Rejoice! Real NFL games kick off tonight! It'll be a nice taster before the feast of games comes our way on Sunday. Unlike other sports - every week in the NFL matters. Get off to a slow start and the season may be over before the bye week. That is especially true in the meat grinder that is the NFC. There are some teams in the league that should roll through their division (Patriots & Eagles) while most will be in battles all year. This morning - I make my playoff picks and cross my fingers that I don't look too dumb when the postseason comes around.
1) Patriots - Easiest pick in the entire league. Tom Brady and the Pats have won the AFC East 9-years in a row and that streak won't end this season.
2) Jaguars - Armed with one of the best defenses and ground games in the NFL - the Jags will not only push for the South title, but also the Lombardi Trophy.
3) Steelers - The Steelers have the talent to win the North even if Le'Veon Bell sits out for half the season.
4) Chargers - The Wild West will be taken by the gunslinger Philip Rivers and an ever improving Chargers' defense.
5) Chiefs - Andy Reid is putting a lot of faith in Patrick Mahomes to lead the team. With the amount of weapons around the young QB - a playoff appearance is a must.
6) Texans - DeShaun Watson showed flashes of brilliance last year before going down with an injury. If Watson and JJ Watt can stay healthy - this may finally be the year the Texans put it all together.
Left out: Ravens, Bengals, Titans & Bills
1) Eagles - The reigning Super Bowl champs may not have Carson Wentz for a few weeks, but Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles should do just fine to keep the train chugging along.
2) Rams - The surprise team of last year loaded up with more talent this off season (M. Peters, N. Suh, A. Talib & B. Cooks) in hopes of making a deep playoff run.
3) Vikings - The best defense in the league got a bit better this season. On offense - Dalvin Cook returns from injury and Kirk Cousins take over at QB. Anything short of a Super Bowl run will be a disappointment.
4) Saints - Age means nothing to All-Pro QB Drew Brees. The 39-year old line up with some of the best young talent he's ever had (Kamara & M. Thomas) in search of a 2nd Lombardi Trophy.
5) Packers - Aaron Rodgers will be back with a vengeance this year. He did lose one of his favorite targets (Jordy) but added a massive red zone threat (Jimmy Graham). With Rodgers on the field - the Packers always have a chance to win.
6) Falcons - Matt Ryan had a down year in 2017 and the Falcons still won 10-games. The offensive weapons are there for the 33-year old to get the Falcons back to the Super Bowl.
Left out: Panthers, Seahawks & 49ers
Wild Card Weekend:
Steelers over Texans
Chargers over Chiefs
Vikings over Falcons
Saints over Packers
Jaguars over Steelers
Patriots over Chargers
Vikings over Rams
Eagles over Saints
Jaguars over Patriots
Vikings over Eagles
Vikings over Jaguars