Gridiron Experts NFL Predictions 2019
The Gridiron Experts staff have put together some summer NFL predictions for 2019. Unlike our Fantasy Football Prediction article (which was published post-Luck retirement), we have taken a look at the landscape and made team predictions based on how we feel this season will shape up. Some of the following predictions are bold, while others are safe. The staff also added their thoughts on these predictions below the table.
|2019 Staff Predictions||Mike Rigz||Zack Patraw||Marc Mathk||Brandon Hamer||Brad Castronovo||John Ferguson||Michael Hauff||Zach Greubel||Anthony Cervino|
|2019 AFC North Winner||Ravens||Browns||Browns||Browns||Ravens||Browns||Browns||Browns||Steelers|
|2019 AFC East Winner||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots|
|2019 AFC South Winner||Jaguars||Texans||Texans||Texans||Titans||Texans||Texans||Texans||Jaguars|
|2019 AFC West Winner||Chiefs||Chargers||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chargers||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs|
|2019 NFC North Winner||Bears||Vikings||Packers||Bears||Bears||Packers||Packers||Bears||Packers|
|2019 NFC East Winner||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Cowboys||Eagles||Cowboys|
|2019 NFC South Winner||Falcons||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints||Panthers||Saints||Falcons|
|2019 NFC West Winner||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams|
|Surprise AFC Playoff Team||Jaguars||Titans||Bills||Jaguars||Titans||Jaguars||Jets||Broncos||Colts|
|Surprise NFC Playoff Team||Bucs||49ers||49ers||Bucs||49ers||Bucs||49ers||49ers||49ers|
|2019 AFC Championship Winner||Chiefs||Chargers||Chiefs||Chiefs||Patriots||Chiefs||Patriots||Chiefs||Patriots|
|2019 NFC Championship Winner||Eagles||Saints||Saints||Saints||Bears||Rams||Panthers||Saints||Cowboys|
|Super Bowl Winner||Chiefs||Saints||Saints||Saints||Patriots||Rams||Patriots||Saints||Cowboys|
|Super Bowl MVP||Mahomes||M.Thomas||Brees||Brees||Brady||Donald||Brady||Brees||Dak|
Tells Us More About One Of Your Underdog Division Winners For 2019? Why Do You Like Them?
Zack Patraw – Not many are predicting the Titans to win a lot of games this year, but I think we will be pleasantly surprised. They have a lot of talent on this offense. Corey Davis, AJ Brown, and Adam Humphries are all very solid options at receiver. Derrick Henry really showed who he could be towards the end of last season, and Dion Lewis is a solid complimentary back to Henry. Their defense also took some steps forward, getting you guys like Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry in the draft last year. They also have some key young pieces in the secondary that make them very hard to throw on. I could see this team really pushing hard for a division title against the Jags, Texans, and Colts.
Brandon Hamer – The Jaguars will go from 5 wins to the playoffs this year. Blake Bortles is gone and Superbowl MVP Nick Foles is in town. Foles doesn’t have to light the world on fire, all he has to do is be smarter with the ball than Bortles has been, which shouldn’t be hard. With an elite defense, above-average Offensive Line and promising skill position players, the Jags are primed for a bounceback season.
Mike Rigz – After talking about the Colts all offseason, I put money on the Jaguars this past weekend to win the AFC South. The Texans have too many issues on offense with OL problems and RB depth, and Colts are doomed without Luck. Jacoby Brissett will do better than what most people will expect, but having to adjust the entire offense so close to the start of their season will derail the Colts 2019 season. The Jag’s have a defense looking to rebound, DE Josh Allen looks deadly and Nick Foles always finds ways to do just enough to pull out wins. Jags get 10 wins this season.
Brad Castronovo – I like the Chargers to take the AFC West this year. While the Chiefs might be the favorite with Vegas predicting 10.5 wins for Kansas City, the Chargers are right there with a predicted total of 9.5 wins. Patrick Mahomes’ juggernaut of an offense is certainly going to be tough to beat, but the Chiefs’ defense could end up being their Achilles’ Heel. Being that the Chargers are sound on both sides of the ball, I like them to take the division. I think that Rivers & Co. should have another strong year on the offensive side of the ball, while this team has the defense to make a sustained run. Now, Melvin Gordon’s looming holdout might hurt this prediction, but I do think he’ll play a large chunk of the season and the Chargers will thrive.
John Ferguson – The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to right the ship this season after their offense ranked second-worst in points scored last year. They brought in a guy who has been there and done that with former Super Bowl MVP and free Philly cheesesteaks for life winner, Nick Foles. The Jags receiver corps strikes me as one of the most underrated groups in the league. We truly don’t know the full potential that these guys could offer with the poor QB play they have seen recently. They offer a combination of precise route-running with Dede Westbrook in the slot and speed on the outside with second-year talent D.J. Chark. If Leonard Fournette can get his injury bug taken care of this season and not throw haymakers on the sidelines, he really helps round out this offense.
Where I can also see this team surprising people and making a playoff push is with their continued success on defense. Jalen Ramsey continues to be one of the best corners in the league and the unit as a whole has ranked top five each of the last two seasons in both least points and yards allowed. The Jags could easily offer the biggest turnaround in the league after last season’s disappointing last-place finish.
Michael Hauff – Yes, I have picked the Carolina Panthers to make it to the Super Bowl this year. As if that’s not enough, even at +500 odds, I have the Panthers paving their postseason road with an NFC South championship. One of the biggest things for me with the Panthers is their offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, who is going into his second season with the team. Last season, for the first time since Cam Newton’s rookie season, the Panthers finished in the top 10 in total yards. On top of the offensive coordinator’s contributions to the team, I also look at some tough Panther losses in 2018. During their seven-game losing streak last year, five out of those seven losses were only by an average of four points. With Newton’s surgically repaired shoulder now healed, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that they can flip some of those close losses. This might be the most talented offense Newton has played with as a pro and I say we see that directly reflected in the Panthers win/loss record.
Zack Greubel – I don’t think any of the division winners I selected are technically underdogs, so shame on me. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the four teams in the NFC South won that division. If Joe Flacco plays… better than he usually does… the Broncos could be a surprise division victor ahead of the Chiefs or Chargers. Heck, don’t count the Raiders out either with the offseason they had. All things considered, though, the Packers, Steelers, and Cowboys are my favorite bets for underdog teams to win their respective divisions.
Anthony Cervino – My underdog playoff team from the NFC is the Packers. While the Bears are getting all the hype, they lost their defensive coordinator and their quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky is still struggling to throw to the outside, per reports. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is, well, Aaron Rodgers. Coming off of a down year — for him — Rodgers opened last season with an injury against the Bears and really didn’t look like himself until about mid-season. Pair that with the Mike McCarthy drama as well as young receivers and the Packers couldn’t rebound. Things will be different in 2019 for Green Bay. While they will be playing within a new system under new HC Matt LaFleur, Rodgers should be able to master the learning curve sooner rather than later. What’s more, he will be entering year-two with Jimmy Graham, Marquez Valdes-Scantling as well as getting Geronimo Allison back healthy. Pair that with a new-look defense — the Packers added a plethora of pieces to DC Mike Pettine’s unit — which should begin to gel by October. Rodgers is the best quarterback in the division and could be playing with his best defense since his 2010 Super Bowel team. Don’t sleep on Aaron Rodgers or the Green Bay Packers.
Tell Us More About One Bold Team Prediction For 2019?
Zack Patraw – This year, I believe the Minnesota Vikings will be one of the best rushing teams in the league. Last year, they were among the leagues worst in rushing and offensive line play. This year, they bring in Gary Kubiak as their offensive advisor, they draft Garrett Bradbury, and Dalvin Cook appears to be fully healthy. Kubiak is taking this offensive line from a gap blocking scheme to a zone-blocking scheme, which is something each lineman is made for and what Cook did so well in college. This team should make a big leap in that category this year.
Brandon Hamer – Maybe it’s because I’m a Bucs fan or maybe I just have no clue what I’m talking about, but I think the Buccaneers can slide into a wild card spot in the NFC. Bruce Arians is in town and is “righting the ship” so to speak, bringing in all of his own guys and switching the losing culture that has surrounded Tampa Bay for so many years. It is going to be a tough road, as I believe the NFC South is the best division in football. With an elite offense already in place and Todd Bowles now in charge of the defense, I like the chances of them turning it around d quickly. As Arians said, “I don’t rebuild, I reload” and I think he has done just that, not only with player changes but the coaching changes as well.
Brad Castronovo – In 2019, I don’t think the Tennessee Titans are getting the respect they deserve. I think they’ll make a run at the Division or find their way into the Wild Card. They’ve finished 9-7 each of the last 3 seasons, and have been in the playoff hunt each year. Two seasons ago, the Titans knocked off the Chiefs in the Wild Card game before falling to New England in the Divisional Round. Last year, in Mike Vrabel’s first campaign, the Titans lost a “win-and-in” game to make the AFC Playoffs. Let’s not forget… in this 9-7 season, Marcus Mariota missed some games, and the team had to turn to Blaine Gabbert. Not ideal. Coming into 2019, this team is right there, and has the chance to contend in the improved AFC South. Marcus Mariota will need to stay healthy, but if he doesn’t, Ryan Tannehill is certainly a huge improvement in the backup slot. Adam Humphries and AJ Brown will add to an improved offense, while Derrick Henry will be set up to thrive under new OC Arthur Smith. With a vastly improved defense, and hopefully a healthy season, look for the Titans to contend.
John Ferguson – I think predicting the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North is a pretty bold statement despite the fact that it’s not an uncommon one here. I’m rolling with it and drinking the juice that Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens can pull this thing off and gift the Browns their first playoff berth since 2002. What’s even more bold about this is the fact that the team hasn’t finished first in their division since all the way back in 1989. Looking at the team’s schedule heading into the season, I see them losing to both the Rams and Patriots and if they can split their series against their division rivals in the Ravens and Steelers, there is potential for them to win the other 12 games.
Mayfield looked the part in the second half of last season and now with OBJ in town this offense will only be stronger. If the defense can just manage to bring their points and yards allowed closer down to the league average, I’d say these guys have a fighting chance. When you look at the division itself, the Steelers could potentially be trending downward this season, the Bengals look more like ragged alley cats than ferocious jungle cats, and the Ravens will have to hope that teams don’t catch on to the fact that they’re basically running the wildcat formation with an RB under center each play.
Michael Hauff – It is safe to say that over the last few years, sacking the quarterback hasn’t been a strength in Santa Clara. If you’re wondering how long it has been, you would have to go back to 2009 when the 49ers finished tied for third in team sacks. Ten years later, I say the 49ers defense gets their groove back as they will finish the year with the most sacks in the NFL. To be quite honest, this shouldn’t seem so bold when considering their offseason. In early March, the 49ers sent a 2020 second-round pick to the Chiefs for Dee Ford. Then came the NFL draft as the team would select Nick Bosa. Mind you, these moves are being made with DeForest Buckner already on the defensive line. On top of adding talent on the field, the 49ers also hired one the most respected defensive line coaches, Kris Kocurek.
Zack Greubel – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will lead the NFL in passing and place themselves on the cusp of a playoff berth. It is well documented that new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians loves to pass the football. He has the quarterback in Jameis Winston and three young, quality wide pass-catchers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard to make this prediction come to fruition. To boot, Tampa Bay possesses what is arguably the least threatening rushing attack in the entire league. Peyton Barber underachieved last year and Ronald Jones struggled to prove himself as a rookie. Game scripts could very well be advantageous for the pirates in what will be one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
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