By: Lucas Kochevar
12. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are simply this high because of their defense. They still have one of the league's best defenses. They have some of the best defensive players in the league with Von Miller, Chris Harris, and Aquib Talib. The only reason I have them this low is that they do not have their offense figured out at all. They have some good pieces on the O-Line, a great receiver duo in Emmanuel Sanders and Demariyus Thomas, and a solid RB in CJ Anderson. The problem for them is that they do not have a true, stable QB situation. They have a young QB battle as both Trevor Simeon and Paxton Lynch are trying to win the position battle. They should be solid squad and if one of the QBs turns out to be halfway decent they will be right in the playoff race like last year.
11. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals had a rough year but it is hard to believe that they were in the NFC Championship Game just two years ago. The Cardinals should be energized again as they will have their leader, Tyrann Mathieu, back. They did lose key pieces like Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson. Bruce Araians should be able to lead his team back into the wildcard as he will orchestrate his brilliant offense with David Johnson at the forefront. Carson Palmer will have another solid year as he has his reliable target Larry Fitzgerald and deep threat John Brown. I still have them in this position due to their schedule and Carson Palmer will probably miss a game or two since his age will most likely get him hurt again.
10. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans almost shocked people by making it to the playoffs in Marcus Mariota's 2nd season. Mariota is one of my favorite players and young QBs in the league. I think he took a huge leap and the only problem for him was that he tore his ACL at the end of the year. Tennessee turned out to become one of the leagues best offenses with Demarco Murray's resurgence and they have one of the best O-Lines in football. They also gave Mariota more weapons at WR. They have a solid defense as well that is growing under the leadership of Brian Orakpo. The Titans should have a good year as they are my pick to win the AFC South.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were on their way to the playoffs before a surge by the Packers for the 6th seed. This season I expect them to make the leap to the playoffs similar to the Titans. Jameis Winston is going to make a great leap as he has also had great weapons added around him with OJ Howard and Desean Jackson. They also have a great defense lead by Lavonte David and Kwon Alexnader. They have one of the best DTs in the game as well with Gerald McCoy. With DC Mike Smith leading this defense I think they will be one of the best in the league. I expect this team to be very competitive for a couple of years to come with Winston leading the offense as he becoming more of a leader.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were very solid last year and they had a great year with their defense leading the way. The Chiefs will likely be worst then they were last year and I think that the Raiders will beat them out in the AFC West. The Chiefs defense will be the lead by Eric Berry and Marcus Peters. The problem will the offense and how it isn't explosive enough with Alex Smith at QB. I believe this will lead to pressure placed on Andy Reid and this will force his hand on Patrick Mahomes, who I am sure will not be ready. The problem is that he will only have two weapons on offense with WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce. The Chiefs will have to rely heavily on their defense again this season and Andy Reid will lead them to the postseason as a wildcard team.