All off-season long, I’ve been the worst kind of Clint Eastwood. Not Dirty Harry, not The Man With No Name, but Gran Torino, “get off my lawn” Clint Eastwood. I’ve complained about mock drafts, I’ve complained about smokescreens, and I’ve complained about draft grades. So instead of being my normal-cynical sense, I’m gonna take a wild shot in the dark and make some insane predictions for each team (in the NFC) before all the undrafted free agents are even signed.
Crazy Post-Draft Predictions for Each Team (NFC Edition)
The Minnesota Vikings… Are Fine
I think expectations ultimately undid the Minnesota Vikings last year. They were one no-show against the Philadelphia Eagles away from the Super Bowl in 2017, and then they went out and PAID a quarterback. They didn’t technically have a losing season, as they went 8-7-1, but they were far, far removed from the NFC contenders from the year before.
This year, I think they’ll bounce back a little and get closer to a division title. Irv Smith is a decent addition at tight end, and with all their tailbacks healthy, there should be less pressure on Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Kirk Cousins, your offense is stacked, if you guys struggle this year, it’s on you.
You like that?
The Green Bay Packers Return to Glory
I think this is the year that Aaron Rodgers (known lovingly in my circle as PABAR, don’t ask if you don’t know), carries the Packers back to the promised land. They invested money in Green Bay’s pass rush and secondary, while bolstering the offensive line. There’s been a regime change, and that can’t be a bad thing for the green and gold.
The Chicago Bears Struggle on Offense
The Bears defense is going to be nasty as long as Khalil Mack is there, let’s be honest. They got worse in the secondary, and the departure of Vic Fangio hurts, but there’s so much talent on that squad, they’ll be hard for any offense. But as far as their own scoring unit? There’s just not a ton to be excited about.
Mitch Trubisky has to take a big step in 2019 to prove he’s a franchise quarterback worthy of a franchise quarterback’s contract, but it’s not going to be easy for him. They don’t have a ton of playmakers, and like I’ve said here, I think the NFC North is going to be competitive next year.
The Detroit Lions Struggle to Escape NFL Purgatory
For the better part of the last ten years, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions have lived in that 6-9 win purgatory, and frankly, I just don’t think they’ve done enough to get better in 2019. I hope I’m wrong, but they didn’t do a lot to make me optimistic.
The New Orleans Saints Pick up Where They Left Off
I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of competition here, the Saints are stacked. They were one horribly officiated play away from the Super Bowl last season, and I expect them to pick up right where they left off, even if they have to start 0-2 like they do every year. However, Saints fans, I ask you this.
If Payton does what literally every other head coach does in that situation and runs the ball instead, taking time off the clock, none of this would matter. It was a heinous non-call from the official, but it doesn’t happen if not for an equally heinous playcall from Payton.
The Atlanta Falcons Bounce Back
It’s not even that the Atlanta Falcons were bad last year, they were just so beat up. They were banged up at seemingly every position, especially on defense, and it haunted them. Look at Matt Ryan’s numbers, they were doing the dang thing on offense last year, but the skeleton crew they fielded on defense just couldn’t hang. I bet they’re a lot better in 2019.
Christian McCaffrey Goes for 2,000 All-Purpose
Have you guys seen the picture of Christian McCaffrey that’s going around? Ed’s son is lookin’ yolked. Assuming he doesn’t lose that elite quickness, I think he has a real shot at 2,000 all-purpose yards this season. He came close last year with 1,965 yards, but this is the year he gets over the hump. I’d go as far to say that this year? He goes 1,000/1,000. That’s right, the full Roger Craig.
Jameis Winston Has a Career Year
This is honestly saying nothing, but I think Jameis Winston is about to have the best year of his career. Bruce Arians is a genius, and last year, the squad was so dysfunctional that even a good quarterback would’ve struggled. For those wondering, all he’d have to do is better his sophomore season, where he threw for 4,090 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. I’m not saying he even needs to throw more touchdowns, just somewhere in that area, with half as many interceptions, and 200 more yards.
The Cowboys Repeat
Yes America, I’m sorry, but I believe the Cowboys will be NFC East Champs yet again in 2019. Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, plus a returning Jason Witten, team up to make Dak Prescott look like he’s almost a decent quarterback, and the NFL’s best front seven keep Dallas’ defense elite. Though I really can’t wait to see how they try to manage all those contracts.
Carson Wentz Is Just Fine
What I mean by this is simple. The safety net of Nick Foles is gone, but then again, so is the pressure on Carson Wentz. People forget that it was Wentz who led the Eagles to the best record in the NFC two years ago before tragically getting injured, and he never really got a chance to get healthy before last year. He should be 100% by the time the 2019 season kicks off, and I bet he’ll be just as good as everyone remembers.
Eli Manning Starts at Least Ten Games
Most of the time, a veteran quarterback is unhappy to see his team spend a first round pick, let alone a top ten pick on a quarterback. However, in New York’s case, I bet it’s different. Eli Manning already has a relationship with Daniel Jones through their mutual quarterback coach, Dave Cutfcliffe. Jones is nowhere near ready to play in the NFL, and I hope the Giants know that. My bet is that they stick with Eli for most of the season, even if it ends up being his last.
The Washington Redskins Compete
Here’s something I never thought I’d say, I really liked Washington’s draft this year. They got Dwayne Haskins without trading up, and then they turned around and got Montez Sweat. A lot of people didn’t like the Bryce Love pick, but I felt like the Redskins were a perfect landing spot for him while he rehabs his knees. I don’t think they’ll win the division, but I believe they’ll be a lot better in 2019.
All Eyes on Gurley
Todd Gurley’s performance, or rather, lack thereof, during last year’s post-season raised a lot of eyebrows. Speculation has run rampant that his knee just isn’t good to go, and after what we saw in the Super Bowl, Jared Goff isn’t necessarily the guy you want under a ton of pressure. I’m not saying they won’t be good, because the rest of that roster is still stacked, but if Gurley can’t go, don’t be surprised if the team loses a step.
Same Ol’ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson’s contract and stories about shirtless D.K. Metcalf are the biggest Seahawk stories this off-season, but my wild and crazy prediction for the northwestern birds is that nothing will change. Wilson secured the bag, but I bet the Seahawks still commit to the run in 2019, with Metcalf being the recipient of a few play-action bombs.
The Seahawks don’t beat with you with smoke and mirrors, they simply attack you with fundamental football and a few thousand screaming 12’s.
Jimmy Garoppolo Will Struggle
I’ll admit it, I’ve never be a fan of Gameday Garoppolo. Firstly, I never feel like I’m spelling his name right, and secondly, he’s gotten paid so much to do so little that it makes Sam Bradford uncomfortable. This guy has ten career starts, and he’s made over $45 million. They say Derek Carr is overpaid, but this guy hasn’t accomplished anything in the NFL so far.
As a self-professed “hater” of the guy, I’ve gotta say, I’m not expecting him to dominate in 2019. Outside of George Kittle, he doesn’t have a ton of weapons, and while Kyle Shanahan is a quarterback wizard, I don’t buy Jimmy G as a MVP this season.
The Arizona Cardinals Will Be the Most Exciting Bad Team in Football
I’m a Kyler Murray fan, I can’t help it. I think he’s lying about his height, and I absolutely hate his interviews, but he was so much fun to watch at Oklahoma. I think that when this team is running their gameplan and everyone is healthy, they’ll be a lot of fun to watch on offense. I can’t wait to see how Kliff Kingsbury uses Andy Isabella, or how the Air Raid translates to the NFL. However, I don’t believe they’ll be a very good football team, to the point where they may find themselves picking first next season.
That doesn’t mean I’m not hoping for a few really fun, explosive plays next year.
If this didn’t scare ya off, check out the AFC version, I say equally wacky stuff.