I walk through my noteworthy NFL predictions for the upcoming season
We all make predictions when seasons begin and some of us make ridiculous claims because we hold eternal hope our team is successful. We do not always have a clear mind but there are times where we can make serious predictions and be impartial. The 2017 NFL season is right around the corner and instead of picking records of teams and going way in depth, I will have the big awards and division winners only.
Don’t let my award and division winner statement be the only thing you look for. There is plenty to discuss as we approach week one:
Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck
Both quarterbacks have injuries that put their week one status, at a minimum, in jeopardy. We could be looking at Scott Tolzien and Ryan Mallett starting week one. It is great that backups are getting a chance but this is why they are backups, they are not going to win you games. The longer Flacco and Luck are out respectively, the more bleak the season looks for two AFC teams that believe they can make the playoffs with their franchise quarterbacks.
Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-game suspension is crippling to the Dallas Cowboys. Even with the dominate offensive line and now Dak Prescott, Dallas could have trouble establishing the run. Without a run game, or the appearance of a running game, the Cowboys look one dimensional for the first 8 weeks and could fall far short of expectations. They could be in a hole that would be hard to recover from.
The Blake Bortles Mess
Jacksonville knows that Blake Bortles is not their franchise quarterback, yet he is the best option they have to win games because of his gunslinger mentality. The former 3rd overall pick is not going to be with the Jags next season. The franchise will be sitting with a lame duck quarterback who could get a massive 5th year option next year if he gets hurt. Jacksonville is taking the exact opposite route the Redskins took with Robert Griffin III. Washington sat Griffin during the entire 2015 season because of that 5th year injury clause in every first round pick’s deal. The Jaguars risk having to couch up millions just because they want him to start. Even if he is better than Chad Henne, they are not winning many games so why risk the injury?
Watson, Trubisky, Mahomes II, Kizer. Who starts? Well we already know Kizer won the Browns job but do any of the others see the field this year? I see Mitchell Trubisky sitting until Chicago’s bye week because the Bears want to give Mike Glennon every chance to show some value for a potential trade. The Bears are not making the playoffs so why rush the rookie when you can try and trade the veteran in March. Patrick Mahomes will get a true redshirt season so long as Alex Smith does not get hurt. Spoiler alert — I see the Chiefs as a playoff team because of Smith. Deshaun Watson will be in the lineup by week 4 or 5. Watson is too much of a consistent, steady player to keep sitting on the bench, especially if a more unproven rookie like Kizer is starting.
Despite not being on a roster, Kaepernick has stayed in the spotlight because many believe he is a more talented quarterback than some who made rosters as backups or third stringers — which is true. Colin is a talented player but his off the field circus he would bring to a locker room and a franchise has proven to be a reason teams stay away. The Ravens reportedly were ready to sign the quarterback until Kaepernick’s girlfriend posted a photo of Ravens star Ray Lewis hugging owner Steve Bisciotti and related it to Django Unchained.Nonetheless, Kaepernick will remain in the minds of football fans until he gets a chance, potentially later on this season.
Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay
Two young offensive minds were named head coaches this off-season and both are tasked with turning around franchises is disarray. Can either of these two show flashes of brilliance with below average rosters? If so, the future will be bright for two California teams.
Aaron Donald’s Contract
Hey Los Angeles Rams, pay Aaron Donald whatever he wants; don’t lose him.
Jay Cutler’s NFL Future
When Jay Cutler went into the booth, following Tony Romo, we knew that it could be easy to pry him away if someone got hurt. What do you know, Ryan Tannehill went down for the season and in steps Jay Cutler with his former offensive coordinator, Adam Gase, as head coach. If all goes well for Miami this year, it could extend the career of Cutler by a few years and it would end the Tannehill era.
Kirk Cousins’ Contract
Hey Washington, do you want to stay afloat for the next few years? Sign Kirk. A quarterback who can keep you in contention for a playoff spot is worth signing to the going rate for quarterbacks. But hey, this team might be ready to be blown up and if that is the case, rid of Bruce Allen and let the new President of Football Operations and a new Head Coach (sorry Jay, it would have to be done) pick their new quarterback.
Time for the Predictions:
AFC: Steelers, Titans, Patriots, Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers
NFC: Packers, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Redskins, Eagles, Falcons
Coach of the Year
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Defensive Player of the Year
JJ Watt, Houston Texans
Offensive Player of the Year
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
This post was originally posted on Medium.com/Section240 by John Amoroso on September 6th, 2017