NFL & Fantasy Football Predictions (2019)
Chances are, your fantasy drafts are complete and you are counting down the hours until Thursday night’s game between Aaron Rodgers and the Bears’ exceptional defense. I figured there is no better way to pass the time than to dream on what may be in the coming months. I’ll be giving predictions for the standings and playoffs before handing out NFL and fantasy awards and even giving a sneak preview at the 2020 mock draft.
Now, before you jump into this, realize that these are not my projections. Predictions and projections are quite different. If I were to project the most likely outcome for every team, win totals would be artificially squeezed between 5 and 11 games and absolutely nothing fun or interesting would happen. That isn’t how real life works though. More likely, a trio of surprising teams will be decimated by injuries and have rough seasons while several others will surge forward like the surprising Chiefs and Bears last season. My goal is to emulate historical volatility so read this lightly as this is merely one of a million potential scenarios.
–Unsurprisingly, the Patriots run away with the weakest division in the NFL while rattling off double-digit wins for the 17th consecutive season. The shocker here is that the Jets held strong in the playoff race for the majority of the season thanks to their defense transforming into one of the league’s best. Josh Allen and the Bills fail to score 300 points once again while the Dolphins battle for the 2020 #1 pick.
—Baker Mayfield takes another leap forward into the elite tier of quarterbacks while the Browns’ defense makes them a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Pittsburgh misses the playoffs again as Big Ben leads the NFL in interceptions and Baltimore has just their second losing season since 2007 as Robert Griffin is called on to take over in October.
–Neither Deshaun Watson or J.J. Watt are able to stay upright for the entire season, allowing Indianapolis’ elite defense and running game to take the South. A breakout by a finally healthy Marcus Mariota pairs with strong line play on both sides of the ball to get the Titans back into the playoffs with their fourth consecutive 9-7 season. Nick Foles posts Blake Bortles like numbers as the Jags sputter offensively again.
–Mahomes comes back down to earth and is actually outproduced by Philip Rivers, who tosses 41 touchdowns with Melvin Gordon missing the first two months. LeSean McCoy and the Chiefs offense sneak into the playoffs despite an AFC worst 465 points allowed. Flacco and the Broncos start 7-4 before ending the season on a five-game skid. Derek Carr, meanwhile, stakes his claim as the Raiders’ franchise QB, but with no help from Oakland’s defense.
–Even with Carson Wentz‘ back acting up again, the league’s best offensive and defensive lines carry the Eagles back to the top of the East. Tony Pollard and the Cowboys get off to a 3-0 start but lose each of their next four once Zeke returns from his holdout. Daniel Jones isn’t given the keys in New York until Week 15 then he proceeds to win the final three games.
–Even with Aaron Rodgers missing a month, the Packers’ breakout defense and a league-leading 1,450 rushing yards from Aaron Jones get them to the top of the toughest division in football. Kirk Cousins bounces back and Mitch Trubisky takes a big step forward but the Vikings edge out the Bears for the second wild-card spot. Detroit loses all six division contests on their way to a disappointing finish.
–The Falcons win their final seven games thanks to a finally healthy defense and a remarkable season from Matt Ryan, but it isn’t enough to overtake the Saints and their stellar running game. Cam Newton returns to form for the Panthers but it is Jameis Winston‘s league-leading 5,300 passing yards that captures the hearts of fantasy football coaches.
–Todd Gurley storms on as the fantasy RB1 for the third consecutive season as the Rams cruise to another division title. Pete Carroll takes Seattle back to the stone age, running the ball nearly 600 times while both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny rack up 1,000+ yards on the ground. Nick Mullens replaces Jimmy G after a rough start in San Francisco while Arizona’s defense allows an NFL record 536 points.
Wild Card Round
–Mack rushed for over 150 yards but Indy has to settle for field goals
Falcons 40 OT
–Julio catches two touchdowns while Ridley grabs the game-winner
–Goff tosses four interceptions trying to recover from an early deficit
–The Pats hold Mahomes to 1 TD in his attempt to dethrone Brady
—Hunter Henry pulls in two of Rivers’ five TD passes
—Latavius Murray hammers home two goal-line scores
—Jake Kumerow scores a go-ahead touchdown with 15 seconds remaining
—Josh Gordon continues his clean season with two more touchdowns
–Rodgers throws five TDs and rushes for another in a shootout for the ages
–The Patriots strike first with a field goal followed by a Sony Michel rushing TD. Green Bay responds with two second-quarter touchdowns to Jimmy Graham and Geronimo Allison to make the score 14-13 at halftime. Aaron Rodgers sneaks one in on the goal-line to extend the lead before New England adds a passing TD to Phillip Dorsett. The Packers extend the lead to eight on a screen pass to Aaron Jones, but Tom Brady and the Patriots march back down with three minutes on the clock and score on another Sony Michel run. In their attempt to tie the game with a two-point conversion, Darnell Savage breaks up a pass to Julian Edelman to secure a Packers’ win.
2020 NFL Draft
- Bengals – Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
- Dolphins – Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
- Redskins – Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia)
- Cardinals – Trey Adams (OT, Washington)
- Lions – A.J. Epenesa (Edge, Iowa)
- 49ers – Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
- Raiders – Chase Young (Edge, Ohio St.)
- Ravens – Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
- Giants – Laviska Shenault (WR, Colorado)
- Bucs – Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama)
- Jaguars – Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia)
- Panthers – Albert Okwuegbunam (TE – Missouri)
- Broncos – Walker Little (OT, Stanford)
- Bills – Bryce Hall (CB – Virginia)
- Dolphins (via HOU) – Jordan Love (QB – Utah St.)
- Jets – Collin Johnson (WR, Texas)