The business of predictions is inherently stupid. This year, because of COVID-19, that is especially so. Yet, everybody loves reacting to them and reading them. So, let’s get you riled up. Here are my 2019 predictions, if you’re curious.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: New York. I think Adam Gase has been revealed as a fraudulent head coach, I don’t trust Darnold to make the leap with the skill position talent around him. They somehow have had two top-10 picks in the last two seasons and still don’t have any good edge rushers. I would be mildly surprised about Miami but I do think they’ve got the groundwork to be a good team and I wouldn’t be shocked if this turned out to be a bad division.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: Actually, I wouldn’t be stunned if the Bengals made a run, so nobody. I think there’s clear upside for the Browns in making Baker Mayfield a run-first/Kubiak-style quarterback with Nick Chubb, I think the Steelers are an easy wild card pick, and the Ravens are obviously in everyone’s top tier. The Bengals would have a long road to climb and it would involve Joe Burrow being historically good for a rookie quarterback, but he was historically good in college so … not ruling it out.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: The Jaguars. I think at this point they’re everyone’s prohibitive favorite for the No. 1 overall pick. I think all three other AFC South teams could win 10 games, I will predict they all finish at 9-7.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if ____ makes the playoffs: Raiders. I dogged them last year, they came out with a great ball-control game plan and won seven games. They also lost zero one-score games. I don’t think that’ll continue. I can see scenarios where either of the other two non-Chiefs teams charge for the playoffs, but I trust those quarterback situations a lot less than I trust the ones in the AFC South.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if ____ makes the playoffs: Giants. I don’t trust Daniel Jones as a future franchise quarterback and will go down with that ship if I have to. Would be mildly surprised if Washington made it but I think Haskins at least showed something in his last few games.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: The Bears, which says a lot about how I feel about Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles given how bad I think this division is on paper. They’ve also done almost nothing to improve the offensive line. I think this division could have an 8-8 winner, and I trust Mike Zimmer much more than I trust Matt Patricia or Matt LaFleur.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: Carolina. But it’s a solid-looking rebuild to me, that defense is just way, way too raw. This is a growth year for them. I’m kind of over Atlanta but they should be a fun shootout team. I think the Bucs offense will underperform optimistic expectations but there’s enough skill position talent to make them a contender with competent quarterback play and expect that with Brady.
I will eat my metaphorical hat if _____ makes the playoffs: None of the above. Honestly feel like I’m underrating Sean McVay with a fourth-place finish but I think three of these teams are extremely well-managed tactically and the other has Russell Wilson.
Wild Card Round
Ravens over Colts
Steelers over Titans
Patriots over Texans
Cowboys over Cardinals
49ers over Seahawks
Bucs over Vikings
Chiefs over Steelers
Ravens over Patriots
Cowboys over Bucs
49ers over Saints
Cowboys over 49ers
Ravens over Chiefs
Ravens over Cowboys
Feel free to laugh about this post at any time, including the moment you first read it, the moment you think about it in Week 5 when one of the playoff teams I’ve projected is 1-4, the moment that that COVID makes one of these teams play a 14-game schedule, or after the season when you’ve got 20-20 hindsight and I don’t. I am not going to get Mad Online at you. As I said: Predictions are inherently stupid.
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