NFL Preview 2019
Posted by: Paul Nichols
01 Sep 2019
Here’s a quickie NFL preview for the 2019 season. Teams are listed in their predicted finish in their division.
New England Patriots – On top until proven otherwise. I barely have to edit this column from year to year thanks to good quarterbacks. Even Tom Brady at 42 can win this thing. At 41 he won the whole thing, but I don’t see a repeat this year.
Buffalo Bills – Folks seem to think their defense is good, but if the offense can’t score points, what matter does it make? Just the same, second-year QB Josh Allen was a lot of fun to watch run all over the field last year and do some slinging. A little more seasoning this year earns them a 2nd place in this division.
New York Jets – QB Sam Darnold started well but was inconsistent later on. I do not think they’ll be as good as Buffalo despite adding a RB. 6 wins.
Miami Dolphins – Bottom of the barrel. Will look somewhat good with Fitzpatrick at QB to start the season, but that won’t translate to wins. His stats always fizzle, and Rosen will get some reps. They may finish the season with 3 wins.
Baltimore Ravens – This is a team I love to root against after they beat the Broncos on the road in the playoffs years ago and somehow won a Super Bowl. Now that terrible QB PLAYS FOR THE BRONCOS! I’m so conflicted. But I do like Lamar Jackson and predicted Flacco’s injury and good things for this team. So let’s give ‘em the division!
Cleveland Browns – They won 7 games last year and their over/under for wins this year is 9. I think they’ll get to 9 and it’s good enough for 2nd place in this division. Baker Mayfield can ball. Playoffs [foreshadowing]?
Pittsburgh Steelers – My continuing logic on Pittsburgh is that it’s an every-other-year kind of team. That logic has fallen apart as they’ve maintained some better-than-average consistency the last five years. But I’m stubborn, and my math means they’ll be “bad” this year. So let’s put them in third place in the division. They don’t have to worry about Le’Veon Bell not showing up. They know he won’t because he now plays with the Jets.
Cincinnati Bengals – I’m still smarting from predicting them to win this division two years ago. Their punishment sees them remain in last place.
Indianapolis Colts – I don’t think Andrew Luck’s retirement makes this team too much worse. And the chatter is they’ve been making the right personnel moves for years, so I think they’ll win this division.
Houston Texans – What?! Deshaun Watson plays with J.J. Watt on the Texans? Texans, Titans, Tomato, Tomato. This substantially upgrades my impression of this team. No wonder I whiffed on my 2018 prediction for this team. However, front office mayhem and Wat/t/son injuries may derail the effort. Let's put the Houston Wat/t/sons in second in this division behind the surprising Colts.
Tennessee Titans – Finished 9-7 for the third year in a row. Who actually plays on this team?! Third place. They might win just 5 games…
Jacksonville Jaguars – …which is what these guys should get used to winning. They won this division two years ago with 10 wins, but had just 5 last year. They’ll do 5 again this year. I still assume Blaine Gabbert is their quarterback. I looked it up again this year. It’s not Blake Bortles, either. This year Nick Foles. Regardless of how fun he is to root for, I don’t see success here.
Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid wins football games. Lots of offense and questionable defense. 13 wins.
Los Angeles Chargers – A lot of folks saying they’ll have a big drop-off from last year’s 12-win team. But Philip Rivers is a good QB, and that’s still good enough for second place.
Denver Broncos – Well, they did have their first consecutive losing seasons since 1971-1972. They still seem pretty mediocre on offense. Third place and an 8-8 finish.
Oakland Raiders – Their stadium hasn’t opened in Las Vegas, yet, and the lack of a home takes an underrated emotional toll. So I think they’ll remain in 4th place.
Philadelphia Eagles – Finished with three straight wins last year, but it wasn’t enough. I think 10 wins gives them this division.
New York Giants – From 3-13 to 5-11 last year. They’ll have to be better again, technically, and frankly I think they can squeak out second place in this division. 9 wins?
Dallas Cowboys – From 9-7 to 10-6…what will they do this year? Some solid stars on the roster but I say they’re taking a step backwards this year.
Washington Redskins – I don’t think a lot look good for these guys. Over/under of 6 wins, and that number feels generous. Last place.
Minnesota Vikings – Won the division no problem two years ago, but staggered last year. Even though no one is betting on Kirk Cousins, let’s go for it! First place!
Chicago Bears – I'm still not sure who's on this team. Trubisky (sp?) I guess. Surprised last year by winning the division easily. I’ll say they’ll surprise this year by not winning the division!
Green Bay Packers – [autotext] Rodgers all by himself can get it done. [record scratch] Wait. He hasn’t been getting it done, though. 7 wins.
Detroit Lions – I think their coach Patricia will be the first one fired this year. So they’ll stay here in last place.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bruce Arians did amazing things in Arizona win-wise: 10, 11, 13 before he said something stupid and ruined the team’s mojo. Well, he gets a re-start here and I expect good things. Let’s roll the dice on him and Winston. Some of you might recall me rolling these dice a few years ago and failing miserably. Please don’t read these old columns.
Atlanta Falcons – Will the offense fire on all cylinders? I see some sputtering. But second place and a playoff spot.
New Orleans Saints – When I die Drew Brees will still be quarterbacking the Saints. And though there is more defense these days, at some point this run has to end, right?
Carolina Panthers – I love rooting for Cam Newton but this division is tough. Last place.
Los Angeles Rams – They remain good and in first.
Seattle Seahawks – I'm still upset about their playoff win from 9 seasons ago. Remember? When they won 7 games and hosted a playoff game?!? I think they'll finish second in this division; they’ve finally gotten some better players and can still rely on Russell Wilson. Playoffs!
Arizona Cardinals – Still rebuilding. Could beat out San Fran for third place. You know what, let’s call it. Third place!
San Francisco 49ers – Their QB looked shaky this offseason and they disappointed last year. They seem like a 6-win team, so here they reside in last place.
AFC 1st Round: Kansas City, New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Cleveland.
2nd Round: Kansas City, New England, Indianapolis, Cleveland.
3rd Round: Kansas City, New England.
NFC 1st Round: Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Seattle.
2nd Round: Los Angeles, Minnesota, Chicago, Seattle.
3rd Round: Los Angeles, Chicago.
Super Bowl: Los Angeles [Rams] over Kansas City.
I'm two-for-nine so far with predicting Super Bowl winners, having predicted Green Bay (Green Bay won), then New Orleans (the Giants of New York), then Green Bay (Baltimore), then Denver (Seattle won), then Denver (New England won), then Denver (Denver won), then Pittsburgh (New England), then Denver (Philadelphia), then Green Bay (New England). Good thing I've got a day job.