Superbowl LIII Picks and Division Winners
With the NFL season set to kick off this week, I thought it would be a fun time to call my shot on who is going to wind the Superbowl and how the order of division finishes.
AFC North Standings:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Killer Bees continue to dominate this division.
2. Cincinnati Bengals: They were bad last year, but the rest of the division is worse.
3. Cleveland Browns: The Browns take a big step forward this year.
4. Baltimore Ravens: Upgrades to the wide receiving core and a healthy offensive line could make this look silly, but they still have Joe Flacco at the helm.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is back in the fold and the Packers are ready to reclaim the North.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins gives this team the chance to win a Superbowl. This may look silly in January.
Detroit Lions: I feel like the Lions are always on the verge of being something pretty good, but they never quite get their. Maybe a new coach will fire them up.
Chicago Bears: The trade for Mack makes this a crapshoot. I wish he’d been dealt to a team outside the NFC North.
New England Patriots: Darth Hoodie continues to be the best coach ever. As a Packer fan, it hurts to say it.
Do I have to rank the others?
Dolphins: I’m banking on continuity with the coaching staff and unknown rookies on the other teams for this prediction.
Jets: Sam Darnold seems better than Josh Allen at this point. Also, the Jets were supposed to be the worst team in football last year, but they won tough games.
Bills: Oh, Buffalo.
Philadelphia Eagles: The reigning champs get first booking. The health of Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery, will be major factors, though.
New York Giants: The Giants were decimated by injuries last year, and have restocked the cupboard by adding Saquon Barkley. Who knows if Eli can still play, though.
Washington Redskins: This may be my anti-Cowboys bias oozing through, but Alex Smith is competent, and the team has decent pieces to work with, although, I doubt Adrian Peterson will hold up for the whole season.
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott looked bad last year, and the receivers don’t inspire confidence. Nobody thought the Rams would be good last year, so maybe we’ll be surprised. Hopefully we get to see sad Cowboy fans all season.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles is still bad but the defense is good.
Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck is back, which puts them back in number two even if the rest of the team isn’t great.
Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson looked good last year, but he was far from flawless. He could be a candidate for regression.
Tennessee Titans: All of these teams are kind of “meh” in my book, but we’ll see if a transition away from “Exotic Smashmouth” will get more out of Marcus Mariota.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints have mortgaged the farm and are in “win now,” mode. I had picked the Saints to win it all last year and they might have if not for a fluke play in the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan and company took a step back last year, but a rebound may be in order.
Carolina Panthers: Who needs an offensive line anyway? The Panthers added skill weapons but are woefully shorthanded up front.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Just say no.
San Di, um, LA Chargers: The Chargers will be good this year if they rest of their team doesn’t get injured.
Denver Broncos: Will the real Case Keenum, please stand up? On the bright side, the Broncos QB situation can’t be worse than last year.
Kansas City Chiefs: I like Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs talent, I just worry Mahomes will lack consistency on a week-t0-week basis.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders already had a bad defense last year and they just traded away a true difference maker. We’ll see how the John Gruden experiment fares in year one.
LA Rams: Madden NFL 2018 is in a position to win the division, and maybe more.
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy GQ looked great in limited action last season, but let’s see if he can piece it together long term.
Arizona Cardinals: Sam Bradford doesn’t inspire confidence, but Josh Rosen could be surprisingly good in his rookie campaign. David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald could
Seattle Seahawks- Seattle is in a rebuilding year. The Legion of Boom has gone bust and Russel Wilson can’t do it all alone.
Superbowl picks: New England Patriots vs New Orleans
The NFC is a crapshoot this year, but who is going to dethrone Tom Brady in the AFC? As much as I wanted to put Green Bay here I think their defense needs to improve to be true contenders.
New Orleans takes the cake.