So Ladies and Gents we are officially back for another NFL season!!!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year as this Thursday sees the Green Bay Packers go to Chicago to take on the Bears, and although this starts at 1.20am UK time, I will be staying up to celebrate the start of the NFL season.
With all the information throughout pre season and current ongoings on retirements, bans and trades, Below are my final thoughts on how I think the 2019 regular season will go and who I think will be NFL divisional winners. Worth noting, I will be backing this as an optimised Accumulator!
AFC EAST PREDICTIONS
Are you excited? Gronk has finally retired and other teams in the division look to be making moves!!! Sorry to disappoint guys but the Patriots still own this division. Along as Brady and Belichick are at the forefront of this franchise it will always be their division. I like what the Jets have done this year, I really do. I rate Bell as a quality back and I think bringing in a new coach to work with some talented youngsters including QB Sam Darnold is the best thing the team has done. We all know that Miami are in a complete re-build mode and are trading players away for upcoming draft picks and the Bills…. well, no offence Bills fans but they’re still just the Bills.
AFC WEST PREDICTIONS
One of my favourite divisions in the NFL but I think only 2 teams compete for the crown this year. I think the loss of Derwin James for the Chargers is going to be a bigger loss than what people think. He’s arguably their best defensive player and they will be without him until at least thanksgiving. Still, there is some real talent on this roster and their schedule isn’t too bad. The Chiefs win it again this year though. They have some serious firepower on offence and Mahomes will continue to impress just as much as he did last year. As for the Broncos and Raiders, I think they have a decent year but both rosters are too inconsistent for my liking. The Broncos are a middle of the road team and the Raiders are trying to get to being a middle of the road team.
AFC NORTH PREDICTIONS
Yes, I’m still a Steelers fan and once again…… That still hasn’t changed since the last post.
Lots of changes in this division, I think possibly some of the biggest in the entire AFC. Brown and Bell have both gone from Pittsburgh. As much as I see this a huge talent dent in the steelers side, I really do believe it will bring the entire franchise closer together. They still have one of the best O-lines in football and the secondary is the strongest its been for a long long time. The Ravens and Browns will be hot on the heels though. The Browns just need to find a way to make it all work. They have some real talent on their roster now but I still think they are 1 or 2 more seasons away from making strides in this division. The Ravens just haven’t been consistent enough since their superbowl win and are struggling with trying to decide what sort of team they are going to be. The defence isn’t as strong as it was last season either. It will come down to what it always does in this division…. Divisional matchups.
AFC SOUTH PREDICTIONS
These words cut through me like a sharp knife on soft butter! I loved watching the guy play. He had everything that I appreciated in the game from pure knowledge and talent to humility and appreciation. This division or even the entire league won’t be the same without him and neither will the Colts. The Texans take advantage of this and have enough quality on both sides of the ball to make it to the playoffs once again. They finally have a QB worth boasting about, if only they can sort out this RB situation! The Titans and Jags coast through the season causing some upsets and not having enough talent to string the wins together.
NFC EAST PREDICTIONS
Two teams that can make deep playoff runs and two teams that need to hit the re-build button in my opinion. The Cowboys are bringing everything together at the last minute and just need to keep everyone healthy to compete. They just make Zeke the highest paid RB in the league so he’s now got a huge point to prove after holding out for so long. The Eagles are one of the most complete teams in the league. Perhaps not at Wide Receiver but they have a great Coach, O-line, D-line, secondary and Carson Wentz should be back to his best. As for the other two, Although the Giants look as though they made a good QB choice to back up stud RB Saquon Barkley, there are so many gaps in the Roster that need immediate attention and its going to take time (and draft picks) to do this. Same goes for Washington who again believe they have their man in Haskins but they just don’t have any offensive firepower. The defence isn’t bad but they can’t play the entire 4 quarters!!!
NFC WEST PREDICTIONS
How do the Rams fair after that crushing Super Bowl defeat? I think they bounce back and win an easy division. Surely Sean Mcvay already has one eye on the playoffs? There is very little in terms of competition in this division and the Rams are still full of superstar talent. I really don’t know what to make of the Seahawks so I have them plodding along as they have done for the past couple of seasons. The 49ers and Cardinals are in full swing of re-build mode. I really like what the Cardinals have done. New star QB, young coach, Great RB but now need to start filling up in plenty of other positions. I mean lets face it, Larry Fitzgerald can’t play forever….. can he?!?
NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS
Again a bit like the AFC North this comes down to divisional matchups and what better to kick the NFL season off than with the oldest rivalry in the NFL. Packers @ Bears. The Bears are one of the most dangerous sides in the NFL. If they get it right on the day they can beat anyone but they certainly don’t always get it right, I mean look at last season as a prime example. Im really not sure what we are going to get out of the Packers this season either but if I know one thing its that id rather bet with Aaron Rodgers than bet against him. I think they had a good draft and have filled some important gaps which will make their star QBs life much easier. New coach though which is a big change from what they have had for the past 12 years!!! I couldn’t decide with the Vikings, they may well better this record but the schedule they have is hard work. On top of a competitive division they have to play the Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs and Chargers all of which I have making the playoffs this season.
NFC SOUTH PREDICTIONS
Another close division here that has gone from one of the worst divisions in the league (2014 where all teams had a losing record) to a steady rise in records from all four teams. The Saints have won this division the last two seasons and I have them pipping it again in what I think will be the beginning of the end for Drew Brees and Sean Payton. These two are running out of time together and I think they also truly believed that last season was their year if it wasn’t for that pesky no call against the Rams. They will make it back to the playoffs this season and will be potentially joined by the Falcons who have Freeman back and a whole host of offensive weapons. The Bucs and Panthers will be threatening but I’m tired of trusting Cam Newton now and although I like Bruce Arians as a coach, he won’t be able to do enough to turn a Tampa Bay side around that have finished 5-11 in the past two seasons.
If you agree or disagree, I welcome the debate over on Twitter, so give me a shout @Neil_ITEZ