We are about two weeks away from real football and I am so far behind on football writing it is insane. I want to ask some big questions, make bold predictions, and unveil some teams to jump on the bandwagon or get off the cliff. So I am rolling it all into one this year, five of each, a marathon of football knowledge if you will that will get you through to the opening week of the NFL Season. Then back up kick the preview, and what we learned columns plus a new weekly column Goal Line Stand, more on that Wednesday. Let’s fly!
Page 2 Big Questions
Page 3 Jump on the Bandwagon and get off the Cliff
1. The Philadelphia Eagles miss the playoffs. Call it preseason bias, but I really do believe this team is in real danger of missing the playoffs. They look unfocused and confused in the preseason, there will be a Super Bowl hangover for Philly and that could truly derail there season as they have a grueling schedule. In a much tougher NFC East this year and with question marks at QB, Foles has not played well in the preseason and no one knows when Wentz will be ready, the Eagles are prime candidates to hit the biggest Super Bowl slump you can, missing the playoffs the following year.
2. The Oakland Raiders win the AFC West. Is this really that crazy a take? The Raiders have a QB who before an injury-ridden campaign last year was an MVP candidate in Derek Carr. That doesn’t just disappear overnight. Pair that with a very good offensive line, the best in the division, which is key when your division hosts two of the best pass rushes in the game in Los Angeles and Denver. You could ask questions of the wide receiving core but Amari Cooper is due to bounce back, as historically most receivers do after down years, same with Jordy Nelson. Believe it or not, if you have watched the preseason Marshawn Lynch looks great and the Raiders could have potentially one of the best backfields in terms of depth in the league. Jalen Richard, Deandre Washington, and Chris Warren the third have all had terrific preseasons. Not to mention vet Doug Martin who has looked more like himself this preseason but might not even make the team because of the tremendous young talent at RB on this team. The defense is a mess, but honestly outside of the Chiefs and maybe the Chargers if they actually put it all together the defense could bend but not break in the AFC West. In this division you only need 9 wins, I think that’s attainable for the Raiders. Also, stop doubting Derek Carr if you actually look at a break down of his stats his second half was phenomenal and only included two multi-interception games. The guy was dealing with a back injury and coming back from a broken leg, he will be better this year.
3. Matthew Stafford can win the MVP award. He has tremendous wide receiving talent around him and maybe, finally a running game. The offensive line has looked improved on paper but hasn’t shown it yet in the preseason, however, if they can get it together Stafford is a prime candidate. He has had a 40 touchdown season before, why shouldn’t I believe he won’t be able to do it again? Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay. That group of wideouts has touchdown and warning explosive offense written all over them. Don’t sleep on the Lions and don’t sleep on Stafford.
4. I won’t make any bold predictions about the Browns, wink wink. Listen I have had my heart broken too many times with Brown’s bold predictions. So I will say if I were to make a bold prediction about the Browns, I AM NOT, but if I were to give it a shot, it would be that they win the division. The talent is there, the QB’s PLURAL are there, the running game is there, the defense is there. Everything about this team if you took away the name Browns would scream playoff roster. If the passing game goes nowhere they can lean on a strong running game if the secondary fails they can rely on a great pass rush. This team is disaster proof. Is what I would say if I were making a Brown’s bold prediction, BUT I AM NOT.
5. Through some miracle, the Chargers win the Super Bowl. I have said this probably twenty times this offseason so I won’t bore you anymore. Best offense in the AFC, check, Top 5 defense, check, MVP level QB, check. The Chargers have everything needed to be Super Bowl champions. Yet this is a bold prediction, because I have become infected over the past week with believing in a Chargers curse. A very real thing that keeps a team that should be really fun, really mediocre and disappointing. So my bold prediction is the Chargers win the Super Bowl because if everything breaks right they should. They are the Chargers though so inevitably it will all fall apart by week five.