OUR SPORTS WORLD
1. I think my first NFL column this season will start with how my last one ended: the New England Patriots will the Super Bowl. They’ll start slow, as usual. The fans and press will express their doubts, as usual. And ten consecutive wins later, they’ll be hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy...as usual.
2. I think the L.A. Rams will experience the dreaded Super Bowl hangover and slip down a bit this season. I think they’re a Wild Card team, but with Todd Gurley’s knee still a concern, the bulk of the offense will fall on Jared Goff’s $110M shoulders. And I still have questions about his abilities.
3. I think Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City are due for a market correction this season. But a 4,500 yard, 40 touchdown, and 11-5 season is likely for this talented team. I still have questions about the Chiefs defense, but they will be challenging New England for AFC supremacy.
4. I think the L.A. Chargers might be the most talented team in the league. But another prolonged contract impasse (Melvin Gordon) and injuries to key players (Derwin James and Russell Okung) will likely derail their title chances...sigh...
5. I think as much as they’ll miss Andrew Luck, I think the Indianapolis Colts will surprise this season. Jacoby Brissett wasn’t great filling in for Luck two seasons ago, but he’ll have that great line in front of him, a talented defense, and a smaller pool of teams in the conference to leapfrog over. An 8-8 season should be good enough to get in the playoffs.
6. I understand Browns fans’ enthusiasm for this season. I mean, there’s plenty to love. Baker Mayfield, Garrett Miles, Odell Beckham Jr., Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb could all be Pro Bowlers this year. But I think the postseason will elude them this year. Next year, they should be one of the favorites.
7. I think Daniel Jones will be the Giants’ starting quarterback by week four. There’s really no need for New York to stick with Eli Manning. Their future is now. They shouldn’t waste the best (and most controllable) seasons of Saquon Barkley’s career.
8. I think it stinks that A.J. Green got injured again. When healthy, he’s one of the NFL’s best receivers. But he’ll start the season with a boot on his left leg after off season surgery.
9. I think Deshaun Watson has been dancing since the Texans traded for Laremy Tunsil. But I also think losing Jadeveon Clowney will hurt their defense.
10. And I think Houston’s loss is Seattle’s gain. He’ll give a solid Seahawks defense an even bigger boost.
11. I think Josh Rosen can’t get a break. He gets traded to one of the worst teams in the league. And instead of helping him, the Dolphins trade away Tunsil. If Miami believes Rosen is their franchise QB, they have a weird way of showing it.
12. I think it’s going to be a long season in South Beach. And in D.C. And Cincinnati.
13. And I don’t think any of those teams should “Tank for Tua” when Justin Herbert is a better prospect.
14. I think the NFC is going to be fun this year with nine teams (Philadelphia, Dallas, New Orleans, Seattle, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Chicago, Green Bay, Atlanta, and San Francisco) vying for six playoff spots.
15. I think the AFC division winners will be Pittsburgh, Houston, New England, and Kansas City.
16. I think the L.A Chargers and Indianapolis will be the AFC Wild Card teams.
17. I think the NFC division winners will be Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
18. I think Dallas and the L.A. Rams will be the NFC Wild Card teams.
19. I think the Eagles will play the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
20. I think Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will hoist win their seventh title.
21. And I think at least half my picks will be dead wrong by mid-season.