It’s been a strange year, and it is about to get stranger. Football with no fans. Nevertheless, so far, the NFL seems to have the COVID issue under control and the season starts this Thursday 9/8.
With no pre-season, you have to trust what you read from beat writers, and look beyond the coach speak, and hope for the best. Especially, if you have a fantasy football team. It’s going to be a weird year. And, if they get all the games in with no COVID hiccups it will be amazing.
So, with absolutely nothing to go on but last year’s film, and my gut, here are your division breakdowns and my bold predictions:
It’s the year of the Cowboy in the East this year. I think the Cowboys will steamroll into the playoffs under new head coach Mike McCarthy and all of that talent. Dak Prescott has a chip on his shoulder, and I expect him to be a part of the MVP conversation. As for the rest of the division:
- The Eagles look old to me, they didn’t address the WR position well, and I have them trending down.
- The Giants will be better, especially offensively. Not buying this defense will be tough enough to be better than a .500 team
- The Washington Team (stupidest name ever) will improve behind youth, but, they are not a factor.
This division has a lot of hope and a lot of glaring holes. The Patriots are perennial favorites, but not this year. The Bills “look” like the favorites, but, seem to not trust their QB. I give the edge to the Patriots ….again…this year. Yes, Tom Brady moved on. But, Belichick is still there. I am just not sure I trust the Bills enough to get over the hump. So, much to my chagrin, I will go with Cam and Belichick. As for the rest of the Division:
- Bills- I don’t get the negativity toward Josh Allen, but, he does need to get it done this year. The addition of Stephon Diggs gives him a legitimate #1 WR. And Diggs has to prove he isn’t a mental case. We shall see. It wouldn’t surprise me if they won the division, it also wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t.
- NY Jets- will suck. Why? Not because of Sam Darnold, or because of a lack of talent. Because Adam Gase couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag if you gave him scissors. I expect him to be the first coaching casualty of the NFL season.
- Dolphins- Have some work to do, but, are building a strong young team. They just won’t have the weapons to be better than .500. Interested to see Tua at QB.
This is a stacked division again.. And one with many questions:
- Packers- Is Aaron Rogers done?? I doubt it. The o-line has to do a better job of protecting. But the talent is there. A legit #1 at WR. A deep RB situation. I don’t think Aaron Rogers is done. But, I also am not sure head coach Lafleur is the genius everyone wants him to be.
- Chicago Bears- This is the head-scratcher. Bears fans just don’t like Trubisky, and, it’s not founded on a whole lot. The problem last year was the defense completely under-performed. The RB position was under-utilized. I blame last year’s performance on Matt Nagy. It’s no excuses for Nagy this year. The talent is there, but, is the coaching?
- Vikings- Locker Room problem child Diggs is gone. Thielen is healthy, and Justin Jefferson should be in ROY talks. But, can 31-year-old Kirk Cousins get them to the promised land? Cook will be in MVP talks this year.
- Lions- Better but not good.
- PICK to win- Packers
- Ravens – Team to beat in this division. Maybe. Defense improved. Lamar Jackson is the real deal. But, not my choice to win this division
- Steelers – Healthy Big Ben. Healthy James Connor. Healthy WR corps. Better defense. This is my pick to win the division as long as the O-line can keep Big- Ben upright.
- Browns- I can’t figure out if they are a .500 mess again, or contenders. New coach, big questions for Baker to answer. They are too talented to be a .500 team, but do they know that?
- Bengals – Definite ROY candidate in Burrows. Much improved, but not playoff caliber…yet.
The sexy pick here is the 49ers. I can’t do it. I just can’t believe in Garappolo. I think we have learned great defenses rarely hang around long. So who is my pick?
- Seahawks – Russel Wilson is still one of the best. The WR crew is one of the best in NFL. Lack of a real running game and a defense that needs improvement, has me not able to pick them this year.
- Cardinals- The addition of D’Andre Hopkins at WR gives Murray a 1-2 punch with Kirk. They will be better, but, are not quite there in the playoff talks for me.
- Rams – This is my pick. I see the Rams returning to their form 2 years ago. There might be a question at RB , but, I think Henderson gets the reps sooner than later.
This one was pretty easy for me…It’s the defending champs to lose. KC is still loaded. I think they win this division and only one team will give them issues:
- Denver – This is the team that could push the Chiefs. They have built themselves a loaded offense. If their defense can improve, they could be a contender.
- San Diego – Rookie QB. Questionable talent. Not in discussion
- Raiders – Every year, I hear how great the Raiders are going to be. They got Gruden who was going to straighten out Carr and make them contenders. What they were was sub .500. why? Because kids, he is a .500 coach. Fun to watch on TV, but, his only real success was with Tony Dungy’s Bucs team. Otherwise, he is a .500 coach who hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2000. And he won’t this year either.
Toughest division in football. Brady is now a Buc and so is Gronk. The Saints gained a legit #2 in Sanders to go with loaded offense. Panthers have a new QB who seems to be getting no respect. And the Falcons may have solved their RB problems.
While I want to make the sexy pick here and take the loaded Bucs. And their secondary may be weak, but the rest of their defense is stout. I just can’t…..oh who am I kidding.. It should be the Bucs. Especially if they sign Fournette. Too much talent to ignore. As for the rest:
- Panthers- Run MCM will dominate this year, but, I think they are a way better team than many experts agree with Bridgewater at QB.
- Falcons – I just don’t think they have the defense to be taken seriously this year. Despite having the Ridley-Julio combo.
- Saints- I know Saints fans aren’t going to like this- but, I think Drew Brees best days are behind him. Lots of talent, but, changes may be come.
I will make this simple.. I am a Titans fan, but, I can’t pick them to win the division. Why? Because the Colts offense is way better than the Titans defense. Even if the Titans sign Clowney, I am going to have a hard time picking them to win the division. Indianapolis signing of Rivers around a very loaded and deep offense makes the Colts the team to beat in the South.
Texans won’t be as bad as most think, but, not as good as they would have been had they not given away Hopkins.
Jags are having a fire sale, and even the ‘Stache can’t help them this year.
NFC – Rams, Cowboys, Bucs, Packers WC- 49ers, Bears
AFC- Steelers, Colts, Chiefs, Pats WC – Ravens, Titans
NFC Championship: Packers v. Cowboys
AFC Championship : Steelers v. Chiefs
Super Bowl: Cowboys v. Steelers