NFL PREVIEW

Well, we’ve made it. The 2020 NFL is going to happen. Will it go the full season (my money is on yes)? Will a star by lost to Covid, whether for a full season, or a portion? How much will lack of packed stadiums play into the competition? Certainly the crowd fervor plays into home field advantage, and that will be missing. The “nightlife” factor of a city being visited is seemingly negated, but weather is still a concern.

What teams will rise? What teams will disappoint? Can the old guard at Quarterback (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger) hang on to their crowns?

Lets take a QUICK look at each team and how they’ll fair this season. We’ll project the order they’ll finish, give out some post season award picks, and lastly our SuperBowl prediction.

So lets get right into it.

AFC WEST

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Division Winner)

The reigning superbowl champs may have improved their offense by adding a 3 down running back in the first round (Clyde Edwards Helaire). WIll there be a hangover?

2 Las Vegas Raiders (Wild Card Team)

I still love the potential of the Raiders’ offensive line. Josh Jacobs should take another step this season, and the potential, and complimentary games, of the young receivers (Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs III, and Bryan Edwards) intrigues

3. Denver Broncos

Last year it was Chubb going down. This year its Von Miller. The loss of Wade Phillips still hurts. The Broncos defense, even with Vic Fangio around is overrated. I think what people are expecting out of the Broncos aerial attack with Noah Fant, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler is what you’ll see out of Oakland. Give Denver one more year to grow.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are probably the most overrated team in the AFC. I see some picking them as a playoff team. I see them as one of the worst 5 or 6 teams in the league. How can you not love Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram? Its the rest of the team that leaves me yawning.

AFC SOUTH

1. Indianapolis Colts (Division Winner)

The Colts were a popular Superbowl contender pick last year right up until they ran out of Luck, Andrew Luck. With the arrival of Philip Rivers, I don’t see why they can’t be in contention. A healthy Parris Campbell, the addition of Rivers, and the arrival of Jonathan Taylor all add up to a division crown.

2. Tennessee Titans

The Titans are a team truly primed to regress to the mean. Ryan Tannehill is still in the “was last year too good to be true” phase of life. Derrick Henry was a mauler, and the team added Ja’Daveon Clowney. The loss of Logan Ryan and Jack Conklin will be felt. This team comes back to earth

3. Houston Texans

Not sold on the secondary. Not sold on the offensive line as a whole. I’d like to see Tytus Howard play a full year. The loss of DeAndre Hopkins will be felt, but make no mistake, with DeShaun Watson at the helm, this team will put up points.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

What can be said? This team sucks.

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens (Division Winner)

Expect a nice jump from second year receivers Hollywood Brown, and Miles Boykin. The defense, even with the losses of Tony Jefferson, and Earl Thomas will be improved. Lamar Jackson is a prime time talent. Expect big things from Baltimore this year.

2. Cleveland Browns (Wild Card Team)

The Browns will be one of the best teams in the league, as much as it pains me to say that. Losing second round pick Grant Delpit stings a bit, but the off season moves made will pay off, and the team many expected to see in 2019 will emerge this year. Expect a bounce back from Odell Beckham Jr if he can get his shit together. But most importantly, with the revamped offensive line. Addition of Andy Jankovich, and the arrival of Kevin Stefanski, you can expect a BIG year out of Nick Chubb who should challenge, if not win (my money is on win) the rushing tittle.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Wild Card Team)

Honestly, the Steelers only problem is that they’ll be playing in what could be the best division in football. Big Ben’s return should allow the offense to carry their share of the burden. It was absolutely amazing that this team finished .500 last year. Look for an aerial show on offense, and an opportunistic defense.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have a LOT of work to do on defense. Their offensive line is a work in progress. But they’ve locked up their workhorse back long term. They appear to have found their franchise quarterback, and the weapons they’ve got at receiver? AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross, Auden Tate? This team will put pressure on a lot of secondaries this year.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (Divsion Winner)

I’m not ready to put a stake in them yet. This offense will look a lot different than in years past. I think it’ll look a lot like the 2019 Ravens. The offensive line can maul. You tell Shaq Mason he’s gonna ground and pound for 16 weeks, and this man will put up an All Pro performance. A team that can run the ball with a deep stable of backs, and can defend the pass with the best overall secondary in football is still a contender.

2. Buffalo Bills

The Bills have an emerging defense. They added on offense. They look like the young, hip team, ready to finally overthrow the Patriots. All of that seems very nice. Its also why I have a strong gut feeling that someone goes wrong here. Something like the 2019 Browns. Just SOMETHING will go wrong.

3. Miami Dolphins

Almost slipped the Dolphins in ahead of the Bills, thats how much I believe in what Miami is doing down there. They, not the Bills, are the long term threat to finally topple the Patriots dynasty. An OUTSTANDING corner duo, building up the offensive line, an emerging defense, and a young coach in Brian Flores who I believe in.

4. New York Jets

The Jets looked like they’d be bad when they had Jamal Adams. They looked bad when I though Le’Veon Bell had a shot at a bounce back year (instead I now see him as a spring cut). They re-vamped the offensive line, but they stocked it with mediocrity. Different doesn’t always mean better.

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks (Division Winner)

This team could have the MVP and the defensive player of the year. Expect a big jump from DK Metcalf. He and the Browns’ Chubb are my picks for the guys most likely to breakout in 2020.

2. Arizona Cardinals (Wild Card Team)

Meet the mid-90’s Houston Oilers reincarnated. The defense with stars at all 3 levels (Chandler Jones, Isaiah Simmons, and Patrick Peterson) will perform just well enough, and the offense is gonna put up video game numbers. It’ll all add up to slipping into the playoffs before a first weekend exit.

3. San Francisco 49ers

All Jimmy G does is win. So it makes it tough to pick them to regress, but between an already beaten up receiving core, a tougher schedule, and the trading out of Buckner for Kinlaw, I just see the 49ers taking a step back in 2020. They won’t be bad… but it’ll be a disappointing year in the Bay.

4. Los Angeles Rams

Not at all a fan of how the Rams are building this team. They’ve got some stars to be sure. Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are two key components to a very very good defense. But I’m a big believer in Wade Phillips’ ability, and how much his absence can hurt a team. In a normal year I don’t trust teams that are top heavy in their rosters. In a Covid year, I think its a recipe for disaster.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints (Division Winner)

The Bucs are on the prowl, but the Saints should have enough to hold them off. Emmanuel Sanders is a nice addition. It would have been nice to get someone to really take the top off the defense and open it up for Michael Thomas. Still though, the Payton/Brees combo gives it one last (yes, Brees retires after this year) try.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Wild Card Team)

Tom Brady isn’t physically what he once was. But he’s still as mentally sharp as ever, and with a new challenge before him, can you doubt Tom? He’s got a loaded receiving core (watch out for 2nd year slot receiver Scotty Miller), 3 very good tight ends, and a bell cow back to work with. It’ll just take a little bit, and the defense still doesn’t scare opposing teams.

3. Atlanta Falcons

Same story, different year. The Falcons will have a very productive offense. First rounders up and down the line. A stud running back with a chip on his shoulder in Todd Gurley. Calvin Ridley really stepping up opposite of Julio Jones. But this defense should once again let them down.

4. Carolina Panthers

New coach, new quarterback, same plan. Give the ball to Christian McCaffrey. The secondary lost their best player as James Bradberry went to New York. The defense as a whole their heart and soul in Luke Kuechly, and the organization lost the face of the franchise in Cam Newton. Expect Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields under center in 2021.

NFC North

1. Detroit Lions (Division Winner)

Honestly, this whole division is very blah. They’ve all got something going for them, but they all have warts. This division is most ripe for a worst to first turn around. So here we are. They added a few more Patriots to the defense. They drafted a shut down corner in Jeffrey Okudah, and they put together an impressive stable of running backs (D’Andre Swift, Adrien Peterson. Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarborough, and Ty Johnson is a tough group)

2. Minnesota Vikings (Wild Card Team)

I’m not sold on how Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson will function together. I’d like to believe this team can line up 2 tight ends, and pound the ball. But I don’t trust them to do that. I like the bookend rushing ends, but now Danielle Hunter is on IR to start the year. They’re not a bad team. But they’re not great either.

3. Chicago Bears

Considered them to win the division because of their defense. I expect Khalil Mack to re-assert his name into the best defensive player convo. I slid them down to second because I want to see how David Montgomery looks, and how healthy he can be. And they eventually slid to third because Bitchell Trubisky has been named their starting quartback (not that Nick Foles is any prize. Outside of his time in Philly he’s been very, very pedestrian (as a Chief, Ram, and Jaguar… don’t forget that homeboy has been around the block a time or two).

4. Green Bay Packers

Yes, I know they were in the NFC conference championship game, where they got trounced. I just don’t like the vibe coming out of Green Bay. Some movement within the offensive line. A defense with holes in the middle. And the distraction of a franchise quarterback not handling the team drafting his successor well. It just doesn’t feel like a recipe for success.

NFC EAST

1. Dallas Cowboys (Division Winner)

Most don’t want to admit it. But this team is kind of stacked. Weapons on the outside. A stud offensive line. An all world running back (Zeke Elliott) backed up by a guy who would easily eclipse 1000 yards in this system (Tony Pollard), a quarterback playing for a paycheck with a chip on his shoulder, and most importantly Jason Garrett gone.

2. New York Giants

I really like what Dave Gettleman is building in the meadowlands. I’m in the minority, but I can see what he’s doing. There have been some setbacks (I’m looking at your DeAndre Baker), but I think Joe Judge has some quick success. If Saquon Barkley plays 16 games, this team competes for a playoff birth.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Seemingly every day another Eagles offensive lineman was going down. That may be hyperbole, but don’t underestimate the losses of Brandon Brooks and Andre Dilliard. For my money, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey are surviving on name recognition. This team goes as far as Jealen Reagor and JJ Arcega Whiteside can take them in 2020. Which is why they’re third in the division.

4. Washington Football Franchise

I see a lot of Jameis Winston in Dwayne Haskins. He’ll have some bright moments in 2020, but also some head scratchers. Ron Rivera will turn this around (he should never have been fired in Carolina, this was a steal of a coaching hire), but it won’t happen this year.

MVP: Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes – Kanas City Chiefs

Defensive Player of the Year: Jamal Adams – Seattle Seahawks

Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick – New England Patriots

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Joe Burrows – Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Isaiah Simmons – Arizona Cardinals

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Baltimore Ravens over Kansas City Chiefs

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Dallas Cowboys over Seattle Seahawks

YOUR SUPERBOWL LV WINNER:

* Written by Jason Sullivan

* Find us on Twitter at @TopDucker or on Facebook at You’re Ducking Right

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