Like I do every year a few days before the regular season kicks off, I put together my predictions for all the major NFL awards, picked every single one of the 256 games on the schedule and all the playoff matchups leading up to Super Bowl LIV. There is nothing tougher to predict than NFL games and nothing represents that better than the fact that every year half the teams that made the postseason the prior season will miss out the following year. While there are obvious favorites for the a few of the awards which I could not ignore, I also went off the radar with some names and I have seven new teams making the playoffs compared to last year.
Every year the Pro Bowl rosters are revealed at this time and every year I have a problem with the voting process. While NFL defenses get more hybrid players every year that don’t have a clearly defined position, the league hasn’t adapted the categories people can vote for. That leads to stand-up 4-3 linebackers like Anthony Barr being compared to 3-4 outside linebackers, who primarily get upfield, like Jadeveon Clowney, five-technique defensive ends in a 3-4 being compared to true edge rushers in fronts with four down-linemen and other stuff. My solution would be differentiating between interior D-linemen, edge rushers, stand-up linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. This would make things easier in terms of comparing job descriptions and not tag players for one specific alignment and responsibility. Offensively I don’t understand why there are only three running back and four wide receiver slots and we also need more depth on the D-line, but let’s work on one issue at a time. Since these are the parameters to work within, I tried to make appropriate exchanges of one player at that position with another and then I listed a few other players I think deserve a trip to Orlando. So instead of just listing snubs, I actually tried to provide solution. I don’t blame the fans too much for some of these mistakes because they are obviously biased for their team, but players and coaches contribute to this with a third of the votes each as well. So I would expect a more objective outcome.
We are entering the final five weeks of the 2018 NFL season and we have seen some teams really set themselves apart from the rest. You look at the Saints, Rams and Chiefs, who are all putting up North of 35 points per game as the league’s three highest-scoring teams and have lost a combined four games. Then there’s teams like the Texans, Bears and Seahawks who are stringing together winning streaks right now and on Sunday night we will see a matchup of two other highly talented teams in the Chargers and Steelers, who only have three losses on their resume. I don’t want to undermine what some other teams have done and obviously this is the time of the year a sleeping dragon like the Patriots starts waking up, but I just want to say there are a lot of actual contenders right now. However, I think there is one team that not only looks very dangerous right now, but I believe is on its way of becoming a perennial threat to compete for the Super Bowl – and that’s the Indianapolis Colts. To explain why I believe they are set up for a bright future, I will talk about different key factors for them going forward. Here they are:
We have reached the halfway mark of the 2018 NFL season and we have seen a ton of different action. There have had positive surprises, such as the emergences of guys like James Conner and some of the game’s biggest stars returning from injury, disappointing teams like the Raiders and Giants as well as those up-and-down rides we have watched in Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Browns. With that being said, there have been some players, coaches and teams that have really stood out so far and it’s time to point out the most apparent ones, by telling you who I think should win the major NFL awards if the season ended today.
With eight weeks and the trade deadline in the books, there’s plenty of perceptions and realizations around the league. I tried to sum up these developments in twelve observations, I believe to be true. Not everybody will agree with all of them, but I trust what I see with my eyes and I’ll try to make you by what you read here.
Like every year before the new season starts I give my predictions for all the major awards, playoff teams and Super Bowl match-up. You might want to check out the playoff standings in comparison to MVP and Coach of the Year candidates, since a team’s record is the major indicator for the impact those men have on their franchise’s success. If you’re interested in how I came up with the playoff teams, you can check out the full schedule for this upcoming season, in which I predicted every single game, considering the location of each contest, the time off for the opponent, specific match-ups and more. (Yes, I’m a freak.)
Once again it’s time to give credit where it’s due. The NFL Honors show will air Saturday 8:00 pm ET and players will receive awards for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and many others. I didn’t try to predict the winners for these trophies, I simply put my top three candidates up and made my case for each of them.