NFL Predictions 2019: Complete Playoff Picks, Super Bowl LIV Champion, Awards Winners

NFL Predictions 2019: Complete Playoff Picks, Super Bowl LIV Champion, Awards Winners

Which 12 teams will reach the postseason, and who will play in Miami for the Lombardi Trophy? The MMQB staff makes complete predictions for the 2019 NFL season.
September 04, 2019

The calendar has changed to September, which means another NFL season is upon us. Will we see the Patriots repeat as Super Bowl champions for the first time since the 2003 and ’04 seasons, or will an unexpected team rise above the noise to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIV?

The Packers visit the Bears to kick off the NFL’s 100th season on Thursday evening, but before that let’s focus on what really matters: NFL season predictions. The MMQB staff forecasts every round of the postseason, the Super Bowl champion and the NFL’s award winners.

ALBERT BREER

MVP: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa, DE, 49ers
Comeback Player of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Steelers

A little overboard with the Bosa brothers? Maybe. I know that the Chargers are going to need Joey to be a force the next few months with Derwin James out after surgery on his foot, and the 49ers felt like Nick was borderline unblockable before he suffered a high-ankle sprain early last month. And that’s just it. Health is the variable for both guys. But if they can stay healthy, it wouldn’t shock me to see the two combine for 30 sacks. Remember, the elder Bosa won Defensive Rookie of the Year despite missing all of training camp in 2016, which illustrates both his potential and the pratfall in expecting his younger brother will set back too much by his own missed time.


GREG BISHOP

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
Offensive Player of the Year: Mahomes
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin White, LB, Buccaneers
Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Chiefs

One thing I like about this upcoming NFL season is how open the Super Bowl race seems. I could make the case for the Rams, except they lost last year and that usually has an impact. I could make the case for the Patriots, because, well, Patriots. I could make the case for Philadelphia or New Orleans. In light of all that, the best bet remains the Chiefs. They have the reigning NFL MVP at quarterback, a bevy of skill position stars, an innovative offensive coach, a new edge rusher and an improved defense, at least in theory. They almost upended the Patriots last season to reach the Super Bowl. I expect a rematch, and I don’t think they’ll find the Rams on the opposite sideline in the title game, and I like the Chiefs over any of the other NFC teams. So … the Chiefs win the title, starting a dominant run throughout Mahomes’s rookie contract, with 2019 the year that Reid and Mahomes and Kansas City make it happen, ending the tortured history once and for all. Plus, we get the Andy Reid Bowl for the title game.


JENNY VRENTAS

MVP: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Browns
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush, LB, Steelers
Comeback Player of the Year: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Chiefs

In this rematch of Super Bowl LII, everything is the same but different. Tropics instead of tundra. Wentz instead of Foles. Brady runs a route on a play called Foxborough Mundane and he makes the catch. Patriots prevail. Brady takes Foles up on his recommendation to clear his head in the Sierra Nevadas, where he stumbles upon a medicinal plant that will allow him to play 12 more seasons, until age 54.


ROBERT KLEMKO

MVP: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Offensive Player of the Year: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack, EDGE, Bears
Offensive Rookie of the Year: David Montgomery, RB, Bears
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa
Comeback Player of the Year: Hunter Henry
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick

I think the Jaguars will take the mantle in the AFC South post-Luck, but I’m open to a debate. The Texans could get there, but I have no faith in that offensive line. I like San Francisco's chances at sneaking into the playoffs, but Seattle feels like less of a dice-roll. Maybe I’m biased because I visited their camp this year, but I think Atlanta will return to dominance in Year 1 of Dirk Koetter as OC and Year 2 of Calvin Ridley. Keeping those defensive players who are returning from injury healthy will be critical.


JONATHAN JONES

MVP: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Browns
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ed Oliver, DT, Bills
Comeback Player of the Year: Earl Thomas, S, Ravens
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Steelers

Yes, I left off the Cleveland Browns. No, I don’t hate Cleveland—in fact, I think the Browns have the chance to be the No. 1 defense in the NFL this year, and if that happens then Cleveland is absolutely in the playoffs. Here’s what scares me about the Browns, though. The team has a first-year head coach, a sophomore quarterback and lots of ego on the offensive side. And they play five playoff contenders between Weeks 3 and 8. What happens when adversity hits early and they drop two or three straight? I’m not saying they can’t get through it, but I’m not willing to believe they can just yet. Last year in games decided by a field goal or less—a.k.a. extremely close games—the Browns were 2-4-1. Until they flip that, I have the Browns as a very good team on the outside looking in.


CONOR ORR

MVP: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Defensive Player of the Year: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Broncos
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Josh Allen, LB, Jaguars
Comeback Player of the Year: Joe Flacco, QB, Broncos
Coach of the Year: Pete Carroll, Seahawks

This is a season of cleansing and exorcisms. Proshchay, bad vibes. It’s time for Russell Wilson to defeat the Patriots and abolish the hordes of sniping, anonymous former teammates. It’s time for Brian Schottenheimer to call a masterful title game. It’s time for Pete Carroll to unload any lingering doubts about his legacy. This is the year we all feel good. This is the year we start bailing out Mother Earth. This is the year we reinvest in the Golden Rule. This is the year we fall in love with love again.


KALYN KAHLER

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
Offensive Player of the Year: Mahomes
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Brian Burns, EDGE, Panthers
Comeback Player of the Year: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets
Coach of the Year: Frank Reich, Colts

I think the Colts will be fine without Andrew Luck, and I think Luck's retirement might force them to rally together in a sports-motivational way that they may not have if he was still on the team. T.Y. Hilton has already said he's dedicating his season to Luck. Colts general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich handled the retirement gracefully and have done a great job building a strong roster. Jacoby Brissett is better prepared than any backup in the league. This defense is loaded with speedy linebackers that are prepared to blitz the pants off of opponents, and has improved at edge rushing, with Justin Houston and rookie Ben Banogu.


ANDY BENOIT

MVP: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush, LB, Steelers
Comeback Player of the Year: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
Coach of the Year: Frank Reich, Colts

Entering the summer, I loved the Colts. They were bringing back almost everyone from a 2018 squad that won 10 of its final 12 games—but then Andrew Luck walked away from the game. I am high on Jacoby Brissett and still see big things for the Colts this season, as the rest of the AFC heavyweights have questions. The Browns are sexy but inexperienced. The Chiefs have a terrifying offense but serious questions about their defensive back seven. Those same questions kept them out of Super Bowl LIII. Yes, picking the Patriots feels boring and lazy. But their defense is much stronger than it was at this time last year, and they’re one of the few offenses built around a smashmouth ground game. Oh, and when they’re not pounding the rock, they’ll rely on Tom Brady, who has still shown no sign of decline.

As for the NFC: New Orleans remains in the same brilliant offensive scheme led by the same brilliant QB, Drew Brees. The Saints’ D, while not amazing, is the most talented they’ve had in the Sean Payton era. Forecasting a Super Bowl showdown between two fortysomething-year-old quarterbacks feels absurd, but those quarterbacks remain elite and are surrounded by two of the league’s most complete rosters.


BEN BASKIN

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Browns
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush, LB, Steelers
Comeback Player of the Year: Earl Thomas, S, Ravens
Coach of the Year: Freddie Kitchens, Browns

I said it last year, and I was right, so I’ll just say it again now: I’ll stop picking the Patriots when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are no longer there. It is still as simple as that. Yes Rob Gronkowski is gone and I, for one, would be surprised if he returned. But Belichick and Brady always find a way to cycle in someone else, shift the offense to their current personnel, and then continue on winning. They still have running back Sony Michel, who shined at times last year and is shaping up for a bigger role in his second season; they still have Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, who will now be a full season removed from his ACL tear and won’t miss any games due to suspension; and it seems like they’ll have Josh Gordon fully back, the second most physically talented receiver Brady has ever thrown to. Add in a defense that has looked dominant, and then remember again that Brady and Belichick are still there, and I’d find it silly to pick anyone else.


ANDREW BRANDT

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Browns
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Brian Burns, EDGE, Panthers
Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Coach of the Year: Matt LaFleur, Packers

I know, I know: my Packer/Eagle bias is showing but hey, it’s futile to try to hide that I have biased feelings for these two organizations. I think they will be the two best teams in the NFC, with re-energized quarterbacks now fully healthy fueled by quarterback-friendly coaches and offenses. On the AFC side, all the Chiefs needed last year was a little (not a lot) defense; with that they would have beaten the Patriots (and anyone else). I think they have that this year. I am also high on the Ravens, who will show us “the next” in offensive football with Lamar Jackson playing quarterback/running back. Since many are saying “you can’t play like that!” I am saying they will be highly successful.


GARY GRAMLING

MVP: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Offensive Player of the Year: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Defensive Player of the Year: Frank Clark, DE, Chiefs
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush, LB, Steelers
Comeback Player of the Year: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
Coach of the Year: Adam Gase, Jets

As for the surprises: I like the Jets, who now have the coach (soon-to-be-COY Adam Gase) and quarterback (Sam Darnold) in place to beat out the Titans for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Meanwhile, the Falcons re-take the NFC South thanks to a defense teeming with fully intact ligaments, unlike a year ago. Aaron Rodgers bounces back under the tutelage of Matt LaFleur and the 49ers not only get back on track thanks to a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo, but also an upgraded pass rush that leads to the defense quadrupling their takeaway output over last year’s comedic record low (7). But in the end, the two most talented teams meet in Miami for what will be branded the Andy Reid Bowl. (Not to be confused with the other Andy Reid Bowl, available at participating Wawas, which is a pint of melted sherbet poured over a fistful of Mallomars)


MITCH GOLDICH

MVP: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack, EDGE, Bears
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ed Oliver, DT, Bills
Comeback Player of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Chiefs

I think the Eagles are the most talented team in the NFC, and I think they have the coaching and experience to live up to the hype. I also picked Carson Wentz to win MVP, partially because the MVP often comes down to media #narratives. Every article about Wentz’s health mentions that he was the favorite to win the award in 2017 before he got hurt, and I think voters would be eager to make it up to him if he’s in the discussion again. Elsewhere: The Browns lose the division but win a playoff game, over Bill Belichick nonetheless. The Panthers, Packers and Steelers bounce back, but last year’s NFC finalists can’t quite put it together the same way. I’m still very high on the Chiefs, whose own fans mocked me when I was one of the few people to pick them to win the Super Bowl before last year (there I go bragging about a prediction that didn’t even come true) and I think they’ll run through a weaker AFC. This time—in the Andy Reid Bowl—I’m picking them to lose the big game, as Wentz hoists the Eagles’ second Lombardi Trophy in three years.


BETTE MARSTON

MVP: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: David Montgomery, RB, Bears
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin White, LB, Buccaneers
Comeback Player of the Year: LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, Saints

It’s been widely stated that the Saints are running out of time to win it all, but this is the year that it finally happens. Other teams will figure out how to take the edge off the Rams, New Orleans’s biggest competition in the NFC, which will pave the way for the Saints to emerge victorious in the Super bowl, allowing Drew Brees to finally retire in peace.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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