2018 NFL season: Bold predictions, final record for all 32 teams and playoff picks
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If you love NFL predictions, then you've come to the right place.
Between now and the start of the 2018 NFL season, CBSSports.com will be throwing out predictions nearly every day. Some of those predictions will be crazy. For instance, Will Brinson thinks that the Ravens are . I don't even think the Ravens are going to have a winning record.
On the other end of the prediction spectrum, there's Pete Prisco, who took three days out of his life in July to predict Jets fan, you might be offended: Prisco has your team finishing 2-14.. It's worth a read and if you want to click over now and check it out, I won't be offended. However, if you're a
As for my predictions, there's a lot of them, so let's get started here.
First, here's how things are going to work: I'm going to go through each division and predict each team's final record. After that, I'll be making a bold prediction for each division. Once you roll through the divisional portion of these predictions, you'll see my playoff picks and eventually, my Super Bowl champion. Spoiler alert: My Super Bowl champion is not the Browns.
Finally, if I pick your team to win the AFC, you can probably just go ahead and start celebrating now and that's mainly because I've picked the AFC Championof the . I've also managed to pick the top two spots in the AFC West correctly in every season since 2014, so you might want to call your bookie on that one.
AFC East Bold Prediction: Sam Darnold wins Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Leading your team to an 8-8 record isn't usually something to brag about, but when your team is the Jets, who are coming off two straight seasons of going 5-11, getting to 8-8 is almost as impressive as winning the Super Bowl. Although there will be some stiff competition for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, the voters love giving the award to a quarterback, which is why Darnold is going to win. If Darnold does win, he would become the first player in Jets history to win the offensive award (multiple Jets players have won the defensive award with Sheldon Richardson being the most recent in 2013).
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AFC North Bold Prediction: Ben Roethlisberger wins NFL MVP.
During his 14-year career, Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to the playoffs 10 times, he's won two Super Bowls and he's been to the Pro Bowl six times. Despite those accolades, Roethlisberger has never come close to winning an MVP award. As a matter of fact, Big Ben has never even received a SINGLE VOTE for MVP. To put that in perspective, Bobby Wagner, DeMarco Murray, Chad Pennington, Michael Turner, Tiki Barber and former Steelers linebacker James Harrison have all received at least one MVP vote since 2004, but Roethlisberger has been shut out. Not only is Roethlisberger going to get a vote in 2018, but he's going to win the award.
AFC South Bold Prediction: Bill O'Brien wins Coach of the Year.
If the NFL has taught us one thing this century, it's that we're basically guaranteed to see at least one team go from worst-to-first this season. In 15 of the 16 NFL seasons since 2003, there's been at least one team that's gone from worst-to-first, and for 2018, I'm guessing that team will be the Texans. Last season, the Texans lost multiple players to injury -- including Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus -- and ended the year at 4-12 and tied for last place in the AFC South. Those players are now healthy, which means the Texans should be better. If O'Brien does win the award, he should probably make sure to mention the Texans' medical staff in his "thank you" speech.
AFC West Bold Prediction: Chargers win the division.
This might not seem like a bold prediction -- because a lot of people are picking the Chargers -- but trust me, it is. For one, I'm putting Philip Rivers.AFC West on the line . Six teams have made the playoffs out of this division over the past four years and I've . Basically, if you had bet on just my AFC West picks over the past four years, you'd be a billionaire. The other reason this is a crazy pick is because someone out there clearly has a Chargers voodoo doll. I mean, the injuries in L.A. are getting out of hand. However, I'm going to ignore all of that and pick the Chargers to win the division anyway. On a related note, if you're the one holding the Chargers voodoo doll, please don't use it on
NFC East Bold Prediction: The Eagles miss the playoffs.
There is only one rule when it comes to picking the winner of this division and it's that no one ever repeats as champion. Since 2005, no team in the NFC East has repeated as champion, which makes this division the most unpredictable one in football, and this year shouldn't be any different. Every team seems to have at least one big question mark heading into 2018: The Cowboys don't . The Redskins lost their rookie . The Giants have no idea if Eli Manning is still any good at age 37 and the Eagles don't know when Carson Wentz . I'd also say the Eagles are suffering from the proverbial Super Bowl hangover, but based on what I saw in the preseason, they might not even be sobered up yet. I don't think Philly is going to have an epic collapse, but I do think they're going to miss the postseason.
NFC North Bold Prediction: Jimmy Graham leads the NFL in TD catches, breaks tight end TD record.
Putting Jimmy Graham and Aaron Rodgers on the same team is borderline unfair, but that's what the Packers have done in Green Bay. Rodgers is a touchdown throwing machine who actually led the league in touchdown passes the last time he was on the field for an entire season (2016). Graham is a touchdown catching machine who actually led the league in touchdown receptions back in 2013. Now that they're together, I won't be surprised if Graham tops Rob Gronkowski's single-season record for touchdown catches by a tight end. Gronk set the mark with 17 touchdown receptions in 2011.
NFC South Bold Prediction: The Buccaneers finish with the worst record in the NFL.
The last time we saw an NFL quarterback get suspended to start a season (Tom Brady), his team ended up responding by going 14-2 and winning the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Buccaneers fans, I think the opposite is going to happen here. The Jameis Winston suspension combined with the fact that Bucs play in the hardest division combined with the fact that I fully expect them to start 0-3 means that I have no faith in Tampa. Of course, there is an upside here Bucs fans: If my prediction is right, you get to spend the entire offseason debating about who to take with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. And I won't be surprised if you also spend some time debating whether or not the team should re-sign Winston, who will only have one year left on his contract following the 2018 season.
NFC West Bold Prediction: Seahawks get double-digit wins.
After watching the Seahawks lose players like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham, and Paul Richardson this offseason, it's easy to understand why most people aren't that high on Seattle heading into 2018 (I could have actually listed even more players that the Seahawks lost, but we had to stop somewhere). Not only did they lose multiple starters from last year's team, but they did little to fix their biggest problem, which is the offensive line. The good news for the Seahawks is that Russell Wilson has proven that he doesn't really need an offensive line to be successful and the defense is stilled filled with playmakers, including Bobby Wagner. They might not win the division, but I do think they'll get to 10 wins.
(6) Jaguars 30-27 over (3) Texans
(5) Bengals 20-17 over (4) Chargers
(6) Jaguars 23-20 over (1) Patriots
(2) Steelers 24-17 over (5) Bengals
(2) Steelers 27-23 over (6) Jaguars
AFC Playoff Bold Prediction: The Bengals win a playoff game?!?!?!
Warning: This is the part of my prediction piece where things officially go from bold to completely off the rails and nothing is more completely off the rails than picking the Bengals to win a playoff game. For the past 27 years, the biggest lock in sports has been betting against the Bengals in the postseason. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that betting against the Bengals in the playoffs is up there with buying Amazon stock as the fastest way to get rich over the past two decades. However, there will be no money to be made this year and here's why: The drought is actually going to end. The team fixed their biggest weakness from 2017 (offensive line), they brought in some new blood on the coaching staff and thanks to Andy Dalton, I think Karma's now on their side.
Of course, no Bengals season can end without a bitter playoff loss and that's why I have them losing in the divisional round to the Steelers. I'm not even sure Bengals fans would want the playoff win knowing they're going to lose in the Steelers in the next round, but that's what I'm predicting.
(6) Saints 27-20 over (3) Rams
(5) Vikings 20-13 over (4) Cowboys
(1) Packers 30-23 over (6) Saints
(2) Falcons 23-16 over (5) Vikings
(1) Packers 34-30 over (2) Falcons
NFC Playoff Bold Prediction: The Packers win the Super Bowl.
Cheeseheads might want to get their cheese-flavored champagne ready, because this is going to be the year that Aaron Rodgers finally wins his second Super Bowl title. Since winning Super Bowl XLV in 2010, the Packers have come agonizingly close to returning to the big game, but they've had their heart ripped out on on multiple occasions. If you need a quick refresher on those agonizing games: After the 2013 season, they lost at home on a last second field goal to the 49ers. After the 2014 season, they blew a 19-7 lead in the final 2:10 in an overtime loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship. After the 2015 season, they lost in overtime to the Cardinals in the divisional round after Aaron Rodgers completed a miraculous Hail Mary on the final play of the game to tie things up in regulation. Between the losses and the collarbone injuries over the past few years, this feels like the season where Rodgers is going to be on a scorched earth tour.
Super Bowl LIII (CBS)
Packers 31-27 over Steelers
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