Over the next 17 weeks, 32 NFL teams will play 256 games. The road to NRG Stadium in Houston begins with a Super Bowl 50 rematch on Thursday evening, but each and every one of remaining 255 games will help determine which 12 lucky teams get to advance to the playoffs and take their best shot at winning Super Bowl 51.
In an effort to usher in this new season and honor the fact that we’ll all be glued to our TVs from now until February to see what happens, the CBSSports.com crew predicts the division winners, the playoff teams and, ultimately, the Super Bowl champion.
A few notes before we take you to our picks:
- Only two of our experts (Pete Prisco and Sean Wagner-McGough) have the defending champion Broncos returning to the playoffs. There’s not a lot of faith in Trevor Siemian coming from this group.
- Three divisions (AFC East, NFC North, NFC South) have unanimously predicted winners. That’s the Patriots, Packers, and Panthers, respectively.
- The AFC South and AFC West both saw at least one expert predict each of the four teams to win the division. Three of the four AFC South teams also have at least one last place vote.
- Only one expert (Will Brinson) does not predict the Browns to finish last in the AFC North. Brinson is also the only expert that does not have the Chiefs finishing first or second in the AFC West.
- Five of seven experts have the Raiders making their triumphant return to the playoffs.
- The Cowboys are the only NFC East team that does not receive a last-place vote, but only three experts (Jason La Canfora, Jared Dubin, Ryan Wilson) have them going to the playoffs.
- Four experts have the Giants winning the NFC East and three have them finishing last. They are not predicted by anyone to finish either second or third.
- Teddy Bridgewater‘s injury apparently knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs for all but one expert (Pete Prisco).
- Only one expert (Wilson) does not predict the 49ers to finish last in the NFC West. Wilson is also the only expert to put the Ravens in the playoffs.
- Our experts have seven different teams teams appearing in the Super Bowl, and four different champions. Each of the four champions comes from the NFC.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / 2016 NFL picks: How all 32 teams will finish and Super Bowl predictions