• Bradley Locker

2019 NFL Record Predictions For Every Team

With the NFL preseason getting underway in under a month—and kickoff fewer than 50 days away (!)--I decided to go game-by-game for all 256 regular season matchups for every single team to determine not only records for all 32, but division champs and postseason seeds.


Just for context, these predictions are based on realistic picks and scenarios. Some teams have better rosters than their schedules indicate; in other cases, the opposite is true.


Without further ado, here are my 2019 NFL record predictions for every team.


AFC North

Steelers

Week 1: At NE, L (0-1)

Week 2: SEA, W (1-1)

Week 3: At SF, L (1-2)

Week 4: CIN, W (2-2)

Week 5: BAL, W (3-2)

Week 6: @LAC, L (3-3)

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: MIA, W (4-3)

Week 9: IND, L (4-4)

Week 10: LAR, W (5-4)

Week 11: @CLE, L (5-5)

Week 12: @CIN, W (6-5)

Week 13: CLE, W (7-5)

Week 14: @ARI, L (7-6)

Week 15: BUF, W (8-6)

Week 16: @NYJ, W (9-6)

Week 17: @BAL, L (9-7)


Having to start in New England is certainly rough for the Steelers. Personally, I think the Steelers-Cardinals game out west is the prototypical Mike Tomlin “trap game” and that the Steelers will falter versus an inferior team. This defense should take a big leap forward, and the offense will still be strong as JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner play even larger roles. The AFC North will likely, as often occurs, come down to a Week 17 game—this time, the Steelers lose, but they still make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.


Browns

Week 1: TEN, W (1-0)

Week 2: @NYJ, L (1-1)

Week 3: LAR, W (2-1)

Week 4: @BAL, L (2-2)

Week 5: @SF, L (2-3)

Week 6: SEA, W (3-3)

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: @NE, L (3-4)

Week 9: @DEN, L (3-5)

Week 10: BUF, W (4-5)

Week 11: PIT, W (5-5)

Week 12: MIA, W (6-5)

Week 13: @PIT, L (6-6)

Week 14: CIN, W (7-6)

Week 15: @ARI, W (8-6)

Week 16: BAL, W (9-6)

Week 17: @CIN, W (10-6)


I forecast the restocked Cleveland Browns to win their first division title since 1989. That Week 2 game against the Jets should be a lot of fun considering how significantly both teams have rebuilt in one lone offseason. Clevelanders, rejoice: the Browns make the playoffs!


Ravens

Week 1: @MIA, W (1-0)

Week 2: ARI, W (2-0)

Week 3: @KC, L (2-1)

Week 4: CLE, W (3-1)

Week 5: @PIT, L (3-2)

Week 6: CIN, W (4-2)

Week 7: @SEA, L (4-3)

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: NE, L (4-4)

Week 10: @CIN, W (5-4)

Week 11: HOU, L (5-5)

Week 12: @LAR, L (5-6)

Week 13: SF, W (6-6)

Week 14: @BUF, L (6-7)

Week 15: NYJ, W (7-7)

Week 16: @CLE, L (7-8)

Week 17: PIT, W (8-8)


I still have some considerable doubts about Lamar Jackson as a passer; having a defense that was premier in 2018 lose integral players in C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs shouldn’t help, either. Ultimately, the Ravens regress slightly from their 2018 mark.


Bengals

Week 1: @SEA, L (0-1)

Week 2: SF, L (0-2)

Week 3: @BUF, L (0-3)

Week 4: @PIT, L (0-4)

Week 5: ARI, W (1-4)

Week 6: @BAL, L (1-5)

Week 7: JAX, L (1-6)

Week 8: @LAR, L (1-7)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: BAL, L (1-8)

Week 11: @OAK, L (1-9)

Week 12: PIT, L (1-10)

Week 13: NYJ, L (1-11)

Week 14: @CLE, L (1-12)

Week 15: NE, L (1-13)

Week 16: @MIA, L (1-14)

Week 17: CLE, L (1-15)


This team’s talent will likely not be indicative of its record, but, if things go as atrociously as planned, they likely should tank for Tua Tagovailoa (or another elite prospect). The Zac Taylor era starts with a dismal 1 win in 2019, thanks in large part to a tough road schedule.


Division Standings: 1. Browns (10-6), 2. Steelers (9-7), 3. Ravens (8-8), 4. Bengals (1-15)


AFC East

Patriots

Week 1: PIT, W (1-0)

Week 2: @MIA, L (1-1)

Week 3: NYJ, W (2-1)

Week 4: @BUF, W (3-1)

Week 5: @WAS, W (4-1)

Week 6: NYG, W (5-1)

Week 7: @NYJ, L (5-2)

Week 8: CLE, W (6-2)

Week 9: @BAL, W (7-2)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: @PHI, L (7-3)

Week 12: DAL, W (8-3)

Week 13: @HOU, W (9-3)

Week 14: KC, W (10-3)

Week 15: @CIN, W (11-3)

Week 16: BUF, W (12-3)

Week 17: MIA, W (13-3)


Upon the release of the 2019 NFL schedule, fans almost collectively grimaced when reading how easy New England’s slate was. As usual, the Patriots start relatively slowly, but ultimately find their footing to win an 11th straight AFC East crown. The one blip on the radar: I think the Patriots will lose yet again in Miami, as they have 5 of the last 6 times in Hard Rock Stadium.


Jets

Week 1: BUF, W (1-0)

Week 2: CLE, W (2-0)

Week 3: @NE, L (2-1)

Week 4: BYE

Week 5: @PHI, L (2-2)

Week 6: DAL, W (3-2)

Week 7: NE, W (4-2)

Week 8: @JAX, L (4-3)

Week 9: @MIA, W (5-3)

Week 10: NYG, W (6-3)

Week 11: @WAS, L (6-4)

Week 12: OAK, W (7-4)

Week 13: @CIN, W (8-4)

Week 14: MIA, W (9-4)

Week 15: @BAL, L (9-5)

Week 16: PIT, L (9-6)

Week 17: @BUF, L (9-7)


I have a suspicion this Jets team may surprise a few people. The fans piling into MetLife Stadium should have new life considering burgeoning quarterback Sam Darnold coupled with the acquisitions of RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, MLB C.J. Mosley, and more. In this scenario, they fail to make the playoffs, but they could threaten the Patriots for AFC East supremacy in several years.


Bills

Week 1: @NYJ, L (0-1)

Week 2: @NYG, W (1-1)

Week 3: CIN, W (2-1)

Week 4: NE, L (2-2)

Week 5: @TEN, L (2-3)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: MIA, W (3-3)

Week 8: PHI, L (3-4)

Week 9: WAS, W (4-4)

Week 10: @CLE, L (4-5)

Week 11: @MIA, W (5-5)

Week 12: DEN, W (6-5)

Week 13: @DAL, L (6-6)

Week 14: BAL, W (7-6)

Week 15: @PIT, L (7-7)

Week 16: @NE, L (7-8)

Week 17: NYJ, W (8-8)


Another team that could take a step forward: Buffalo. Josh Allen had flashes of brilliance as a rookie; if the Bills can feed off of Bills Mania’s bodacious passion—as well as frigid temperatures--and win games at home, they should finish around .500.


Dolphins

Week 1: BAL, L (0-1)

Week 2: NE, W (1-1)

Week 3: @DAL, L (1-2)

Week 4: LAC, L (1-3)

Week 5: BYE

Week 6: WAS, L (1-4)

Week 7: @BUF, L (1-5)

Week 8: @PIT, L (1-6)

Week 9: NYJ, L (1-7)

Week 10: @IND, L (1-8)

Week 11: BUF, L (1-9)

Week 12: @CLE, L (1-10)

Week 13: PHI, L (1-11)

Week 14: @NYJ, L (1-12)

Week 15: @NYG, L (1-13)

Week 16: CIN, W (2-13)

Week 17: @NE, L (2-14)


It will almost certainly be a long season for Miami faithful. Despite marquee players in Reshad Jones and Xavien Howard, the Dolphins lack superstar power. After a likely disappointing 2019 campaign, look for them possibly target a quarterback—or receiver--in the 2020 NFL Draft.


Division Standings: 1. Patriots (13-3), 2. Jets (9-7), 3. Bills (8-8), 4. Dolphins (2-14)


AFC South

Colts

Week 1: @LAC, L (0-1)

Week 2: @TEN, W (1-1)

Week 3: ATL, W (2-1)

Week 4: OAK, W (3-1)

Week 5: @KC, L (3-2)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: HOU, W (4-2)

Week 8: DEN, W (5-2)

Week 9: @PIT, W (6-2)

Week 10: MIA, W (7-2)

Week 11: JAX, W (8-2)

Week 12: @HOU, L (8-3)

Week 13: TEN, W (9-3)

Week 14: @TB, W (10-3)

Week 15: @NO, L (10-4)

Week 16: CAR, W (11-4)

Week 17: @JAX, L (11-5)


The Colts follow up a surprisingly phenomenal campaign with an AFC South title. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to scout potential playoff opponents when they travel to Los Angeles, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.


Texans

Week 1: @NO, L (0-1)

Week 2: JAX, W (1-1)

Week 3: @LAC, L (1-2)

Week 4: CAR, W (2-2)

Week 5: ATL, W (3-2)

Week 6: @KC, L (3-3)

Week 7: @IND, L (3-4)

Week 8: OAK, W (4-4)

Week 9: @JAX, L (4-5)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: @BAL, W (5-5)

Week 12: IND, W (6-5)

Week 13: NE, L (6-6)

Week 14: DEN, W (7-6)

Week 15: @TEN, L (7-7)

Week 16: @TB, W (8-7)

Week 17: TEN, W (9-7)


The Texans still boast a top-flight defensive unit, but their schedule is unforgiving: their opponents’ .527 winning percentage ranks as the 4th highest. Deshaun Watson’s matchup with reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 should be intriguing, as both 2017 selections have certainly lived up to their respective hypes.


Titans

Week 1: @CLE, L (0-1)

Week 2: IND, L (0-2)

Week 3: @JAX, L (0-3)

Week 4: @ATL, L (0-4)

Week 5: BUF, W (1-4)

Week 6: @DEN, L (1-5)

Week 7: LAC, L (1-6)

Week 8: TB, W (2-6)

Week 9: @CAR, L (2-7)

Week 10: KC, L (2-8)

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: JAX, W (3-8)

Week 13: @IND, L (3-9)

Week 14: @OAK, L (3-10)

Week 15: HOU, W (4-10)

Week 16: NO, L (4-11)

Week 17: @HOU, L (4-12)


Just like the aforementioned Bengals, the Titans’ roster resembles more than a squad that can only muster 4 victories. But home games against elite contingents such as the Colts, Chargers and Saints will likely challenge this team, as will away games in raucous atmospheres. I suspect that the Titans will take a quarterback to replace former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota in April.


Jaguars

Week 1: KC, L (0-1)

Week 2: @HOU, L (0-2)

Week 3: TEN, W (1-2)

Week 4: @DEN, L (1-3)

Week 5: @CAR, L (1-4)

Week 6: NO, W (2-4)

Week 7: @CIN, W (3-4)

Week 8: NYJ, W (4-4)

Week 9: @HOU, L (4-5)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: @IND, L (4-6)

Week 12: @TEN, L (4-7)

Week 13: TB, W (5-7)

Week 14: LAC, L (5-8)

Week 15: @OAK, L (5-9)

Week 16: @ATL, L (5-10)

Week 17: IND, W (6-10)


Could the motif of a team’s schedule masquerading as its talent be any more apparent? The same maxim holds for Jacksonville. The Jags’ .531 opponents’ winning percentage transcends even the Texans. If this defense can keep games close, Nick Foles might have a chance; regardless, already playing in one of the toughest divisions in football should test the mettle and moxie of this team.


Division Standings: 1. Colts (11-5), 2. Texans (9-7), 3. Jaguars (6-10), 4. Titans (4-12)


AFC West

Chiefs

Week 1: @JAX, W (1-0)

Week 2: @OAK, L (1-1)

Week 3: BAL, W (2-1)

Week 4: @DET, W (3-1)

Week 5: IND, W (4-1)

Week 6: HOU, W (5-1)

Week 7: @DEN, W (6-1)

Week 8: GB, W (7-1)

Week 9: MIN, W (8-1)

Week 10: @TEN, W (9-1)

Week 11: @LAC, W (10-1)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: OAK, W (11-1)

Week 14: @NE, L (11-2)

Week 15: DEN, W (12-2)

Week 16: @CHI, L (12-3)

Week 17: LAC, W (13-3)


Chiefs fans might gasp in shock at their Week 2 loss to Oakland; however, keep in mind that this same team nearly lost a battle in the Bay a year ago and barely escaped with a 40-33 win. Nevertheless, a 10-game win streak should catapult this team to another playoff berth and division title.


Chargers

Week 1: IND, W (1-0)

Week 2: @DET, W (2-0)

Week 3: HOU, W (3-0)

Week 4: @MIA, W (4-0)

Week 5: DEN, W (5-0)

Week 6: PIT, W (6-0)

Week 7: @TEN, W (7-0)

Week 8: @CHI, L (7-1)

Week 9: GB, W (8-1)

Week 10: @OAK, W (9-1)

Week 11: KC, L (9-2)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: @DEN, W (10-2)

Week 14: @JAX, W (11-2)

Week 15: MIN, W (12-2)

Week 16: OAK, W (13-2)

Week 17: @KC, L (13-3)


Just how many years in a row can the Chargers have the same record as the Chiefs yet not win the AFC West? I think the same sentiment holds true this season. Per my projections, if the Chargers can defend home court and beat Kansas City at home, that could be the difference between being the #1 seed and the #5 seed. Regardless, this squad has the potential to make another deep playoff run.


Broncos

Week 1: @OAK, L (0-1)

Week 2: CHI, W (1-1)

Week 3: @GB, L (1-2)

Week 4: JAX, W (2-2)

Week 5: @LAC, L (2-3)

Week 6: TEN, W (3-3)

Week 7: KC, L (3-4)

Week 8: @IND, L (3-5)

Week 9: CLE, W (4-5)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: @MIN, W (5-5)

Week 12: @BUF, L (5-6)

Week 13: LAC, L (5-7)

Week 14: @HOU, L (5-8)

Week 15: @KC, L (5-9)

Week 16: DET, W (6-9)

Week 17: OAK, W (7-9)


7-1 for Denver at home? You heard it here first. John Elway has (once again) found his quarterback understudy in Drew Lock, who could start anywhere from Week 7 onward. NFL Network’s Adam Rank pegged Denver to post a 2-14 mark; I just don’t see how this team could lose more than 10 games.


Raiders

Week 1: DEN, W (1-0)

Week 2: KC, W (2-0)

Week 3: @MIN, L (2-1)

Week 4: @IND, L (2-2)

Week 5: CHI, L (2-3)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: @GB, L (2-4)

Week 8: @HOU, L (2-5)

Week 9: DET, W (3-5)

Week 10: LAC, L (3-6)

Week 11: CIN, W (4-6)

Week 12: @NYJ, L (4-7)

Week 13: @KC, L (4-8)

Week 14: TEN, W (5-8)

Week 15: JAX, W (6-8)

Week 16: @LAC, L (6-9)

Week 17: @DEN, L (6-10)


In their ultimate season in Oakland, the Raiders should be optimistic about their team heading into Las Vegas. Yes, they will likely still finish last in the AFC West, but they play some very manageable opponents at home—games that, if won, could help to salvage Derek Carr’s black-and-silver tenure.


Division Standings: 1. Chiefs (13-3), 2. Chargers (13-3), 3. Broncos (7-9), 4. Raiders (6-10)

Note: Even though the Chiefs and Chargers ended with identical records, the Chiefs went 2-0 against the Chargers, so they emerge as AFC West champions.


AFC Playoff Seeding

1. Patriots (13-3)

2. Chiefs (13-3)

Note: The Patriots beat the Chiefs during the regular season, so they earn the #1 seed.

3. Colts (11-5)

4. Browns (10-6)

5. Chargers (13-3, Wild Card)

6. Steelers (9-7, Wild Card)

Note: Even though the Steelers, Texans, and Jets all finished at 9-7, neither team a) swept the other two nor b) lost to the other two. Consequently, the Steelers and Jets both had records of 7-5 against the AFC (compared to the Texans, who went 6-6 in such games), so Houston is eliminated. Moving on to the next rule (full guidelines here), the Steelers beat the Jets in the regular season, so they earn the last Wild Card berth.


NFC North

Bears

Week 1: GB, W (1-0)

Week 2: @DEN, L (1-1)

Week 3: @WAS, W (2-1)

Week 4: MIN, W (3-1)

Week 5: @OAK, W (4-1)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: NO, L (4-2)

Week 8: LAC, W (5-2)

Week 9: @PHI, L (5-3)

Week 10: DET, W (6-3)

Week 11: @LAR, L (6-4)

Week 12: NYG, W (7-4)

Week 13: @DET, W (8-4)

Week 14: DAL, W (9-4)

Week 15: @GB, L (9-5)

Week 16: KC, W (10-5)

Week 17: @MIN, W (11-5)


Bears fans might think that this prediction would undersell the caliber of team they have. The Bears definitely have enough talent to finish better than 11-5, but what stands in their way is a ridiculously arduous schedule. From going to Denver—one of the toughest places to play—as well as Philadelphia to hosting the Saints, Chargers, and Chiefs, there are very few soft spots in this slate. Chicago, however, should still have no problem winning the NFC North.


Packers

Week 1: @CHI, L (0-1)

Week 2: MIN, W (1-1)

Week 3: DEN, W (2-1)

Week 4: PHI, W (3-1)

Week 5: @DAL, L (3-2)

Week 6: DET, W (4-2)

Week 7: OAK, W (5-2)

Week 8: @KC, L (5-3)

Week 9: @LAC, L (5-4)

Week 10: CAR, W (6-4)

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @SF, L (6-5)

Week 13: @NYG, W (7-5)

Week 14: WAS, W (8-5)

Week 15: CHI, W (9-5)

Week 16: @MIN, L (9-6)

Week 17: @DET, W (10-6)


Wow, what a turnaround for Green Bay. After a tumultuous 2018 in which Mike McCarthy was fired, I think they rebound nicely under Matt LaFleur (although I don’t think he was the ideal choice for Aaron Rodgers). This defense is now loaded with Frank Clark, Rashan Gary—albeit who has bust potential—Adrian Amos, Blake Martinez, and Jaire Alexander. Their games at Dallas, Kansas City and Los Angeles should be fun to watch. All in all, I think this team has the mettle to return to playoff form led by a resurgent Rodgers.


Vikings

Week 1: ATL, L (0-1)

Week 2: @GB, L (0-2)

Week 3: OAK, W (1-2)

Week 4: @CHI, L (1-3)

Week 5: @NYG, W (2-3)

Week 6: PHI, L (2-4)

Week 7: @DET, L (2-5)

Week 8: WAS, W (3-5)

Week 9: @KC, L (3-6)

Week 10: @DAL, L (3-7)

Week 11: DEN, W (4-7)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: @SEA, L (4-8)

Week 14: DET, W (5-8)

Week 15: @LAC, L (5-9)

Week 16: GB, W (6-9)

Week 17: CHI, L (6-10)


This Vikings team strikes me as trending in the wrong direction. Despite arguably the best wide receiver duo and a formidable defense, I think Kirk Cousins simply lacks the “it” factor that Minnesota thought he had. A tough road schedule, coupled with a premier division, should cause the Vikings to have their first sub-.500 season since 2014.


Lions

Week 1: @ARI, L (0-1)

Week 2: LAC, L (0-2)

Week 3: @PHI, L (0-3)

Week 4: KC, L (0-4)

Week 5: BYE

Week 6: @GB, L (0-5)

Week 7: MIN, W (1-5)

Week 8: NYG, W (2-5)

Week 9: @OAK, L (2-6)

Week 10: @CHI, L (2-7)

Week 11: DAL, L (2-8)

Week 12: @WAS, W (3-8)

Week 13: CHI, L (3-9)

Week 14: @MIN, L (3-10)

Week 15: TB, W (4-10)

Week 16: @DEN, L (4-11)

Week 17: GB, L (4-12)


The Lions went 3-5 at home last year, and with heavyweights like the Chargers, Chiefs and Cowboys all coming to the Motor City, I expect them to have an identical Ford Field mark in 2019. Matthew Stafford has a full assortment of weapons yet I don’t think it’s enough to help push the Lions out of last place.


Division Standings: 1. Bears (11-5), 2. Packers (10-6), 3. Vikings (6-10), 4. Lions (4-12)


NFC East

Cowboys

Week 1: NYG, W (1-0)

Week 2: @WAS, W (2-0)

Week 3: MIA, W (3-0)

Week 4: @NO, L (3-1)

Week 5: GB, W (4-1)

Week 6: @NYJ, L (4-2)

Week 7: PHI, W (5-2)

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: @NYG, W (6-2)

Week 10: MIN, W (7-2)

Week 11: @DET, W (8-2)

Week 12: @NE, L (8-3)

Week 13: BUF, W (9-3)

Week 14: @CHI, L (9-4)

Week 15: LAR, L (9-5)

Week 16: @PHI, L (9-6)

Week 17: WAS, W (10-6)


Expectations are sky-high in Dallas, especially with the combination of Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper for a full season. I think anything short of an NFC Championship appearance wouldn’t satiate Cowboys fans. The good news for Jason Garrett & crew is that Philadelphia is their main adversary in the division, but games in New Orleans, Foxborough and Chicago should be litmus tests.


Eagles

Week 1: WAS, W (1-0)

Week 2: @ATL, L (1-1)

Week 3: DET, W (2-1)

Week 4: @GB, L (2-2)

Week 5: NYJ, W (3-2)

Week 6: @MIN, W (4-2)

Week 7: @DAL, L (4-3)

Week 8: @BUF, W (5-3)

Week 9: CHI, W (6-3)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: NE, W (7-3)

Week 12: SEA, W (8-3)

Week 13: @MIA, W (9-3)

Week 14: NYG, W (10-3)

Week 15: @WAS, L (10-4)

Week 16: DAL, W (11-4)

Week 17: @NYG, W (12-4)


This prediction has less to do with Carson Wentz’ re-emergence than it does with a schedule that ranks among the bottom quadrant of the league in terms of difficulty. Philly has plenty of opportunities against competitors in Green Bay, Dallas, Chicago, New England, and Seattle. I don’t think 8-0 at home would be that much of a stretch for this unit.


Redskins

Week 1: @PHI, L (0-1)

Week 2: DAL, L (0-2)

Week 3: CHI, L (0-3)

Week 4: @NYG, L (0-4)

Week 5: NE, L (0-5)

Week 6: @MIA, W (1-5)

Week 7: SF, W (2-5)

Week 8: @MIN, L (2-6)

Week 9: @BUF, L (2-7)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: NYJ, W (3-7)

Week 12: DET, W (4-7)

Week 13: @CAR, L (4-8)

Week 14: @GB, L (4-9)

Week 15: PHI, W (5-9)

Week 16: NYG, W (6-9)

Week 17: @DAL, L (6-10)


The key question is: when does Dwayne Haskins start? I would guess after Week 10, when I prognosticate the team to fall off a little bit. I think Haskins will turn some heads and have Washington fans hopeful entering 2020 by at least making games competitive, but Washington still needs some receiver help.


Giants

Week 1: @DAL, L (0-1)

Week 2: BUF, L (0-2)

Week 3: @TB, L (0-3)

Week 4: WAS, W (1-3)

Week 5: MIN, L (1-4)

Week 6: @NE, L (1-5)

Week 7: ARI, L (1-6)

Week 8: @DET, L (1-7)

Week 9: DAL, L (1-8)

Week 10: @NYJ, L (1-9)

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @CHI, L (1-10)

Week 13: GB, L (1-11)

Week 14: @PHI, L (1-12)

Week 15: MIA, W (2-12)

Week 16: @WAS, L (2-13)

Week 17: PHI, L (2-14)


The Giants don’t have a particularly difficult schedule, but almost every single opponent is fundamentally better than them on paper. I think, in the most Dave Gettleman-guided Giants way possible, that New York has a chance at the #1 pick—maybe a similar scenario to the Josh Rosen-Cardinals dynamic a year ago?—yet misses out by beating Miami in Week 15.


Division Standings: 1. Eagles (12-4), 2. Cowboys (10-6), 3. Redskins (6-10), 4. Giants (2-14)


NFC South

Saints

Week 1: HOU, W (1-0)

Week 2: @LA, W (2-0)

Week 3: @SEA, L (2-1)

Week 4: DAL, W (3-1)

Week 5: TB, W (4-1)

Week 6: @JAX, L (4-2)

Week 7: @CHI, W (5-2)

Week 8: ARI, W (6-2)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: ATL, W (7-2)

Week 11: @TB, W (8-2)

Week 12: CAR, W (9-2)

Week 13: @ATL, W (10-2)

Week 14: SF, W (11-2)

Week 15: IND, W (12-2)

Week 16: @TEN, W (13-2)

Week 17: @CAR, W (14-2)


I am beyond confident in this Saints squad. They play their fair share of tough games, including at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, at CenturyLink Field, at Soldier Field, and at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but I think Drew Brees and Sean Payton really comprehend how precipitously their championship window is closing. The loss at Jacksonville may seem surprising, but keep in mind that a) the Jaguars have a better roster than in 2018 and b) NOLA lost in a tough Dallas atmosphere to a stout defense on Thursday Night Football a year ago.


Falcons

Week 1: @MIN, W (1-0)

Week 2: PHI, W (2-0)

Week 3: @IND, L (2-1)

Week 4: TEN, W (3-1)

Week 5: @HOU, L (3-2)

Week 6: @ARI, W (4-2)

Week 7: LAR, L (4-3)

Week 8: SEA, W (5-3)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: @NO, L (5-4)

Week 11: @CAR, L (5-5)

Week 12: TB, W (6-5)

Week 13: NO, L (6-6)

Week 14: CAR, W (7-6)

Week 15: @SF, L (7-7)

Week 16: JAX, W (8-7)

Week 17: @TB, W (9-7)


Simply put, there’s not a good reason the Falcons missed the postseason in 2018. They lost a lot of winnable games, and I think they feel more confident heading into this campaign. Atlanta has the best receiving corps in the league with Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Sr., and Calvin Ridley; what they really need to do is protect home field and compete. I project that they will fall just shy of playoff contention.


Panthers

Week 1: LAR, L (0-1)

Week 2: TB, W (1-1)

Week 3: @ARI, W (2-1)

Week 4: @HOU, L (2-2)

Week 5: JAX, W (3-2)

Week 6: @TB, L (3-3)

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: @SF, L (3-4)

Week 9: TEN, W (4-4)

Week 10: @GB, L (4-5)

Week 11: ATL, W (5-5)

Week 12: @NO, L (5-6)

Week 13: WAS, W (6-6)

Week 14: @ATL, L (6-7)

Week 15: SEA, W (7-7)

Week 16: @IND, L (7-8)

Week 17: NO, L (7-9)


How healthy will Cam Newton be in 2019? He has regressed since his nearly impeccable MVP season 4 years ago, but losing former #1 receiver Devin Funchess won’t help. I also have concerns about this secondary.


Buccaneers

Week 1: SF, L (0-1)

Week 2: @CAR, L (0-2)

Week 3: NYG, W (1-2)

Week 4: @LAR, L (1-3)

Week 5: @NO, L (1-4)

Week 6: CAR, W (2-4)

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: @TEN, L (2-5)

Week 9: @SEA, L (2-6)

Week 10: ARI, W (3-6)

Week 11: NO, L (3-7)

Week 12: @ATL, L (3-8)

Week 13: @JAX, L (3-9)

Week 14: IND, L (3-10)

Week 15: @DET, L (3-11)

Week 16: HOU, L (3-12)

Week 17: ATL, L (3-13)


Much like Marcus Mariota and the Titans, I think this year is an ultimatum for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. Since being drafted in 2015, Winston has only made 1 Pro Bowl team; moreover, the Bucs have gone a subpar 25-39 in that span. One game that they could steal is against San Francisco in Week 1, but the 49ers undoubtedly have more talent than Tampa.


Division Standings: 1. Saints (14-2), 2. Falcons (9-7), 3. Panthers (7-9), 4. Buccaneers (3-13)


NFC West

Rams

Week 1: @CAR, W (1-0)

Week 2: NO, L (1-1)

Week 3: @CLE, L (1-2)

Week 4: TB, W (2-2)

Week 5: @SEA, L (2-3)

Week 6: SF, W (3-3)

Week 7: @ATL, W (4-3)

Week 8: CIN, W (5-3)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: @PIT, L (5-4)

Week 11: CHI, W (6-4)

Week 12: BAL, W (7-4)

Week 13: @ARI, W (8-4)

Week 14: SEA, W (9-4)

Week 15: @DAL, L (9-5)

Week 16: @SF, W (10-5)

Week 17: ARI, W (11-5)


My confidence in this Rams team has waned significantly since not only their loss in Super Bowl LIII, but after learning of Todd Gurley’s arthritis diagnosis. After starting 2-3, I think the Rams overcome their own doubts and once again win the NFC West—this team is simply too talented and well-coached to miss out on the playoffs.


Seahawks

Week 1: CIN, W (1-0)

Week 2: @PIT, L (1-1)

Week 3: NO, W (2-1)

Week 4: @ARI, L (2-2)

Week 5: LAR, W (3-2)

Week 6: @CLE, L (3-3)

Week 7: BAL, W (4-3)

Week 8: @ATL, L (4-4)

Week 9: TB, W (5-4)

Week 10: @SF, L (5-5)

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @PHI, L (5-6)

Week 13: MIN, W (6-6)

Week 14: @LAR, L (6-7)

Week 15: @CAR, L (6-8)

Week 16: ARI, W (7-8)

Week 17: SF, W (8-8)


The Seahawks are analogous to the Vikings in that both teams have elevated expectations; however, I think each will fall flat. Seattle’s receiving corps are depleted after the retirement of standout Doug Baldwin, as is their Earl Thomas- and Frank Clark-less defense. Seattle was not a phenomenal road team in 2018, and I think that trend will continue considering the echelon of their away opponents—yes, even the Cardinals, who actually almost edged out the Seahawks last year in State Farm Stadium.

49ers

Week 1: @TB, W (1-0)

Week 2: @CIN, W (2-0)

Week 3: PIT, W (3-0)

Week 4: BYE

Week 5: CLE, W (4-0)

Week 6: @LAR, L (4-1)

Week 7: @WAS, L (4-2)

Week 8: CAR, W (5-2)

Week 9: @ARI, L (5-3)

Week 10: SEA, W (6-3)

Week 11: ARI, W (7-3)

Week 12: GB, W (8-3)

Week 13: @BAL, L (8-4)

Week 14: @NO, L (8-5)

Week 15: ATL, W (9-5)

Week 16: LAR, W (10-5)

Week 17: @SEA, L (10-6)


Jimmy Garoppolo hushes his naysayers and leads the 49ers to a playoff berth. How about that? I think they’ll either win all of their games at home or get very close; after all, with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens under center a year ago, they went 4-4 at Levi’s Stadium. This time around, however, I think the 49ers—with a killer defensive line—have the capability to profoundly succeed.

Cardinals


Week 1: DET, W (1-0)

Week 2: @BAL, L (1-1)

Week 3: CAR, L (1-2)

Week 4: SEA, L (1-3)

Week 5: @CIN, L (1-4)

Week 6: ATL, L (1-5)

Week 7: @NYG, W (2-5)

Week 8: @NO, L (2-6)

Week 9: SF, W (3-6)

Week 10: @TB, L (3-7)

Week 11: @SF, L (3-8)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: LAR, L (3-9)

Week 14: PIT, W (4-9)

Week 15: CLE, L (4-10)

Week 16: @SEA, L (4-11)

Week 17: @LAR, L (4-12)


The Cardinals have developed a nice nucleus of young talent, including QB Kyler Murray; WRs Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and Christian Kirk; LB Haason Reddick; and DBs Budda Baker, Byron Murphy, and Deionte Thompson. I suspect they’ll catch the Lions off guard in the desert in Week 1, as will they upstage the Steelers in Week 14. For a team filled with youngsters—they should still likely trade star Patrick Peterson—I think 4-12 isn’t half bad.


Division Standings: 1. Rams (11-5), 2. 49ers (10-6), 3. Seahawks (8-8), 4. Cardinals (4-12)


NFC Playoff Seeding

1. Saints (14-2)

2. Eagles (12-4)

3. Rams (11-5)

4. Bears (11-5)

Note: Though the Rams and Bears both went 11-5, the Rams defeated the Bears, so they earn the #3 seed.

5. Cowboys (10-6)

6. 49ers (10-6)

Note: Just like with the AFC, a three-way tie between Dallas, San Francisco and Green Bay is determined based on head-to-head record. Since the Packers lost to both the Cowboys and 49ers, they are eliminated. The Cowboys and 49ers did not play each other; however, since the Cowboys had a superior record of 8-4--compared to the 49ers’ 7-5—in games against NFC opponents, they earn the #5 seed and San Francisco gets the #6 seed.


Bonus: 2020 NFL Draft Order

1. Bengals (1-15)

2. Dolphins (2-14)

3. Giants (2-14)

4. Buccaneers (3-13)

5. Lions (4-12)

Note: Tiebreakers (between the Dolphins and Giants as well as between the Titans, Lions and Cardinals) are based on strength of schedule—the easier the schedule between teams with the same record (determined using 2019 records), the higher the draft positioning.

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