New York Giants Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: PIT, @CHI, SF, @LAR, @DAL, WAS, @PHI, TB, @WAS, PHI, BYE, @CIN, @SEA, ARI, CLE, @BAL, DAL

Additions: CB James Bradberry (FA), LB Blake Martinez (FA), TE Levine Toilolo (FA), DB Logan Ryan (FA), EDGE Kyler Fackrell (FA), OL Cameron Fleming (FA), (FA), DL Austin Johnson (FA), K Graham Gano (FA), LS Casey Kreiter (FA), CB Isaac Yiadom (Trade), OL Andrew Thomas (Draft), S Xavier McKinney (Draft), OL Matt Peart (Draft)

Losses: OL Nate Solder (Opt-out), CB Sam Beal (Opt-out), OL Mike Remmers (FA), S Michael Thomas (FA), S Xavier McKinney (Injury), LB David Mayo (Injury)

Analysis:

Is Joe Judge Matt Patricia 2.0? He seems to be taking the same Belichick-esque approach as his fellow disciple. Modeling your style after the leader of the greatest dynasty in pro sports history has to be smart, right? Well, not exactly. For a six-time champion, it works great. For a first-year coach, not so much. Lions players quickly grew tired of their authoritarian coach during his 6-10 debut season. Now, his job is on life support. Six wins is a good ballpark estimate for the Giants, so Judge could be headed down the same dark path.

While the head coach makes his bold transition, New York’s new offensive coordinator should have a much easier time. Leading a team proved not to be his thing, but Jason Garrett has a good track record as an OC. He deserves some credit for Dallas’ number one offense in 2019. There are some exciting pieces for him to work with, too.

After being a much-maligned pick, Daniel Jones changed a lot of opinions last year, including mine. He had the typical promising rookie season, alternating between inexcusable turnovers and huge plays. A huge year in 2020 could be in order given all the talent around him. In the backfield, Saquon Barkley is one of the best in the game. After battling injuries for most of last season, he could deliver the special season many expected last time around.

For targets, Jones has no shortage of options. There’s no Odell Beckham-level player, but the Giants are loaded with good WR2s. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton are likely to frustrate fantasy owners with weekly rotations of top receiver performances. Evan Engram will get in the mix, too. Despite his tight end listing, the 2017 first-round pick is essentially a big receiver.

Offensive line play is the one thing holding this unit back from elite status. Opt-out Nate Solder hasn’t come close to living up to his contract, but he’ll be sorely missed nonetheless. His replacement, Andrew Thomas, was the most pro-ready tackle in the draft and should enjoy an easier transition than most of his peers. Still, putting too much faith in a rookie is a dangerous game. Outside of right guard Kevin Zeitler, the rest of the offensive line is scary. If this group is just average, New York has the firepower to make a little noise this year. Even adequate play feels ambitious, though.

Defensively, the three-man front of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Leonard Williams should be dominant. Last year, they were merely good. For this defense to stop anyone, they’re going to have to be special in 2020. I still have faith.

They won’t get much support from an edge group led by Markus Golden. While the former Cardinal had double-digit sacks last year, he had so little free agent interest that the Giants were able to bust out a fun loophole to keep him for nothing. He must’ve done something to become such a league-wide pariah. Despite showing him no love, New York needs a repeat performance to compensate for the weak pass rush around him.

Blake Martinez is not going to fix the linebacker position. Being a “tackling machine” isn’t nearly as important as being a good coverage guy in today’s NFL. Martinez is great at first and not so much at the latter. Opposing running backs and tight ends should eat against this weak group.

The Giants’ recent flurry of moves should tell you all you need to know about the state of the secondary. With Sam Beal opting out and DeAndre Baker being a really, really sore loser, the corner spot opposite James Bradberry is a major worry. Recent signee Logan Ryan will split time between safety and corner, so Big Blue still needs an every-down option. With nothing special around them, Bradberry and Ryan aren’t enough to keep this unit afloat. I don’t think highly of the defense, and the secondary is a big reason why.

Expect a lot of shootouts for New York this year. Also, expect them to come out on the losing end most of the time. The offense will have too many sacks and turnovers while the defense is just plain bad. Throw in potential locker room issues, and you have the recipe for a poor record. The schedule isn’t doing them any favors, either.

What’s your record prediction for the Giants? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Philadelphia Eagles Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: @WAS, LAR, CIN, @SF, @PIT, BAL, NYG, DAL, BYE, @NYG, @CLE, SEA, @GB, NO, @ARI, @DAL, WAS

Additions: CB Darius Slay (Trade), WR Marquise Goodwin (Trade), DL Javon Hargrave (FA), S Will Parks (FA), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (FA), WR Jalen Reagor (Draft), QB Jalen Hurts (Draft)

Losses: OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (FA), S Malcolm Jenkins (FA), RB Jordan Howard (FA), CB Ronald Darby (FA), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (FA), DL Timmy Jernigan (FA), WR Nelson Agholor (FA), WR Marquise Goodwin (Opt-out), OL Brandon Brooks (Injury), OL Andre Dillard (Injury), WR Alshon Jeffery (Injury), S Will Parks (Injury)

Analysis:

Well, this won’t be the year the Eagles break their injury curse. The season hasn’t even started yet and two starters are already out for the year. Not only were they starters, but Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard were two of the most important players on the roster. Brooks is one of the best guards in the league and Dillard was slated to replace Jason Peters at left tackle.

Well, the franchise icon is reportedly staying at guard, so the Eagles are essentially screwed. Even if they pay up and convince Peters to return to left tackle, this offensive line is still likely to be a mess. Given the injury history of a guy like Lane Johnson, there’s a good chance they’ll be starting three intended backups at some point this season. Heading into the season, this group was supposed to be elite once again. Now, it’s a major worry and could cost the team a couple wins.

Another consequence, Carson Wentz’ chance of injury probably just doubled. He’s not a guy you can risk shoddy protection with. For him to carry a group of no-name receivers like he did last year, he at least needs a little time in the pocket. Speaking of the receivers, they can’t possibly be any worse than last year, but it’s still not a good group. Rookie Jalen Reagor is already injured. Alshon Jeffery still isn’t back. Who knows how long Desean Jackson will stay healthy. Stud tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will once again have to make up for the bad receivers.

Unsurprisingly for this team, running back Miles Sanders is also banged up. Unlike some of the other guys, though, he’s expected to be ready for Week 1. He’s another player I’m really excited to watch this year. Barring an unexpected move, the Penn State product is due for a huge workload after showing promise as a rookie.

If there’s anything synonymous with the Eagles other than injuries, it’s investing in the defensive line. Every year, they seem to use their last $7 in cap space on a big name at defensive tackle or end. This time around, it was big nose tackle Javon Hargrave switching Pennsylvania teams. He’ll open up space for Fletcher Cox and last year’s surprising signing Malik Jackson. It’s another good rotation on the edge, especially if 2020 is a breakout year for Derek Barnett. I’d say there’s a decent chance, and that would bring this defensive line to the forefront of league-wide rankings.

For as good as they are, the linebackers are almost equally as bad, so as a whole, the front seven isn’t much above average. Entering year four, Nathan Gerry is fresh off his first year as a starter and the centerpiece of the unit going forward. That’s not good. Besides the inexperience, he didn’t play all that well last year. No one around him screams difference-maker, either. Philadelphia chose to bank on potential here. If it fails, that’s the type of blunder that could sink the not only the defense, but the team’s playoff chances.

For years, it was the secondary Howie Roseman refused to invest in. Matt Patricia pissing off his entire locker room changed that. Darius Slay wanted out of Detroit, and the Eagles GM pounced. This group, largely full of holdovers, looks a lot more imposing with a lockdown corner on its side. Free agent acquisition Nickell Robey-Coleman will do a great job in the slot as well. The three returning starters—with Jalen Mills now at safety (and hopefully safe from double moves)—aren’t great, but they aren’t crippling, either.

The offensive line injuries cannot be overstated. Philadelphia’s recent success was due to the offensive line as much as any other unit. Not only are they due for a major drop off, but Wentz’ already high risk of injury is now an even bigger concern. If he goes down, they’re done. Not even wannabe Taysom Hill can save them. Even if Ginger Jesus somehow stays upright, they’ll be hard pressed to win more than seven games with this brutal out-of-division schedule.

What’s your record prediction for the Eagles? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Dallas Cowboys Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: @LAR, ATL, @SEA, CLE, NYG, ARI, @WAS, @PHI, PIT, BYE, @MIN, WAS, @BAL, @CIN, SF, PHI, @NYG

Additions: EDGE Everson Griffen (FA), S HaHa Clinton-Dix (FA), DL Gerald McCoy (FA), DB Daryl Worley (FA), OL Cam Erving (FA), K Greg Zuerlein (FA), TE Blake Bell (FA), DL Dontari Poe (FA), WR CeeDee Lamb (Draft), CB Trevon Diggs (Draft), DL Neville Gallimore (Draft)

Losses: OL Travis Frederick (Retired), DL Michael Bennett (Retired), CB Byron Jones (FA), EDGE Robert Quinn (FA), DL Maliek Collins (FA), WR Randall Cobb (FA), OL Xavier Su’a-Filo (FA), S Jeff Heath (FA), TE Jason Witten (FA), OL Cameron Fleming (FA), EDGE Kerry Hyder (FA), FB Jamize Olawale (Opt-out), DL Gerald McCoy (Injury)

Analysis:

Maybe hiring Mike McCarthy will unlock a Super Bowl contender. Maybe Jason Garrett really was holding the Cowboys back from greatness. Maybe not, though. If Dallas flops again, they’re going to have to find a new scapegoat. For a team boasting one of the highest-paid players at seemingly every position, there will be plenty of candidates.

At the top of that list is Dak Prescott. Contrary to popular belief, I actually think he’s a good quarterback. Everyone just loves to hate the Cowboys and put all the blame on the quarterback. It really is a perfect storm of vilifying. Despite his public perception, Prescott is one of the premier playmakers at the position and far from the only on the offense.

Ezekiel Elliott just keeps feasting and begging to be fed behind one of the top offensive lines in the league. Even with Travis Frederick retiring, this is still a great line. Tony Pollard is an excellent change-of-pace back as well, so all signs point to the Cowboys’ years-long dominance on the ground continuing.

Dallas is far from a one-dimensional offense, though. The fifth-ranked rushing attack was fortified by the league’s second-best passing game. Drafting CeeDee Lamb more than makes up for the uninspiring options at tight end. Good luck finding a better receiver trio than Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. Defenses are going to have to pick their poison once again next year.

Contrary to what their record would suggest, the Cowboys’ potent offense wasn’t paired with a porous defense. Nope. The defense wasn’t up to the offense’s level, but they more than held their own.

Linebacker is the crown jewel of a unit full of talent. Sean Lee would be start at linebacker for any team in the league. Except Dallas. Well, kind of. While Lee technically starts, playing time was hard to come by for the 11-year vet when Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were healthy. In fact, there’s even murmurs that Lee could be a surprise roster cut this Saturday.

Everson Griffen was unsigned until mid-August, but that’s no knock on his talent. Dallas was lucky to get him for just a $3 million base contract. His presence could reinvigorate DeMarcus Lawrence after the star’s down year.

Those two studs are going to have to make up for the uncertainty on the interior. Maliek Collins left for the Raiders and Gerald McCoy was lost for the season before he even played a down. That leaves the unspectacular Antwaun Woods, newcomer Dontari Poe, Tyrone Crawford (fresh off surgery on both hips), and youngsters Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore at defensive tackle. There’s teams in the league who would kill for this rotation, but for a team with hopes of a deep playoff run, it’s less than ideal.

The secondary is a similar story. Outside corner is a bit of a weakness with Byron Jones departing. Someone needs to step up opposite Chidobe Awuzie. Whether it’s Darryl Worley or rookie Trevon Diggs, they’ll have big shoes to fill. On the inside, Dallas is has two good options in Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown. Some of these corners will need to take reps at safety, too. There’s likely going to be a piecemeal approach to filling the spot next to Xavier Woods.

Dallas’ mediocre record wasn’t because of the offense or defense. It can only be explained by a remarkable ability to blow games. Whether it was missed kicks, untimely turnovers, or the failure to get a stop, they just found ways to lose. That’s not a habit I see breaking in 2020. Given the tough schedule, I only have the Garrett-McCarthy swap resulting in one extra win.

What’s your record prediction for the Cowboys? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Los Angeles Chargers Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: @CIN, KC, CAR, @TB, @NO, NYJ, @MIA, JAX, LVR, BYE, @DEN, @BUF, NE, ATL, @LVR, DEN, @KC

Additions: OL Trai Turner (Trade), OL Bryan Bulaga (FA), DL Linval Joseph (FA), CB Chris Harris Jr. (FA), QB Justin Herbert (Draft), LB Kenneth Murray (Draft), RB Joshua Kelley (Draft)

Losses: OL Russell Okung (Trade), QB Philip Rivers (FA), RB Melvin Gordon (FA), FB Derek Watt (FA), S Adrian Phillips (FA), LB Thomas Davis (FA), DB Jaylen Watkins (FA), OL Michael Schofield (FA), S Derwin James (Injury), WR Mike Williams (Injury)

Analysis:

It really sucks seeing Derwin James injured again. After a surprising tumble in the draft, he was great as a rookie. Since then, though, he will have only played 5 out of 32 games, considering he’s expected to miss all of 2020. Injuries have quickly become a trend in his career.

While he will be missed, the defense remains excellent. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are as good as any edge duo in football. Linval Joseph should plug the one weakness from last year—stopping the run. Rookie Kenneth Murray will help on that front as well. He’ll be a difference-maker in the middle from day one while the Chargers have a bunch of unique linebackers to rotate around him. Between Justin Jones and 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery, L.A. is set at the other defensive tackle spot as well. Outside of underwhelming edge depth, the front seven is flawless.

The secondary will miss James, but his loss is far from crippling. Former division rival Chris Harris Jr. will join Casey Hayward and Desmond King to from a versatile and fearsome corner trio. Safety play will be an issue behind them, though. Rayshawn Jenkins returns at one spot while Nasir Adderley and his 10 career snaps will take the other. While Jenkins is solid and experienced, he isn’t good enough to compensate for his unproven positionmates. L.A. also uses three or four safeties as much as any team in football, so the underwhelming depth is even scarier. They have to be looking hard at outside options. Earl Thomas, anyone? Anthony Lynn can deny it all he wants, but they need help.

Even with the safety situation, the defense is good enough to keep the Chargers in games. They should give the offense a shot to win late pretty much every week. As you can see by my record prediction, I don’t have that side of the ball pulling through very often.

At the most important position in football, L.A. is arguably the worst in football. Just like Miami, they’ll start an uninspiring veteran with a first-round rookie expected to take over at some point. Tyrod Taylor is officially the starter, and he’ll neither win nor lose games for the team. It shouldn’t be long before the team grows tired of his conservative style and inserts Justin Herbert. I’ll call my shot and say Week 6 against the Jets, with that being the start of a 4-game stretch of nonthreatening defenses. It’s hard to expect much from him as a rookie, though he’ll make more plays—both good and bad—than Taylor. Expect a couple great opposing fantasy defense performances when he’s starting.

Opponents could feast against the Chargers all year. Despite some offseason moves, the offensive line remains a concern. Left tackle is a nightmare after trading Russell Okung. Sam Tevi is the favorite to start despite being a turnstyle at right tackle. In return for Okung, L.A. received Trai Turner. He’s a good player, but he’s missed three games in each of the last three seasons and is a perfect example of why offensive line Pro Bowl nods are meaningless. The other two interior spots are almost as scary as left tackle. The most promising spot is right tackle, where former Packer Bryan Bulaga will take over. Expect the sack number to skyrocket now that Philip Rivers and his legendary quick release are gone.

Outside of the two most important pieces, the offense is good. After dominating for years as a rotational player, Austin Ekeler will get his first starting opportunity. I don’t expect L.A. to fully unleash him, though. Expect a heavy dose of Justin Jackson and/or rookie Josh Kelley. Keenan Allen is the last proven receiver standing after Mike Williams injury. When he’s healthy, Hunter Henry is a difference maker at tight end. Don’t be surprised when the receiving numbers fall short of the Rivers years.

While the offensive outlook isn’t great, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if this team makes the playoffs. They’re going to play through the defense and run game, and are equipped to do so as well as almost anyone. They also get possibly the easiest schedule in the league, featuring the Bengals, Jaguars, Dolphins, Panthers, and Jets (depending on how you feel about them). It’ll all come down to whether the offensive line can hold up and the quarterbacks can make enough plays.

What’s your record prediction for the Chargers? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Las Vegas Raiders Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: @CAR, NO, @NE, BUF, @KC, BYE, TB, @CLE, @LAC, DEN, KC, @ATL, @NYJ, IND, LAC, MIA, @DEN

Additions: LB Cory Littleton (FA), EDGE Carl Nassib (FA), LB Nick Kwiatkowski (FA), QB Marcus Mariota (FA), S Jeff Heath (FA), DL Maliek Collins (FA), TE Jason Witten (FA), S Damarious Randall (FA), WR Nelson Agholor (FA), WR Henry Ruggs (Draft), CB Damon Arnette (Draft), RB/WR Lynn Bowden (Draft), WR Bryan Edwards (Draft)

Losses: EDGE Benson Mayowa (FA), CB Daryl Worley (FA), LB Tahir Whitehead (FA), S Karl Joseph (FA), RB DeAndre Washington (FA), WR Tyrell Williams (Injury)

Analysis:

Remember two years ago when Raiders fans were literally counting down the days until Jon Gruden was gone? While that site is awesome, the perception around Chucky come a long way since then. Leading the team to a three-win jump from his first season helped put an end to the articles calling for his head. So did the move to Las Vegas.

Did you know the Raiders moved to Las Vegas? Of course you did. Every article or video you see about the team is required to mention it at least twice.

I’m sure a lot of Raiders fans are expecting another sizable jump in 2020, but I don’t see it. Let’s not forget that they finished with an abysmal -106 point differential despite their average record. Or that their best win came against an 8-8 Bears team starting Chase Daniel at quarterback. While fans will be disappointed by an unchanged record, I think they’ll be a much more legitimate 7-9 this time around.

Anyone who’s been following me for a while knows I’ve been high on Josh Jacobs from day one. After hitting the ground running as a rookie, I think he takes another step forward in year two. This season, the Raiders might actually throw him the ball. Despite a huge year on the ground, Jacobs was only targeted 27 times, catching 20 and totaling 166 yards. Gruden said himself that they want to get him more involved. Draft this man in fantasy with confidence.

The Alabama product also has the benefit of a great offensive line. PFF doesn’t love them, but they rank very highly in most offensive line metrics. Just use the eye test, too. That line is full of big, mean dudes who move people off the ball. Las Vegas spent a lot on this group, and they’ve gotten a great return on their investment.

Ground and pound is this team’s identity, partially because the quarterback and receiving options are so lackluster. I actually like Derek Carr, but it’s clear the Raiders don’t view him as the future. Marcus Mariota isn’t, either.

With Tyrell Williams out for the season, the receivers aren’t much better. Las Vegas is relying on Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones, and three rookies. One of those rookies is insanely fast and was the 12th pick this year, but the point stands. I’m worried about rookies this year, and even in a normal season, this group wouldn’t be great. The Raiders do have a talented and deep tight end room, though. Darren Waller is the best receiving option on the team.

Defensively, Las Vegas was great against the run and terrible against the pass. After a sizable offseason overhaul, the latter should see improvement. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski will be much better in coverage than last year’s linebackers. That doesn’t say much, but the duo has potential. Littleton is excellent while Kwiatkowski was great down the stretch last season. 2020 will be his first season as a full-time starter, so we’ll see if that was just a mirage.

Carl Nassib will boost a pass rush that totaled just 32 sacks last year. I love him as a third end. A breakout from Clelin Ferrell will go a long way, too. A 2019 first-rounder, he was upstaged badly by fourth-rounder Maxx Crosby (10 sacks). I’m a little skeptical of Crosby repeating that total considering 4 of those sacks came in one game and he only had 14 qb hits. Still, those three are a nice young edge group. If this is the year the “inevitable” Arden Key breakout finally happens, they’ll be better than just nice.

On the inside, Maliek Collins is the most notable example of the Raiders’ obsession over former Cowboys. He’ll join Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst to form an excellent interior trio.

Once again, I got unbelievably lucky with timing. Just as I was starting the secondary section, I got the alert that Damon Arnette broke his thumb. It’s too early for details on his season outlook, but he was so impressive in camp that the Raiders released Prince Amukamara. The rookie was expected to start across from 2019 second-rounder Trayvon Mullen while Lamarcus Joyner handled the slot.

Starting safety Johnathan Abram is intriguing after only playing 48 snaps as a rookie. He’ll start next to free agent signing Damarious Randall with The Goat Jeff Heath hopefully getting some time as well. I didn’t love the secondary to begin with, and Arnette’s makes me even more skeptical. They won’t get torched like last year, but expecting above-average play might be too optimistic.

The Raiders are one of the teams I’m most interested to watch this season. They have playoff potential, yet too many weaknesses to actually predict a postseason berth. Their schedule is perfect, at least from an analyst perspective. Instead of a cupcake slate like fans would hope for or a murderer’s row like rivals would, they get a bunch of similarly-talented teams, including two in their own division. By the end of the year, we’ll know how Las Vegas stacks up.

What’s your record prediction for the Raiders? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Kansas City Chiefs Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: HOU, @LAC, @BAL, NE, LVR, @BUF, @DEN, NYJ, CAR, BYE, @LVR, @TB, DEN, @MIA, @NO, ATL, LAC

Additions: OL Kelechi Osemele (FA), OL Mike Remmers (FA), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Draft)

Losses: CB Kendall Fuller (FA) EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah (FA), OL Cam Erving (FA), TE Blake Bell (FA), RB Lesean McCoy (FA), Reggie Ragland (FA), RB Damien Williams (Opt-out), OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Opt-out), OL Lucas Niang (Opt-out), OL Martinas Rankin (Injury), CB Bashaud Breeland (SUSP), DL Mike Pennel (SUSP)

Analysis:

The downside to winning the Super Bowl is your roster is a lock to get pillaged in free agency. The upside, of course, is literally everything else. And to their credit, the Chiefs were able to lock up most of their core this offseason. I don’t think losing Kendall Fuller or Emmanuel Ogbah spoil the joy of their championship.

With that being said, they will hurt a little. Since being acquired in the Alex Smith trade, Fuller has been a key piece of the secondary. After returning to Washington in March, he will be missed—especially for the first four weeks of the season. During that time, the Chiefs will also be without Bashaud Breeland, who’s serving a four-game suspension for PEDs. Once he’s back, this secondary will go back to being great. Corners Rashad Fenton and Charvarius Ward and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill comprise the rest of the stacked group.

At linebacker, Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson return as starters. They’ll play the overwhelming majority of the snaps while Ben Niemann will be the new third backer. Chris Jones and Frank Clark may be a little delusional, but they’re an elite pairing on the d-line. Derrick Nnadi leads a deep group surrounding the two stars. Kansas City’s defense is a far cry from the unit that got steamrolled weekly two years ago. As we saw last year, they’re actually good. Paired with the highlight reel offense, this team is borderline unfair.

Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are all back.Just having those three would guarantee you a high-powered offense, but they’re far from alone. Sammy Watkins will give you a few games of superstar play a year. Mecole Hardman is a young guy who can do as good a Hill impression as anyone. While Damien Williams was huge in the Super Bowl, rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the far more talented player. Running backs usually have an easy transition to the NFL, so there’s no reason to expect him to struggle.

The one worry for Kansas City is the offensive line. While they got whooped at times in the Super Bowl, so did every other team playing the Niners. As a whole, they were a strong group. In 2020, though, they will be without starting guard (and literal doctor) Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, supersub Cam Erving, and some other key depth. The interior line being the weakness if more by default than anything, but Kelechi Osemele starting in 2020 is less than ideal. If any starters go down, the team will have to rely on some questionable depth.

Unsurprisingly given that they just won the Super Bowl, this team is amazing. They’ll start more superstars than supposed weak links. Even after losing some good players and signing virtually no one notable, they remain one of the best teams in the league. Throw in the increased value of continuity this season, and the Chiefs have as good a shot as anyone to return to the big game. Their main competition in the AFC is Baltimore. The Ravens could have the leg up in the race for the one seed, though, with the matchup between the two teams taking place at M&T Bank Stadium.

What’s your record prediction for the Chiefs? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Denver Broncos Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: TEN, @PIT, TB, @NYJ, @NE, MIA, KC, BYE, @ATL, @LVR, LAC, NO, @KC, @CAR, BUF, @LAC, LVR

Additions: DL Jurrell Casey (Trade), CB A.J. Buoye (Trade), OL Graham Glasgow (FA), RB Melvin Gordon (FA), TE Nick Vannett (FA), OL Demar Dotson, P Sam Martin (FA), WR Jerry Jeudy (Draft), WR K.J. Hamler (Draft), OL Lloyd Cushenberry (Draft)

Losses: OL Connor McGovern (FA), CB Chris Harris (FA), DL Derek Wolfe (FA), S Will Parks (FA), DL Adam Gotsis (FA), LS Casey Kreiter (FA), FB Andy Janovich (Trade), OL Ja’Wuan James (Opt-out)

Analysis:

Denver is an interesting team. Just looking at the depth chart, this looks like one of the best teams in the league. So did the 2019 Browns, though. There’s a lot of similarities between these two teams. Just like Cleveland in 2018, the Broncos ended last year on a hot streak, with four wins in their last five games. Hyped up all offseason, the Browns finished a lowly 6-10. Now, the Broncos’ hype train hasn’t gotten nearly as out of control and I still expect this team to take a step forward. The playoffs just might have to wait a year.

Another glaring similarity between the two teams is at quarterback, only Drew Lock is even less proven than Baker Mayfield was at this time last year. While Lock showed great potential as a rookie, so did Mayfield, and in a larger sample size. Don’t be shocked if he has a sophomore slump.

Lock has similarly intriguing, though less established, weapons at his disposal as Mayfield’s. Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay are up there with Cleveland for the best running back duo in the league.

Rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler join Courtland Sutton in what should be a fun receiver room for years to come. Add in the explosive Noah Fant at tight end and we could see fireworks.

Another thing Denver has going is Mike Munchak. You know that guy is going to drain every drop of potential out of the offensive line. He has some interesting pieces to work with, too. Left tackle Garett Bolles graded well at PFF, but hasn’t been able to shake his penalty issues. The other bookend is less certain with Ja’Wuan James opting out. Just as he did when James was hurt last year, Elijah Wilkinson will fill in. He’ll have a short least, though, with recent signee Demar Dotson breathing down his neck. The interior is talented, even with a rookie starting at center. Munchak should lead this group to fringe-top-10 status.

Comparisons to the 2015 unit are delusional, but this defense looks great on paper. After a slight down year, they should be much better. Bradley Chubb returns after missing most of last season. After a few weeks to shake off the rust, he and Von Miller—who’s coming off a disappointing season of his own—should return to being one of the most fearsome edge duos in the league. Adding Jurrell Casey to the d-line will buff up the pass rush, too. The linebackers are dealing with injuries, but when healthy, Alexander Johnson and Todd Davis are a nice duo inside. As a whole, the front seven is stout.

In the secondary, A.J. Bouye has an excellent opportunity to return to form now that he’s out of Jacksonville. Bryce Callahan will start opposite him after missing all of last season. That’s a solid corner duo with good potential. Whoever joins them in nickel looks will be a little dicier. At safety, Justin Simmons is a budding star while Kareem Jackson is a great veteran next to him.

I like everything about this roster. There are some worries, though. Vic Fangio got the standard free first season for a head coach. In year two, both his and the team’s performance will be more scrutinized. Lock is promising, but he’s played just five career games. Untested youth is abundant on the Broncos’ offense. And for as great as the defense looks, there are lots of aging vets or players with injury concerns. With a decent schedule, I expect Denver to take its lumps and come back next year as a team to truly watch out for.

What’s your record prediction for the Broncos? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Tennessee Titans Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: @DEN, JAX, @MIN, PIT, BUF, HOU, BYE, @CIN, CHI, IND, @BAL, @IND, CLE, @JAX, DET, @GB, @HOU

Additions: EDGE Vic Beasley (FA), CB Johnathan Joseph (FA), DL Jack Crawford (FA), OL Isaiah Wilson (Draft), CB Kristian Fulton (Draft), RB Darrynton Evans (Draft)

Losses: DL Jurrell Casey (Trade), OL Jack Conklin (FA), QB Marcus Mariota (FA), Logan Ryan (FA), DL Austin Johnson (FA), RB Dion Lewis (FA), WR Tajae Sharpe (FA), EDGE Vic Beasley (Pastoring)

Analysis:

Last year’s playoff run was magical. Now it’s up to the Titans to continue that over a full season. I have my doubts Tennessee has historically been inconsistent in the regular season. Even Derrick Henry has gotten off to slow starts the past few years before exploding down the stretch.

Then there’s the matter of free agency. Including the March trade of Jurrell Casey, the Titans lost some important pieces this offseason while only bringing in one marquee player. That would be streaky ex-Falcon Vic Beasley, who has already made his presence felt with the team—by not being present at all. Beasley has been M.I.A. pretty much all summer with no clear return date set. Apparently, crushing quarterbacks doesn’t appeal to him as much as crushing sermons.

With his status unknown, the offseason losses could really stand out. Jack Conklin is the one poised to sting the most. Henry’s dominance wasn’t just because of his insane physical attributes. Tennessee’s offensive line hit its groove around the same time as its stud back and the group opened multiple massive holes every game. Besides Conklin, every other starter is returning. That leaves his oldright tackle spot as the position to watch. Rookie first-rounder Isaiah Wilson was expected to start early on, but his play and decision-making have been underwhelming. Veteran Dennis Kelly has been a spot starter for the Titans for years, so this could be his first shot at a full-time gig. Also, right guard Nate Davis was carted off in today’s practice. Suddenly, the whole right side of the line is questionable.

On the other side of the trenches, the questions are even more pressing. Casey had been one of the faces of the franchises for most of his nine-year career, all with the Titans. Clearly, they think 2019 first-rounder Jeffery Simmons is ready to take over. The only worry about him coming out was his recent ACL tear, so after rehabbing it as a rookie, he has the talent to break out in year two. With Daquan Jones taking one spot beside him, two-thirds of the line is set. Between free agent signing Jack Crawford, 2019 UDFA Isaiah Mack, and rookie Larrell Murchison, there are a lot of options for the last spot, but none are particularly inspiring. If Simmons doesn’t take the expected leap, this will be a weak unit.

Middle linebacker is in good hands with Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans. Beasley’s return to God puts a damper on the edge rotation, though. Harold Landry is solid at one spot, but the Titans spent their money here for a reason. 13th in the league in sacks last year, they’re poised to be mediocre once again without their big acquisition. Less sacks isn’t out of the question, either, given the defensive line turnover.

The last major departure came in the secondary—a place Tennessee couldn’t afford any. With injuries to both Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson, Logan Ryan bounced between the slot and outside, playing well wherever. Now that he’s gone, those two will have to stay healthy. If not, newcomers Johnathan Joseph and Kristian Fulton will have to fill in just like the Giants signee did. Even at full strength, this has proven to be an extremely inconsistent unit for the Titans. Luckily, they have excellent safety play behind them, with star ballhawk Kevin Byard leading the charge.

For all the talk of losses, one under-the-radar gain for Tennessee is a full season of Ryan Tannehill starting. With him at the helm, they were 7-3, compared to 2-4 with Marcus Mariota. The $118 million man won’t keep up last year’s efficiency, but should keep up the strong play nonetheless.

Tannehill to A.J. Brown was special last year, and the young receiver is another guy to watch. As a rookie, he was both an excellent deep threat and YAC machine. While he’s been banged up in camp, a monster season is definitely possible. Behind him, the receivers are uninspiring. Corey Davis is a certified bust at this point while Adam Humphries didn’t produce much in the slot. Jonnu Smith is interesting at tight end, though. Same goes for rookie Darrynton Evans, who will take over the third-down back role from Dion Lewis.

I don’t expect the Titans to improve much from last season. Another win feels fair given a full year of Tannehill and the team’s tendency to start slow. They should run over the division both on the field and in the standings, but they’re the weakest of my predicted AFC champions. A return to the championship game feels unlikely. To be fair, nobody expected it last year, either.

What’s your record prediction for the Titans? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Jacksonville Jaguars Season Prediction

Overview:

Schedule: IND, @TEN, MIA, @CIN, @HOU, DET, BYE, @LAC, HOU, @GB, PIT, CLE, @MIN, TEN, @BAL, CHI, @IND

Additions: LB Joe Schobert (FA), TE Tyler Eifert (FA), RB Chris Thompson (FA), EDGE Cassius Marsh (FA), DL Timmy Jernigan (FA), DL Adam Gotsis (FA), DL Rodney Gunter (FA), EDGE Aaron Lynch (FA), DL Al Woods (FA), CB Rashaan Melvin (FA), CB C.J. Henderson (Draft), EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson (Draft), WR Laviska Shenault (Draft), DL Davon Hamilton (Draft)

Losses: DL Calais Campbell (Trade), EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (Trade), CB A.J. Buoye (Trade), QB Nick Foles (Trade), RB Leonard Fournette (Cut), DL Rodney Gunter (Retired), EDGE Aaron Lynch (Retired), DL Al Woods (Opt-out), CB Rashaan Melvin (Opt-out), TE Seth Devalve (FA), LB Quincy Williams (Injury)

Analysis:

Thank God J comes after H and I in the alphabet. If not, I would’ve wrote this yesterday, when the Jaguars still had Leonard Fournette. The supremely underrated running back is the latest in a mass exodus of talent from Jacksonville. In the last year, they have traded Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Buoye, Calais Campbell, Nick Foles, and Yannick Ngakoue along with releasing Fournette.

On top of that, seemingly every defender they signed either opted-out or retired. What remains of this defense won’t look anything like the 2017 unit that nearly carried Blake Bortles to a Super Bowl. Instead, they could look even worse than the group that got demolished last season.

That defense at least had stars, even if the stats weren’t pretty. Now, the big dog is second-year edge Josh Allen. After tallying 10.5 sacks in a rotational role, his life will become a lot harder with all the attention now on him. With Allen now drawing doubles, K’Lavon Chaisson could follow in his footsteps with a big first year. He’s going to have to if Jacksonville is going to stop anyone.

Run defense is a particularly large worry, with an uninspiring interior d-line. 2018 first-round pick Taven Bryan will have to champion the group after two years as a part-time player. He was a day one pick for a reason and could be the next stud defensive lineman in Sacksonville. Starting next to him, nose tackle will be a position to watch after the Jags allowed 5.1 yards per carry last season. Veteran Abry Jones and rookie Davon Hamilton will both get reps. No matter who starts, this should remain a weakness.Rounding out the rotation are a couple desperation signings after the spree of opt-outs.

While linebacker looks better on paper, I’m not a Joe Schobert guy. I don’t think he’s the type to transform a defense like the Jags need him to be. Myles Jack has the potential to be that guy, but the flashes never persist. He’s way too inconsistent for a guy that talented. In today’s sub package-centric age, the third linebacker doesn’t play a huge role. That’s good for Jacksonville because they lack a complete player at the spot despite some intriguing names.

Cornerback might be the best indicator of the defense’s fall from grace. A couple years ago, they had arguably the two best guys in the league in Ramsey and Buoye. Now, they have Tre Herndon and C.J. Henderson. Herndon made a ton of notable plays—as many bad as good—last year in his first starting opportunity while Henderson is a rookie in a year and position that don’t favor first-year players. There’s a realistic chance these two get lit up next year.

At nickel, D.J. Hayden is one of the few standouts left on the team. Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison return as an unspectacular starting safety duo. With third and often fourth safeties playing significant roles nowadays, the lackluster depth could be a weakness.

While the defense looks nothing like it did in 2017, the offense is a different story. Granted, Gardner Minshew has already proven to be a better passer than Bortles, but as a whole, it’s a similarly underwhelming group. The quarterback upgrade is offset by the massive drop off in the backfield.

Fournette didn’t post the sexiest stats, but that’s more because defenses had zero respect for the passing game than anything. Neither Chris Thompson nor Ryquell Armstead will come close to replacing his value, though I am excited to watch the 2019 fifth-round pick. Tampa Bay has some competition for worst running back room in the NFL.

The offensive line won’t provide much support, either. A second-round pick last year, Jawaan Taylor led the league in penalties. Staying at right tackle this season, he desperately needs to improve on that. Every other 2019 starter returns as well. Unless something unexpected happens, this group will be below-average once again.

For Jacksonville to avoid the top-five draft slot most are predicting, the Minshew-D.J. Chark connection is going to have to be lethal. It was sometimes last year. In 2020, it’ll have to be a weekly occurrence. Chark might have that kind of potential, but I’m a little more weary of Minshew.

I think some people got a little carried away with the memes and started to overrate him. Let me clear, I think he’s awesome and definitely can be a franchise quarterback. I just think the same people who demand a player proves himself for years are ignoring that principle with the sixth-round pick. With that being said, I hope he succeeds just as much as everyone else. The NFL hasn’t seen many characters as awesome as the Jort King.

Another big worry with the team is the coaching uncertainty. Doug Marrone somehow escaped with his job last year and enters 2020 with an unbelievably short leash. The schedule is in his favor, at least. Jacksonville faces Cincinnati, Miami, and Detroit in the first six weeks. Win two of those with a couple more upsets later on, and he should be safe for the year. Returning in 2021 is a whole other story, though.

What’s your record prediction for the Jaguars? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.

Sixthstringqb Episode 10

Episode 10

It’s crunch time before football and school start back up again, and Amaël and Ben are back after a short, laziness-fueled vacation. To make up for the delay, we have an extra long episode hitting on topics like why Ryan Fitzpatrick is the key to world peace, the crazy Vic Beasley saga that deserves way more attention, and which fanbase has had a tougher go, the Jags or Jets.

Following that, they share their fantasy genius with the world by giving sleepers and bust at every position. If you want to become a fantasy titan or need specialty punter or IDP advice, these are the people to listen to.