2018 NFL Season Predictions (Division By Division)
The NFL is back in full swing. After an off-season full of headlines, the 2018 NFL season will kick off this Thursday, September 6th. The first game will be between the defending champions, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons. This season will be one for the ages. A lot of teams have improved, but can they take that next step. This article will break down each division and predict who will make it to the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Rams are the unquestioned top dog. The Rams acquired DT Ndamukong Suh and CBs Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. All three are All-Pro-Caliber players. These moves give the Rams Super Bowl aspirations. Elsewhere in the division, the 49ers look to continue to build around QB Jimmy Garoppolo and hope their new CB Richard Sherman can provide leadership to their young defense. The Arizona Cardinals remain in limbo and the Seattle Seahawks have taken several steps back after losing every major player from their incredible run over the years.
Division Winner: Los Angeles Rams
The Eagles are poised to take the division again. They still have all of their key players from last year's Super Bowl victory. The Giants welcome back WR Odell Beckham Jr. into the fold. His presence will uplift the offense. Also, the Giants will rely on rookie Saquan Barkley. Neither the Dallas Cowboys nor the Washington Redskins have enough fire power all around to compete. The Giants will provide some push, but this division is still under the Eagles' control
Division Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
This division looks to be a three team race. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the bottom feeders. The suspension and controversy surrounding starting QB Jameis Winston will hurt them. The New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and the Carolina Panthers have great offenses. This division will be won by the defense that can take charge, in which the Saints have the advantage.
Division Winner: New Orleans Saints
Last year, the Minnesota Vikings owned the division with little resistance. This year, the Packers are ready to challenge them. QB Aaron Rodgers is healthy again and now has TE Jimmy Graham to throw to. The Chicago Bears look to take a step forward under QB Mitch Trubisky and a hungry defensive who now has LB Khalil Mack as their anchor. The Detroit Lions bring back many key players. But, the Vikings have improved more. Newly-acquired QB Kirk Cousins is an upgrade over Case Keenum. The Vikings are the early favorites to win the NFC.
Division Winner: Minnesota Vikings
All four teams have what it takes to win this division. One major factor will be the QBs. The Chiefs will have to rely on young QB Patrick Mahomes, who's talented but inexperienced. The Broncos hope Case Keenum will repeat his success from last season. Last season, Raiders' QB Derek Carr took a step back. Los Angeles Chargers' QB Philip Rivers is the most consistent. Also, the Chargers are the most complete team top to bottom. The Broncos' running game is a question mark and the Raiders are undergoing personnel changes.
Division Winner: Los Angeles Chargers
There's not much to say about this division. Although the New England Patriots have lost several players, they are still light years ahead of the other three teams. The Miami Dolphins can compete, but they won't be able to break through.
Division Winner: New England Patriots
This division is the most intriguing. The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts coveted QBs are healthy again (DeShaun Watson and Andrew Luck respectively). The Tennessee Titans are arguably the most intriguing team in the NFL. They have the talent to win but are they ready? The Jaguars are still formidable. They were close to winning the AFC crown last season. Their fate rests with QB Blake Bortles. This division will come down to the offenses. The Texans have the better weapons at RB and WR.
Division Winner: Houston Texans
The Cleveland Browns have made the most improvement in the NFL. The Browns signed a good starting QB in Tyrod Taylor, have talent at WR and a promising defense that can dominate in a few years. But, they are not ready. The Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals have maxed out on potential. Both teams will be competing for second place. The Pittsburgh Steelers remain the upper echelon of the division.
Division Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE
Here are the projected teams who will make the playoffs.
NFC Playoff Seeds
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Los Angeles Rams
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. Green Bay Packers
AFC Playoff Seeds
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Houston Texans
3. Los Angeles Chargers
4. New England Patriots
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Tennessee Titans