have a highly productive season in 2015. The Giants are going to have to battle Philadelphia for a wild-card because Dallas is still the favorite in the NFC East and should be a 11-12 win team again. It is impossible for Odell Beckham Jr not to regress somewhat but he will still be productive enough to show he was the best overall receiver in the 2014 draft class. Beckham’s production will help mask the struggles of first round tackle Ereck Flowers who was over-drafted this past year.
8. Staying The Same – I still don’t fully understand how Jeff Fisher gets a yearly pass (power of personality/perception). He is .500 or worse in his past five seasons and eight of his last ten seasons overall. Nick Foles isn’t taking that team anywhere past 7-9 behind their current offensive line with two games apiece against Seattle and Arizona. Hopefully for Rams fans, Todd Gurley can get healthy and make an immediate impact for them alongside Tre Mason.9. NFC North Shuffle – Green Bay should still find a way to win the division but look for Minnesota to push them more than Detroit in 2015, who feels like a team ready to regress. The Vikings offense could be highly productive if Teddy Bridgewater keeps improving, Charles Johnson continues to develop and Adrian Peterson is anywhere near his normal form. Norv Turner has been an inconsistent Head Coach but he can coordinate an offense.
10. Rare Milestones – It has become sadly rare for Jets running backs and receivers to transcend 1,000 yards however Chris Ivory and Brandon Marshall are both going to have a great chance to break that trend this season, particularly Marshall. If Ivory’s touch rhythm is broken up less frequently in games, there is no reason he cannot be a 1,100 yard type player for Chan Gailey (pending his health of course).
11. OROY/DROY Watch – Melvin Gordon (San Diego), Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia), Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay). Vic Beasley (Atlanta). Marcus Peters (Kansas City). Danny Shelton (Cleveland).
12. The Way Too Early, Entirely Subject To Change Playoff Picks In June Because Why The Hell Not
- AFC: New England, Indianapolis, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Miami
- NFC: Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle, Minnesota, Atlanta, Philadelphia