NFL

Ryan Sharp’s NFL Picks

Jacob Rosenfarb’s full NFL predictions and analysis will be rolled out later today. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my picks and some notes. You can also listen to all of this on Two Kids in a Trenchcoat.

AFC North

  1. Steelers 10-6
  2. Browns 6-10
  3. Ravens 5-11
  4. Bengals 3-13

This isn’t going to be a great year for Big Ben, but Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown have enough talent to carry the Steelers to a division title. In part because everyone else is so bad. Six wins is a success for the Browns, but expect to be underwhelmed by Baltimore and Cincinnati. This might actually be it for Marvin Lewis.

AFC South

  1. Jaguars 12-4
  2. Texans 11-5
  3. Titans 10-6
  4. Colts 8-8

There are three capable playoff teams in this division. All of them will make the playoffs. The Jacksonville defense is strong enough to take a good chunk of pressure off of Blake Bortles, who has lost nine fewer playoff games than Tom Brady. Derrick Henry should gain full control of the Titans backfield, and that will benefit them. Most intriguing is the potential for a full season of Deshaun Watson, who showed signs of elite play before tearing his ACL last season.

AFC East

  1. Patriots 12-4
  2. Jets 7-9
  3. Bills 6-10
  4. Dolphins 5-11

Two of the starting quarterbacks in the AFC are rookies. One is mediocre, —  serviceable at best. The last is Tom Brady. Any questions?

Seriously though, the Patriots should run away with the East as usual, barring a catastrophe. The Jets and Bills seem ready to commit to 2018 as a year of development. The Dolphins say they can compete, but let’s be real.

AFC West

  1. Chargers 10-6
  2. Chiefs 9-7
  3. Broncos 7-9
  4. Raiders 4-12

Patrick Mahomes is going to be good, but he isn’t there yet. That, combined with a difficult schedule, will contribute to the Chiefs missing out on the playoffs in 2018. Los Angeles has comparable talent and a more established quarterback in Philip Rivers.

Even with the addition of Case Keenum, the Broncos have too many question marks to make a run this year. Jon Gruden in Oakland is going to be a disaster.

NFC North

  1. Vikings 11-5
  2. Packers 10-6
  3. Bears 8-8
  4. Lions 3-13

Similar to 2014, it’ll take Aaron Rodgers and the Packers a while to get hot. In that time, the Vikings will pull ahead just enough that they hold on to the division at the end of the season. Chicago should improve in year two of the Mitchell Trubisky era, and Detroit will do the opposite.

NFC South

  1. Saints 12-4
  2. Panthers 9-7
  3. Falcons 9-7
  4. Buccaneers 3-13

People forget that Drew Brees is a future Hall-of-Famer. He shows that this year. Combined with a strong defense and good running attack, the Saints should have no problem winning the South. Expect a step back from Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, but nothing drastic. Even once Jameis Winston returns from from suspension, the Buccaneers are looking at a lost season.

NFC East

  1. Eagles 13-3
  2. Giants 8-8
  3. Redskins 7-9
  4. Cowboys 5-11

I heard someone say the Eagles would only win eight games this year. That person was wrong. The Giants however, will feature a healthy OBJ and rookie Saquon Barkley. Eight wins seems realistic for them, but not the Eagles.

At this point, I think Jay Gruden might be the problem for Washington. I’m excited for Alex Smith, though. Things seem a little chaotic in Dallas right now, and that contributes to a poor season for the Cowboys.

NFC West

  1. Rams 12-4
  2. 49ers 10-6
  3. Seahawks 8-8
  4. Cardinals 7-9

Sorry everyone, but Jimmy G has to lose at some point. But that doesn’t equate to a bad season, and the Niners make a run at the wild card spot. Catching the Rams is too hard to do.

Russell Wilson is very good, but the rest of the Seahawks are not. Expect to see a continuing downward trend in Seattle. The Cardinals still have a lot of work to do.

AFC Playoffs

  1. Patriots
  2. Jaguars
  3. Steelers
  4. Chargers
  5. Texans
  6. Titans

Wild Card

Texans (5) over Chargers (4)

Steelers (3) over Titans (6)

Divisional

Patriots (1) over Texans (5)

Jaguars (2) over Steelers (3)

Championship

Patriots (1) over Jaguars (2)

NFC Playoffs

  1. Eagles
  2. Rams
  3. Saints
  4. Vikings
  5. Packers
  6. 49ers

Wild Card

Packers (5) over Vikings (4)

Saints (3) over 49ers (6)

Divisional

Packers (5) over Eagles (1)

Rams (2) over Saints (3)

Championship

Rams (2) over Packers (5)

Super Bowl LIII

Patriots over Rams

Awards

MVP: Jared Goff

Offensive Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson

Defensive Player of the Year: Ndamukong Suh

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Derwin James

Coach of the Year: Bill Obrien

Comeback Player of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr.

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