[Note: the order reflects my prediction for each team’s standing in the division at the end of the season.]

AFC East

Patriots
Will Tom get his sixth?
They’re loaded like in ‘seven–
It ends the same way.

Dolphins
They’re not a bad team.
But they’re still just waiting on
Brady’s retirement.

Bills
Rebuilding again.
Could be good in a few years.
We’ve heard that before.

 Jets
Usually they’re good
When they’re expected to stink.
But this time, they’ll stink.

AFC North

Ravens
I’m not giving up
On my belief in Flacco.
They win division.

Steelers
Big Ben will get hurt.
Without him, their offense tanks;
And defense is weak.

Browns
Believe it or not
They might be decent this year.
But still no playoffs.

Bengals
Finishing last place
Might get Coach Lewis fired.
But not a sure thing.

AFC South

Colts
It takes more than Luck
To build a consistent team–
Also needs some linemen.

Titans
Mariota is good
But Murray will get injured
And still no playoffs.

Jaguars
They will be awful.
That is, really, really bad–
As in, not too good.

Texans
Watson disappoints,
And a regressing defense
Causes a meltdown.

AFC West

Chargers
Last ride for Rivers?
Their injury luck changes
And they become good.

Broncos
Two seasons ago
Nationwide was on their side.
Life comes at you fast.

Chiefs
Alex Smith is like
Football’s Rodney Dangerfield–
No respect at all.

Raiders
Beast Mode will Bust Mode.
Lame-duck seasons aren’t pretty–
They will fall apart.

NFC East

Cowboys
Prescott is for real.
Behind powerful o-line
They win Super Bowl.

Redskins
Cousins will be great,
And management will be bad.
Will be wild card.

Giants
Still mediocre–
As they’ve been for a decade;
Save two playoff runs.

Eagles
Wonder where winning
Wentz went–he’ll regress this year.
Back to the cellar.

NFC North

Packers
Will better defense
Yield better playoff results?
No-lose title game.

Vikings
Won’t miss Peterson.
But they will miss Brdgewater
And the postseason.

Bears
Quarterback nightmare
Is the most Bears thing ever–
But without defense.

Lions
Stafford’s luck runs out.
Last year was just a mirage;
Meet reality.

NFC South

Panthers
Superman returns!
Cam Newton will lead a run
To division crown.

Buccaneers
They are the new Saints–
Fun offense, lousy defense.
8 and 8 finish.

Saints
Drew Brees’s last year;
Ends a great career on a
Real depressing note.

Falcons
A collapse like theirs
Is bound to cause hangover.
Foregone conclusion.

NFC West

Seahawks
Wilson is awesome.
But their window is closing–
Can’t beat the Cowboys.

49ers
They must be wishing
They could bring Jim Harbaugh back.
“Don’t know what you’ve got…”

Rams
Would have been awesome
Playing in the ’70s–
But now, not so much.

Cardinals
Palmer, Fitz are old–
Without a solid QB
Offense falls apart.

AFC East

Dolphins
Tannehill improves;
Rejuvenated offense
Wins the division

Patriots
With no Tom Brady
Garoppolo will be good–
But defense will not.

Bills
Taylor and Watkins
Need to prove if they’re for real
Or it’s “Goodbye Rex”

 

Jets
Fitzpatrick is back,
But he’s still not the answer–
Can’t make the playoffs.

AFC North

Ravens
Flacco will surprise–
(I know, I said that before)
This time in good way.

Steelers
Sure, they’re talented–
But injuries, suspensions
Mar their playoff hopes.

Bengals
Lack of discipline
Showed in last year’s playoff game
Presages meltdown.

Browns
Same story each year–
Like the chimera, Griffin
Can’t be believed in.

AFC South

Colts
Luck will bounce right back–
Better for having struggled–
And win Super Bowl

Jaguars
Old order changeth:
They now warrant some respect–
But still no playoffs.

Titans
Mariota still
The next “game changing” QB
Who crashes and burns.

Texans
The Wizard of Oz?
“D” made Osweiler look good.
Pay no attention.

AFC West

Broncos
Sanchez of ’09
Paired up with that strong defense
Would have been scary.

Chargers
Not as bad as they
Looked last year, but they are still
Far from being good.

Raiders
Dangerous offense–
But Denver’s dangerous “D”
Keeps a lid on them.

Chiefs
Solid, but boring,
It’s always the same story–
Reid is good, not great.

NFC East

Redskins
“Captain” Kirk Cousins
Boldly goes where they’ve not gone
In years: Super Bowl.

Giants
Eli will be good,
And a strong passing offense
Makes them wild card.

Cowboys
If they stay healthy,
They’re best in their division.
Too big of an “if”.

Eagles
Rebuilding again;
After failed experiment.
Reid looks good now, huh?

NFC North

Bears
Fox’s teams do well
In his second year with them.
They make the playoffs.

Vikings
After heartbreaker–
They come back even better.
But Peterson’s done.

Packers
They are a strong team—
But their luck has to run out,
And this is the year.

Lions
No Calvin Johnson
Will mean no identity–
It will be ugly.

NFC South

Panthers
Newton will regress;
But still will be good enough
To win division.

Saints
Brees is getting old.
Can’t sustain their old style–
Will need to rebuild.

Falcons
Is Matt Ryan good
Or a glorified Stafford?
It is hard to say.

Buccaneers
Winston has been good;
But they seem too pass-happy
To be complete team.

NFC West

Seahawks
Wilson is awesome.
May be league’s most balanced team–
But lose title game.

49ers
Kelly’s second chance
Works out for them and for him–
“Kap”, Hyde run wild.

Rams
Move back to LA
Makes them seem glamorous till
Fans see their offense.

Cardinals
Palmer, Fitz are old–
Without a solid QB
Offense falls apart.

At last, football is (almost) back!   I love the Hall of Fame Game weekend.  Sure, the game is barely actual football, and I’ll probably tune out after the first two series, but it’s nice to start the season off with a little appreciation for the sport’s history, followed by a nice, easy re-introduction to watching football.  It would be no fun to just dive right in to the regular season right away, now would it?

Yeah, ok; maybe it would.

Anyway, it’s time once again for my annual haiku football season predictions.  I’m pretty proud of last year’s predictions, in which I correctly picked the Patriots to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Let’s see how I do this year.

AFC East

Patriots

The Defending Champs

Make it back to the playoffs–

But lose their first game.

Bills

Loaded on defense–

But offense doesn’t seem to

Be “The Real McCoy.”

Dolphins

Improvements will make them

A wild card contender–

But can’t beat the Pats.

Jets

Rex Ryan Redux–

With a lackluster offense

And a strong defense.

AFC North

Ravens

Flacco will surprise;

And they ride his career year

To the Super Bowl.

Steelers

Changes on defense

Will be too much for loaded

“O” to overcome

Bengals

Dalton and Lewis

Get one more Sisyphean

Underwhelming year.

Browns

Can Johnny 12-step

Still be the Cleveland savior?

Wouldn’t bet on it.

AFC South

Colts

It’s just like old times–

A strong regular season

Followed by heartbreak.

Jaguars

They’ll be really bad–

Like, really, really awful–

As in, not too good.

Titans

Mariota is

The next “game changing” QB

Who crashes and burns.

Texans

Strong defensive line

Coupled with decent offense

Makes them a sleeper.

AFC West

Broncos

There’s an old man called

“Peyton Manning”. He’s still smart.

But he should retire…

Chargers

…But “Old Man Rivers”

Still has a few good years left.

Will win Division

Raiders

They say Carr is good,

But I am still skeptical

Of their playoff odds.

Chiefs

The blandest of teams

Has a chance to surprise,but

Can’t beat the Chargers.

NFC East

Cowboys

Can Dez be worth it?

If Romo can stay healthy

They’ll win division

Giants

Odell’s all the rage;

In for a sophomore slump.

Tom Coughlin’s last year.

Redskins

The name is not all

They should consider changing–

Also need new offense.

Eagles

Bradford will not last

And the Sanchez/Tebow show

Will make a comeback.

NFC North

Packers

This is the year they

Break the curse of the Seahawks.

But not the Ravens.

Bears

Crazy like a Fox–

But he can turn teams around.

Will be a fifth seed.

Vikings

Bridgewater breaks out

And they will be very good–

But not playoff good.

Lions

The wheels will fall off;

Johnson’s old, Stafford’s not great–

Back to drawing board.

NFC South

Saints

Will still be a threat

Even without Graham et. al;

But can’t beat Panthers.

Panthers

Will beat the Saints. Twice.

As I predicted above.

What more do you want?

Falcons

New coach improves them,

But won’t overtake Panthers;

Not until next year.

Buccaneers

Can Winston be good

On and off the gridiron?

Probably neither.

NFC West

Seahawks

It’s not picks that kill;

Nor the two straight scoring drives;

It’s that last, long yard.

Cardinals

With ‘Hawks hungover

Will take Division title

And win playoff game.

49ers

Need to win it all

To explain canning Harbaugh.

That will not happen.

Rams

Bills/Jets of the West:

Strong running game and defense,

But no Quarterback.