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2018 NFL Predictions

NFL

2018 NFL Predictions: Playoff Teams and Bracket

We have seen the future. Maybe.

With the 2018 NFL season on the horizon, your 2018 NFL predictions are here. In a league that goes out of its way to foster parity, this might not be so easy. Unless, you know, you’re picking the New England Patriots. That’s easy.

The purposes of this exercise are the following:

  • To determine the playoff field in each the NFC and AFC for the 2018 NFL season.
  • Figuring the most likely teams to have the top draft picks in 2019.
  • So that we may refer back to this at a later time for purposes of comparison against the preseason conventional wisdom.
  • That The Bracket Yard, and its successors and assigns, may make spectacular asses of themselves when they get something very wrong.

Such is life in the sports blogging fast lane. You dole out the predictions for clicks and cheap laughs, and when you’re wrong, the fingers get pointed. This is why we have to be right.

The Super Bowl LIII prediction is not to be found here, but that will be coming soon. We have to build a little suspense, you know.

NFC Predictions: East | North | South | West
AFC Predictions: East | North | South | West
Playoff Bracket: Right Here

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC East

One would imagine that the Philadelphia Eagles, finally winners of the Super Bowl, will figure out a way to win the NFC East again. It’s a safe prediction, given that there doesn’t seem to be another team in the division capable of catching them. Yet, nobody thought the Eagles would amount to anything in 2017, either.

2018 NFL Predictions: New York Giants

First, turn your attention to the New York Football Giants. They went 3-13 last year, in part because they had no offensive line and lost almost their entire wide receiving corps, and also in part because the coach was a dope. Big Blue spent a lot of money this offseason, and they brought in players like OL Nate Solder, LBs Kareem Martin and Connor Barwin, OG Patrick Omameh, and DB William Gay. Not to mention, they drafted big in the first round by taking RB Saquon Barkley. This is a very different-looking team than last year, but they enter with one of the NFL’s toughest schedules.

The Giants will be better in 2018, because it would be harder for them to be worse.

2018 NFL Predictions: Washington Redskins

Then you get the Washington Redskins, a hard-to-figure team. In fact, they might be the hardest to figure of the four NFC East teams. Alex Smith takes over as the quarterback, and he might have had Derrius Guice in the backfield with him. Unfortunately, Guice was injured in the preseason and will not play in 2018.

Defensively, Washington seems to have a better crew assembled, including returnee Josh Norman and newcomer LB Zach Brown. The question is if it will be good enough to stop what has become a Philadelphia juggernaut, not to mention the Giants with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. Dallas, well, we’ll get to you in a minute.

Alex Smith will have a lot on his shoulders in 2018, and while he has a playoff pedigree, can he get Washington there?

2018 NFL Predictions: Dallas Cowboys

2017 turned out to be an okay season for Dallas; not as good as they expected, but they didn’t crash and burn like the Giants. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone, the latter of which is a real blow to the Cowboys given how dependable a tight end he was over the years. Tavon Austin is in from the Rams to help shore up the receiving corps around Dak Prescott.

The quarterback’s INTs were up in 2017 and his passer rating went down, but the overall results could be worse. Let’s not forget that Zeke Elliott remains with this team that is hoping to get back to the playoffs this season. Elliott is the driving force of the Dallas offense, and so far, there’s nothing to indicate he’ll have an off year.

2018 NFL Predictions: Philadelphia Eagles

What else can we saw about Philly that hasn’t already been said? If they win fewer than ten games, it would be an enormous surprise. A franchise of losers and heartbreakers no more.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC EAST CHAMPION

Philadelphia Eagles.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC North

You might think this is Aaron Rodgers’ division and the other teams are just living in it, but the fact is that Green Bay wasn’t top dog in 2017. That honor belonged to the Minnesota Vikings, a team that needed and received a miracle to advance to the NFC Championship. Will they get back to the postseason this year?

2018 NFL Predictions: Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is back, back, back again. He played in only seven games in 2017, and it’s therefore no coincidence that Green Bay did not make the playoffs. His return to full strength should foster the Packers’ return to contention. There is no doubting Rodgers around here.

There IS doubting of the defense. It was bottom-half of the league in 2017 and while it wouldn’t take much for it to improve, it has a long way to go to get to the stature of Minnesota’s. At least the Packers can count on the other side of the ball. Rodgers’ healthy presence means a winning season is probable, even if the defense only marginally improves.

2018 NFL Predictions: Minnesota Vikings

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur really helped Case Keenum go in 2017, leading the Vikings as close to the Super Bowl as you can get without actually going there. Now, both of them are gone, but expectations remain high. The man with whom their hopes rest is Kirk Cousins, formerly of the Washington Redskins.

Minnesota threw a lot of cash at Cousins, who isn’t a bad quarterback but also has no record of playoff achievement to his name. Nevertheless, he has a better team in front of him here than he did in Washington, and Cousins realizes this is his chance to win somewhere (anyone, like the Jets, can throw a lot of money at you, but who wants to rot on a lousy team?)

The Vikings defense will still be fierce in 2018, and if not the best, one of the best. They say defense wins championships, and here is a franchise longing for one. So, at the very least in this case, defense should get you into the playoffs.

2018 NFL Predictions: Detroit Lions

Matt Patricia got his first head coaching gig, and he has no doubt already learned this isn’t going to be as easy as New England. He tries to Belichick his way through the press conferences, but Tom Brady ain’t walking through that door. Granted, Matthew Stafford is not a bad quarterback by any means.

Patricia inherits a team that was in an okay spot at the end of last season, but did not get to the playoffs. This defensive-minded coach will pick up an offense that did well in 2017, at least as the passing game goes. The new coach’s project will be defense, which wasn’t up to par last year and might not be up to par now. Considering that Minnesota will be an offensive force, and Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers back, this is a precarious position for Detroit.

2018 NFL Predictions: Chicago Bears

Chicago is back to the drawing board — again. Matt Nagy is in to try to spark some life into this moribund franchise, but with what is he working? Mitchell Trubisky was a fine quarterback at North Carolina, as we well know, but his second year in the NFL will be an important one. Having a new offensive-minded head coach will be of help to him in his development, and they went out and got some help around Trubisky on offense.

The Bears’ defense may or may not suffer from John Fox’s departure, but if they can remain at a similar level as last year, football might not be so hard to stomach in 2018 in Chicago. In fact, there might even be cause for future optimism should Trubisky take a step forward. Playing in a division with a couple good teams, however, limits their upward mobility in the standings this season.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC NORTH CHAMPION

Minnesota Vikings.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC South

The NFC South was a division producing Super Bowl contenders for a few years, with Carolina and Atlanta both going to, and losing, the big game. New Orleans had a chance to go deep into the playoffs last year if not for a miraculous Minnesota comeback. What about those Saints this year, in a division where they’ll have a tough fight for first?

2018 NFL Predictions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs appear to be going full-speed in the wrong direction again. Quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the season, may not start after that, but would not be coming back to much. The defense might put together a decent year, particularly due to adding Jason Pierre-Paul, but Winston’s offense is lacking in playmakers. It’s not like they have none, but their talent doesn’t stack up with the other three teams in the division, especially Atlanta and New Orleans.

A best-case scenario would be an average season, given all that’s happening. It’s just as likely that the Bucs swirl the bowl. Unless one of the other teams in the division collapses, there’s no place for them to go.

2018 NFL Predictions: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers were a playoff team last season, looking to get back into the field with Cam Newton under center. Keeping in mind how difficult this division could be again, Carolina made some moves to remain in contention. Torrey Smith is one of the newcomers on the Carolina offense, as is CJ Anderson. Christian McCaffrey, a returning running back, should continue to develop into a good option for the Panthers’ offense, but again, it rests on Newton. His last two seasons have not been great, but hopes are that a new offensive coordinator can inject life into Newton and his team.

Mind you, they were 11-5 last season. Thank the defense, a top-ten unit in the NFL, for that. Luke Kuechly continues to be a monster.

Now ask yourself, have the Panthers done enough to hang with the top teams in the division? Depends on Cam Newton, of course, but this appears to be a winning team.

2018 NFL Predictions: Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan and his Falcons keep trucking along, and should be a playoff contender at a minimum during the 2018 NFL season. He’s still throwing to Julio Jones, meaning they’re always going to be a threat for a quick, big strike. Another Alabama product, Calvin Ridley, joins Jones in the wide receiver corps. Offense should not be a problem for Atlanta.

The defense lost a few players, but Deion Jones remains the man to watch on that side of the football. This unit will be good enough as the offense does its thing. With the potential Ryan-to-Jones and Ryan-to-Ridley hookups, Atlanta will have a potentially very exciting offense that keeps up with New Orleans.

2018 NFL Predictions: New Orleans Saints

The Saints march in to 2018 as the favorite in the NFC South. Drew Brees remains one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL, even as he approaches 40. Not to mention, they have a solid run game and an improving defense. What had been a few years ago a sorry defense is now more than competent.

Watching New Orleans go toe-to-toe with Atlanta will be very entertaining. Both teams are comparable in terms of talent and it may come down to their two divisional games against one another.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC SOUTH CHAMPION

New Orleans Saints.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC West

2018 NFL Predictions: San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo is the man of the hour in San Francisco (or Santa Clara, technically). When the Niners surged at the end of the 2017 season, it gave their fans a great deal of hope for the future. Now, we must find out if it was a real thing or their late-season burst was an expression of pride by a team playing with nothing to lose. You better believe this is a franchise, however, that will assign higher expectations right away.

Richard Sherman switched NFC West teams and is now with the 49ers, which should benefit their improving defense. This unit was ranked 24th in the league last season, but probably won’t be that bad again.

The thing about which to worry with this team is that people are perhaps reading too much into their close of the 2017 campaign. It won’t take long for us to figure out if it was a fluke.

2018 NFL Predictions: Arizona Cardinals

This could be a long, tough year out in the desert. Intense political campaigns may get down the people of the Great State of Arizona, to which they will turn to football or a contending Diamondbacks team for their escape. It’s not likely that the Cardinals will provide such relief.

Josh Rosen, the new quarterback out of UCLA, is an interesting prospect, but Sam Bradford could end up being the guy this year. For Rosen to get into the starting role would mean things went downhill for Bradford, and likely the season with it. That is definitely not impossible. Despite having Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona’s offense remains its biggest question mark.

The defense will be the better of the two main units for Arizona, as it was last year. The question is if it will be enough to make a difference for the season’s bottom line.

2018 NFL Predictions: Los Angeles Rams

Nobody saw the Rams coming in 2017, but they took strides to make sure they will be even better in 2018. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley return, but in the case of Goff, one worries about a sophomore slump (a thing in baseball, maybe also in the NFL). If that does not happen, this could be one of the best teams in the NFC.

Where the Rams beefed up was on the defensive side of the football, adding Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh, and Marcus Peters. A good team just got even better, and it’s difficult to see them missing the playoffs.

2018 NFL Predictions: Seattle Seahawks

A few years ago, Seattle contended for Super Bowls (and actually won one). Over time, the Legion of Boom’s effectiveness faded, and now, it remains just a memory of an era passed away. Seattle is moving into another phase with these Seahawks, and with that loss of talent comes a rebuild. This might not be a full-tilt overhaul that sees them with a high draft pick, but pulling out of playoff contention is feasible.

From Kam Chancellor to Richard Sherman and Jimmy Graham, key Seahawks players are out left and right. It’s very difficult to account for those kinds of losses and expect to perform at a high level. All good things must come to an end.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC WEST CHAMPION

Los Angeles Rams.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC East

In this very, very one-sided division, do any of the non-Foxboro teams have hope?

2018 NFL Predictions: New England Patriots

Is Tom Brady still part of the New England Patriots? How about Bill Belichick? Alright, then short of Brady getting injured in Week 1 (which has happened), the Pats are going to win the division again. This would be their tenth division title in a row, and 15th in 16 seasons. Belichick’s regular season win percentage with the Patriots is an insane .743, which means they averaged a 12-4 season EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST 18 YEARS. What the hell else do you want from them?

The pertinent 2018 NFL predictions question, much like every year, is who’s in the running for second in the AFC East. If it’s someone other than the Pats while Brady is quarterback, then color me shocked. Enjoy it while you can, New England fans, as Brady is in the twilight of his career and every game you get from here on is a blessing. It’s like how Yankees fans must have felt when Mariano Rivera neared retirement.

2018 NFL Predictions: New York Jets

This is Sam Darnold’s team now, and why not: it’s not like the Jets have anything else going for them. Sure, he’s got nicely-coiffed hair, but can Darnold win football games? Carson Wentz in Philadelphia showed us that a young quarterback can succeed, but a rookie? No rookie starting quarterback has ever made a Super Bowl, let alone won it. The closest were Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez, a name that should be familiar.

So, to whom is Darnold throwing? Aye, there’s the rub, especially if Quincy Enunwa can’t round back into form. Terrelle Pryor was an okay signing who is coming off of an injury.

Todd Bowles is a defensive coach, but it’s the offense that will attract all eyes. Jets fans will probably endure some growing pains with Darnold this year, but for a potential payoff down the road.

2018 NFL Predictions: Miami Dolphins

The fact that they expect to have Ryan Tannehill for the full season gives Miami a certain stability. Coming off of a 6-10 season, it can’t get a lot worse. Tannehill is on the Alex Smith tier of quarterbacks — maybe a game manager, could get you into the playoffs but probably isn’t going to win. For now, the Dolphins will settle just for a winning season, much less getting into the postseason.

Beefing up the wide receiving corps was a priority, bringing aboard Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. Miami needs run game production from Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake, but first they need a more productive offensive line. Josh Sitton should be of help.

The Dolphins’ defense is still a work in progress, just like the rest of the team appears to be.

2018 NFL Predictions: Buffalo Bills

How does Buffalo follow up its first playoff season in 18 years? Given the fact that they are now breaking in a rookie quarterback in Josh Allen, not nearly as well as they would like.

LeSean McCoy might get some things done for the offense, but Allen is going to need time, and Nathan Peterman leading Buffalo back to the playoffs would be the product of divine intervention. Given that their offensive line is also being rebuilt (putting it charitably), this will hamper McCoy and the eventual quarterback’s effectiveness.

Buffalo looks okay on defense but not great, and it doesn’t look like enough at this point to make up for glaring offensive deficiences.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC EAST CHAMPION

New England Patriots.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC North

The AFC North has a clear favorite, two teams than seem on either end of average, and a previously horrible team that might still be. See below if we think this division shakes out about the same as last season.

2018 NFL Predictions: Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger continues to lead the Steelers, and with the help of his teammates Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh will have the AFC North’s best offense again. Here’s the problem, though: Bell still hasn’t shown up as he’s in the midst of a holdout. They still have two of the three, anyway.

Pittsburgh saw William Gay walk to the Giants, but their big loss on defense was Ryan Shazier, who will not play this season. His recovery to live a normal and healthy life would mean a lot to NFL fans, even if he never played again. It would be a miracle were he to suit up for the black and yellow again, but hope will remain alive. The Steelers shouldn’t need him in order to have a solid, respectable defense this season.

2018 NFL Predictions: Cincinnati Bengals

Marvin Lewis has more football lives with the Bengals than Shirley MacLaine did real ones. Somehow, he’s still the coach in Cincinnati. Likewise, he’s got a similar roster to what he had last season, and just like the team below on this list, they’re going to try again with what they have.

The Bengals disappointed in 2017, and Andy Dalton hasn’t been great, but if he can get the connection with AJ Green working, they’ll at least have something on offense. On defense, they were average last year and the current trends would indicate they’re going to be average this season. Average offense plus average defense points towards an average season.

2018 NFL Predictions: Baltimore Ravens

The changing of the guard will eventually take place with Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks, but probably not in 2018. Joe Flacco is still under contract with Baltimore, but Lamar Jackson awaits his opportunity. That is not coming now unless something happens to Flacco, and why would they make a change voluntarily: Baltimore has playoff aspirations this season. A rookie might not be able to give them what they want, no matter how promising he appears.

They missed the postseason by very little in 2017, so of course, their natural expectation is to get there this year. Baltimore didn’t make many waves in the offseason, which is to the detriment of the team. Why? They didn’t make the playoffs last year, Pittsburgh is still better than them, and they’re not on the same tier as the best of the AFC. The Ravens are banking on getting the breaks this year that they didn’t last year. It might work out for them but does not make them more than a wild card contender.

2018 NFL Predictions: Cleveland Browns

At least football will be mildly entertaining again with the prospect of Baker Mayfield running the offense. If you’re a Cleveland fan, however, you’re concerned with the franchise’s history of ruining successful college quarterbacks. Cleveland is a graveyard for the hopes and dreams of young QBs, which is something they hope changes with Mayfield and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Based only on the exit polling, we project the Browns will win at least one game in 2018.

This was a team last season as deficient as any at everything in the National Football League. Nevertheless, six of their 16 losses were by a touchdown or less, so they didn’t get housed EVERY game. Nowhere to go but up, but five wins would be an achievement.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC NORTH CHAMPION

Pittsburgh Steelers.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC South

2018 NFL Predictions: Jacksonville Jaguars

Tom Coughlin is a wizard, helping turn the Jaguars around overnight. He hasn’t been team’s executive vice president for long, but look what they’ve already done. (Alright, fine, give Doug Marrone some credit as well.) They came *this* close to getting to a Super Bowl with Blake Bortles as their quarterback; still need proof he’s a wizard?

Regardless, now that they have tasted actual playoff success, more is now expected. What will this group do for an encore?

Andrew Norwell was a big get (literally) to bolster the offensive line, and with the other weapons Jacksonville returns (e.g. Leonard Fournette), that should help keep the offense stable in 2018. Bortles is not a great quarterback, but the idea is for him to be serviceable and let the Sacksonville (not a typo) defense do its thing.

Almost everyone is back from this defense that stunned the league last season, and when you’re that stacked, good things will happen. Things continue to look up for the Jags after years of futility.

2018 NFL Predictions: Indianapolis Colts

Indy hasn’t been good in years. Chuck Pagano’s dismissal was long overdue, but now new head coach Frank Reich has a tough job rebuilding. Andrew Luck has the potential to be a top quarterback in the league, but what will he do? After all, he did not play in 2017 due to injury. He still has TY Hilton to whom to throw, but this team needs more weapons than that.

The Colts’ defense will be a work in progress, and not just because they’re going to a 4-3 base defense. It’s not clear who’s going to step up in this bunch, but anyone would be helpful.

And yes, Adam Vinatieri is still playing.

2018 NFL Predictions: Houston Texans

The face of the Houston Texans is, and remains, JJ Watt. Aside from being an all-around great guy (and I would hope fans of all 32 teams acknowledge the good he’s done as an ambassador for the game), he is back from injury. Houston needs him to round back into form quickly. Another one that needs to get healthy and stay healthy is Jadeveon Clowney; should both put together full seasons, Houston looks like an interesting possibility in the AFC playoff hunt.

Speaking of guys who need to stay healthy, Deshaun Watson. He had the Texan offense on the upswing before getting hurt last year. Houston hit the Injured Reserve list hard this past season, making the 2017 campaign a lost cause. Hopes are a little higher now, and some might lose sight of Houston because their previous record turned out to be so dismal.

2018 NFL Predictions: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee finally took that step forward, and now their charge is to do something with it. In spite of their making the 2017 playoffs, they canned the coach and replaced him with former Patriots star Mike Vrabel. Some new(er) life is about to get breathed into the Titans organization, ignoring the fact that they redid the uniforms.

Marcus Mariota had a lousy 2017 season strictly by the numbers and still, somehow, Tennessee made the playoffs. You may ask yourself why that is, especially taking into consideration that the defense was statistically average. It’s because the stats don’t tell you everything. Their offensive line, which doesn’t show up on any box score, was more than good enough. They also found ways to win within their division, including a sweep of Jacksonville. If Houston gets back into form and Indy with Andrew Luck isn’t a pushover, however, they can’t count on going 5-1 in the division this season. Tennessee has the pieces in place to get back to the playoffs, but it probably won’t happen again without getting more from Mariota.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC SOUTH CHAMPION

Jacksonville Jaguars.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC West

2018 NFL Predictions: Los Angeles Chargers

The hot team right now is the Los Angeles Chargers, and despite the fact that their 2017 was a so-so 9-7 campaign, you’ll soon see why they are getting the praise.

Los Angeles, erstwhile San Diego, has the most stable and predictable quarterback situation in the AFC West. They soared after starting the season 0-4, and Philip Rivers has the team around him to get back on top of the division, in spite of losing Antonio Gates. (UPDATE, September 3: Gates is back with the Chargers, so there goes that.)

Keenan Allen is still around, right? That’s good news for Rivers, and what’s better news for the Chargers as a whole is that the defense could put together a strong year, at least as far as pass rushing. If the Bolts get better against the run in 2018, then this is surely the team to beat in the AFC West.

2018 NFL Predictions: Oakland Raiders

They might not be the Oakland Raiders much longer, but the Bay Area fans would love to see them make one more run with their old/new coach. Chuckie is back in the Black Hole, and Oakland is a wild card. Not in the sense that they are going to actually take a wild card berth, but that it’s hard to figure what they will be.

Oakland is coming off of a rough year in which Jack Del Rio got fired. That playoff surge a few years back is looking like the fluke, not 2017, but Jon Gruden hopes to change that. If anyone can do it, it’s him.

Derek Carr needs to step up in 2018 after a year that saw a marked decrease in his touchdown-to-interception ratio. Said quarterback wasn’t too pleased that Khalil Mack got traded away, a move which will add another interesting challenge to the upcoming season. That’s not even his side of the football and he knows what’s up.

Oakland’s defense is a matter of serious debate. Who will step up, if not Mack? That’s a good question and only time will answer it. That could be one of the things holding back the Raiders from making any big instant progress under Gruden, but you can never count him out.

2018 NFL Predictions: Denver Broncos

A couple years ago, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl thanks to a stout defense and an historically uncharacteristic but somewhat effective end-career performance by Peyton Manning as game manager. Now look at them.

In the National Football League, the road from hero to zero is shorter for some teams than they’d care to admit. Their past three seasons have been 12-4 and a Super Bowl, 9-7, and 5-11. This team is clearly in rebuild mode, but at least their new quarterback, Case Keenum, has been to the playoffs before. That is, of course, of no help to them if they don’t make it there in the first place. Keenum is an upgrade over the terrible trio they ran out there last year.

Von Miller is still the key guy for the Broncos defense, which isn’t quite a shell of what it used to be, but has lost some juice. Clearly they were not good enough in 2017 to compensate for the offense, but even at that, it was still okay. Just “okay” is not going to be good enough to make a significant move upwards in this division.

2018 NFL Predictions: Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City is a talented team that just happens to have a new quarterback. Alex Smith is gone and Patrick Mahomes, who was a stud at Texas Tech, now takes over the Kansas City Chiefs offense. Being a great college player means nothing in the pros, but a good way to find out what you have is to play the guy. Throwing to guys like Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins will help — how could it hurt?

Andy Reid’s defense was below mediocre last year, ranking 15th in points allowed and 28th in terms of yardage. Both run and pass defense gave up big yardage, so you have to ask what the Chiefs did about it. Aside from cutting loose several players from that team, at least they know they’ll have Eric Berry back on the field.

The Chiefs have won the division the last couple years in a row, but can they trust that task to a quarterback who’s starting for the first time? It happens, and surely they can make the playoffs, but one gets the sense Kansas City is going to have to walk a narrow path to do it. A couple bad breaks could ruin the year.

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC WEST CHAMPION

Los Angeles Chargers.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC Playoff Picture

1 Los Angeles Rams
2 Philadelphia Eagles
3 New Orleans Saints
4 Minnesota Vikings
5 Atlanta Falcons
6 Green Bay Packers

2018 NFL Predictions: AFC Playoff Picture

1 New England Patriots
2 Pittsburgh Steelers
3 Jacksonville Jaguars
4 Los Angeles Chargers
5 Houston Texans
6 Kansas City Chiefs

2018 NFL Predictions: Our Bracket

2018 NFL Predictions Playoff Bracket

2018 NFL Predictions: Duds of the Year

Buffalo appears to be headed for a large backwards step. Cleveland will be nothing if not entertaining with Baker Mayfield, but winning preseason games and regular season games are two different things. Chicago might find a bit of a spark, but they need more than a spark. Arizona is probably going to struggle, but how much? The Giants could go sideways again (you know, if the whole WR corps gets injured), and the Jets are retooling again. Washington and Miami might not turn out to be any good, either. This is not an exhaustive list.

With so many choices, how do you pick the season’s biggest duds? We might as well be throwing darts at a board. Nevertheless, we will persist.

Cleveland and Buffalo will contend for the number one pick as both break in rookie quarterbacks. A surprise (maybe not that surprising) entry will be Denver, as who the hell knows what they’re running out there in 2018. If Case Keenum can’t help, they’ll be in the mix.

Finally, keep an eye on Tampa Bay, a team that looks like on paper it’s a few bad breaks from tanking.

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