Going into training camps at the end of July is way too early to predict playoff contenders. Luckily, we’re gonna take a stab anyway. Here are the 2017 NFL Way Too Early Playoff Teams.
New England Patriots: It goes without saying. As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick lead the Patriots, you can almost guarantee a playoff spot. The Super Bowl champs showed just how resilient they are on the biggest stage. Even when they’re not at their best, they’ve still beat good teams. New England will more than likely win the division again this year with their strong offseason moves, but if there’s an outside chance they don’t they’ll be even more likely to earn a wild card spot.
Miami Dolphins: Vegas may only have the Dolphins at 7.5-8 wins this season but they could be shooting a little low. Miami has the pieces on offense to be one of the top 3 performers in the league. It would be hard to argue with their talent that they won’t have success on the offensive side. Where the Dolphins need to step up is on defense. They’ll get their star players back healthy this year and after a defensive heavy draft, competition will only make the unit better. Miami has enough talent that they should at least hold firm to their wild card spot.
Pittsburg Steelers: If the Pittsburg Steelers ever stop getting suspended, they might be something special. The Steelers haven’t put their best lineup on the field for a whole season in years but still, every year find new ways to compete. They still have one of the best receivers in the game. The rest of the division has been struggling for identity and Pitt should walk away again this season leading the pack.
Oakland Raiders: With the signing of Marshawn Lynch the Oakland Raiders have become one of the strongest offenses on paper. Their season was derailed last year when quarterback Derek Carr went down with an injury. This year they’ve only gotten better. Oakland is an early Super Bowl favorite and all signs point to them running away with their division.
Houston Texans: The Texans weren’t too far off from knocking out Tom Brady and the Patriots last season. They fielded one of the toughest defenses in the league all without one of their star players JJ Watt. If not for below average quarterback play, the Texans might’ve prevented another Brady Super Bowl appearance. This year they not only get Watt back on the field for them, they also boosted their defense with second round pick Zack Cunningham. As long as first round pick Deshawn Watson does his best to be a game manager while he learns the speed of the game, the Houston Texans should have the same success. Signs are already pointing to Watson being a bit more, so keep the Texans as a dark horse this year.
Indianapolis Colts: If quarterback Andrew Luck can stay healthy the Colts have a shot. At times last year, they played like a playoff team but still managed to lose games. This year they’ll benefit from one of the easiest schedules so should make an improvement. Consistency will be key for the Colts but they should have an outside chance at backing their way into the last wild card spot.