2020 NFL Predictions: Super Bowl LV, Playoff Picks, Award Winners and More

Which rookies will stand out, who will take home the MVP award and which teams will meet in Tampa for Super Bowl LV? The MMQB staff makes predictions for 2020.
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The 2020 season is finally here! Will the Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champions? Will Lamar Jackson follow up his breakthrough MVP season with a ring? Will Tom Brady's new team outperform his old team? Will Russell Wilson finally win an MVP? 

Check below for The MMQB's staff predictions for award winners, division winners and full playoff brackets, including Super Bowl LV champions.

MMQB-2020-season-predictions

Albert Breer

BREER-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Deshaun Watson
OPOY: Alvin Kamara
DPOY: Nick Bosa
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Chase Young
Comeback: Alex Smith
Coach: Frank Reich

Cowardly? Yup, cowardly. A lot of chalk here, with five teams returning to the AFC playoffs and five teams returning to the NFC playoffs. But there’s a method to this, one that may well be flawed. I think continuity will count more than ever in a year when the NFL has been and will be navigating a pandemic. So it is that I’ve got established, well-run organizations standing at the very end, with two coaches who’ve been in place for over a decade locking horns in Tampa.

Jenny Vrentas

VRENTAS-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Patrick Mahomes
OPOY: Saquon Barkley
DPOY: T.J. Watt
OROY: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
DROY: Chase Young
Comeback: Alex Smith
Coach: Mike Tomlin

In a season with so many unknowns, I’m making my pick based on a known: Patrick Mahomes. And Andy Reid. And the roster that GM Brett Veach somehow managed to keep together, despite a brief window in time when the team had $177 in salary cap space. With the virtual offseason, and no preseason games, it’s a fair bet that teams that were already cohesive—with a clear identity and a strong coach-QB relationship—will have something of an upper hand. And one of the Chiefs’ new additions, first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, is well-positioned to fold in and make a big impact right away. After a long wait for both the Chiefs and Reid, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the next championship is quick to come by.

Conor Orr

ORR-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Russell Wilson
OPOY: Michael Thomas
DPOY: Joey Bosa
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Chase Young
Comeback: Alex Smith
Coach: Mike Tomlin

Seahawks 28, Ravens 24. Russell Wilson Awareness™ has come full circle. His second Super Bowl victory earns him not only that initial sought-after MVP vote but plenty more to come. The Saints will dominate the regular season and so will receiver Michael Thomas, while a relatively punchless Washington team’s season is highlighted by an ability to maneuver Chase Young around and get after the quarterback. The Steelers will force Baltimore to go the wild-card route into the playoffs, which means Mike Tomlin, long one of the most underrated coaches in football, will claim his throne atop the Coach of the Year Award poll.

Greg Bishop

BISHOP-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Patrick Mahomes
OPOY: Lamar Jackson
DPOY: Aaron Donald
OROY: Clyde Edwards-Helarie
DROY: Isaiah Simmons
Comeback: Rob Gronkowski
Coach: Sean Payton

Yeah, we went there, but here’s why. It seems silly, or at least like you’re trying too hard, to pick anyone other than Mahomes and the Chiefs at the outset of another season. Whether that’s because of how they finished last year—healthy, on a roll, playing complete football, winning the whole thing—or just because of Mahomes, it doesn’t matter. They’re the pick. Personally, I like Baltimore almost as much, with last February serving as the tie-breaker. Should the Ravens also advance deep, it would set up an AFC title game for the ages. On the other side, I feel like you could go a million ways. The Saints, to me, have the most complete team. But they have to be scarred by all those recent, odd and heartbreaking playoff losses. The 49ers appear poised for a run, too, but I worry about the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. I think the Vikings replaced too much veteran depth with young talent this offseason, too much to reach the championship, and I don’t believe either Dallas or Philadelphia will advance beyond the early rounds. Which leaves us … Tom freaking Brady, toppling his favorite childhood team in the playoffs, then beating Drew Brees and the Saints in the Old Man Bowl, then heading back to the Super Bowl to stick it to Belichick, who will have more success—and Brady will hear all about it—throughout the regular season. Brady will run into Mahomes, there will be a passing of the torch and ratings will skyrocket. In a year of uncertainty, this seems like as good a bet as any. Plus, it’s not a stretch to think Brady and his teammates will play better throughout the year, as they get to know each other and the offense. Then it’s just talent, and of that, the Bucs have plenty.

Michael Rosenberg

ROSENBERG-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Patrick Mahomes
OPOY: Patrick Mahomes
DPOY: Khalil Mack
OROY: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
DROY: Isaiah Simmons
Comeback: Alex Smith
Coach: Matt Patricia

I was tempted to pick Tua Tagovailoa as my Comeback Player of the Year after his brutal injury at Alabama, because a rookie winning Comeback Player of the Year seems like the kind of thing that would happen in 2020. Also, I have enjoyed every second of the "Patriots are tanking for Trevor Lawrence!" discussion, even though I believe none of it. I will never bet on a Bill Belichick team to stink. I also think the Cowboys are too talented to underachieve again, the Chiefs are too loaded to fail and Matthew Stafford will finally be recognized for being one of the game's top 10 quarterbacks. This feels like a make-or-break year for a lot of quarterbacks: Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky might already be broken, but the rest could go either way. My money is on Allen and Mayfield being more consistent, and also on Daniel Jones showing that whatever else Dave Gettleman has gotten wrong with the Giants, he got that pick right. Related: Never trust a sportswriter with your money.

Andrew Brandt

BRANDT-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Aaron Rodgers
OPOY: Dalvin Cook
DPOY: Nick Bosa
OROY: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
DROY: Chase Young
Comeback: Ben Roethlisberger
Coach: Matt LaFleur

Using no formula other than my own version of analytics, I am predicting last year's losers in the conference championship games will meet in this year's Super Bowl (if, of course, the virus allows for a Super Bowl). My usual full disclosure about bias toward Green Bay applies, but consider this: No one, including me, thinks that first-year head coach Matt LaFleur's offense looked like it was in full gear last year, and all the Packers did was go 13–3 and make it to the NFC championship. Now, with a limited lifespan in Green Bay due to the Jordan Love pick, and a bruising running back in A.J. Dillon as another weapon, I like Aaron as MVP and the Packers to win it all. Biased? of course. But certainly a reasonable pick as well. As for the AFC, I was a believer in Tennessee last year and am more of a believer now. They are a team built for the playoffs and for the war of attrition that the NFL has become. No, I don't see major drop-offs with Kansas City and San Francisco, but I just think the Packers and Titans will be better than them in January 2021.

Gary Gramling

GRAMLING-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Carson Wentz
OPOY: Alvin Kamara
DPOY: T.J. Watt
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Patrick Queen
Comeback: Matthew Stafford
Coach: Sean McVay

The Chiefs and Saints are the best teams in football, and Patrick Mahomes is the most valuable player in the league—as he will be every season for the remainder of your natural life. But whatever, let’s pick some different stuff! Carson Wentz, now playing with a few receivers who can put one foot down in front of the other in rapid succession, regains his MVP form of 2017 and leads the Eagles to a 12–4 campaign. He edges out Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson, who slides back a little bit due to some issues on the interior of the offensive line.

As for the AFC, the Colts would have been contenders this year with Jacoby Brissett, and they’ll be contenders with Philip Rivers even if it proves to be the lateral move it appears to be. Last year, Indy was foiled by disastrous kicking and a receiving corps that, after a rash of injuries, was reduced to four volunteers they picked up at the bus terminal every Sunday morning. This year they’ll stay healthy, and, like a young Elvis Costello, rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship’s aim is true.

Indy pulls off an AFC title-game upset—remember when the Colts went into Arrowhead and pantsed the Chiefs on a Sunday night last October? (No Tyreek Hill that night, but still …)—while the Eagles outlast the 49ers, who one week earlier had taken advantage of another January fade for the Saints’ offense.

And in Super Bowl LV, Marlon Mack will score three touchdowns and capture Super Bowl MVP honors as the Colts score more points than the Eagles, which is precisely what they were trying to do. Colts 28, Eagles 27.

Mitch Goldich

GOLDICH-2020-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PREDICTIONS

MVP: Russell Wilson
OPOY: Patrick Mahomes
DPOY: Nick Bosa
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Chase Young
Comeback: Cam Newton
Coach: Mike Tomlin

My picks are a little boring this year, with most of last year’s playoff participants back in the field. Not because I’m a coward who’s afraid of putting myself out there, but because I think a lot of the stable franchises with good coaches and good quarterbacks will be best suited to get off to fast starts after a shortened offseason and to play well during an unusual year. And most of them made the playoffs last year, too. That’s kinda how it works. Pittsburgh is somehow under the radar because there’s so much focus on the Chiefs, Ravens and Patriots. The Texans also won’t be as bad as everyone thinks, which is no slight to DeAndre Hopkins. But the Chiefs are too good to pick anyone else. In the NFC, I think people like to look for reasons to knock Seattle down a couple of spots every year, and they always seem to meet or exceed expectations. I think they can break through and get to another Super Bowl, after Russell Wilson puts together an MVP season. People want to rave about the NFC West, but I’ve got three playoff teams from the NFC South, including the top-seeded Saints.

In the end, Wilson and Mahomes will give us the first Super Bowl matchup of QBs who’ve already won the big one since Wilson and Tom Brady in 2014. I envision three lead changes in the fourth quarter, with K.C. coming out on top.