2018 NFL Season Predictions

NBC 7's take on who will win the Lombardi Trophy this year

Strange things happen in the NFL. Every single year we see something that nobody saw coming.

Like in 2017 when the Jaguars and Rams went from the top of the Draft to the playoffs, one of them doing it with a rookie head coach who still gets carded at his local watering hole.

So odds are the 2018 season will feature something that happens against all odds. Let’s try to figure out what that might be with our NFL season predictions, starting with who’s going to win all the division titles.


Chiefs 10-6
Chargers 9-7 (Wild Card)
Raiders 7-9
Broncos 6-10

I know the Chargers have the most talent in the division but until they prove they can beat Kansas City, even with what is basically a rookie quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, the Bolts will need help to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card again. They simply did not do enough to shore up the run defense or fix their special teams woes to give me any confidence they’ll be able to host a playoff game in their soccer stadium. The Raiders would have been a dark horse had they held on to Khalil Mack but now a defense that was mediocre with him is going to be a huge problem. Derek Carr, however, might win the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award working in Jon Gruden’s system. Kansas City has what is right now the best coach in the division. I think the Chiefs get a chance to lose another home playoff game.


Steelers 10-6
Ravens 9-7
Bengals 8-8
Browns 3-13

Regardless of what happens with Le’Veon Bell the Steelers will be the class of this division. Ben Roethlisberger has at least one more high-caliber season left in him and with two Pro Bowl-caliber wideouts to throw to Pittsburgh will be able to outshoot some clubs. They’ll have to because they didn’t really address the loss of Ryan Shazier (which, granted, is nearly impossible to do) so they don’t have a championship-caliber defense. The Ravens are intriguing because of the Lamar Jackson factor. If Joe Flacco doesn’t play well early a change might be made because John Harbaugh is squarely on the coaching hot seat. I honestly have no idea what to make of the Bengals so I’ll straddle the fence with them at 8-8. The Browns will be better, mostly because they could not possibly be worse.


Jaguars 11-5
Titans 10-6 (Wild Card)
Texans 9-7
Colts 5-11

Jacksonville is hurting big time at wide receiver and that is not going to make anyone forget that Blake Bortles is, in fact, Blake Bortles. But they run the football extremely well and that defense … oh goodness that defense. Sacksonville might hold to teams to less than 15 points a game and that’s good enough for even a Bortles-led offense to win a division title. Tennessee won a playoff game on the road as a Wild Card a year ago (Chiefs, duh) and added Malcolm Butler to the secondary so they have the tools to win the division but with a rookie head coach in Mike Vrabel it’s hard to commit to that pick. Houston is the big question mark here. If J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson are fully healthy they can win the division and more. If not, they’ll be on the outside looking in. The Colts will be better with Andrew Luck (again, contingent upon health) but they still have plenty of holes to fill.


Patriots 13-3
Dolphins 6-10
Jets 6-10
Bills 4-12

Yes, I know Buffalo was in the playoffs last year. But with all the turnover at quarterback and on defense they’re going to take a huge step backwards. New York will be better with Sam Darnold and Miami will be better with Ryan Tannehill but neither of those teams has the ability to hang with New England, who will earn home field advantage for the playoffs again because they benefit from playing in a bad division. But make no mistake, the Pats are far from the juggernaut we’re used to seeing, and that will become evident in the post-season.


Rams 13-3
49ers 9-7
Seahawks 8-8
Cardinals 4-12

Los Angeles is LOADED on … well, everywhere really. Adding Brandin Cooks and Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh and Aqib Talib and extending Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley and this team is built to win for the next few years. The one question I have is whether or not Sean McVay, who caught a lot of teams off-guard with his offense last year, will be able to adjust to the adjustments NFL defenses will throw at him. He probably can and that means this team could hold teams under 16 points while scoring 30 a game. The 49ers will be good enough to stay in the playoff hunt under another offensive mastermind in Kyle Shanahan. I could see Seattle making the playoffs or losing 11 games so let’s just leave them at 8-8. Arizona will definitely not be a factor.


Vikings 12-4
Packers 10-6 (Wild Card)
Bears 8-8
Lions 6-10

Minnesota went to the AFC Championship Game with Case Keenum at QB. Now they have Kirk Cousins, a massive upgrade under center. Also don’t forget running back Dalvin Cook, who was playing extremely well before tearing an ACL, is back so the Vikings offense should be a whole lot better. Minny’s defense should be downright scary, much like it was a year ago. Head coach Mike Zimmer is expected to make another deep playoff run and he has the tools to do it. However, the Packers have a healthy Aaron Rodgers to pair with tight end Jimmy Graham, which is borderline unfair. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy is starting to feel the pressure to get back into contention and he has the tools to do it. The Bears are a dark horse, especially with the addition of Khalil Mack. If young QB Mitch Trubisky can develop quickly Chicago might be able to put itself into late-season playoff contention. The Lions under Matt Patricia seem, to me, like a disaster waiting to happen.


Saints 12-4
Panthers 10-6 (Wild Card)
Falcons 9-7
Buccaneers 2-14

New Orleans is loaded up for another playoff run. Drew Brees is not slowing down and he has a very good running game to work with and their defense added a serious playmaker in the Draft with defensive end Marcus Davenport. The Saints don’t have many (if any) serious deficiencies and a QB-coach combo that’s already won a Super Bowl and was one very bad rookie mistake from going to the NFC Championship Game a year ago. Carolina is intriguing because of Cam Newton working with Norv Turner. I think it’s going to work better than a lot of people expect and put the Panthers in playoff contention. If Matt Ryan goes back to being what we saw when he was an MVP then all this could blow up and put Atlanta in the playoffs. Tampa Bay is probably the worst team in pro football and in this division they’re going to get pummeled.


Eagles 9-7
Giants 8-8
Cowboys 8-8
Redskins 8-8

This division is always impossible for me to pick because literally any of these teams could win it. I’ll go with Philadelphia to repeat simply because they get Carson Wentz back soon. He was going to be the MVP before tearing his ACL last year and that man is going to have a gigantic chip on his shoulder to win another Super Bowl but actually play in the game this time. That alone puts Philly over the edge. New York geared up with Saquon Barkley, re-upped Odell Beckham Jr., and rebuilt their offensive line but it remains to be seen if it will be enough of an upgrade to win. Dallas is going to seriously feel the loss of Jason Witten at tight end and I’m not sold on their defense. The Redskins have Alex Smith at QB and a very good defensive front but can Adrian Peterson fix their running game?


(3) Steelers 27, (6) Chargers 20
(5) Titans 20, (4) Chiefs 17

(1)    Patriots 30, (5) Titans 17
(2)    Jaguars 23, (3) Steelers 14

(2)    Jaguars 20, (1) Patriots 16


(3)    Saints 33, (6) Panthers 20
(5)    Packers 37, (4) Eagles 33

(1)    Rams 30, (5) Packers 28
(3)    Saints 16, (2) Vikings 13

(3)    Saints 26, (1) Rams 24


Saints 20, Jaguars 17

The Rams are going to win a title with this group but they’re a year away. New Orleans and Brees get to celebrate another title.

Contact Us