Couch-Fire Projections for SB LIV
It’s that time again folks. You have had your offseason, draft, and camp. Now you are 100% sure that this is your year! We’ve heard this speech mainly from the “America’s Team” since 1996, and all they have done is prove they can turn Tony Romo into a future Hall of Fame Broadcaster.
But really folks, what chance does your team have this year? Are they contenders or pretenders? I am going to give you the four top powerhouse teams in each Conference and why they are so beast.
Additionally, the couch-fire projections will also cover the AFC and NFC Champions. Strap in folks and get your stress ball handy, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. We’ll start with the top NFC Teams.
NFC TOP TEAM PROJECTIONS
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Of course we look at the fate of these E-A-G-L-E-S to fall on the shoulders of 2017 MVP hopeful Carson Wentz. The guy plays lights-out football and with speedster DeSean Jackson back in the house, and a defense that was 12th in the league. Sure, there was a lot of turnover here, but when you have seasoned vets like Orlando Scandrick and Malcolm Jenkins in the same backfield that experience is going to take some of the load off of Wentz’s shoulders. Add a supped up RB in Miles Sanders that everyone is raving about and this is a formula that has playoffs written all over it. According to rotoworld.com
“NJ.com reports Miles Sanders has “easily been the most impressive runner” through the Eagles’ first 10 training camp practices.”
Of course, this house of cards all relies on its foundation of its signal-caller to stay healthy. Let’s face facts Cody Kessler isn’t taking this team anywhere.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay is all I should have to put here. His offensive mind despite the SBVIII hiccup caused by the diabolical but masterful work of Bill Belichick is still one to hold in high regard. Jared Goff is still a monster in the game, and when your offense is averaging 421 yards per game, I believe this powerhouse does not miss a beat come the 2019 season. Now if we could just get them a fan base that shows up for Super Bowls or regular-season games for that matter.
2. Minnesota Vikings
Now hang on! Hold the pitchforks and cabbages! We’re looking at a team who has one of best WR tandems in the league in Stefan Diggs and Adam Thielen. Their defense is one of the top 5 in the league. So what Kirk Cousins had a bad year. His body of work says that this is a bounce-back year and to look out for pure explosiveness out of this O. Add a healthy Dalvin Cook to the equation, and we are talking postseason rumblings at a minimum.
1. New Orleans Saints
Now that the lawsuit is being cleaned up and a new replay rule is in effect concerning pass interference, the Saints are definitely not going to miss out of the playoffs. According to the current NFC Championship odds, the Saints are top contenders for the title. SB, maybe. But what I do know is this, Michael Thomas got paid for a reason. The Saints’ D is reminiscent of the 1990’s D. Last year’s unit locked down the run so well they only allowed 80-yards-per-game total rushing. Drew Brees is not going out like a punk and missing playoffs this year.
Now that we have the National Football Conference projections, let’s focus on the American Football Conference.
AFC TOP TEAM PROJECTIONS
4. Baltimore Ravens
It’s no secret the Baltimore Ravens have been retooling their offense around one of the leagues most dynamic players in Lamar Jackson. Aaron Kasinitz of pennlive.com has been reporting all offseason on Jackson’s improvement. I honestly believe a repeat performance for the regular season is in order. Teams will not know how to prepare for this offense weekly. This Earl Thomas led defense and offensive time of possession will carry the load, and only two of their divisional opponents will figure them out on the second encounter. This team will hit the playoffs with speed and may even advance past the wildcard round. It all boils down to can the Ravens adjust once other teams sniff their scheme out.
3. New England Patriots
I say this every year and even focused on an article that pinpoints the problem here. The AFC East has to be the worst division in football. Brady and the gang have an easy road to 11-wins each season because all they really need to focus on is five teams. Six of those are already in the bag. The Dolphins, Bills, and “Jests”, I mean Jets are simply non-factors. Only one of these teams really had upgrades during the offseason and draft, and that was the Jets. Spending $121 Million on key free agents such as Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley is a great start, but I would like to see how they transition on the new team before declaring a change in the guard. I put NE at no. three because let’s face it, Tom Brady is old! However, even with his age the Brady bunch is still able to pull off the impossible. According to the current AFC Championship odds, the Patriots are still top contenders for the title.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
Phillip Rivers is getting up there in age, but his mind is getting sharper. Should he avoid his typical late-game interception and finish, this team is looking at another postseason birth. Keenan Allen is healthy and already making highlights in camp. This defense is continuing to beast under the direction of Gus Bradley, who is very creative. Sure, I see Melvin Gordon’s holdout issue. According to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com:
“He’s justifiably upset that the fifth-year option on his rookie contract is scheduled to pay him just $5.6 million this year, and he wants a new deal that pays him like the high-level performer he has been.”
I believe the team has such a great stable of backs with Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler that they won’t miss a beat. Postseason hopes continue for the Bolts.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The league MVP, Patrick Mahomes put up 50-TDs last season. He made no-look passes, he thrilled, he chilled and then his defense stalled when they needed them most in the playoffs. Andy Reid is not likely to make the same mistake this year. Adding veterans like Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu to sure up the secondary and help this team get back to January football. Now, if they could just keep their players from allegedly physically abusing women and children, they might go all the way!
Let’s talk Championships!
Let’s stay in the AFC since we are already here. Call me a homer, but I’ll go ahead and place the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs for the Week Three rematch of dynamic gameplay out of this world. This is what the people pay to see! Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes have two completely different styles of play but bring entertainment nonetheless. I believe the game will be one similar to the Chiefs vs. Rams game that rocked the football world on Monday Night Football last season. While Jackson and crew bring fast Ferrari type players on offense and a beast secondary, Mahomes ability on third and long to extend drives will be too much for the Ravens to handle. My prediction for this nail-biter is the Chiefs pulling it out by a field goal to seal it 30-27.
We now have our AFC Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs. There is still one more couch-fire projection to go. Let’s look at the NFC Championship.
I’m predicting the New Orleans Saints vs. the Minnesota Vikings. As much as I want to put Sean McVay and crew here in the mix, I cannot ignore the fact that 2018 was Kirk Cousins first year in a new offense on a new team. The Vikings have placed protection around him by drafting a center first round. With that protection, look for Kirk to throw strikes all over the field as Kyle Rudolph flashes ability from at least five years ago. Drew Brees will not be ignored. We all are aware of the nasty elusive element Alvin Kamara brings to the game. That talent will be heavily utilized in what should be a pretty good showdown between the “Dirty South” and the “North Star State.” We have to have a winner, and while Kirk and the Vikes bring much to the table, I have to go with the Saints bringing more firepower on offense.
According to this sportsbettingdime.com, the current team two teams with the best odds to win the AFC and NFC Championship title are the Saints and the Patriots.
I have the Chiefs and the Saints meeting in Super Bowl LIV, but if you believe it’s your year, go ahead and put on those lucky socks, neglect shaving, showering (not around me please) or perform your LEGAL annual sacrifice of something. Your efforts are needed to get your team to January. Happy Football Season from all of us here at CRR to all of you!