The 2017-18 National Football League season begins (in earnest) this Sunday. We would be remiss if we didn’t give you our Super Bowl picks, thoughts on our Cleveland Browns and notes on our secondary team.
We probably get all of these wrong.
Super Bowl LII Picks
Jake Altman (@shakeandjake7) – “This season, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl. Both teams have the defenses to get the job done. KC will have to get through a tough AFC, against the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady and the Patriots, but I trust the defense to get the job done and Alex Smith to do enough without getting his team into trouble. The Seahawks will walk easily into the Super Bowl against an NFC that doesn’t impress me. Their defense is probably the best in the league, in my book. The running game could be a struggle, as none of their backs inspire a ton of confidence, but Russell Wilson, like Alex Smith, will limit mistakes and do just enough.”
Damien Bowman (@damienbowman) – “I’m a man of consistency, so until a team shows us they can beat the Patriots, I’m sold on them. Full disclosure, Kansas City did beat New England last night and I’m writing this after, but the last time the Chiefs beat the Patriots the Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Patriots over Steelers – barely – in the AFC Championship Game.
The easiest pick in the NFC is the Seahawks, again very consistent and well-coached. It’s hard to pick against one of my favorite cities in the world, but I’m going to do it. I’ll take the Packers for absolutely no reason at all. I don’t know anything Green Bay other than Discount Double-Check, but I like him a lot this year. I think there’s a lot left for Aaron Rodgers to prove. Packers somehow over the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game.”
Josh Flagner (@railbirdj) – “It seems lazy to choose the Patriots as the AFC representative for Super Bowl LII, but I can’t wrap my head around any conference opponent stopping the flow of clam chowder to the Bold North. Trust me, I want to pick Oakland, or even Pittsburgh, but no amount of public grievance over constantly being fed Tom Brady think pieces can stop the AFC juggernaut Patriots.
Who will New England beat in the Super Bowl? No one. The Green Bay Packers will get through a brutal playoff run and leave Minnesota with their All-Time Super Bowl against the Patriots record at 2-0.”
Ryan Thompson (@rthompak13) – “I think we’re going to see one unfamiliar team in it to win it in late January/Early February. For the NFC title game, give me the Seahawks against the Cowboys, with the Cowboys winning a tight one to get to the show. As for the AFC, give me the Raiders opening a whole case of whoop-ass on the Pittsburgh Steelers to get to their first Super Bowl since 2002. I don’t know why the Raiders have my heart — maybe it’s the Browns fan in me that loves an underdog. Maybe it’s the fact that they have a franchise QB, a veteran RB, an above average receiving corps, and a stout run defense. Either way, give me the Raiders to defeat the Cowboys in a thriller, 28-24.”
Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns
Jake Altman – “The Browns will show improvement this year but are still a bad football team. The defense, to me, looks better against the run after pre-season. Still, I don’t believe they have what it takes to make big stops in big spots in the AFC North. I like DeShone Kizer, but I’m not sure he will last the season, even with an improved O-Line. This team is 6-10 at best, but 3-13 at worst.”
Damien Bowman – “I think I’ve been obvious that I’m not a Browns fan, and I’m not about to suddenly jump on a bandwagon even if they were on the path to the Super Bowl, but the Browns will certainly be better than they were last year when they won one game. I’m not sold on the front office, including the Haslam’s, and Hue Jackson (whom I often call Hue Jackman), but despite the lack of superior leadership on Lou Groza Boulevard, I think the Browns win four games and A player will have a breakout year. Yes, I’d be totally surprised if that player were DeShone Kizer.”
Josh Flagner – “The Cleveland Browns will be fun. DeShone Kizer is a high risk/high reward rookie whose aptitude for accepting coaching is evident. You can see him learning, but boy does he have a lot of it to do. On the other side of the ball, the defense will create pressure and cause turnovers. Browns fans need those spikes in heart rate to keep from flatlining. We need to stay awake for our fantasy football teams on Sunday.”
Ryan Thompson – “As for my Brownies, clearly the team has gone in the right direction since last year, both in the draft and in free agency. I don’t think you can shove off a 4-0 pre-season, but I also put ZERO stock in pre-season football. If the last 18 years are any indication, starting a rookie QB is going to be cause for disaster. That said, I’m (for some reason) hopefully optimistic relative to last season. I’ll give the Browns a 5-11 season at worst, 7-9 at best. I think the defensive line and Peppers are going to create opportunities for the offense that they haven’t had in a few years, and hopefully they can make something of at least a few of them.”
Thoughts on a Secondary Team
Jake Altman – “The Saints haven’t been the same team over the last few years. An aging Drew Brees seems to still be a top level QB, but the weapons around him have been depleted, with Colston aging and retiring, and Jimmy Graham joining the Seahawks. They will benefit from what I imagine will be a hungry Adrian Peterson in the backfield, and if the defense holds, could be a sneaky wild card team in the NFC.”
Damien Bowman – “I don’t have a secondary team, per se, but allow me a moment to touch on the Atlanta Falcons. After the devastating defeat in Super Bowl LI, the Falcons have a lot to show; the first being resilience. How will they bounce back in Week 1 in Chicago? How will they play in their new digs at Mercedes-Benz in ATL? What’s Matt Ryan like eight months removed from Houston? Those and many more questions will define the Birds in 2017, but I think they respond and play well. Well enough to go far into the playoffs. I didn’t pick the Falcons for the Super Bowl or for the NFC Championship Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised to be there. The Falcons are a great team and obviously have a lot of experience.”
Josh Flagner – “sKizer’s the Limit will be winning its first championship in my return to fantasy football. It’s been eight years since I last suited up (put on pants) and took the field (drank on my couch) to compete for a fantasy football championship, so it’s safe to say sKizer’s the Limit is my sleeper pick for a dominate 2017 season. No one cares about my players, so you’ll have to tweet me to find out. I also like the Raiders.”
Ryan Thompson – “I wanted to take some time to predict the season of a team that I hold near and dear to my heart — The Buffalo Bills. The Bills, unfortunately, are going to have a bad season. Defensively, they’re going to be one of the worst teams in football. Offensively, they’re a shell of their former selves, and there has been talk of the team trading QB Tyrod Taylor — a center piece of their offense. This is one of those years where they might get 2 wins (inter-division wins against the Jets), but that’s it.”