I am extremely worried about the new rule changes for the 2018 season. Wedge blocks are out; turning kickoff returns into a glorified game of tag.
The catch rule has been fixed...kinda?
I'll take Wtf does "Or the ability to perform such an act" mean for $800, Alex
And most notably the change to the use of helmet as a weapon rule, or as I call it the Tedy Bruschi neutered by ESPN rule.
Changes happen but nothing, and I mean nothing is going to stop me from spending all day Sunday consuming as much football as humanly possible.
I'm very excited for the 2018 season. Here's my stab at what will happen in the NFL in 2018.
1. Los Angeles Chargers 12-4
When I started typing I typed "San Die" before I realized my mistake :(
Everybody is drinking the Charger kool-aid and I gotta say pass me a cup! The Chargers were the best team to miss the playoffs last season and had they gotten in I think they would've won at least one playoff game. After starting 0-4 (due in large part to horrid place kicking) the Chargers finished 2017 9-3. This team has a year of Anthony Lynn & the move to LA under their belt, a fantastic defense, plenty of weapons on offense and a future Hall of Fame QB looking to add a Super Bowl to his resume. Btw should Rivers win a Super Bowl I think the 04 draft surpasses the 83 draft for best ever QB wise. I really feel like Phil Rivers is due for a huge year and with the Chiefs moving on from Alex Smith, the Broncos changing of the guard defensively, and the over all wtf is going on-ness of the Raiders I think the AFC West is the Chargers to lose. Giving the snakebiten-ess of this franchise historically if they somehow disappointed and went 7-9 this year it wouldn't shock me, but gun to my head I think this team has a first round bye in the AFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
You'll be hardpressed to find a bigger Alex Smith fan than me. While I get what the Chiefs are doing trying to get younger and more explosive with Patrick Mahomes to match with guys like Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt--- I'm just not his biggest fan. I love his game in college but I just wonder how a Big 12 mobile guy with huge inflated numbers will hold up. He could just Flacco Ball the Chiefs to Wild Card spot though.
Obviously a big Andy Reid guy and like a lot of what this roster has going on from a play making standpoint on both sides of the ball and low key a Chiefs sympathizer, but I'm just a little skeptical about Mahomes. Either way I think this team has range of 6 to 10 wins under it's belt. We saw how inconsistent Kansas City was last year, with maybe the most consistent QB in the league.
3. Denver Broncos 6-10
Still have Von Miller and Chris Harris but this is not your 2015 carry a dead Peyton Manning to the Super Bowl Broncos D. I am a Case Keenum guy, but wonder if the fairy tale will continue to the mile high city. This team has a v tough schedule.
4. Oakland Raiders 4-12
I like Gruden as a person and football guy but think the idea of him coaching at an elite level right now is insane. The NFL is a lot different than the last time he coached, and let's not forget that 08 Bucs team lost out and cost him is job. He also has gotten soooo much of his football life by winning a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy's team, with a top 5 defense of all time, against his former team where he literally knew the playoff book. This isn't Don Shula. I think Gruden could end up in year 2 or beyond succeeding in the league but I think his first year is UGLY. Especially given the Khalil Mack saga. I don't really believe in Derek Carr either. Think the final (it's the last year, right?) in Oakland is an ugly one. Marshawn Lynch is 83.
1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
I don't think Joe Flacco is finished. He seems to play best when a fire is under his ass, and with the addition of Heisman winner Lamar Jackson his ass is nearly in the jackpot. I keep hearing from football guys in the media that the Ravens are the team that is surprising people the most. As much as I hate this franchise they usually aren't in the dumps too long. I think Baltimore capitalizes on some serious turmoil in Pittsburgh and wins the North. I see Flacco having a similar season to Alex Smith last year, maybe not in terms of efficiency but overall success and leading a team to the playoffs, then to be traded to open the door to the next young guy.
2. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
I also don't think Andy Dalton is finished. As much as Marvin Lewis has disappointed in Cincy he seems to get them to the playoffs with some regularity. I love the WR duo of AJ Green and John Ross. I think Joe Mixon is gonna have a break out season. I just have a gut feeling the Bengals are back in the playoffs in 2018.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
Realistically this team should've been in the Super Bowl last year. They have the most talented offensive duo in the league in Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell, yet this core has disappointed year after year. I think Mike Tomlin has cost this team Super Bowls. He's a horrible coach and it showed last year in the playoffs and against the Patriots in the regular season. This is one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but with Bell possibly holding out and Big Ben seemingly always a snap away from missing 4-6 weeks I don't think the Steelers make the playoffs in 2018.
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10
The Browns future is bright, but I think they're still a year away. I think this team will be competive all year but lose a lot of close games late. 5-9 wins honestly wouldn't shock me. V intrigured to see how the QB situation plays out this year. I love Baker, but Tyrod is a pro's pro and I think not throwing him to the wolves right away might be the right move longtime. This is going to be a fun team to watch in 2018, which is something I don't think has ever been said about the Browns in my lifetime with the exception of Peyton Hillis who really only was famous because he was white. Dude ran for like 1100 yards. He was awesome (for a year) but not Jim Brown.
1. Houston Texans 11-5
First off I think the AFC South is the best division in football and the only division where any of the possible outcomes of positioning wouldn't shock me.
I love DeShaun Watson, I think he was one the way to a ROY season until he got hurt. If the defense can be healthy I think this team low key could win the AFC as long as Watson doesn't regress.
2. Tennessee Titans 10-6
I'm a huge Mariota guy. He definitely struggled last year, but I think who you saw in the playoffs is more indicative of the QB he really is. This team is basically the Nashville Pats with their additions the last few years. I love the backfield, good pass catchers, GREAT line. Not horrible defense. Titans in their ugly new uniforms compete for a Wild Card spot.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8
There's a lot of talent on this team but I think they are the classic "got a taste and their head got too big then disappoints the next year" team. The jaguars scored 5 defensive touchdowns and I believe 2 on special teams. I'm a Bortles guy, but still need to see him put it together on a more consistent level. I think Jalen Ramsey better be careful what he says. I think Gronk might throw him out the club week 2! Jaguars disappoint and don't build off of 2017. IMO they benefited off of a last place schedule in 2017. Now they have to play division winners.
Honestly I don't like the uniform change. These bad boys were starting to grow on me and the new ones are hella boring.
P.S. for a team younger than me the Jaguars have had legitimately 8 major uniform overhauls. Just keep trying to find themselves?
4. Indianapolis Colts 7-9
Andrew Luck in his first three seasons advanced a round in the playoffs further than he did the season before. Injuries have cost him the majority of the last 3 seasons. Who will he be when he returns? The Colts will go as far as Andy Luck takes them. Has anybody ever called the robot quarterback Andrew Luck that before in the history of ever? I think not. They are the biggest swing team in the AFC. I honestly could see them going 5-11 or 11-5.
1. New England Patriots 12-4
This off season has been the most tumultuous I've ever seen in my fandom. Malcolm Butler, the relationship between Brady and Belichick. We all know what I'm talking about.
As for the team itself. I mean wtf is going on at WR? This team has 4 WR currently and one they just picked up who's name I don't need to know because it makes no sense to name the mouse on top of the cat on top of a dog. And one is Cordarrelle Patterson. He low key has no hands. But low key so did Brandin Cooks. He's better obviously and all things considered had a great regular season but I'm guessing they're just hoping they can moneyball Patterson into a homeless man's Cooks in this offense? All he needs to do is catch them in the playoffs. Jules being back and productive is going to be vital for success.
Defense is interesting, a lot of new faces, lot of guys coming back from injury. I love Dont'a Hightower so much. He'd be my next jersey if I got one. Worried about CB depth. Love our 3 safeties though.
Brady is going to keep being Brady as long as I can see. Pencil this team for double digit wins. Even if he has a bad year the rest of the division is so bad they could go 9-7 and win it. Hopefully we'll never know.
2. New York Jets 8-8
Jets might've found their guy in Darnold. I think he could be the best of this class. Bowles isn't a bad coach. Last year with no talent they surprised in the first half. I could see the Jets being what they always are...pests this year. They're gonna be a tough out every week, but a make-able out.
3. Miami Dolphins 6-10
Other than that, who cares?
4. Buffalo Bills 3-13
Last year Andy Dalton became a Buffalo icon as he knocked the Ravens out of the final playoff spot ending the Bills playoff drought that went back to the previous millennium.
Sad how much a 9-8 year with a purdit playoff showing can mean to some fan bases. I have nothing but love for the Buffalo Bills as they are by far my least hated "divisional foe", in fact I kinda root for the Bills...but this is going to be an uuuggggggggggggggllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy year. Lost their QB, two best OL, is Shady not going to get in trouble? Gonna be a lot of sad mustard and ketchup bukakes in the RV lot this year.
1. Los Angeles Chargers 12-4
2. New England Patriots 12-4
3. Houston Texans 11-5
4. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
5. Tennessee Titans 10-6
6. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
Wild Card Round:
(3) Texans defeat (6) Bengals
(5) Titans defeat (4) Ravens
(1) Chargers defeat (5) Titans
(2) Patriots defeat (3) Texans
(1) Chargers defeat (2) Patriots [in front of 32,000 STRONG]
1. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
These NEED to be their uniforms when they get the new stadium.
Love the additions these team made to an already young and exciting team. But it's all about Gurley and Guff. Love the WR core. Great defense full of studs. This is the sexy team to pick with a lot of downside that worries me but not enough to entice me away.
2. San Francisco 49ers 10-5-1
Jimmy GQ finally has the keys to the sexy sports car after 4 years of waiting he is going into the season as a starter (2016 doesn't count). This is the team that people try to pick as their surprise team except everybody is in on the surprise. I really like what this team has to offer in the future and beyond. The Patriots are going to forever regret trading Jimmy. Interested to see what Sherman has left. I think a lot.
3. Seattle Seahawks 8-7-1
They'll tie the 9ers!
This is a team in transition that also has a top 5 QB and upper-level Head Coach. Lot of new faces but as much as I hate this franchise I respect the fuck out of it. They'll be in basically every game. Wilson will have to be a superstar for them to make the playoffs.
4. Arizona Cardinals 5-11
I loved the Arians era Cardinals. I'll remember as a fun team who just got some tough breaks who could've been an all time. I still can't believe they got killed so badly in the 15 NFC championship game. I never saw it because I was in mourning from the AFC championship game.
This is a team in serious transition. I guess Bradford is the placeholder/insurance policy for chosen Rosen. I love David Johnson, Patrick Peteron, obvi Larry..they still have a few guys but I just don't think they'll be that competitive this season.
1. Minnesota Vikings 14-2
I am a HUGE Kirk Cousins guy, I think with this team they are instant Super Bowl favorites, but of course because they're the Vikings something tragic will happen in January.
They are going to be a fun as team to watch. This offense is going to be unreal. I could see Kirk Cousins passing for 40 TDs.
Elite defense too.
2. Green Bay Packers 11-5
All about Rodgers health. Everything is irrelevant otherwise. Unless you're a Bears fan how can you not love A-a-ron?
I personally like the Jimmy Graham signing. they always say Rodgers doesn't like tight ends, but he's never had a TE like this one.
Just tough luck being in same division as the absolute unit Minnesota Vikings, although if they won the division I wouldn't flinch.
3. Chicago Bears 8-8
BIGGG Mitch guy. Love the Mack deal. They're going for it and I love it. The Bears will be back, just not all the way this year.
4. Detroit Lions 7-9
After the AFC South I think this is the toughest division top to bottom in the NFL. Lions don't suck, but they aren't that good either. First year head coach. Really under appreciated QB. I wouldn't hate to see them prove me very wrong.
1. New Orleans Saints 12-4
I really thought the Saints would make the Super Bowl last year. If it wasn't Minneapolis Miracle they probably do. No Ingram will not be ideal. they should be able to withstand it. A team with a veteran proven future HOF QB in Drew Brees but also a great future with the offensive and defensive rookies of the year.
Tough division. I might giving them a little bit too much credit, especially in this division...but when this team is good they usually win at least 7 games at home.
2. Atlanta Falcons 11-5
They definitely missed Kyle Shannahan last season. Still a lot of talent even though I think Julio wants out. Respectable franchise who's been on a good run last 20 years despite no ring. No ring this year either but they will be an entertaining team, especially offensively.
3. Carolina Panthers 9-7
I feel like the Panthers are usually good but not for long stretches of time. They're a team who I'm not sure if I believe in yet. Offense if at all cylanders will be awesome to watch. Cam worries me with lack of accuracy at times but this team could just run 34 times a game. Thomas Davis will call it a career after this year and what a career it has been for him. I wish him health. Same for Luke.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-14
2 wins may have been pushing it. They will be the worst team in the NFL. How could they have ever thought Dirk Koetter could be the guy? He's got first coach fired written all over him and frankly I've spent too much time with this blur on these bums.
1. New York Giants 11-5
Something tells me Eli is gonna bounce back. I think being able to rely on Saquan (who my fantasy team at #5 overall needs as well). Odell is a game changer and can win you regular season games. I may look like an idiot here but I like the Giants to win this division.
2. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7
Foles will be exposed. Last year was a movie script run. I think they have a season long Super Bowl Hangover. Ladies and gentlemen I am not writing off a sub .500 season.
What's up with Wentz?
3. Washington Redskins 8-8
Alex Smith is a winner. He has a good coach. No talent but the guy will have this team close to .500.
4. Dallas Cowboys 6-10
One of the few teams I can think of with a worse receiving core than the Patriots. Great RB in Zeke but two major OL injuries worry me about him. As well as the lack of vertical threats in passing game to jam the box. Garrett doesn't make it to Christmas.
1. Minnesota Vikings 14-2
2. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
3. New Orleans Saints 12-4
4. New York Giants 11-5
5. Green Bay Packers 11-5
6. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (6) Atlanta Falcons
(5) Green Bay Packers defeat (4) New York Giants
(5) Green Bay Packers defeat (1) Minnesota Vikings
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (2) Los Angeles Rams
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (5) Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl 53:
New Orleans Saints defeat Los Angeles Chargers.
What a great match up that would be. Drew Brees against the team where it all started. (obviously just not picked pats so I don't look like a homer)
MVP: Kirk Cousins
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffery
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquan Barkley
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn Los Angeles Chargers