With just a few days to go until the start of the 2019 NFL season, it's time to make some predictions, and hopefully, you love reading predictions, because there's going to be a lot of them coming out between now and the kickoff of the NFL's 100th season on Thursday.
Of course, none of those predictions will be better than mine, so the good news for you is that you're already in the right place.
Before we get to my predictions, let me explain how things are going to work here: 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.
Also, since we all know that making fun of someone's predictions is half the fun of reading predictions, you can send all your hate tweets to me on Twitter by clicking here, and just so you know Raiders fans, I'm already mentally preparing for your tweets. (On Monday's edition of the Pick Six Podcast, I joined host Will Brinson and Sean Wagner-McGough to break down our bold predictions. You can listen to the full episode below, and be sure to subscribe to get your daily dose of all the NFL news and more).
Finally, if you're wondering how I did last season, I predicted the Bears, and apparently, I didn't learn my lesson, because I wasn't too kind to them in this year's predictions.. On the other hand, I completely whiffed on the
Alright, that's enough jibber-jabber, let's get to these predictions.
AFC East Bold Prediction: Josh Gordon hits 1,000 receiving yards.
This might not sound like a bold prediction, but remember, for this to happen, Gordon is likely going to have to make it through the entire regular season without getting into any trouble, which hasn't been easy for him over the past few years, as you may or may not have noticed. Since his rookie year in 2012, Gordon has only had one season where he racked up 1,000 or more receiving yards and that came in 2013, when he led the entire NFL with 1,646 yards. Last year, Gordon tallied 720 receiving yards for New England, even though he was only on the field for 11 games. If he can stay healthy and out of trouble, the prediction here is that he's going to put up monstrous numbers, which will make the Patriots and his fantasy owners happy.
AFC North Bold Prediction: The Browns make the playoffs.
For most of the past two decades, if you used the words "Browns" and "make the playoffs" in the same sentence, it was a surefire way to get yourself laughed at, but that's not the case this year, and I've decided to take advantage of that. Cleveland has one of the most talented teams in the NFL this year and as long as Freddie Kitchens doesn't crash the Browns hype-train, I expect this team to live up to expectations. I'm also predicting this because I feel sorry for Browns fans and I'm not sure how much more pain they can take, especially since Cleveland hasn't made the playoffs since 2002 (They also haven't won a division title since 1989, but I'm not quite prepared to get that bold with my predictions).
AFC South Bold Prediction: The Colts don't have a losing record.
Having your starting quarterback shockingly retire less than two weeks before the start of the season isn't an ideal situation, but if any team can survive that kind of wrench being thrown in their face, it's the Colts. In the hours after Andrew Luck announced his retirement, pretty much everyone wrote the Colts off for 2019, including , but I'm not ready to do that just yet, and here's why: Although Jacoby Brissett went 4-12 with Indy in 2017, this isn't the same team. The overall roster is much better than the one Brissett played with two years ago AND the QB now has a coach in Frank Reich who's proven he can thrive in this kind of crazy situation. Remember, Reich was the Eagles offensive coordinator when Philly lost Carson Wentz late in 2017. Instead of giving up on the season, Reich and the Eagles rode their backup quarterback all the way to a Super Bowl win. Brissett winning a Super Bowl probably isn't going to happen, but I do expect him to keep this team hovering around .500, which will keep them in the division title race until late in the season. (Before Luck decided to retire, the bold prediction here was going to be that the Texans finish in last place, so you're getting two bold predictions for the price of one. Although the Texans got busy on cut day, I would argue that they lost every trade they made. Adding Laremy Tunsil will help some, but he's only going to have four days of practice before being tossed into the most important position on the offensive line in Week 1).
1. *Chiefs: 12-4
2. *Chargers: 11-5
3. Broncos: 8-8
4. Raiders: 4-12
AFC West Bold Prediction: The Raiders finish with the worst record in the NFL.
If you love drama, then now is probably a good time to jump on the Raiders bandwagon, because there's a good chance they're going to provide plenty of it in 2019, and not the good kind. Although the Raiders definitely got more talented during the offseason, it won't be surprising at all if some of that talent (I'm looking at you Antonio Brown) starts to implode if this team gets off to a rough start, which is likely going to happen. After getting two home games to open the season (Broncos, Chiefs), the Raiders will go 49 straight days without playing in Oakland. During that stretch, they'll be traveling to Minnesota, Indianapolis, London, Green Bay and Houston. The big loser here is definitely Jon Gruden, and that's because he hates long plane flights.
Jon Gruden had vertigo for a month after a 14-hour flight back from Belarus following Deuce Gruden's powerlifting title. On the London round trip this week:— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 8, 2018
"I'm more worried about that than our goal-line offense right now."
The upside of being the worst team in the league is that it means the Raiders would get the first overall pick in next year's draft, which just happens to be taking place in the same city the Raiders are moving to next year: LAS VEGAS. The conspiracy theories almost write themselves.
NFC East Bold Prediction: Miles Sanders wins Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
When it comes to the offensive rookie of the year award, if voters have proven one thing over the past few years, it's that they love giving the award to running backs (a running back has won in three of the past four seasons) and they really love giving it to players from the NFC East (a player from this division has won the award four times since 2012), and Sanders checks both of those boxes. If you're looking for a running back that might win, Sanders makes sense and that's because he probably has the best offensive line of any rookie running back. The other bold prediction here is that the Cowboys miss the playoffs, and before you come complaining to me that I hate your team Cowboys fans, just remember that I picked Dallas to go 10-6 and win the division last year.
1. *Vikings: 11-5
2. *Packers: 10-6
3. Bears: 9-7
4. Lions: 7-9
NFC North Bold Prediction: The Bears miss the playoffs.
This isn't so much a pick against the Bears as it is as pick for the Vikings and Packers. On Green Bay's end, Aaron Rodgers played the entire 2018 season on a bad knee while running a stale offense and still somehow managed to squeeze six wins out of his team. With a healthy Rodgers and a imaginative new coach, this seems like a good year to predict that the Packers are going to return to the playoffs. On the Vikings end, they traded a draft pick away to LAND A KICKER (A ). If you're doing something that crazy, you're obviously confident that you already have all the other pieces of the puzzle in place, and it seems like the Vikings do. Basically, if Minnesota and Green Bay are going to be better in 2019, then something has to give and that something is the Bears.
NFC South Bold Prediction: Drew Brees wins NFL MVP.
A quarterback has won this award in 11 of the past 12 years, so picking a QB to win in 2019 isn't that bold, but picking Drew Brees to win definitely qualifies as bold and that's because he never wins. On the other hand, if there was an MVP Award for finishing runner-up for the MVP, Brees would be the MVP every year. Since signing with New Orleans before the 2006 season, Brees has finished second in the MVP voting an NFL-record four times (2006, 2009, 2011, 2018), which means we might be nearing the point where voters feel guilty if they don't vote for him to win. If Brees can replicate his numbers from last season, that guilt might be enough to win him the award, but even if it's not, he'll have earned it, so it won't matter.
NFC West Bold Prediction: 49ers finish under .500.
With Jimmy Garoppolo finally healthy, the 49ers have turned into a trendy pick to make the playoffs in 2019. The problem for the 49ers -- besides the fact that Garoppolo keeps throwing interceptions in practice -- is that there are two teams in their division that have slightly more talent than they do. With a rusty Garoppolo, the only way the 49ers are going to hit .500 this season is if everything goes right for them, but I think we can all agree that everything never goes right for anyone in the NFL.
(5) Seahawks 20-16 over (4) Rams
(6) Packers 27-24 over (3) Eagles
(6) Packers 27-23 over (1) Saints
(2) Vikings 30-27 over (5) Seahawks
(2) Vikings 34-30 over (5) Packers
(3) Steelers 30-27 over (6) Browns
(4) Jaguars 20-17 over (5) Chargers
(1) Patriots 23-20 over (4) Jaguars
(2) Chiefs 34-27 over (3) Steelers
(2) Chiefs 31-24 over (1) Patriots
Super Bowl LIV (Fox)
Chiefs 31-24 over Vikings
Playoffs bold prediction: The Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
With the NFL celebrating its 100th anniversary this season, it would be kind of fitting to end the year with a rematch of a Super Bowl that took place exactly 50 years ago. Back in Super Bowl IV, the Chiefs beat the Vikings 23-7, and unfortunately for fans in Minnesota, I don't see things going much better for you this time around. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has been to a conference championship game a total of six times in his career, but he still hasn't won a Super Bowl. The prediction here is that the drought ends this year for both Reid and Kansas City. This win will feel especially good for Chiefs fans, because not only will they be winning a Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, but they'll also be getting revenge on the Patriots for last year's loss in the AFC title game.