Here are my fearless predictions for how this NFL season will unravel!
New England Patriots—The Patriots will once again return to the playoffs. Tom Brady throws for slightly more than 4,000 yards. Sony Michel stays healthy for 10 games and scores 10 TDs. Damien Harris gets more involved in the offense come playoff time and carves a role out for himself. Rob Gronkowski rumors surface all season, but he does not return to play.
Buffalo Bills—QB Josh Allen takes the next step and becomes more accurate. RBs Frank Gore and Devin Singletary split carries for the first few weeks until the rookie wins the job outright. Cole Beasley leads the team in receptions. Head coach Sean McDermott has this team fighting for a wildcard spot.
New York Jets—QB Sam Darnold shows significant improvement in his sophomore season. RB Le’Veon Bell gets off to a slow start but starts to rebound come mid-season. WR Robby Anderson is shut down often by opposing CBs. WR Jamison Crowder leads the team in receptions.
Miami Dolphins—QB Ryan Fitzpatrick starts the first few games of the season until Josh Rosen finally gets his opportunity. Once Rosen arrives, the team realizes that he is nothing more than a backup. RBs Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage split carries for much of the season but struggle to find any running room behind an awful offensive line. WR Albert Wilson leads the team in receptions while WR DeVante Parker finds the doghouse.
Cleveland Browns—QB Baker Mayfield throws for 34 passing TDs and is a contender for MVP. RB Nick Chubb dominates the first weeks of the season but loses touches to Kareem Hunt as the team tries to preserve Chubb for the playoffs. WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry both go for over 1,000 yards receiving as the Browns end their playoff drought.
Baltimore Ravens—QB Lamar Jackson shocks the NFL landscape and improves significantly as a passer. Rookie RB Justice Hill becomes one of the premiere third-down backs in the league. Rookie WR Marquise Brown shows off amazing speed and scores numerous long-distance TDs.
Pittsburgh Steelers—WR JuJu Smith-Schuster becomes the WR1 in Antonio Brown’s absence and doesn’t miss a beat. Rookie WR Diontae Johnson overtakes Donte Moncrief and becomes the WR2 towards the end of the season. TE Vance McDonald has a career-high in TDs. Head coach Mike Tomlin is on the hot seat after missing the playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals—WR A.J. Green returns from injury in Week 5. John Ross catches fewer than 30 passes. WR Tyler Boyd leads the league in receptions for the first four weeks until Green returns. RB Joe Mixon struggles early in the season while facing eight-men boxes. Bengals fans call for rookie QB Ryan Finley to start the final three games of the season to see if the team needs to move on from Andy Dalton.
Houston Texans—The addition of OT Laremy Tunsil solidifies the line and Deshaun Watson has a career year now that he has time to throw. RB Carlos Hyde gets cut at some point midseason. RB Duke Johnson has a career year in rushing attempts with 118. WR DeAndre Hopkins leads the AFC in receiving yards.
Indianapolis Colts—QB Jacoby Brissett gets injured and loses playing time to newly acquired Brian Hoyer. RB Marlon Mack rushes for over 1,000 yards but rarely plays on passing downs. TE Eric Ebron scores eight or fewer TDs. Rookie WR Parris Campbell asserts himself as the team’s new WR2 by midseason.
Tennessee Titans—QB Marcus Mariota loses his job to Ryan Tannehill by Week 6. RB Derrick Henry gets off to a slow start due to Mariota’s ineptness, but picks it up in the second half of the season and becomes a star. TE Delanie Walker returns to his Pro Bowl-type performance. WR Corey Davis has a career year in receptions.
Jacksonville Jaguars—QB Nick Foles stabilizes the offense but throws for less than 4,000 yards. No Jaguars receiver catches more than 70 passes. RB Leonard Fournette wears out his welcome and is benched at some point for rookie Ryquell Armstead. TE Josh Oliver returns from injury and shows potential heading into 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs—QB Patrick Mahomes regresses slightly but still throws for 4,700 yards and 42 TDs. Newly acquired RB LeSean McCoy splits carries with Damien Williams and neither gets more than 150 on the season. WR Tyreek Hill continues his electric play, scoring 10 TDs. Rookie Mecole Hardman shows enough as a receiver that the team decides to move on from WR Sammy Watkins in 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers—QB Philip Rivers throws for 4,500 yards and 30 TDs. RBs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson take over for Melvin Gordon as the two-time Pro Bowler never suits up for the team this season. WR Mike Williams catches 12 TD passes and becomes one of the top young players in the AFC.
Denver Broncos—QB Joe Flacco struggles and is replaced by rookie Drew Lock. RB Royce Freeman runs for 800-plus yards and becomes a legitimate first- and second-down threat. WR Courtland Sutton emerges as a top red-zone target.
Oakland Raiders—QB Derek Carr refuses to be aggressive on offense and is no longer the starting QB by season’s end. RB Josh Jacobs struggles early on and rushes for less than 1,000 yards. WR Antonio Brown plays well early on until he leaves the team for unspecified reasons around Week 12. Rookie WR Hunter Renfrow shows off Wes Welker-type slot skills and is a key to their offense.
Dallas Cowboys—RB Ezekiel Elliott eventually signs but misses the first two weeks of the season. Lots of contract discussions affect the team all year with QB Dak Prescott and WR Amari Cooper. WR Michael Gallup steps up and becomes one of the breakout performers in the NFC. Dallas’ defense becomes one of the stingiest in the league.
Philadelphia Eagles—QB Carson Wentz returns to his pre-injury form and has a Pro Bowl year. Rookie RB Miles Sanders asserts himself as the best running back and is the clear starter by Week 8. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside develops a role in the offense as the team phases out Nelson Agholor.
New York Giants—QB Eli Manning starts the first six games of the season until the chatter for rookie Daniel Jones become too loud for the team to ignore. RB Saquon Barkley struggles, but still has over 1,800 yards from scrimmage. TE Evan Engram has the second-most receptions behind WR Sterling Shepard.
Washington Redskins—Head coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat and gets the ax before the end of the season. Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins starts mid-year and looks the part but needs more weapons. RB Derrius Guice flashes potential but suffers from running behind the worst OL in the league.
Chicago Bears—Mitch Trubisky moves into the upper echelon of quarterbacks as his accuracy improves dramatically. Rookie RB David Montgomery flirts with 1,000 yards rushing. WR Allen Robinson has 100-plus targets. TE Trey Burton struggles with injuries and is replaced as a starter by Adam Shaheen.
Minnesota Vikings—QB Kirk Cousins feels more comfortable and throws for 4,300 yards and 32 TDs. WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs both have over 1,000 receiving yards. RB Dalvin Cook continues to deal with a myriad of injuries and ends up splitting time with rookie RB Alexander Mattison.
Green Bay Packers—QB Aaron Rodgers has a rebound season and returns to top three overall status. RB Aaron Jones stays healthy and has 1,500 total yards from scrimmage. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling emerges as a legitimate WR2 behind Davante Adams.
Detroit Lions—RB Kerryon Johnson goes for 1,400 total yards from scrimmage. WR Kenny Golladay surpasses 1,000 yards receiving. No other Lions receiver has 65 catches.
New Orleans Saints—QB Drew Brees once again throws for under 4,000 yards. Backup QB Taysom Hill continues to replace Brees in the red zone. RB Latavius Murray scores as many rushing TDs as Alvin Kamara. WR Tre’Quan Smith emerges as a WR2.
Atlanta Falcons—QB Matt Ryan throws for 4,500 yards. WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley both catch for over 1,000 receiving yards. RB Devonta Freeman plays well in spurts but loses goal-line carries to Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison.
Carolina Panthers—RB Christian McCaffrey comes close to 2,000 total yards from scrimmage. WRs D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel become two of the most dangerous receivers in the league. TE Greg Olsen injures his foot yet again and Ian Thomas becomes the team’s starting TE.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers—QB Jameis Winston throws for over 4,000 yards. WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both go for over 1,000 yards receiving. No running back on the roster has more than 800 yards rushing. TE O.J. Howard has a Pro Bowl year.
Los Angeles Rams—RB Todd Gurley deals with injury woes off and on all season long and ends up sharing carries with rookie Darrell Henderson. WR Cooper Kupp returns from injury and reasserts himself as QB Jared Goff’s go-to receiver once again. Both Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks have 65-plus receptions and 900-plus receiving yards.
Seattle Seahawks—RB Chris Carson begins the season as the full-time starter, but backup RB Rashaad Penny slowly gains more carries as the season goes on. WR Tyler Lockett gets 1100-plus yards receiving on 70 catches. Rookie WR DK Metcalf is a huge bust with only 32 receptions.
San Francisco 49ers—QB Jimmy Garappolo returns to form throwing for over 4,000 yards. Backup RB Matt Breida has more yards from scrimmage than starter Tevin Coleman, although Coleman has more rushing TDs. WR Dante Pettis struggles with playing time issues early. TE George Kittle is still the team’s top receiving threat.
Arizona Cardinals—Rookie QB Kyler Murray throws for over 4,000 yards. WR Christian Kirk has more receiving yards than Larry Fitzgerald. Rookie WR Andy Isabella has three TDs of greater than 40 yards.