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2020 NFL Divisional Picks and Staff Super Bowl Champion Predictions

NFL

Rejoice…  the 2020 NFL season is merely a few short hours away! Pat yourself on the back, because after months of cable re-runs and Netflix (cut the check) binge marathons, we finally have all 32 teams ready to roll this season and provide the much needed return of football to our homes.

The NFL was actually one of the least affected sports leagues throughout the pandemic. The NBA had to hit the pause button on their regular season, MLB had delayed their start and shortened the season, and college football… well, that varies depending on who you root for. 

Regardless though, the NFL didn’t have to pause its season or alter their schedule. And despite occasional bumps in the road, everything seems to be on track for a full NFL schedule.

So whether it be tonight, Sunday, or Monday that your favorite team plays, in the meantime, you are invited to sit back, grab a beer (or a White Claw), kick your feet up, and have a little fun as I try to do my best to sort through what will potentially be the most unpredictable and uncertain NFL season of all time.

Division Standings Projections

*Indicates a Playoff Team

 

NFC East

  1. Dallas Cowboys*
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. New York Giants
  4. Washington Re- Football Team (Still Getting Used to the Change)

While seemingly always in this position with little to show for, the Cowboys look like they finally have made the moves that will help them take the next step. In his first year with Dallas, Mike McCarthy will have high expectations surrounding his new team this year as the offense projects to be one of the best in the league.

Dallas has too many weapons on offense, along with turnover in the coaching department and a revamped defensive line, to suffer a collapse in the way they did in 2019. Dallas will win the division, knock out Filthy in the process, and carry the No. 2 offense into the postseason.

NFC South

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
  2. New Orleans Saints*
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Carolina Panthers

One of the more intriguing divisions to try to predict… blame Tom Brady. The former Patriot headed south to Florida this offseason to join an already stout Tampa Bay offense led by head coach Bruce Arians. With all the weapons surrounding Brady, he doesn’t need to be picture perfect Tom Brady in order for Tampa Bay to win. He just needs to get the ball to his playmakers, which is a category the Bucs are not lacking in. Oh, and former WWE 24/7 Champion Rob Gronkowski will be there too.

While the Buccaneers may narrowly take the division, it won’t be easy.

New Orleans returns a stacked team on both sides of the ball and won’t let the new look Bucs take all the glory without putting up a fight. The Buccaneers win the division over the Saints by a hair, but New Orleans still finds its way to the postseason easily.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers*
  2. Minnesota Vikings*
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Detroit Lions

Another difficult division to pick, but only by way of the winner. Both the Vikings and the Packers will return strong teams in 2020, and the rest of the division will be just shy of producing enough to legitimately threaten a division title or wild card spot.

I picked Green Bay here because of one main comparison. For the Packers, the biggest offseason move they made was not acquiring a skilled offensive player… which tells me that Aaron Rodgers will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.

For the Vikings, most of their key pieces will be back in purple- except Stefon Diggs. Rodgers playing with something to prove, and Cousins losing his number one receiver, is enough of an edge to give the division to the Packers.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks*
  2. San Francisco 49ers*
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Los Angeles Rams

As long as Seattle has Russell Wilson as their quarterback, the Seahawks will always have a strong opportunity to win their division and make the playoffs. This year, I am buying in fully to the Seahawks. But for more clarification, I am buying into Russell Wilson more than I am the Seahawks as a whole.

I believe that the 49ers have a better overall team from top to bottom, but I worry about a Super Bowl defeat hangover for the team to start this year. I expect both teams to have productive seasons, though, in another tight race for the division with the season winding down. However, this year around, it will be the Seahawks who take the division, and the Niners having to play from behind.

AFC East

  1. Buffalo Bills*
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. New York Jets

After seemingly 429 straight seasons, you can take this to the bank – the New England Patriots will not win the division.

Instead, it will be breakout star Josh Allen leading a scrappy group of guys to the Bills first division title since 1995. The Bills added in a magnificent wide receiver in Stefon Diggs this offseason, which should only help the progression of Allen. Not to mention, there still should be at least 4 automatic wins from division opponents alone, which will show in the overall record. I don’t believe for a second they will fall out of relevancy in terms of the Patriots.

That being said, it will be an uphill climb as the Patriots defense was decimated by season opt-outs and will be breaking in a brand new quarterback with a completely different style than the past in Cam Newton. The Patriots fall just short of a wildcard spot, while the Bills take the division.

AFC South

  1. Indianapolis Colts*
  2. Tennessee Titans*
  3. Houston Texans*
  4. LOL Jacksonville Jaguars

Before ANYONE gets on my case about picking the Titans to fall short of the division crown just a year removed from contending for a Super Bowl spot, hear me out. First and foremost, I don’t have W/L projections, but the Colts would only have a better record by one game if I did. I think these two teams will give us an incredibly fun race to the finish line from the very beginning of the season. However, the Colts will win the division because of their divisional head-to-head record the way I see it.

That’s not to count out the Titans by any means either because they should once again be competing with the best teams in the NFL. The late signing of Jadeveon Clowney helps fill a gap on the Titans defensive line and should see his biggest impact in the cold weather, tough and rugged playoff games the Titans showed us they could play last year. Oh, I also have the Texans getting the final wild card spot, but it’s easily my least confident prediction.

AFC North

  1. Baltimore Ravens*
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers*
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Cleveland Browns

The reigning MVP of the league hails from the AFC North, and by all expectations, Lamar Jackson is in a pretty good spot to defend his crown. The Baltimore Ravens return one of the most electric offenses in the NFL, led by Jackson himself. In reality, though, the most intriguing part of this division is not Lamar Jackson, nor is it Joe Burrow in his first year, or even the Browns and the “messy” offseason they have had this year.

It is the return of Big Ben to the Steelers, who will be surrounded by young and hungry talent all around him. I expect the Steelers to bring a stacked defense led by youth to the league this year, which may help cover some offensive deficiencies. Either way, I see the season unraveling as the Pittsburgh Steelers reassert themselves as the big bad bullies of the yard, although just falling short of the Ravens for the division title.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs*
  2. Las Vegas Raiders
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Los Angeles Chargers

The Kansas City Chiefs are still the best team in the league. Patrick Mahomes, in my book, is still the best quarterback in the league. The rest of the teams in the division are rebuilding just to have some chance of even competing with the Chiefs down the road. Need I say more? This division is easy to pick.

NFC Playoff Seeding

1. Seattle 2. Tampa Bay 3. Dallas 4. Green Bay 5. New Orleans 6. San Francisco 7. Minnesota

AFC Playoff Seeding

1. Kansas City 2. Baltimore 3. Buffalo 4. Indianapolis 5. Pittsburgh 6. Tennessee 7. Houston

Super Bowl LV

(1) Kansas City 35 (3) Dallas 31

 

Fanrun Staff Super Bowl LV Predictions

Ric: Kansas City

Brandon: Kansas City

Chance: Green Bay

Charley: New Orleans

Logan: Baltimore

Hayden: Tennessee

Tanner: Baltimore

Fulky: Cleveland

Treigh: New Orleans

Tucker: Kansas City

Trey: New Orleans

Will: Tennessee

Dylan: Atlanta

Drew: Washington

Billy: San Francisco

AJ: Baltimore

Nate: Minnesota