The NFL season is upon us! Which means it’s that time of the year where I make a complete fool of myself and attempt to predict how the upcoming NFL season will play out.
Predictions are fun. Fans will always go back and forth and debate over why a certain prediction is “dumb” or why it’s silly to have a particular team have this many wins/losses. But the reality is that no one truly knows what’s going to happen, that’s why they’re just predictions. Every year there are surprises. Teams we thought would be good, aren’t. Teams we thought would be bad, aren’t. And that’s one of the many great things about the NFL: the parity.
So without further ado, here are my (wrong and irrelevant) 2019 NFL Regular Season Predictions!
New York Giants
Yes, I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and yes, I am picking them to win the division. You can call me a “homer” or “biased” all you want, but when you look at this team objectively you can’t deny that this roster is loaded. There’s talent and depth at every position and Doug Pederson remains one of the top tier coaches in the league. If Carson Wentz remains healthy (which is a highly debated and fair topic of conversation), it’s hard not to see this team as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Dallas Cowboys are going to be a good team once again this season and will most likely be the one team in the division that will contend with the Eagles for the top spot. Ezekiel Elliott got his extension and is back with the team, and even though I still have some concern about their overall pass rush production outside of Demarcus Lawrence, their defense will be a good unit.
The Washington Redskins may not end up with a great record, but I see them causing some teams some trouble. I was very high on Derrius Guice in last year’s draft and believe he can be for them what Zeke is to the Cowboys. With Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson still there, that’s a very good group at the RB position.
Outside of Saquon Barkley it’s tough to find many things to like about the New York Giants. I remain skeptical of Daniel Jones despite his stellar performance in the preseason. They’ve made moves in attempt to upgrade their offensive line, but I have to see it first before I buy in.
Green Bay Packers
As is the case with many teams with new head coaches, the Green Bay Packers are going to have their rough spots in the first half of the season. However, I see them gaining a lot of momentum in the second half and winning just enough games to beat out the Minnesota Vikings for the division. Aaron Rodgers may finally have a coach in Matt LaFleur with an offensive system that isn’t plain and predictable.
The Vikings brought in Gary Kubiak to be an assistant head coach / offensive advisor, which I think will help their offense drastically. The player to watch on this team is Dalvin Cook. He’s finally fully healthy, and he looks explosive. He’s poised to have a big year in Kubiak’s system.
It may come as a shock to have the Chicago Bears in 3rd place, but I believe that the loss of Vic Fangio is a bigger deal than some are making it out to be. I also can’t put my complete faith in Mitchell Trubisky yet. He was way too inconsistent in 2018 and it’s going to be difficult for the Bears to replicate their success if he continues to be that unpredictable.
Matt Patricia’s Lions could have a better defense than they did last season, but I still have my doubts about whether Matthew Stafford fits this system. His gunslinger style of play isn’t how Patricia wants his QB to run his offense.
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Me picking the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South isn’t an indictment on the New Orleans Saints. I believe the Saints still have one of the most talented rosters in the league, I just see the Falcons bouncing back in a big way in 2019. For one, they’re going to have an easier schedule than the Saints. Two, the Falcons were absolutely decimated by injuries in 2018, yet Matt Ryan was still able to have arguably the best season of his career. Now everyone’s healthy. And third, Steve Sarkisian is gone. With all that in consideration, the Falcons are set up nicely to finish on top of the division. The Saints should be right there behind them though and will be playoff bound again, just as a Wild Card this time.
My other Wild Card spot is going to yet another team in this division, and that’s the Carolina Panthers. They’ve made some impressive roster changes this past offseason and it’s too hard to ignore how good of a team they can be, especially if DJ Moore breaks out.
2019 is going to be Jameis Winston’s final chance to show that he can be a franchise QB. If he can’t be successful under Bruce Arians, there aren’t many other coaches that he can be successful with. That offense is loaded with so much talent at the skill positions, meaning there are no more excuses. Regardless of how he performs though, I believe Chris Godwin and OJ Howard are going to have breakout seasons.
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
Probably my most shocking division winner is from the NFC West where I have the San Francisco 49ers surprising many and coming out on top. They have a lot of good, young talent on this roster, and if you don’t see it then you need to be paying better attention. Kyle Shanahan finally has a lot of the pieces he’s wanted to fit his system, it’s just a matter of staying relatively healthy (especially Jimmy Garoppolo).
The Los Angeles Rams are going to decline a bit this season. Because of the arthritis in his knee, no one knows if Todd Gurley is going to be the same type of player he was last season when he was an MVP candidate, and he’s the one that made that offense as lethal as it was. They drafted Darrell Henderson to help take some of the workload off of him, but is that enough? They also had a lot of changes to their offensive line and their pass rush outside of Aaron Donald remains questionable. And they don’t have much depth on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams will still end up being a good team, but they won’t be as dominant as they were last year.
It’s very difficult to bet against Russell Wilson, but I don’t see enough firepower on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to compete with the 49ers and Rams, even with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney. Look out for Rashaad Penny to emerge as a big part of that running attack though.
The Arizona Cardinals could be a fun team to watch this season, but I still think they’ve got too many holes still to compete.
NFC Playoff Seeding
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Atlanta Falcons
- Green Bay Packers
- San Francisco 49ers
- New Orleans Saints (Wild Card)
- Carolina Panthers (Wild Card)
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New England Patriots
New York Jets
It’s the New England Patriots, and it’s the AFC East. Do I really need to explain more? Next!
They may have some issues on the offensive line, and that would be a big problem for them. But I love the additions they brought in this past offseason way too much and I’m buying into the hype. The Browns have enough talent and a potentially good coach to win the division.
I feel as though fans either hate Lamar Jackson or they love him. Am I the only one that feels he’s already one of the most divisive QBs in the league? Honestly though, the concerns are warranted. I need to see improve as a passer. At the same time, this team is too talented and too well-coached to be ignored. That running attack with the additions of Mark Ingram and rookie Justice Hill is going to be very difficult to stop. I see the Baltimore Ravens making it into the playoffs as a Wild Card.
I know the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the most consistent teams in the league in recent years, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them win the division. But I have way too many question marks about their roster as a whole to put them ahead of the other two teams.
The Cincinnati Bengals finally moved on from Marvin Lewis! Just for that I wish I could place them higher, but I can’t.
What was the biggest reason for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ disappointing 2018 season? Blake Bortles. Well, he’s gone now and has been replaced by Nick Foles. That alone is going to make a huge difference. Why? It’s not because Foles is some elite QB, but it’s because he’s going to be more responsible with the football and will be able to work well within their run-first system. In turn, that will help the defense return to their elite form they were in 2 seasons ago.
Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement was unfortunate for everyone involved. I wish I could say the Indianapolis Colts could still be a Super Bowl contender even without Luck, but they’re obviously not. However, I do believe in Jacoby Brissett just enough and that he can help lead the team to a playoff spot as the final Wild Card. Frank Reich and the rest of that team will rally.
A lot of people are picking the Houston Texans to win the division, and I completely understand why. I’m a Deshaun Watson fan, and an even bigger DeAndre Hopkins fan. They’re going to be a good team. But I don’t think their offensive line is good enough still, their schedule is going to be much harder than it was last season (according to Warren Sharp their strength of schedule goes from the easiest to the league to the most difficult in 2019), and I’ve never been that high on Bill O’Brien.
When newly acquired QB Ryan Tannehill is about to beat out the current starter Marcus Mariota, that’s not a good sign at all. The Tennessee Titans are going to have a tough time competing with the other teams in this division.
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
It’s going to be nearly impossible for the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes to duplicate the way their offense dominated last season. They’re still going to be one of the best offenses in the league, but you have to expect some type of drop-off from their record-breaking season. Luckily though, they bolstered the defense significantly to the point where, hopefully, the offense doesn’t have to be exactly as good.
The Los Angeles Chargers were going to be my pick to win the AFC West. I had them set almost all summer long. But then the Melvin Gordon holdout happened. And then Derwin James got hurt. And now the Chargers are without 2 of their best players. Those losses will be significant enough to keep them just out of the playoff picture.
Vic Fangio is going to improve that Denver Broncos defense significantly. They have a shot at ending up as one of the top defenses in the NFL. But even though I love Philip Lindsay and I like some of their other weapons on the offensive side of the ball, it’s hard to see them going anywhere with Joe Flacco under center.
Until John Gruden can show me that he’s not utilizing a decade-old system, the Oakland Raiders aren’t going anywhere.
AFC Playoff Seeding
- New England Patriots
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cleveland Browns
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Baltimore Ravens (Wild Card)
- Indianapolis Colts (Wild Card)
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Philadelphia Eagles defeat Kansas City Chiefs
MVP: Carson Wentz
This is the season that Carson Wentz quiets all the haters, and I can’t wait for it.
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley
Honestly, Barkley is probably going to be my pick for OPOY for a long time. Simple as that.
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett
Garrett was my pick last year for the award, but that obviously didn’t come to fruition. However, I’m hoping that I was just a year early with my guess, so I’m going to give it one more shot.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray
Last year I went with a bold prediction in Anthony Miller as opposed to the obvious prediction in Saquon Barkley. I’m not going to do that again. It came down to Murray or Josh Jacobs (the only RB from this draft class not handcuffed by a committee), and I decided to go with the QB because I think he’ll make more memorable plays than Jacobs. Plus, tiebreakers almost always go to the QB anyways for these awards.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa
I made a surprise prediction that the San Francisco 49ers would win the NFC West. If they’re going to do so, I believe Bosa will be a huge factor in that happening.
Comeback Player of the Year: Jimmy Garoppolo
“Jimmy GQ” didn’t have the 2018 season many were expecting after going down with a torn ACL in Week 3. There are many that still question his skills and ability to stay healthy, but I believe he answers both in 2019.
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan
Shanahan has often been overlooked and overshadowed by the popularity of Sean McVay. Many don’t realize how great of an offensive mind Shanahan is as well. However, that will change in 2019 as long as Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy. With him finally having stability at the QB position all year long, Shanahan will finally get the recognition he deserves.