2017 NFL schedule: Record predictions, analysis for all 32 teams

April, 20, 2017
Apr 20
8:00
PM ET

NFL Nation reporters predict the 2017 regular-season records for every team. Each prediction was made independent of the predictions of their colleagues. Check out the full schedule here.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West



AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

Predicted record: 6-10

New Bills coach Sean McDermott gets a break by avoiding all four games against division foes New England and Miami until December. But early trips to Carolina (Week 2) and Atlanta (Week 4) will not make it easy on the first-year head coach as he adjusts to his new gig and tries to reverse the failures of the Rex Ryan era. McDermott’s early message to his team is to “respect the process,” and while the Bills are not in full rebuild mode, their roster is not constructed to contend in 2017. -- Mike Rodak

Analysis: How the Bills caught a break | Game-by-game predictions

Miami Dolphins

Predicted record: 9-7

The Dolphins took advantage of a last-place schedule in 2016 and won 10 games. This year Miami has a brutal, second-place schedule that includes three games against the AFC and NFC champions (Patriots twice, Falcons) and eight games against teams with winning records. The Dolphins improved their depth this offseason in several areas such as linebacker and defensive end. They will be a better overall team, but the win total may not reflect it. -- James Walker

Analysis: Three consecutive prime-time games | Game-by-game predictions

New England Patriots

Predicted record: 13-3

The Patriots once again have a well-placed bye at the middle point of the season -- which is the same as they had in their 2016 Super Bowl championship season -- and then play five of the next six games on the road. That could be the defining stretch of the schedule. But if the Patriots take advantage of having five of their first eight games at home, they could build themselves some margin for error coming down the homestretch. -- Mike Reiss

Analysis: Schedule is fan-friendly in multiple ways | Game-by-game predictions

New York Jets

Predicted record: 5-11

On paper, the Jets have their toughest schedule since 2009. Not only that, but they open with back-to-back road games for the first time since 1992. So much for a soft beginning. It’s hardly the ideal formula for a young, rebuilding team that has major questions at quarterback, the secondary … most positions, to be quite honest. -- Rich Cimini

Analysis: Jets get almost no prime-time love | Game-by-game predictions



AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens

Predicted record: 9-7

Their defense has the potential to be among the best in the league. Their offense? It's a major question mark. What the Ravens do know is they have a favorable home schedule and an awfully challenging road slate. To get to double-digit victories, the Ravens have to break even away from Baltimore. That's tough to predict when Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Oakland, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Tennessee were an impressive 32-15-1 (.677) at home last season. -- Jamison Hensley

Analysis: Challenging start for Ravens | Game-by-game predictions

Cincinnati Bengals

Predicted record: 9-7

Injuries, combined with a struggling offensive line, led to a 6-9-1 record in 2016 after five consecutive playoff appearances. Things won’t get easier this season with offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler now in new uniforms. The schedule isn’t the easiest, particularly with three consecutive road games in November. But with a returning core of young offensive standouts, and a favorable early schedule, the Bengals will improve off their last season. -- Katherine Terrell

Analysis: Bengals have brutal November road stretch | Game-by-game predictions

Cleveland Browns

Predicted record: 2-14

A year ago, I picked the Browns to finish 1-15. When the 2016 season ended, they were a 1-15 team. Now they focus on the draft lacking a quarterback, among other things. The draft will bring players, but not immediate impact. The Browns are hardly improved from where they were in January. -- Pat McManamon

Analysis: Schedule opens and closes tough | Game-by-game predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicted record: 10-6

This is a one-game drop from last season, but the second half of the schedule isn’t friendly, and the Steelers must account for inevitable injury issues as in line with recent years. The Steelers will still find their way into the AFC playoffs, thanks to the trio of Ben Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown-Le’Veon Bell, a stout offensive line and an improving defense. -- Jeremy Fowler

Analysis: Loaded prime-time slate awaits Steelers | Game-by-game predictions



AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

Predicted record: 9-7

The Texans have finished with a 9-7 record in each of the past three seasons -- all under head coach Bill O’Brien. That has been enough to make the playoffs twice, and during this upcoming season, in what should be an improved AFC South, another 9-7 record would be fairly impressive. Houston has the defense to win games, so the team’s success will largely hinge on quarterback Tom Savage not only staying healthy, but his ability to improve the passing game that struggled so mightily last season under Brock Osweiler. -- Sarah Barshop

Analysis: Run of home games for Texans | Game-by-game predictions

Indianapolis Colts

Predicted record: 9-7

The good news is the Colts won’t finish with an 8-8 record for the third consecutive season. The Colts will take 9-7 as general manager Chris Ballard slowly works to fix what had been a flawed roster the past few seasons under former general manager Ryan Grigson. Indy shouldn’t have any problems scoring with Andrew Luck and its offense. But there are still questions about their defense. -- Mike Wells

Analysis: All eyes will be on Chuck Pagano | Game-by-game predictions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Predicted record: 6-10

There are still too many questions about the Jaguars’ offense -- and QB Blake Bortles -- to see this team making a significant jump in 2017. Bortles’ mechanics were a mess last year and he has been a turnover machine since he entered the league in 2014 (NFL-high 63) and to expect him to fix those issues in one offseason is unreasonable. The additions of DE Calais Campbell, CB A.J. Bouye and SS Barry Church should help the Jaguars’ scoring defense (25 points per game allowed last season), so they should be in most games in the fourth quarter. It’s a manageable schedule but only if the Jaguars can run the ball, cut down on turnovers, and become more consistent on offense. -- Mike DiRocco

Analysis: No prime-time games for Jags | Game-by-game predictions

Tennessee Titans

Predicted record: 10-6

The only big glitch in the Titans’ schedule is back-to-back games out West -- at Arizona on Dec. 10 and at San Francisco on Dec. 17. They may find a home away from home for that week rather than taking two separate, long round-trip flights. The Cardinals and 49ers both look like beatable teams, however, and they are followed by home games against the Rams and Jaguars. The Titans could have a big finish and a one-game improvement on last season should put them in the playoffs. -- Paul Kuharsky

Analysis: Three sets of back-to-back road games | Game-by-game predictions



AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

Predicted record: 10-6

In an effort to get back into the postseason mix after 2016’s playoff miss, first-year coach Vance Joseph’s team will have to conquer the league’s toughest strength of schedule -- based on 2016 records -- as their opponents had a .578 winning percentage. The Broncos will also have to make the most of four home games in their first five outings and battle a finishing stretch with four of their final six games of the regular season on the road. But with an elite defense still in place and an offense that should be more settled, they should get back in the postseason conversation. -- Jeff Legwold

Analysis: Broncos can't afford a slow start | Game-by-game predictions

Kansas City Chiefs

Predicted record: 11-5

The Chiefs may well be better than last season and wind up with an inferior record than their 12-4 from 2016 because of a difficult schedule. The .576 cumulative 2016 winning percentage of their opponents is second in the league. Much depends whether the Chiefs can have success again in the AFC West, where they were 6-0 last year, and whether they can break through at least once against two opponents who have been traditionally difficult for them -- New England and Pittsburgh. -- Adam Teicher

Analysis: Chiefs get Pats to open season | Game-by-game predictions

Los Angeles Chargers

Predicted record: 9-7

After winning just nine games over the past two seasons, the Chargers will win that many games in 2017 under new head coach Anthony Lynn. The Chargers have talent and should be much better in the fourth quarter by leaning on Melvin Gordon and the running game to close out games. And they play a last-place schedule by virtue of the team’s 5-11 record last season, which resulted in finishing in the AFC West cellar. -- Eric D. Williams

Analysis: Prime-time games highlight schedule | Game-by-game predictions

Oakland Raiders

Predicted record: 11-5

Can the Raiders actually be better than they were last year and have a poorer record? Yes. They begin with three of their first four games on the road and end with the same three of four on the road. After going 12-4 last season, they have the fourth-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL, and another “home” game in Mexico City, this time against the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Raiders again plan on staying in Florida for a week between roadies, presumably between Buffalo (Oct. 29) and Miami (Nov. 5). The Raiders are a hot commodity, with a franchise-record five prime-time games. -- Paul Gutierrez

Analysis: Raiders boast five prime-time games | Game-by-game predictions



NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

Predicted record: 10-6

The Cowboys have not shown the ability to maintain their success from year to year, having last made the playoffs in consecutive seasons in 2006 and ’07. In their 13-3 finish last year, the Cowboys were able to ride a softer schedule. This year against the AFC and NFC West, plus games against the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons, things will be much more difficult. They won’t match last year’s record, but they will get back to the playoffs provided they handle a tough final month to the schedule. -- Todd Archer

Analysis: Cowboys face difficult closing stretch | Game-by-game predictions

New York Giants

Predicted record: 10-6

It’s going to be difficult to replicate the win total of 11 from last season in a tough division with a tough schedule. So even with the addition of big-bodied wide receiver Brandon Marshall to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and the offense, the Giants take a slight step back. They’ll still have success thanks to a defense that returns nine starters and allowed an average of 308 yards and 15 points per game over the final eight weeks of last season. -- Jordan Raanan

Analysis: Another prime-time opener at Cowboys | Game-by-game predictions

Philadelphia Eagles

Predicted record: 9-7

Carson Wentz, now with a full season under his belt and Alshon Jeffery by his side, should take strides forward in his development while further cementing himself as the team’s franchise quarterback. Holes on defense (particularly in the secondary) will keep them from conquering a playmaker-filled NFC East, however. With three West Coast trips on the docket (including a pair of games in Los Angeles), the Eagles will log a lot of miles. They’ll face the Panthers, Chiefs and Seahawks on the road, which is no easy task. -- Tim McManus

Analysis: Is Carson Wentz becoming a draw? | Game-by-game predictions

Washington Redskins

Predicted Record: 9-7.

Despite a perceived tough offseason, they still have a shot at being a playoff team, provided their defensive changes pay off. They could take a bigger step depending on how the draft goes. They still have firepower on offense, even with the losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Kirk Cousins’ future, he’ll be good for them in 2017. -- John Keim

Analysis: Redskins need quick start | Game-by-game predictions



NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Predicted record: 6-10

The good news: The Bears host fellow bottom-feeders Cleveland and San Francisco. The bad news: Chicago’s current roster doesn’t look whole lot better than last year’s when the Bears finished 3-13. And their 2017 schedule is not easy. The Bears open against the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, followed by tough games against Tampa, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. -- Jeff Dickerson

Analysis: Bears have a tough road to playoffs | Game-by-game predictions

Detroit Lions

Predicted record: 9-7

The Lions open and close the season at home against top-level opponents in Arizona (to open) and Green Bay (to close). They are also back in the prime-time schedule -- on the road at the Giants and Packers and at home against Pittsburgh. That doesn’t include the nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game against Minnesota and a couple of potentially enticing late-season flex games against Tampa Bay and Green Bay. This is a schedule that sets up well enough that the Lions should end up at least .500 again. -- Michael Rothstein

Analysis: Early-season stretch critical | Game-by-game predictions

Green Bay Packers

Predicted record: 11-5

Who says the Packers need a top-notch defense to win the NFC North? They ranked 22nd last year (including 31st in passing yards allowed) yet still won the division at 10-6 and went to the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season. But they probably need more from their defense to get to the Super Bowl. At this point, this still looks like a team that might come up short in that regard once again. -- Rob Demovsky

Analysis: No easing into schedule with Seahawks, Falcons | Game-by-game predictions

Minnesota Vikings

Predicted record: 8-8

The Vikings will take advantage of an early stretch of home games, but it's a difficult late-season road schedule -- including three consecutive road games against the Lions, Falcons and Panthers -- that could end their playoff hopes. A Saturday night game on Dec. 23 against the Green Bay Packers doesn't do them any favors, either. -- Ben Goessling

Analysis: How Vikings can build momentum | Game-by-game predictions



NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

Predicted record: 11-5

Starting off the season against a rebuilding Chicago Bears team is the perfect remedy for the Falcons’ Super Bowl hangover. Could be a 5-0 start with Green Bay at the new stadium in Week 2, at Detroit, then home against Buffalo and Miami. The Falcons might have trouble with three consecutive road games -- including a Super Bowl rematch at New England -- followed by a Dallas-Seattle, back-to-back. -- Vaughn McClure

Analysis: Five prime-time games | Game-by-game predictions

Carolina Panthers

Predicted record: 10-6

Carolina may be reminded of its Super Bowl 50 loss with its opener at Levi’s Stadium, the scene of a 24-10 loss to Denver after the 2015 season. But the rebuilding San Francisco 49ers won’t be the tough test the Broncos were a year ago and this should set the stage for a fast start. That and a reverse of Carolina’s 2016 trend of losing close games -- six by a field goal or less -- should pave the way for a return to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. -- David Newton

Analysis: Panthers could get off to fast start | Game-by-game predictions

New Orleans Saints

Predicted record: 9-7

The schedule didn’t do the Saints any favors, since slow starts have doomed them during three consecutive 7-9 seasons and now they have to start at Minnesota on a Monday night, vs. New England on a short week, at Carolina and vs. Miami in London. But I expect an elite offense, an improved defense and realistic chance at the playoffs -- especially if they can start 2-2 or better. -- Mike Triplett

Analysis: Saints could struggle to start fast | Game-by-game predictions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Predicted record: 9-7

The Bucs won’t see a single NFC South opponent until Week 8, and they’ll face three consecutive divisional opponents in the final three weeks of the season, meaning we may not have a clue who wins the division until the very end. A December trip to Green Bay may be the toughest challenge yet for a team looking to better last year’s 9-7 mark and reach the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. -- Jenna Laine

Analysis: Schedule heats up with late divisional games | Game-by-game predictions



NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Predicted record: 10-6

The Cardinals’ schedule, which includes two-cross country trips and a flight to London to face the Rams, will take a toll on Arizona’s veteran roster. Arizona will go through two tough stretches of road games -- four of seven in the middle of the year followed by two of three to end the season -- that could define their postseason hopes. -- Josh Weinfuss

Analysis: Littered with road stretches | Game-by-game predictions

Los Angeles Rams

Predicted record: 8-8

The Rams have some winnable games on this schedule, and it starts with the shape of the NFC West. The two top teams in their division, the Seahawks and Cardinals, have seemingly taken steps back this offseason, while the worst team in the division, the 49ers, are in the initial stages of a complete rebuild. The Rams play three other games against playoff teams from 2016, but one of them is the Texans. Their offense will be better -- it can’t be worse -- and their defense should be really good.-- Alden Gonzalez

Analysis: Early home games, winnable matchups for Rams | Game-by-game predictions

San Francisco 49ers

Predicted record: 6-10

This is a more favorable schedule than the 49ers have seen in recent years, but this is really just the beginning of coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch's rebuild. It's going to take time but even a six-win season would be a step in the right direction following the debacle of 2016. -- Nick Wagoner

Analysis: 49ers' schedule is tough in middle | Game-by-game predictions

Seattle Seahawks

Predicted record: 10-6

Based on winning percentages from a year ago, they have the eighth easiest schedule in 2017. Just five of the Seahawks’ 16 games will come against opponents who made the playoffs last season. Seattle is still the clear favorite in the NFC West, and the team has made it to at least the divisional round every season that Russell Wilson has been the quarterback. The Seahawks are among a handful of Super Bowl favorites in the NFC. -- Sheil Kapadia

Analysis: Seahawks open with Eddie Lacy's return to Green Bay | Game-by-game predictionsvideovideo

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