Words can not describe how excited I am that football is back. I have been waiting for this since honestly last year season ended. Between going to games, fantasy football hanging out with friends, eating, drinking I do not know if anything beats football season. For that reason, before the first preseason game kicks off tonight I have decided to give my predictions for this upcoming football season. Below you will find division by division total wins/losses for each team along with my picks for conference champ as well as Super Bowl Champ. See where your team lands! (Disclaimer: I am a Jets fan.)
1. New England Patriots: 12-4
2. New York Jets: 10-6
3. Buffalo Bills: 7-9
4. Miami Dolphins: 3-13
I truly believe that this could be the first year in maybe 8 years that the AFC East just might be somewhat competitive but other than that nothing really new here. Until the duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick does not exist, the New England Patriots will always be preseason favorites to win this division.
On paper, the Jets are a 10 win team and that is why I put them at 10-6 making the playoffs. Big free agent signings pairing with year 2 of Sam Darnold is why I have them making such a big leap from their previous 4-12 record.
The Bills are going to be a fun team to watch this year, however, I just do not believe in Josh Allen yet and they made some solid moves but no "over-the-top" moves in the off-season and that is why I have them at 7-9.
And for the Dolphins, well they are a crapshoot, I know they have FitzMagic but that magic is going to run out sometime and their roster is honestly just brutal. To be completely honest I felt generous giving them 3 wins.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-6
2. Cleveland Browns: 9-7
3. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9
4. Baltimore Ravens: 5-11
This will probably be one of the most competitive divisions in football but once again I am going with experience over youth here. I believe the Steelers although losing both Bell and Brown this year, still have the firepower to win this division. The Browns, well everyone is talking about them, Baker, Landry, Hunt, Odell, the hype is so big they might as well just hand over the Lombardi.
We've seen this story before, ask the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles a.k.a the "dream" team The Browns are going to be good but not 12-4/13-3 good. Baker will not be able to emulate his historic rookie season and for that reason, along with first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens dealing with all those big personalities is why I have them at 9-7 missing the playoffs.
Cincinnati is an "OK" football team, I think their new coach Zac Taylor will get the best out of Dalton and they will be competitive enough to win some games. 7-9 for Who Dey nation. Perhaps the biggest surprise and what you are wondering about the most is why in the world I have Baltimore at 5-11. Why do I? Well because Lamar Jackson sucks. You can not win with a QB playing that type of style, they traded their former Super Bowl MVP and lost all-pro linebacker CJ Mosley to my Jets. They are not going to be good no matter how great of a coach John Harbaugh is. Mark my words.
1. Indianapolis Colts: 13-3
2. Houston Texans: 9-7
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-8
4. Tennesse Titans: 6-10
The Colts are good, actually really good, scary, dominant and they are EASILY a 12 win team.. (I gave them one more and winning 12 games is never easy I just really like this team). BUT, they only win 13 games if and only if Andrew Luck stays healthy. Frank Reich is a great HC and he has a dominant combo of young offensive studs and young defensive studs. GM Chris Ballard you have built a team destined for a dynasty, cheers to you on winning home field in Tom Leone's NFL predictions.
As for the rest of the division, I think Bill O'Brien Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt, and Deandre Hopkins will be a serviceable team this year and will fall just short of making the playoffs at 9-7. There is just something about them I do not like, I think it is the QB. The Jaguars are the big question mark in this division, could they win 10 games... sure? Will Nick Foles be the Eagles Nick Foles or the Chiefs/Rams Nick Foles, probably the latter and that is why I went the easy route and had them at 8-8. For the Titans, 6-10 seems realistic, I do not see them being able to get more than 2 wins in this division and that does not bode well to have more than 6 wins in a year.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5
2. Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6
3. Oakland Raiders: 7-9
4. Denver Broncos: 5-11
The division with A LOT of superstars. I'm going to start with the Madden Cover athlete. Patrick Mahomes WILL NOT be able to duplicate last years production because well it's almost impossible. So, in this case, let's assume Mahomes turns back into a normal QB, let's say 25-30 TD's 3500 plus yards and somewhere between 7-10 ints. If Mahomes has a season like that with the Chiefs suspect defense, I think they will be good enough for 11 wins and the division.
The team finishing in 2nd though is the team I so desperately wanted to put in first. The San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. (Should have never left San Diego....) They seem to always be slept on yet they have one of the better QB's in the game right now, they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and they always play hard for HC Anthony Lynn. However no matter how good he is, Philip Rivers will always win you a couple and lose you a couple, that is why I have them at 10 wins pushing out the Browns/Texans for the last playoff spot. (Stay with me Charger fans).
The Raiders are drama city and Hard Knocks will show that Derek Carr sucks and they will not win more than 7 games. The Broncos are in QB Purgatory and are relying on Joe Flacco to make them relevant again. Not this time Elway. 5-11.
1. Dallas Cowboys: 12-4
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6
3. New York Giants: 5-11
4. Washington Redskins: 3-13
The most competitive worst division in football. A division where 8/9 wins has won it multiple times in the last decade, but this year THE TOP will be different. The Cowboys and Eagles are both NFL Elite this year and if you do not like hearing that then I am sorry. I wish I could have made both the teams 12-4 but we all know that is not possible. I gave the Cowboys the nod just because I think they will stay more healthy and because I like their roster a bit more. Dak Prescott is ELITE whether you like it or not and I am making this prediction assuming Zeke plays all 16 games with no holdout.
No offense to the Eagles but your QB has to play a full season before I can give you more than 10 wins. I don't care if he was playing at an MVP level when he went down 2 years ago Carson Wentz is, unfortunately, a walking doctors note. Your team though, even if he misses a couple of games, is still playoff-worthy to me. For the Giants well hate to break it to you, you have become the Jets and the Redskins are even worse, Haskins will show promise but will struggle to produce wins with that TERRIBLE roster. One little disclaimer in this division though, when everyone seems to count out the Giants they seem to perform their best, just ask Eli about his two rings... do not be surprised if the Giants are exactly the opposite of what everyone expects them to be, especially me.
1. Chicago Bears: 10-6
2. Minnesota Vikings: 9-7
3. Green Bay Packers: 7-9
4. Detroit Lions: 5-11
This is without a doubt my favorite division, I do not know why but it just is. I have the Bears winning this division because their defense will be elite again and Kirk Cousins will do what Kirk Cousins does, preventing the Vikings from winning more than 9 games. The Packers still do not have a defense I can trust enough to give them more than 7 wins even though they have a BAAAAAAADDDDD man at QB (Aaron Rodgers). Plus Matt LaFleur is going to be overmatched as a first-year HC. The Lions? I mean are they ever good? I'm sorry Lion fans but until you actually show the league that you know even a little about winning you are not getting more than 5 wins from me.
1. New Orleans Saints: 13-3
2. Atlanta Falcons: 10-6
3. Carolina Panthers: 8-8
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-10
This division is interesting to me because I think all these 4 teams have a really good chance to be good. The Saints are elite, the Falcons are going to bounce back, the Panthers always play tough with Ron Rivera leading the way and the Bucs always have a great offense but can never seem to put their defense together enough to win games. For those 4 reasons, I have these teams exactly in that order.
The Saints are loaded on both sides of the ball and I really think Drew Brees is determined to win another ring. Plus they got hosed last year should have been in the super bowl, lost on a hail mary the year before I mean it's bound to change right?
The Falcons are a good football team and lost so many games late last year. If they stay healthy which is a BIG if, they can win 10 games.
The Panthers, like I said will always play tough, but other than Cam's MVP year of 2015 he's been a suspect QB that gets injured a lot. 8-8 just seemed right to me.
The Buccaneers basically added the whole Arizona Cardinals coaching staff from the Carson Palmer days. That including HC Bruce Arians and DC Todd Bowles. I do not think that combo is going to be enough to completely turn things around just yet. 6-10 it is.
1. San Francisco 49ers: 12-4
2. Los Angeles Rams: 9-7
3. Seattle Seahawks: 8-8
4. Arizona Cardinals: 2-14
UPSET. I do not know why but after reading about the teams and looking over the rosters I just really think this is the Niners year to really turn it around. A healthy Jimmy G in a Kyle Shanahan offense can and will be lethal. Another big part of why I have the Niners winning the division is because I think the Rams will suffer from a Super Bowl hangover along with their age on defense and the fact they probably will not be able to duplicate their historic offensive production.
Sean McVay is probably the only reason why I think this prediction will be the one I get completely wrong but I'm sticking with my gut regardless.
I like the Seahawks I just think they do not have a complete enough roster to compete with the rest of the NFC. Wilson's big contract has really hurt their financial situation and has left them hoping for the best at a lot of positions.
As for the Cardinals, Kyler Murray has bust written all over him and so does Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury. I mean the dude did not even have a winning record in college and somehow landed an NFL job. Kyler Murray, although a super athlete, should have chosen baseball because he is too small behind a suspect offensive line and is going to get eaten alive. Picking number 1 again at least! 2-14 out in the desert.
Super Bowl LIV : vs Cowboys
Cowboys. Chargers. See I think the Chargers sneak into the playoffs this year and put it all together for the first time in a while. I mean other then 2-3 years in the last 15 the Chargers have been relevant. I really do believe Phillip Rivers finally gets a chance at a ring. For the Cowboys, this is your time to win. The Cowboys have building each year, improving little by little to the point where I think 2019 is the year it all makes sense. The years of losing playoff game after playoff game in ways you can not even imagine are over. To my cowboy friends out there, go place your bets and for your own sake let's hope I am right, the Cowboys will win Super Bowl LIV. America's team, back on top.