Tristan Beckmann’s Ultimate 2018 NFL Season Preview: Predicting the Standings, Playoffs, and Awards for the Upcoming Season

Standings and Division Breakdowns:

AFC North:

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

Cleveland Browns (8-8)

Baltimore Ravens (6-10)

Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)

Analysis: The AFC North is close to being a really competitive division once again. The Ravens are going to be good in a few years and I believe that the Cleveland Browns are on the cusp of finding themselves in playoff football. The Bengals will have work to do and a decision to make regarding Andy Dalton, and they aren’t talented enough to finish anywhere near the top of this division. With that said, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still the kings of the AFC North, they have a lethal offense and an improved defense and are one of the best teams in the entire NFL. And who knows, this might be their last rodeo atop this division for a while, with Le’Veon Bell’s impending free agency in 2019 and Big Ben getting older each day.

AFC South:

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

Houston Texans (9-7)

Indianapolis Colts (8-8)

Tennessee Titans (6-10)

Analysis: The AFC South was one of the worst divisions in football over the past few seasons, but if the Texans and Colts can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, then I see this division being one of the most competitive in the league. The Jaguars are still the best team in the AFC South and should be a playoff team with their destructive defense. The Texans will be an explosive offense with Deshaun Watson at the helm and they too have an extremely solid defense led by J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Tyrann Mathieu. The Colts are undoubtedly contenders with a healthy Andrew Luck at the helm, as he is one of the premier franchise quarterbacks in the NFL. I’m very indifferent with the Titans and I don’t know what to expect until I see them play in a couple of regular season games.

AFC East:

New England Patriots (11-5)

Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Miami Dolphins (4-12)

New York Jets (4-12)

Analysis: Do I even need to provide some insight here? This division is New England’s already. I’ll lock it up. There is zero chance that any team steals the AFC East from the Patriots until Mr. Tom Brady decides it’s time to retire. Move on with your day folks.

AFC West:

Denver Broncos (10-6)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)

Oakland Raiders (8-8)

Analysis: This is probably the part of this article where you think I’m an absolute wreck when it comes to the NFL. Yes, I think that the Denver Broncos will win the AFC West. Why? Because Case Keenum will be a good enough quarterback to help improve an offense that needs to compliment this already strong defense. The Chargers are also going to be in the mix in the playoffs and I expect them to be in it if they can stay mostly healthy from now on. The Raiders are going to struggle mightily on defense in Jon Gruden’s first season and that will lead them to an average 8-8 year. The Chiefs won’t be as great with Patrick Mahomes under center, but he will use this time to develop and lead them to an 8-8 year as well.

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers (12-4)

Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

Chicago Bears (7-9)

Detroit Lions (5-11)

Analysis: Now you are giving me looks after seeing the Vikings name in second place in this division.. I don’t know why, but my gut is telling me that this Vikings team got worse and that Kirk Cousins will struggle in Minnesota, but I look forward to seeing them prove me wrong. With that said, the NFC North is a tough division and the Lions are going to be dead-last with a 5-11 record whilst not being the one of the worst teams in the NFL. I believe in Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and I fully expect them to make a run at a Super Bowl this season. And I believe in Matt Nagy’s Chicago Bears, even though they’ll fall short of a .500 record.

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons (11-5)

New Orleans Saints (11-5)

Carolina Panthers (8-8)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13)

Analysis: The Falcons and the Saints are going to be two of the best teams to watch this season and they both should make runs at Super Bowls this season. Matt Ryan and Drew Brees are both two very good quarterbacks with high powered offenses built around them. I believe in both enough to where I’m giving them great chances to make the playoffs. I don’t believe in Cam Newton and the Panthers so much and I think they’re an average 8-8 squad. And the Buccaneers? Well, let’s just be real and say that they are going to be the worst team in the entire national football league in 2018-19.

NFC East:

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

New York Giants (8-8)

Washington Redskins (4-12)

Analysis: The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles will be back on the postseason stage in 2018-19. They are too deep of a team and they are even more dangerous once they get a healthy Carson Wentz under the helm. The Cowboys will fall a game short of a playoff berth but ultimately have a solid 10-6 season behind Dak Prescott. The Giants will be better this season, but not close to what they want to be, finishing 8-8 in what I ultimately think is Eli Manning’s last season. And the Redskins are out of luck as the worst team in this pretty tough division. Alex Smith just isn’t going to win them many football games.

NFC West:

Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

San Francisco 49ers (11-5)

Seattle Seahawks (7-9)

Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

Analysis: The Rams might be the best team in the NFL and they certainly have one of the best rosters heading into the season. They’ve bolstered an already strong offense with the addition of Brandin Cooks and they added a ton to their defense in Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters. I’m also buying in on the Jimmy Garoppolo hype from the end of last season, as I watched a lot of film on him from his last couple of games with the 49ers, and I couldn’t be more impressed. I expect Jimmy G to lead the Niners back to the playoffs. The Seahawks are entering a rebuilding stage in the first time for a while, and they won’t make much of an impact on the NFC West. And I don’t know what to say about the Cardinals, other than the fact that they could be decently good or really bad.

The Projected 2019 NFL Draft Order Based On Predictions:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2. Miami Dolphins

3. New York Jets

4. Cincinnati Bengals

5. Washington Redskins

6. Arizona Cardinals

7. Detroit Lions

8. Buffalo Bills

9. Baltimore Ravens

10. Tennessee Titans

11. Chicago Bears

12. Seattle Seahawks

13. Indianapolis Colts

14. Cleveland Browns

15. Carolina Panthers

16. Oakland Raiders

17. New York Giants

18. Kansas City Chiefs

19. Minnesota Vikings

20. Dallas Cowboys

21. Los Angeles Chargers

22. Jacksonville Jaguars

23. San Francisco 49ers

24. Philadelphia Eagles

25. Houston Texans

26. Pittsburgh Steelers

27. Atlanta Falcons

28. New Orleans Saints

29. Denver Broncos

30. Los Angeles Rams

31. New England Patriots

32. Green Bay Packers

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