Egan on Football: 2017 NFL PreviewDate: September 8, 2017
By: Keith Egan
With the NFL season beginning tonight, here are my predictions for the 2017 season in my final column of the preseason. After predicting each game of the year, I revised a few and went on to choose the playoffs and some season awards. So here's to another great football season. May the best team win.
- Giants: 10-6
- Cowboys: 9-7
- Eagles: 8-8
- Redskins: 6-10
The NFC East, as always, will be the grittiest division. After the Cowboys spectacular 2016, they will face more adversity this season, especially early on. With a tough early schedule, they go into their week six bye week 2-3. However, Dallas will find their way later on. The Giants stumble a few times as well, however their lighter load in the last few games propels them in the playoffs while the Cowboys fall behind the tough NFC Wild Card race.
- Packers: 13-3
- Vikings: 8-8
- Lions: 6-10
- Bears: 3-13
The NFC North will be the Packers division through and through. Minnesota fails to find consistency and loses many winnable games that puts them at .500. The Lions nearly impossible schedule leading up to their week seven bye is too much to recover from, even as they find their way in the second half. The Bears are going to have a rebuilding year, but find momentum in the end, winning their last two games of the season.
- Panthers: 10-6
- Falcons: 9-7
- Saints: 8-8
- The NFC South is the NFL's toughest division. With the defending NFC Champions in the hunt, they are still unable to break the curse of the Super Bowl losers being unable to reach the playoffs. Instead, it is the Buccaneers, who have an up and down year, but win their final five games to win the division and reach the postseason for the first time since 2007. The Panthers bounce back this season but lose the tiebreaker to Tampa Bay and find themselves in the 6th seed of the playoffs. The Saints finish last, but are much better than a last place team.
- Seahawks: 12-4
- Cardinals: 12-4
- Rams: 6-10
- 49ers: 2-14
The NFC West goes back to being a battle between the Cardinals and Seahawks, as the Seahawks take the tiebreaker for the division. Losing week one to the Packers ends up being the decider for first seed in the playoffs, however they sit comfortably at #2 while the Cardinals take the 5th seed. The Rams have more success than last year, but remain in their learning phase for the year. 49ers struggle and fall to 2-14.
- Patriots: 14-2
- Dolphins: 6-10
- Bills: 4-12
- Jets: 2-14
Picking the games in the AFC East had two problems: finding the Jets a win, and the Patriots a loss. For the Patriots, don't read too much into their loss last night to Kansas City. They are notorious for starting slow once the season begins. They get through the remainder of their first half schedule, and find their second loss in Mexico City against the Raiders. After that, there is not enough competition to take the defending champs down and they settle into the first seed in the playoffs. The Jets pick up their first win at home against the Bills, and get another in week 16 vs. the Chargers. The Bills and Dolphins both struggle as well.
- Ravens: 8-8
- Bengals: 8-8
- Browns: 5-11
The AFC North is Steelers first, Ravens and Bengals in the middle of the pack, and the Browns still working on their young players. Pittsburgh slips up a few times throughout the year after starting the year strong, but finish with 11 wins. Baltimore and Cincinnati both finish .500 as they fail to find consistency, while Cleveland improves as a franchise, but still falls at the bottom of the division.
- Colts: 7-9
- Jaguars: 3-13
An interesting division to watch. Houston was the best spot for rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to land, and the Texans use him to the fullest. With a few learning curves, the Texans take the division once again, but not with legitimate competition from the Titans. Tennessee finally plays a full season and just misses the division title. They fall in the wild card, but have a very successful and optimistic year. The Colts do not find a rhythm and fail to reach .500, while the Jaguars perform poorly again leading to a brand new look for the 2018 year.
- Raiders: 12-4
- Broncos: 10-6
- Chiefs: 9-7
- Chargers: 6-10
The Raiders pick up where they left off when Derek Carr fell to an injury last season. Finishing 12-4, accomplishing a bye week in the playoffs, and beating the Patriots in Mexico City as their signature win. The Chiefs took advantage of a bad Patriots defense last night by putting up 42 points in their Week One win. Don't get fooled, as this team's lack of consistent offensive punch finally catches up to them despite their superb defense as they get edged out by division foes, the Denver Broncos, who also had their defense propel them into the wild card. The Chargers struggle a lot and have trouble finding their new identity in Los Angeles.
Wild Card: #3 Giants Def. #6 Panthers #5 Cardinals Def. #4 Buccaneers
Divisional: #2 Seahawks Def. #3 Giants #1 Packers Def. #5 Cardinals
NFC Championship: #2 Seahawks Def. #1 Packers
Wild Card: #3 Steelers Def. #6 Titans #4 Texans Def. #5 Broncos
Divisional: #3 Steelers Def. #2 Raiders #1 Patriots Def. #4 Texans
AFC Championship: #3 Steelers Def. #1 Patriots
SEAHAWKS DEF. STEELERS
The first round only has one wild card team make it through in the Arizona Cardinals, then the Steelers are the only team to get the win on the road in the divisional round. However, both #1 seeds fall in the conference championships setting up a Seattle vs. Steelers Super bowl as we saw in Super Bowl XL. Seattle's defense wins the battle as the best defensive teams have in recent years, and the Seahawks win Super Bowl LII.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Coach of the Year: Jack Del Rio
OPOY: Antonio Brown
DPOY: Landon Collins
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Deshaun Watson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Myles Garrett
Keith Egan can be reached at email@example.com.
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