My last couple years of predictions have been as pedestrian as Joe Flacco. But if Flacco is still going to lace up then so will I. Here we go:
The Patriots are perennially the safe bet to win in what is perennially the worst division in football. So we’ll go with the Pats and yet another 1st round playoff bye. Is there another team that will emerge from the East? Each has one of the “hall-of-fame 5” from the 2018 draft. My prediction that Josh Rosen is the best of the 5 isn’t showing positive early returns, and I doubt there will be any Fitzmagic in Miami. So I’ll go with the Jets finishing 2nd, as I’m not sold on the other Josh in Buffalo.
Its always hard to count out the Steelers, but I think last year was not an anomaly but instead a fork in the road and I see them finishing 8-8. My surprise pick is the Ravens edging out the Browns to win this division, and it comes down to the Ravens’ superior coaching. Either way both teams make the playoffs. The Bengals are the Bengals, and with that horrible O-line its hard to see them surprise the league.
Glad I wrote this just after Andrew Luck retired, because it drops the Colts not only from Super Bowl contention, but to the bottom of the historically lethargic AFC South. Look for the Texans to take this division, but don’t be surprised if the talented Jaguars return to the playoffs. The Titans were relegated to the bottom of this division until Luck’s shocking (and courageous) announcement.
The best division in the NFL. The Chiefs have the best QB in the league, and because of that alone they will win the division. The Chargers are a step behind with the always competitive Philip Rivers, but I’m not sold on the coaching in Charger land and can see this team finishing anywhere from 1st to last in this division. The Broncos have arguably the best defense in the AFC, but Flacco is Flacco and they’ll be fortunate to scratch out 8 wins. Its hard to pick the Raiders despite obvious improvement in talent and yes, coaching. So I’ll pick them to finish last yet again in the AFC West, but won’t be surprised if they make the playoffs either.
This usually tough division has been down the last few years. Looks like that trend will continue, as it will boil down to a two team race. I’ll take the Eagles, but of course all bets are off if Wentz doesn’t stay healthy. The Cowboys were hot at the end of last year, but I’m not convinced they are more than just a playoff contender. The Redskins have Case Keesum, er Keenum, a QB that is exactly who the Vikings thought he was. That means the Skins hopes lie with the rookie Haskins, which means maybe 5 wins. The Giants are in a similar boat with badly aging Eli Manning likely giving way to rookie QB and 6th overall pick Daniel Jones, and back-to-back 5 win seasons.
This is the best division in the NFC. The former coach of the Vikings, Bud Grant, said it best when asked what makes a good coach: “a patient wife, a loyal dog, and one hell of a good quarterback”. The Packers have that ingredient at QB and for that reason alone is the best bet to win the division. The Bears saw their prize D-coordinator leave town for Denver, and that will have an impact. But they have a lot of talent and will be in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Vikings look to rebound from a pedestrian year, and I think they will behind Kurt Cousins who played pretty well last year. Its possible that both wildcard teams come out of the NFC Norse. The Lions hope they can finally make some ground with their “franchise” QB Matthew Stafford, but my bet is Patricia continues the long line of Belichick failures.
The Saints have Drew Brees, the best coach in the division, and the best talent in the division. That being said, can Brees have another good year as a codger? I’m skeptical, but we’ll see. Carolina needs Cam to stay healthy. If he does then you can’t count them out. Atlanta looks like Atlanta of last year and another pedestrian finish. Tuberculous Bay is ready to make their move, er not. Winston is looking like a bust, and Tampa is looking like possibly the worst team in football. That could be good news for them given the rich QB draft of 2020.
This division is probably the weakest in the NFC. The Rams are almost a sure-fire lock to win the division. You can’t count Seattle out because of Russell Wilson, who should have won MVP in 2017, but the jury is still out on their refurbished O-line and a serviceable at best defense. They just don’t have near enough to keep up with the Rams and I don’t see them mustering 10 wins as they did last year. The 49ers have Garoppolo back, but coming off ACL surgery he’s looked tentative in the preseason and I think that will carry into the regular season. But they are the wildcard in this division, maybe even literally. The Cards have a rookie coach and QB, which is normally a recipe for finishing last.
Conference Championship & Super Bowl Predictions
I see a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship game. Last year’s Super Bowl proved Bellichick never needed Brady to win a ring. So even if Brady got hurt or benched this year, the Patriots still make it yet again to the AFC Championship game after ripping through the porous AFC East and another 1st round bye. The Chiefs will have the harder road to hoe, but this time is a charm as they top the Patriots in New England.
New Orleans will be on sort of a revenge tour and will knock of the Rams to get the NFC championship. There they will face and defeat the Green Bay Packers. Though a Rogers vs Mahomes Super Bowl would be especially juicy, this ins’t the NBA.
Super Bowl: Kansas City Chiefs vs New Orleans Saints. Patrick Mahomes plays well in his first Super Bowl, but the Saints have too much all-around talent and take home the Lombardi Trophy!