Predicting Division Winners, Playoff Teams and Super Bowl Champs
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Predicting Division Winners, Playoff Teams and Super Bowl Champs for the 2018 NFL Season

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Predicting Division Winners, Playoff Teams and Super Bowl Champs for the 2018 NFL Season

It's finally here, ladies and gentleman. We have real, actual NFL football games that matter being played this week! (!!!!!)

The season starts in exciting fashion with two NFC juggernauts meeting at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night as the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles take on a loaded Atlanta Falcons team poised to make noise in the NFC this year.

And while there are several storylines we can touch on throughout the season (stars coming back from injury, the talent disparity between the NFC and AFC, young QB's being thrust into the spotlight), we're going to dive in with my predictions for division winners, playoff teams, and who will be crowned Champs at the end of the season.

AFC East: New England Patriots

Surprised? Didn't think so. Although there have been reports about the inner turmoil going on between the Patriots brain trust of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, I won't believe this ship is sinking until I see proof. Brady is playing as well as ever, and as long as that continues, the Pats will be in contention for the title.

Although the losses of Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and the injury to expected starting left tackle Isiah Wynn hurt the Pats, the return of Julian Edelman, Brady's favorite weapon will be HUGE. I'd be surprised if they're not in the Divisional game this season.

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

This also shouldn't really be a surprise. They've still got 'Big Ben' Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'veon Bell (we'll see if he actually shows up for week one, though) in the fold. That's as good a trio as there is in the league of offensive weapons. The argument could be made that Bell and Brown are the two best players at their respective positions. I haven't even mentioned JuJu Smith Schuster or the fantastic O-line.

The questions come from the defense. While they do have a lot of talented players (Such as Cameron Heyward, TJ Watt, Javon Hargrave, Joe Haden and Artie Burns), they haven't been particularly consistent over the years. The division should be Pittsburgh's for the taking, although there will be some more intrigue this year than in the past few due to upgrades made by the Ravens and Bengals.

AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars

I really wanted to pick the Texans here. I just can't come up with positions outside of QB and WR that Houston has a significant leg up. Jacksonville's defense is one of the two or three best in the game. Jalen Ramsey is the headliner, for reasons beyond his play. He's probably the best cornerback in the league right now.

Opposite Ramsey is A.J. Bouye, another top tier CB. Telvin Smith and Myles Jack form the most athletic linebacking tandem playing football. Up front, Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell are both game-wreckers. They also have Dante Fowler Jr. and added an exciting rookie to the mix, Taven Bryan.

They have a potent running game, led by Leonard Fournette, and the wideouts are speedy. If, and it's a big if, Blake Bortles can elevate his game to another level, this team should be playing deep into January once again.

AFC West: Los Angeles Chargers

Every year, the Chargers are picked as the team to beat in the AFC West. The past two years, Andy Reid and the Chiefs have made that prediction look foolish. With KC changing guard at the QB position, this looks to be the time for the Chargers to strike. Patrick Mahomes will likely be a star in this league sooner rather than later, but he will take some lumps this year throwing some costly interceptions.

There are plenty of questions surrounding the Chiefs defense, as well. Will Eric Berry be fully healthy? Can Justin Houston and Co. affect the passer? How will the corners hold up? Will Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens improve a terrible run defense? There's just too many questions. L.A., meanwhile has a stacked defense.

Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are a terrifying edge rushing duo, Casey Hayward is a top-shelf corner and I loved the selection of Derwin James in the first round. On offense, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers are a pretty nasty trio. The offensive line is healthier than in years past. KC poses tough competition, but I think the Chargers narrowly get the division this year.

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles

Hard to argue against the defending champs, especially when they got better in the offseason. Carson Wentz will be back, as will Darren Sproles and Jason Peters. Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata were brought in too. As much fun as it would be to speculate about the division, I'm not gonna overthink this one too much.

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

The baddest (and now, richest) dude in the NFL is back. He's even rocking an insane 'stache right now. How can you pick against Rodgers and the Pack? He gives you a chance to win every game. He's the best quarterback in the league at the moment. Davante Adams is underrated, and Randall Cobb still has great chemistry with A-Rod. Plus the addition of Jimmy Graham is big time.The defense, which has struggled to hold up their end of the bargain lately, looks to be better this year. Mike Pettine takes over as defensive coordinator, and figures to be more aggressive than his predecessor.

Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson were two corners I liked a lot coming out of the draft, and if they pan out for Green Bay, that changes the whole make-up of their defense. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is in a contract year, and stands to make a lot of money if he has a good season. Ditto for Clay Matthews, who has not been the same dominant force he was earlier in his career. Mike Daniels is still a stud up front.

Although this is probably the best division in football, and could go a number of ways, I'm putting my money on Rodgers leading this team deep.

NFC South: New Orleans

This was basically a coin flip between New Orleans and Atlanta. In fact, if the two meet in the postseason, I could just as easily take Atlanta in that matchup. I just have a feeling about the Saints this year. Drew Brees is getting up there in years and this may be one of his last few chances to get another ring.

The Saints front office seems to know this too, as evidenced by the fact that they just gave up a third-round pick for backup QB Teddy Bridgewater, as well as trading up for pass rusher Marcus Davenport in the first round of this year's draft.

Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram pose the scariest running back duo in the NFL (with respect to their rival Falcons' Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman), Michael Thomas is a true number one receiver, and the defense has lots of good, young pieces like Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams. Lattimore in particular is a special player.

NFC West: Los Angeles Rams

I love the potential of this team. The offense is a laser-show, the defense is filled with gargantuan personalities, and they're playing on one of the biggest stages in the world in the bright lights of L.A. It's hard not to love the marriage of Coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff.

McVay knows how to scheme things up for him, and Goff has come miles since his rookie year due to the help of the QB guru. Also helping is Todd Gurley, a nightmare RB who can punish the defense running the ball or catching it out of the backfield. Add Brandin Cooks, one of the best deep threats and speed receivers in the league and the potential for the offense is through the roof. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Gerald Everett are also really nice players.

On defense, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are going to harass receivers all day long. They might combine for 14 picks this year. Finally, putting Ndamukong Suh next to Aaron Donald is straight up unfair. Although they lack a quality edge rusher, I'm not sure how much that will matter with those two wreaking havoc on the inside.

AFC Playoff Teams:

1 Seed: Patriots

2 Seed: Steelers

3 Seed: Jaguars

4 Seed: Chargers

Wild Card 1: Texans

Wild Card 2: Chiefs

NFC Playoff Teams:

1 Seed: Saints

2 Seed: Rams

3 Seed: Packers

4 Seed: Eagles

Wild Card 1: Falcons

Wild Card 2: Vikings

Super Bowl Matchup: Saints vs. Patriots

Super Bowl Champion: New Orleans Saints

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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