Your 2019 Super Bowl Champion is....

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We are so close.  So damn close.  The morning air is getting crisp.  The calendar is about to flip to September.  College football has already kicked off.  The 100th NFL season is about to start.

A new year brings new hope to 32 franchises, and with so many marquee teams possessing star players and fresh faces, the 2019 season could be one for the ages.  One that I have going down to the wire in a lot of divisions leaving a lot of good teams on the outside looking in.  I think the 2019 NFL season is going to be feast or famine with most teams either being really good, or really bad, a lot less than normal middle of the pack, average teams.

Below are my full predictions for the 2019 NFL season.

AFC EAST
  1.  New England Patriots: 13-3
  2.  New York Jets: 6-10
  3.  Buffalo Bills: 4-12
  4.  Miami Dolphins: 3-13
The AFC East, or AFC Least as I like to call it, is just a forgone conclusion at this point, right?  The Patriots will kick off the 2019 campaign looking to win their 11th straight AFC East title, and they will easily.  The Patriots will continue their winning ways, but in a little different fashion as I foresee them winning a lot of football games with a strong running game, and an even stronger defense.  As ageless and pliable as you wish, Tom Brady is still 42.  And I am sure he and the Patriots want him subjected to as few hits as possible, leading to him more often than not, turning around and handing the ball off.  Expect Sony Michel (barring injury) to have a very strong sophomore season.


As for the rest of the East, the Jets will finally take a small step forward and will be a competitive football team.  But the Patriots, and most of their opponents, will still be better, keeping their postseason drought going strong.  The Bills still lack a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and the Dolphins are in full rebuild mode and should be a dumpster fire for the entirety of the NFL season.

AFC NORTH
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 11-5
  3. Cleveland Browns: 10-6
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-13 
Folks seem to be quite down on the Steelers as Big Ben continues to age, Antonio Brown is no longer there, and Le'Veon Bell is officially out of town.  Well in my eyes addition by subtraction can be a real thing.  Antonio Brown had become a problem and a spectacle as we are witnessing now with his frostbitten feet and helmet drama.  And James Connor already proved a year ago that Bell truly was not that important. I  think saying bye to the turmoil those two brought will do a lot of good in the Steel City.  Now anyone who knows me, knows I am no Mike Tomlin fan, but I think the players in that locker room will be able to handle themselves on the field just fine leading Pittsburgh back to the top of the AFC North.



Moving down the standings, Baltimore's defense and run heavy offense lead by Lamar Jackson will allow them to win a lot of ugly football games.  As you know, it is not how pretty it is though, JUST WIN.  They should be able to squeak out just enough dubs for a return trip to January football.  As for the Browns, the team with arguably the highest hopes in all of football, they will be good, very good, to the tune of 10 wins.  But does 10 get them to the playoffs?  You will have to keep reading for that information.  Lastly the Bengals, see Miami Dolphins above.  But hey. Marvin Lewis is gone!!

AFC SOUTH
  1.  Jacksonville Jaguars: 10-6
  2.  Houston Texans: 8-8
  3.  Tennessee Titans: 5-11
  4.  Indianapolis Colts: 4-12 
First let me just say, thank God I did not write this piece BEFORE Andrew Luck retired, because let me tell you this division would have played out a lot differently.  But here we are.  The AFC South was a tough one for me and my final standings are based on a lot of questions that hopefully turn up right for me.  I am giving the nod to the Jaguars to have a very strong bounce back season and win this division with A.) they get the Nick Foles that won the Super Bowl and B.) they have the most talented roster in the division plain and simple.


The Texans still do not have Clowney in camp, and it appears if he does show up to camp, its not going to be theirs.  As for the offensive side of the ball, I still just do not buy into Watson as much as everyone else.  Watson gets love like he throws 40 touchdowns a year.  Well he doesn't, and until he does, I just do not love this Texans team as anything more than average.  The Titans, I think, are looking at some real offensive issues and Mariota appears to be getting worse instead of better.  Then there are the Colts. The Colts would have been my pick to win this division if they had a healthy Luck.  Having them finish 4-12 should tell you all you need to know about how good I think Luck is and how not good Brissett is.

AFC WEST
  1.  Kansas City Chiefs:  12-4
  2.  Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6
  3.  Denver Broncos: 9-7
  4.  Oakland Raiders: 8-8
Pat Mahomes is a freak.  An absolute freak, and he will once again lead a loaded unit on offense.  2019 will be a lot like 2018 for the Chiefs and their fans as a lackluster defense will lead to a high powered offense surging them to the top of the West once again.


The Chargers will once again be highly competitive, although the loss of Derwin James in the first half of the season may be more problematic than we all think.  But the Chargers thankfully do not see Kansas City until Week 11.  In Denver, Flacco should be just fine.  Not great.  Not bad.  Fine.  With an above average defense, where you will see Von Miller and Bradley Chubb reek absolute havoc in backfields, it should be enough to get the Broncos back above .500, but out of postseason play once again.  The Raiders are a crapshoot.  There is a ton of talent in that building that could lead to 11 wins, but there are a ton of different personalities that could lead to five wins. So let's call it in the middle at 8-8.

NFC EAST
  1.  Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5
  2.  Dallas Cowboys: 10-6
  3.  Washington Redskins: 5-11
  4.  New York Giants: 4-12
The NFC East has not had a repeat champion since the 2003-2004 Philadelphia Eagles.  Expect that trend to continue of no repeat champ as the Eagles should regain the stranglehold from the Cowboys in 2019.  The Eagles are fully loaded on offense with a healthy Wentz and the deep threat of DeSean Jackson back in the City of Brotherly Love.  On the defensive side of the ball their front four are going to be a massive problem for opponents and will arguably be the best in the league.  Eagles are going to be really good once again.


The Cowboys should also be good, as on paper, they have the most talented roster in recent memory.  However, that first place schedule they received by winning the division a year ago looks a bit too tough to allow them to come out on top.  A December stretch of a trip to freezing cold Chicago followed by games against the Rams and at Philadelphia will probably be their demise from a second straight NFC East Title.  Behind them the rebuilding Redskins and Giants should not offer much competition to anyone in the league.

NFC NORTH
  1.  Green Bay Packers: 12-4
  2.  Chicago Bears: 11-5
  3.  Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
  4.  Detroit Lions: 2-14
This was a really hard division for me to pick, and probably the one I am least confident in.  I had to go with someone though, so why not Aaron Rodgers?  As long as he is healthy the Packers have a chance to win every game.  Per usual, this roster is probably not the most talented in the division, but talented enough for Rodgers to potentially carry them to a home playoff game.


As I said, this division was real hard for me.  The Bears could easily win it as long as that defense stays as strong and if Trubisky takes that next step.  Or, the Vikings could easily be the best team if Kirk Cousins can actually be a better than average quarterback.  As I look at my standings, one through three is basically a quarterback confidence level.

Oh yeah, then the Lions.  Only two wins may be too low, but let's rip the band aid off, the Lions are finishing last in the North.

NFC SOUTH
  1.  Atlanta Falcons: 13-3
  2.  New Orleans Saints: 11-5
  3.  Carolina  Panthers: 8-8
  4.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-14
If you had the chance to listen to the latest podcast, you would have heard me talk about how good I think Matt Ryan and this offense is going to be in 2019.  If you did not, go listen.  This is Ryan's second year in this system and Calvin Ridley's second year in the NFL.  With a revamped offensive line and the weapons Ryan has at his disposable, I foresee him posting MVP caliber numbers again and the Falcons will soar to the top of the entire NFC this year.


The Saints will once again be a very good team, but not sure if they have yet to move past the awful non pass interference call in last year's NFC Title game.  I also believe Brady is not from this planet making him the only quarterback to continue to be highly successful past 40.  Not to say Brees is falling off a cliff, not by any means, but some slight regression can be expected.

When it comes to the Panthers, larger media outlets are either all in or all out on them.  I don't think you should be either, but instead should be smack dab in the middle.  It seems Cam cannot stay healthy and you can argue aside McCaffrey, they lack any real game changing talent on offense.  The same on their defense aside from Luke Kuechly.  That all smells like 8-8 to me.  As for the Bucs, like the Lions, 2 wins may be harsh, but I have made it clear often that I am no fan of Jameis Winston at all.  And the people giving him hope because Bruce Arians is now there are reaching.  Buccaneers?  Say hello to last place and a high pick that I would use to replace Winston.

NFC WEST
  1.  Los Angeles Rams: 13-3
  2.  Seattle Seahawks: 11-5
  3.  San Francisco 49ers: 3-13
  4.  Arizona Cardinals: 3-13 
Typically I get nervous picking the head honchos from a year ago to be in that same position the next season, but the Rams just have too much talent on their roster to ignore.  Yes, they lost some defensive talent like Suh, but they still have arguably the best player in the world in Aaron Donald, and picked up Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle.  On the offensive side of the ball Cooper Kupp is back and healthy and they love Josh Reynolds giving them four established wide outs to consistently spread the ball around.  Expect another year of the Rams offensive putting up an ungodly amount of points.
 


The Seahawks will continue to be what we have expected them to be in recent memory.  Win 10 or 11 games and probably be playing come January.  Their plan this season is to run the ball, even more than they did a year ago, which will be a lot considering Wilson only attempted 427 passes last year, good for 20th in the league.  The only thing that could hold Seattle out of the playoffs is injuries to their backs, Carson and Penny, once again.

Both the Niners and Cardinals do not project to be good.  A lot of folks out there are taking a leap of faith with Jimmy G. and think just his mere presence will make the Niners a playoff team.  However, Garoppolo has looked less than stellar in the preseason and giving him the credit that he will make a less than average roster a playoff team is one hell of a jump.  I just do not think they are anywhere near talented enough.  Same goes for the Cardinals as people get caught up in everything that is Kyler Murray.  Why do most rookie quarterbacks stink?  Because they are a top pick which means the team they got drafted to is not good.  That is Arizona.  Football is not a sport where one man can alter a season in a positive light that much.  The Cardinals still have a long way to go.

PLAYOFFS - AFC

1. Patriots - Bye
2. Chiefs - Bye

3. Steelers vs 6. Chargers
  • Chargers heading to Heinz Field in the middle of January is about all I needed to hear.  Steelers move onto Divisional Weekend. Steelers 27 Chargers 17
4. Jaguars vs. 5. Ravens
  • Do you guys remember that Jaguars and Bills 10-3 slugfest back from the 2017 playoffs?  Yeah, that is what this game is going to look like.  Ugly, low scoring, and good defense.  Jaguars are not the victors this time around though.  Ravens move on.  Ravens 16 Jaguars 9
1. Patriots vs. 5. Ravens
  • No matter the year, Patriots fans always get an uneasy feeling if and when Baltimore takes a trip up to Gillette Stadium in the playoffs.  And this matchup offers some intrigue as a scrambling Lamar Jackson could give the Patriots defense a test.  At the end of the day though, the Patriots will still score more and move onto another AFC Championship game.  Patriots 23 Ravens 13
2. Chiefs vs 3. Steelers
  • This game may be one of the more entertaining ones of the entire playoffs.  I envision the Chiefs getting out to a fast start with Big Ben and the Steelers making a second half surge to make it interesting.  In the end though, Chiefs at Arrowhead and their offense is too much for Pittsburgh to overcome. Chiefs 35 Steelers 27
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Patriots vs. 2. Chiefs
  • REMATCH! For the second straight year the Patriots and the Chiefs will square off for the rights to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.  The venue is different, but the outcome will be the same.  At the end of the day, as offensive minded as the league has become, defense still prevails, and the Patriots defense is far better than Kansas City's. Patriots 31 Chiefs 27
PLAYOFFS - NFC

1. Falcons - Bye
2. Rams  - Bye

3. Packers vs. 6. Bears
  • Crazy how much I have wavered on this game and its uh, well, August.  But the more I think about it, the more I think Khalil Mack would cause too many problems for Packers offensive line and their overall defense is good enough to neutralize Adams, forcing Rodgers to his other less than stellar receivers.  And playing at Lambeau is not as feared as it once was.  Bears squeak by with a late field goal and game ending defensive stop to get a step further than they did a year ago. Bears 23 Packers 20
 4. Eagles vs 5. Seahawks
  • This game is pretty simple for me.  The Seahawks win by running the ball.  The Eagles front seven stop the run.  The Eagles get beat because of a lackluster secondary.  The Seahawks don't throw enough, or if they do, they aren't successful enough at it.  This is just a bad matchup for Seattle, and a good one for the Eagles. Eagles 27 Seahawks 16
1. Falcons vs 6. Bears
  • High powered offense versus hard hitting defense.  Opposites collide in Atlanta where it could make the matchup swing either way.  I think the rebuilt Falcons offensive line does just enough to hold Mack back, and let Ryan be somewhat successful against a really good defense.  More successful than Trubisky will be. Falcons 23 Bears 19
2. Rams vs. 4. Eagles
  • This is a good matchup.  A really good matchup where I think Wentz and the Eagles will be capable of hanging with the Rams for most of the game, but not all of it.  The fact the game will take place in Los Angeles, and add that with the Eagles suspect secondary, I think the Rams pull away as their defense is able to get some stops, while Philadelphia cannot. Rams 35 Eagles 27
NFC Championship

1. Falcons vs. 2. Rams
  • Get ready for fireworks in the middle of winter.   It is difficult to predict everything I have covered in this article up to this point, but it gets exceptionally difficult when you get to the end where you have two legitimate offensive powerhouses.  I dug through these rosters deeply and basically came to two deciding factors.  I don't think the Falcons can stop Aaron Donald, and the Rams have the best style corners to match-up with the Falcons wide receivers, and that is physical.  It will go back and forth, it will be high scoring, but the edge has to go to someone.  Fun fact, 3 weeks ago I thought the Eagles were winning the NFC.  Then for the past week I have been sold on the Falcons.  Then I really got into the matchups for this article, and here we are.  Bring on the Super Bowl rematch. Rams 41 Falcons 30
 Super Bowl LIV

 1. Patriots vs. 2 Rams


  • Again.  Back and forth.  Back and forth I have gone on this pick.  Part of me thinks no way in hell McVay lets his team get shut down again in the Super Bowl and takes back-to-back losses in it.  But I just cannot count out the Patriots until Bill and Tom are 6 feet under.  I mentioned earlier about the Rams corner's physicality.  Well, that does not work against the Patriots.  Lets just say, and man this is crazy, but let's just say Josh Gordon is still playing by this time.  Neither Talib or Peters possesses the speed needed to keep up with him.  And as we just saw, neither has the shiftiness to stay with Edelman.  A team that will win all year with its defense and running attack, will put it on Tom's shoulder's one more time and will prevail for a, **throws up in mouth**, seventh Super Bowl Title. Patriots 27 Rams 24

HAPPY FOOTBALL SEASON EVERYONE! 


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Your 2019 Super Bowl Champion is....
Your 2019 Super Bowl Champion is....
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