A small detour from the offseason grades due to the release of the schedule. There are talks that week’s 3 and 4 can be moved to the end of the season in the event of disruption continued. The record in brackets are an assessment of what a team would do with an “average” schedule – how good a team is. The record without brackets are the prediction now the schedule has been released after going through the schedule and predicting every single game of the upcoming season.
Dallas Cowboys 10-6 (10-6)
A balanced schedule for the Cowboys, unlikely to win more than 2 games in a row and the same for losses. Late in the season (Week 16), facing the Eagles at home, potentially for the division is helpful and can force the division to a tiebreaker after they split the series with the Eagles. Having the away game against the Vikings will come after a bye. That could be enough to get an extra win on the board.
New York Giants 1-15 (5-11)
The Giants are unlucky. They get their win at home to the Redskins week 6. They get tougher teams at home, which leads to home losses (49ers week 3 and Bucs week 8) and easier teams away which leads to away losses (Bears week 1 and Bengals week 12). Not a great start for first year coach Joe Judge but he should (and will) be given time.
Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 (10-6)
The Eagles need to recover from last years injuries and take advantage of an early schedule as the last third is tough. From week 11 onwards, they face the Browns (A), Seahawks, Packers (A), Saints, Cardinals (A) and Cowboys (A). The only respite is the week 17 home game against Washington. That week 16 game against the Cowboys (in Dallas) is going to be decisive in the playoff chase/seeding.
Washington Redskins 4-12 (6-10)
With the best D-line in football, the Redskins will be aiming to suffocate teams. This may push them to a surprise win week 4 against the Ravens who could be coming off an emotional win against the Chiefs the week before. The Redskins can then take advantage of a lax midseason schedule in the Giants, Lions and Bengals (NO.1 vs NO.2 pick). After that, the schedule toughens up with the 49ers and Seahawks week’s 14 and 15.
Chicago Bears 4-12 (5-11)
A big regression for the Bears. Their QB situation is dire, Trubisky is not the answer and Foles is seemingly only good in the playoffs. Their WRs have promise with Miller and Ridley but a WR is only as good as his QB (unless you’re De’Andre Hopkins). Their defence will be great again but will not put up enough points against divisional opponents (Packers, Lions and Vikings) and NFC South opponents (Bucs, Saints, Falcons and Panthers). Nagy will be out or on the hotseat unless one of the QBs takes a giant step forward. At least they have 10TEs.
Detroit Lions 2-14 (4-12)
A good draft for Detroit, but it will take more players to build a great team. The run game is going to be awesome but playing the Packers, Cardinals and Saints (Weeks 2-4) will need to put up more points. However, the Packers could get run over by the power line of the Lions with Swift and Johnson (underrated) running behind it. Ending on two home games may seem a blessing, but the opposition are the Bucs and then the Vikings, long year for Detroit but in terms of personnel, a move in the right direction.
Green Bay Packers 9-7 (8-8)
The QB reality show will be tested with a trip to Minnesota week 1. Both matchups with the Vikings could decide the division. After a bye in week 5, a run of Bucs (A), Texans (A), Vikings and 49ers (A) will dent the record but an ease in last portion or the season allows the Packers to return above 500.
Minnesota Vikings 10-6 (10-6)
If Cousins can win the big games, then the Vikings can become proper competition in the playoffs. A difficult start to the season includes Colts (A) week 2 and Seahawks (A) week 5. But after getting a few wins, they can improve their record after their bye with the Lions, Bears and Jaguars coming up quickly. However, week 16 they must travel to New Orleans were the Saints will want revenge for last year’s playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons 4-12 (6-10)
The Falcons are another team that will suffer from being the weakest in a strong division. They can’t rival the Saints or Bucs and the Panthers are stronger than some consider. A finish of Bucs, Chiefs (A) and Bucs (A) will not help their record. This may be the year that Dan Quinn is shown the door, sadly it will be more down to a strong division than a reflection of the Falcons themselves.
Carolina Panthers 6-10 (8-8)
The Panthers could see themselves at 4-2 after 6 games due to opponents of Raiders, Chargers (A), Falcons (A) and Bears in the first 6 weeks. However, the Saints (A), Chiefs (A), Bucs and Vikings (A) over the next 6 games will hurt the schedule. A late bye week can refuel them for the final 4 games of the season and perhaps a push for that new 7th seed.
New Orleans Saints 13-3 (12-4)
Opening week 1 against the Bucs will be must-watch TV. Due to them being the hosts, I believe Brees gets one over Brady to start the season and the Saints end up the last unbeaten team until week 9 (8th game) they travel to Tampa Bay and Brady gets his revenge. From there, the Saints face stiff competition 49ers week 10 and Chiefs week 15 and the Saints will need to win them and other big games to rival the Bucs in the division.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-2 (12-4)
The Bucs can take advantage of a lower finish in the standings last year and pull ahead of the Saints. They may lose week 1 but then can win until travelling to Minnesota week 14 following their bye. Due to the easier schedule, the Bucs can take the division and potentially the NO.1 seed in the NFC. This schedule seems to be a little present to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Arizona Cardinals 12-4 (9-7)
A great schedule for the Cardinals (due to last years 5-10-1 record) which shows the 49ers and Seahawks providing them with a loss (Weeks 1, 7 and 11). The Cardinals can gain a win from the 49ers when hosting them week 16. A weak out-of-division schedule includes the Tom Brady-less AFC East and top-heavy NFC East. After a terrific offseason, everything is falling in place for a great year for the Cardinals.
Los Angeles Rams 3-13 (7-9)
This record is mainly because of a possible 0-6 record in division. After putting all eggs into the 2018-19 season and coming up short by a game, they now are an average team in a brilliant division. Games against the Giants, Redskins, Bears, Dolphins and Jets are possible wins, but the Rams are now paying for their previous roster moves. Cam Aikers may provide a spark to outdo the predicted record.
San Francisco 49ers 13-3 (11-5)
The 49ers are still a good team, I do not trust Garoppolo but the talent around him (the talent of GM John Lynch mainly) will help return the 49ers to the playoffs. They may lose week 8 when travelling to the Seahawks and week 10 against the Saints. But after being rejuvenated from the bye week, they rush their way to wins till the Cardinals topple them week 16. The division then comes down to the week 17 game, just like last year, against the Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks 13-3 (12-4)
Russell Wilson proves he is a top QB yet again this season. A nice opening 4 games to the season Falcons (A), Patriots, Cowboys, Dolphins (A) help the Seahawks have a fast start. Following that, a 3-game stretch of Vikings, Cardinals (A), 49ers may cause issues but a bye in the middle will help them navigate through. Week 17 could decide the division, hopefully the refs won’t screw them in the 4th quarter again.