Ultimate 2015 Predictions

Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsDan Quinn

Every year at the start of a new NFL season, you can expect to find my annual “ultimate” predictions when I try my hand at prognosticating what is going to happen not only for the Atlanta Falcons, but also in the league as a whole.

As was the case last year, I have my podcast co-host and The Falcoholic’s very own Allen Strk along for the ride to add his two cents.

2015 Atlanta Falcons Schedule Projection

Final Record

Aaron Says: 9-7
Allen Says: 10-6

WeekOpponentAaron SaysAllen Says
1EaglesLL
2at GiantsWW
3at CowboysLL
4TexansLW
5RedskinsWW
6at SaintsLW
7at TitansWW
8BuccaneersWW
9at 49ersWW
10bye
11ColtsLL
12VikingsLW
13at BuccaneersWL
14at PanthersLL
15at JaguarsWW
16PanthersWW
17SaintsWL

2015 NFL Standings Projection

Allen provides an explanation for each team in the projected order of their finish. I follow up with my own record prediction and a brief blurb.

AFC EAST

Patriots (13-3) Secondary is a concern, but a nasty front seven and somehow even more motivated Tom Brady will drive them towards another division title. Aaron Says: 12-4. They’ll be in F.U. mode.

Dolphins (10-6) Ndamukong Suh will be a game changer for an already solid defense. Investing in multiple wide receivers and Jordan Cameron certify their playoff status. Aaron Says: 11-5. Suh’s presence will bolster that defense.

Bills (8-8) If the quarterback situation and offensive line were more stable, they would be a playoff team. A great defense isn’t enough within a strong AFC conference. Aaron Says: 8-8. Great defense, but not quite good enough quarterback play to get them into playoffs.

Jets (6-10) Another team that will be hampered by a shaky quarterback situation. Sheldon Richardson missing four games will be devastating for them. Aaron Says: 7-9. Defense will be able to compensate for subpar quarterback play in some games.

AFC NORTH

Ravens (11-5) Despite the lack of weapons offensively, Marc Trestman will get the most out of their offense. Not many defenses are better rounded than Baltimore. Aaron Says: 9-7. They will rely on the tried and true, run-first and defensive-minded approach.

Bengals (9-7) A tougher schedule and Andy Dalton’s mediocrity will finally cost them a playoff spot. The lack of aggressiveness in free agency will come back to haunt them. Aaron Says: 8-8. Improved defense, but Dalton is still their quarterback.

Steelers (9-7) The suspensions to LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant will cost them a few games. Every loss significantly matters in such a competitive conference. Lack of defensive upgrades will prove to detrimental. Aaron Says: 8-8. Defense will cost them some games.

Browns (3-13) The defense possesses plenty of solid talent, yet their offense possesses zero threats. Didn’t they learn from Tampa Bay that starting Josh McCown will end dreadfully? Aaron Says: 5-11. Once they make the shift to Manziel midseason, they’ll add a few more wins.

AFC SOUTH

Colts (12-4) Powerhouse offense with a soft schedule equals plenty of comfortable wins. Both lines remain questionable, despite their free agent frenzy of acquiring 32-year old declining stars. Aaron Says: 14-2. Super easy schedule + top five offense = a lot of wins.

Texans (7-9) Monstrous defensive line will be overshadowed by shoddy quarterback play. Arian Foster’s inability to stay healthy will be demoralizing for an offense lacking playmakers besides DeAndre Hopkins. Aaron Says: 8-8. Could’ve ridden defense to playoffs if not for Foster’s injury.

Jaguars (3-13) Their defense lacks playmakers, along with the inability to play from behind. The loss of their biggest free-agent investment in Julius Thomas for two months (at minimum) has set them back drastically. Aaron Says: 4-12. Bortles will be better, but his supporting cast still blows.

Titans (3-13) Lack of talent on the roster is evident. Until they supply Mariotta with actual weapons with upside, Tennessee will struggle to score points. The secondary is seriously lacking as well, particularly within their cornerback rotation. Aaron Says: 2-14. Putting a rookie quarterback along with a bad defense is a recipe for disaster.

AFC WEST

Broncos (13-3) A stellar defense and wide receiver corps will be more than enough to succeed this year. Gary Kubiak should be an immediate upgrade over John Fox. He will make the offense more unpredictable rather than Fox’s conservative coaching style. Aaron Says: 14-2. Decline of Manning is much ado about nothing.

Chargers (10-6) Antonio Gates’ suspension is concerning, but San Diego has an array of playmakers that will keep them afloat. Phillip Rivers rarely misses the playoffs two years in a row. Aaron Says: 9-7. Apparently they’ll be 9-7 every year.

Chiefs (8-8) Injuries (Dontari Poe) and suspensions (Sean Smith) have partially decimated a once-strong defense. A brutal schedule will keep them from contending this year as well. Aaron Says: 7-9. Brutal road schedule keeps them out of contention.

Raiders (2-14) A few promising stars won’t overshadow an old defense and fragile offensive line. Another team that is probably better than their record will indicate. A grueling schedule will overwhelm them. Aaron Says: 5-11. Improved defense will help them out in second half of season.

NFC EAST

Eagles (11-5) One of the few throwback teams left that will depend on a run-first scheme. Chip Kelly’s brilliance and a vicious front seven makes them an easy favorite towards winning in a weak division. Aaron Says: 10-6. Most balanced team in this division.

Cowboys (9-7) Besides their quality edge rushers, this defense features an absurd amount of question marks. The lack of a true number one running back will make them too dependent of an aerial attack lacking playmakers besides Dez Bryant. Aaron Says: 8-8. No DeMarco Murray means defense will get exposed.

Giants (6-10) Another below-average defense that needs Jason Pierre-Paul to make a drastic recovery. Both lines are below average, along with a difficult schedule. This should mark the end of Tom Coughlin’s coaching tenure. Aaron Says: 7-9. Offensive firepower, but where’s the defense?

Redskins (5-11) They possess some intriguing intangibles, especially within their front seven. Kirk Cousins is simply not the answer at quarterback. Jay Gruden could be the first coach fired this year. Aaron Says: 2-14. Cluster [expletive deleted].

NFC NORTH

Packers (12-4) Losing Jordy Nelson will cost them in January. They will flourish offensively, as long as Randall Cobb can recover from a shoulder injury. Defense will steadily improve this year as well. Aaron Says: 12-4. All you need is Aaron Rodgers.

Lions (10-6) Despite losing the centerpiece of their defense, Detroit’s offense will carry them into the playoffs. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick will prove to be matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. Aaron Says: 8-8. Defensive decline equals team decline.

Vikings (9-7) An above average defense with a budding star at quarterback will prove to be an efficient combination. Adrian Peterson’s return alone will boost their win total from last year. Aaron Says: 10-6. Shades of the 2009 Vikings.

Bears (5-11) The idea of starting Jay Cutler and not rebuilding from last year’s debacle baffles me. Converting to a 3-4 scheme doesn’t seem ideal for certain key players such as Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. Aaron Says: 7-9. Re-focus on run game and defense will help them win more games.

NFC SOUTH

Falcons (10-6) An accommodating schedule will help boost their win total. The defense can only improve, while Kyle Shanahan will make Atlanta’s offense more diverse. Aaron Says: 9-7. Sluggish start but a strong finish gets Falcons back in playoffs.

Saints (8-8) Similar to Atlanta, a weak schedule will boost their win total. Jairus Byrd missing the first half of the season will decimate an already depleted defense. A lack of playmakers on offense will stifle New Orleans towards another disappointing season. Aaron Says: 7-9. Brees will put up numbers, but he’ll have to since they’ll be playing from behind a lot.

Panthers (8-8) Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending injury cripples their chances of repeating as NFC South champions. An unstable offensive line will make Cam Newton’s job even more difficult. Carolina’s incredible defense will be letdown throughout the season. Aaron Says: 7-9. Defense will be able to carry them farther than many think.

Bucs (4-12) They have to improve following last year’s dreadful season. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans should have a strong rapport by November. There are far too many holes defensively to make a gigantic leap in the win column. Lovie Smith doesn’t seem like the right leader for a rebuilding team. Aaron Says: 5-11. Winston > McCown.

NFC WEST

Seahawks (13-3) No team in the NFC will touch them this year. The defense is still easily the best unit in the league. Jimmy Graham being added makes them even more unstoppable in the red zone. Aaron Says: 14-2. Decline of the division allows them to pad their wins.

Cardinals (8-8) A once destructive front seven has been decimated by injuries and declining players. That unit has been the main reason for their consecutive winning seasons. The lack of running game and holes within the offensive line are major concerns as well. Arizona will decline this year. Aaron Says: 9-7. Arians still has some magic left in the tank.

Rams (6-10) It’s the same repetitive story for St. Louis. Nobody fears them offensively based on their lack of receivers. They may have the best defensive line; yet possibly have the worst offensive line in the league. Nick Foles isn’t the answer to their quarterback problems. Aaron Says: 5-11. Despite upgrade at quarterback, I don’t see it clicking for Rams.

49ers (4-12) When it comes to off-seasons, no team has suffered more than San Francisco over the past decade. Similar to Arizona, their once-fearsome defense lacks playmakers. Colin Kapernick needs to desperately improve on his overall mechanics to salvage what seems to be already be a lost season. Aaron Says: 5-11. Zero faith in Jim Tomsula leading this team.

Aaron’s Picks

AFC PLAYOFFS
Round 1: (3) Patriots over (6) Chargers
Round 1: (4) Ravens over (5) Dolphins
Round 2: (4) Ravens over (1) Colts
Round 2: (2) Broncos over (2) Patriots
Championship Game: (2) Broncos over (4) Ravens

NFC PLAYOFFS
Round 1: (6) Cardinals over (3) Eagles
Round 1: (4) Falcons over (5) Vikings
Round 2: (1) Seahawks over (6) Cardinals
Round 2: (2) Packers over (4) Falcons
Championship Game: (1) Seahawks over (2) Packers

Super Bowl 50: Broncos over Seahawks

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Is 2015 the Year of Andrew Luck?

2015 League Awards

Most Valuable Player: Andrew Luck, Colts
Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, Saints
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Broncos
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Nelson Agholor, Eagles
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Shane Ray, Broncos
Coach of the Year: Chuck Pagano, Colts
Comeback Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Biggest Acquisition: Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins

Last Undefeated Teams:
Colts (11-0)
Broncos (7-0)
Seahawks (7-0)
Eagles (5-0)

Last Winless Teams:
Titans (0-8)
Redskins (0-6)
49ers (0-5)
Jaguars (0-4)

If you’re curious how I projected all 256 NFL games thsi year, I used a simulator here:

Allen’s Picks

AFC PLAYOFFS
Round 1: (6) Dolphins over (3) Colts
Round 1: (4) Ravens over (5) Chargers
Round 2: (1) Broncos over (6) Dolphins
Round 2:(4) Ravens over (2) Patriots
Championship Game: (1) Broncos over (4) Ravens

NFC PLAYOFFS
Round 1:(3) Eagles over (6) Vikings
Round 1: (5) Lions over (4) Falcons
Round 2: (1) Seahawks over (5) Lions
Round 2: (2) Packers over (3) Eagles
Championship Game: (1) Seahawks over (2) Packers

Super Bowl 50: Seahawks over Broncos

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Vic Beasley

2015 League Awards

Most Valuable Player: Andrew Luck, Colts
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Broncos
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Amari Cooper, Raiders
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Vic Beasley, Falcons
Coach of the Year: Chip Kelly, Eagles
Comeback Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Biggest Acquisition: Jimmy Graham, Seahawks

2015 Atlanta Falcons Statistical Projections

Here are my best guesses for what sort of stat lines Falcons players will put up this year. But trust me, I didn’t pull these numbers out of my butt, they were carefully calculated.

Passing
Matt Ryan: 592 attempts, 387 comp., 65.4%, 4539 yards, 30 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 rating
Sean Renfree: 26 attempts, 16 comp., 61.5%, 143 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 76.3 rating

Rushing
Devonta Freeman: 185 attempts, 763 yards, 4.1 avg, 5 TDs; 36 catches, 277 yards, 7.7 avg, 1 TD
Tevin Coleman: 148 attempts, 562 yards, 3.8 avg, 3 TDs; 13 catches, 102 yards, 7.8 avg, 0 TD
Terron Ward: 31 attempts, 113 yards, 3.6 avg, 1 TD; 5 catches, 34 yards, 6.8 avg, 0 TD
Devin Hester: 6 attempts, 31 yards, 5.2 avg, 0 TDs
Julio Jones: 4 attempts, 38 yards, 9.5 avg, 1 TD

Receiving
Julio Jones: 108 catches, 1563 yards, 14.5 avg, 11 TDs
Roddy White: 66 catches, 782 yards, 11.8 avg, 6 TDs
Jacob Tamme: 53 catches, 506 yards, 9.5 avg, 3 TDs
Leonard Hankerson: 49 catches, 644 yards, 13.1 avg, 4 TDs
Devin Hester: 24 catches, 317 yards, 13.2 avg, 2 TDs
Levine Toilolo: 23 catches, 180 yards, 7.8 avg, 3 TDs
Justin Hardy: 21 catches, 271 yards, 12.9 avg, 1 TD

Kicking
Matt Bryant: 33 for 37 FG, 36 for 38 PAT, 135 points

Punting
Matt Bosher: 61 punts, 45.9 avg, 41.1 net avg

Returns
Devin Hester: 34 KOR, 24.9 avg, 0 TDs; 26 PR, 13.4 avg, 2 TDs
Nick Williams: 6 KOR, 21.3 avg, 0 TDs; 3 PR, 6.0 avg, 0 TDs
Justin Hardy: 2 PR, 7.5 avg, 0 TDs

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Worrilow

Defense

Paul Worrilow: 154 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 INTs, 2 FFs
Justin Durant: 146 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 INts, 2 FFs
Ricardo Allen: 114 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 FFs
William Moore: 102 tackles, 3 INTs, 3 FFs
Robert Alford: 52 tackles, 3 INTs
Vic Beasley: 51 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 FFs
Desmond Trufant: 48 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 FF
Jonathan Babineaux: 41 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 FFs
Ra’Shede Hageman: 39 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF
Tyson Jackson: 37 tackles, 1.0 sack
Brooks Reed: 36 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 FF
Phillip Adams: 35 tackles, 1 INT
Paul Soliai: 32 tackles, 0.5 sacks
Adrian Clayborn: 32 tackles, 4.5 sacks
Kemal Ishmael: 32 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF
Jalen Collins: 31 tackles
O’Brien Schofield: 31 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 FFs
Kroy Biermann: 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF
Joplo Bartu: 12 tackles
Charles Godfrey: 9 tackles
Grady Jarrett: 5 tackles
Allen Bradford: 5 tackles
Malliciah Goodman: 4 tackles
Robenson Therezie: 4 tackles

Based off these numbers, expect the following Falcons to be in the Pro Bowl: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devin Hester.

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com

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