NFL Season Predictions

Folks, it’s been a long time since I got some writing done, and I figured what better way to get back into the game than predicting every single game of the NFL season courtesy of playoffpredictors.com.

The setup is simple, I wanted to make playoff predictions, but I don’t like throwing out arbitrary “10-6” or “12-4” predictions without going through the schedule and figuring out why I think teams will finish the way they do.  My goal is to go through every game on the NFL schedule with no preconceived agenda of who I believe is a playoff team and who isn’t.. schedules matter.

As a note, this is written the day after the 1st NFL game of the season where the Packers beat the Bears in a snooze fest.

Here we go, full team records starting with the AFC!

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
  3. Cleveland Browns (9-7)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans (9-7)
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
  4. Tennessee Titans (6-10)

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
  3. New York Jets (6-10)
  4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
  2. Denver Broncos (9-7)
  3. LA Chargers (8-8)
  4. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
  3. Detroit Lions (9-7)
  4. Chicago Bears (8-8)

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
  2. New Orleans Saints (9-6-1)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (7-8-1)
  4. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-13)

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
  3. Washington Redskins (4-12)
  4. New York Giants (3-13)

NFC West

  1. LA Rams (11-5)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (8-8)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

Things That Surprised Me

AFC:

3 playoff teams in the AFC North: I like the talent across this division a lot, but even knowing that, I’m surprised with the result of 3 teams finding their way into the playoffs, but the division schedule isn’t incredibly difficult, and if the Browns can overcome an average offensive line, this division is dangerous.

AFC South Battle: I guess this isn’t a huge surprise, but Texans, Jaguars, and Colts all within one game suits up for a hell of a race for the last 4-5 weeks of the season.

Denver Broncos 9-7: This one really shocked me, but when you really look at it, is it so crazy that Denver wins 9 games?  Veteran QB with a good pass catching group, solid running game, and possibly the best pass rushing duo in the league in Von Miller and emerging star Bradley Chubb.. sounds like a team that will win their fair share of games.

NFC:

NFC North with no team under .500: This is top to bottom one of, if not the strongest division in football, but no team under .500? The Bears finishing last? This one is even hard to explain as the person making the prediction.

Panthers 11-5 and the 1 seed: I knew I was bullish on the Panthers, but I didn’t expect this type of result.  That being said, their schedule works out nicely, and their roster is loaded.  This is clearly the best skill position group Cam Newton has ever had, the front 7 is one of the best in football with the additions of Brian Burns, Gerald McCoy, and Bruce Irvin, and Donte Jackson is emerging as one of the more promising young corners in the league.

49ers 8-8: While 8-8 doesn’t get you into the playoffs, it’s a big step up from 4-12.  Assuming Jimmy G’s health (which is a ridiculous assumption), he’s got a very solid group of skill position players for a Kyle Shanahan offense (Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida, Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin).  The other big reason for optimism is the upgrade in the pass rush with the additions of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.

NFL Playoffs

AFC

Seeds 1-6:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Baltimore Ravens
  6. Cleveland Browns
Wild Card Games:

Ravens (5) @ Texans (4): Ravens. Ravens defense exploits a still bad OL even with the Tunsil addition, and Lamar Jackson and company score enough points to move on.

Browns (6) @ Steelers (3): Browns.  This one is just a fun pick, Baker bringing a team of misfits on the road as likely 6.5ish point underdogs, and stealing a game against the Steelers, who get caught looking ahead to a division round match-up in Kansas City.

Division Round:

Ravens (5) @ Patriots (2): Patriots. Tom Brady at home in the division round of the playoffs is 11-1. Next.

Browns (6) @ Chiefs (1): Chiefs. The Browns run comes to and end in Kansas City, where the Chiefs exploit a below average defensive backfield with what could be one of the best passing offenses in league history.

Championship:

Patriots (2) @ Chiefs (1): Chiefs. This game being played in Kansas City instead of New England makes a huge difference.  There’s no Dee Ford to go offside, and the Chiefs move on to Andy Reid’s 2nd Superbowl appearance.

NFC

Seeds 1-6:

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. LA Rams
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Green Bay Packers
  6. Seattle Seahawks
Wild Card Games:

Packers (5) @ Eagles (4): Eagles. The Eagles get this game at home, and the difference will be a healthy Carson Wentz (impossible to predict).  Without Wentz, and without Nick Foles as a backup, The Packers win this game, but for the sake of preseason health optimism, Fly Eagles Fly.

Seahawks (6) @ Vikings (3): Seahawks. Kirk Cousins in the playoffs doesn’t sound like a winning recipe.  Russel Wilson and Pete Carroll have been here before, and get it done on the road.

Division Round:

Eagles (4) @ Rams (2): Eagles. This would be a hell of a game.  With Carson Wentz healthy, take the over.  This game could wind up around 35-38 and the ratings would be through the roof.

Seahawks (6) @ Panthers (1): Panthers. As previously stated, I love the Panthers, and getting a home game and a bye is huge for Cam Newton and the aging Greg Olsen.

Championship:

Eagles (4) @ Panthers (1): Panthers. There are a lot of great matchups to watch in this game, Cam Newton vs the Eagles front 4, CMC vs some athletic Eagles LBs, Panthers Pass-rush vs. Eagles OTs.  CMC and Cam Newton make enough plays to get past one of the best defensive lines in the league.

Superbowl

Panthers vs. Chiefs: Chiefs.  Ultimately, this came down to the fact that I don’t think the Panthers can score enough points to get past Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.  This KC offense is going to be incredible with the addition of another 4.3 speed player in Micole Hardman, to go along with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce in the middle.

 

 

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