September 21, 2020

UJC MADRID

Sports Infomation for you

2020 NFL Season Predictions: MVP, playoff picks and more

The NFL season kicks off Thursday night as the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs host the...

The NFL season kicks off Thursday night as the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

That part seems relatively bankable. Everything else — up to and including whether all 32 teams will be able to sidestep the COVID-19 pandemic long enough to complete a full 16-game schedule — is up in the air.

With all that said, however … on with the predictions!

Here are our NFL panel’s picks for who will win MVP, make the playoffs, and etch their names on the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Craig Battle, Editor

MVP: Russell Wilson
AFC playoff teams: 1) Chiefs, 2) Ravens, 3) Colts, 4) Bills, 5) Steelers, 6) Broncos, 7) Texans
NFC playoff teams: 1) Packers, 2) Seahawks, 3) Saints, 4) Eagles, 5) 49ers, 6) Buccaneers, 7) Cowboys
AFC champion: Chiefs
NFC champion: Seahawks
Super Bowl champion: Seahawks

Storyline to watch: I tried to come up with a non-pandemic-related storyline here, but eventually felt like George Costanza at the end of that one Seinfeld episode: “They’re all Twix pandemic-related storylines!” I’m most eager to see the effect of the altered, stilted, confusing, truncated off-season on team and player performance. Will this season simply go to the teams and players who lost or changed the least, or will it just be a giant crapshoot, up for the taking to whoever can lean hardest into the skid at the edge of the cliff? As you can see by my picks above, I’m leaning the former. That said, if things have to get weird, I’ll absolutely be here for a giant mess that elevates Joe Burrow to league MVP for the 16-0 Cincinnati Bengals.

Donnovan Bennett, Staff Writer

MVP: Kyler Murray
AFC playoff teams: 1) Chiefs, 2) Ravens, 3) Bills, 4) Titans, 5) Steelers, 6) Browns, 7) Texans
NFC playoff teams: 1) Saints, 2) 49ers, 3) Cowboys, 4) Packers, 5) Buccaneers, 6) Cardinals, 7) Eagles
AFC champion: Ravens
NFC champion: Saints
Super Bowl champion: Ravens

Storyline to watch: Brady vs. Belichick. Which of the GOATs will fare better without the other? Who is most responsible for making the other great? Neither is favoured to win his division — never mind a Super Bowl. It will be interesting if one is able to defy the odds and win a Super Bowl without the other to cement their legacy. Brady is just 2-3 lifetime against his new division rival Drew Brees. The Patriots QB is also a former MVP in Cam Newton. I believe Tampa Tom has the taller task.

Mike Johnston, Staff Writer

MVP: Dak Prescott
AFC playoff teams: 1) Chiefs, 2) Ravens, 3) Colts, 4) Patriots, 5) Steelers, 6) Titans, 7) Bills
NFC playoff teams: 1) Cowboys, 2) 49ers, 3) Saints, 4) Vikings, 5) Falcons, 6) Packers, 7) Seahawks
AFC champion: Colts
NFC champion: Cowboys
Super Bowl champion: Colts

Storyline to watch: More teams will readily choose to air the ball out instead of pounding the rock. There were 16 players that logged 1,000 rushing yards in 2019, but fewer will hit that mark this year. There were 29 different 1,000-yard receivers last year and that number will increase in 2020. Only one QB reached 5,000 yards passing one season ago, but at least four will get there this year.

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Geoff Lowe, Editor

MVP: Deshaun Watson
AFC playoff teams: 1) Ravens, 2) Bills, 3) Chiefs, 4) Colts, 5) Texans, 6) Steelers, 7) Browns
NFC playoff teams: 1) Seahawks, 2) Saints, 3) Vikings, 4) Eagles, 5) 49ers, 6) Buccaneers, 7) Cowboys
AFC champion: Ravens
NFC champion: Saints
Super Bowl champion: Ravens

Storyline to watch: As with all sports in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and how the NFL handles it will continue to be the biggest storyline of them all. Aside from that, I’ll be closely watching the development of young quarterbacks with big expectations. Can Josh Allen help the Bills walk through the open door at the top of the NFC East? Will Kyler Murray follow in the footsteps of the last two MVPs – Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes – and take a dramatic second-year leap? How will No. 1 pick Joe Burrow follow up his remarkable Heisman Trophy–winning campaign after an impeded off-season? Quarterbacks are always the driving forces in the NFL, but these young signal callers face a ton of pressure heading into a bizarre 2020 campaign.

Andy McNamara, Analyst

MVP: Patrick Mahomes
AFC playoff teams: 1) Chiefs, 2) Titans, 3) Ravens, 4) Bills, 5) Steelers, 6) Texans, 7) Browns
NFC playoff teams: 1) Saints, 2) Seahawks, 3) Vikings, 4) Cowboys, 5) 49ers, 6) Packers, 7) Buccaneers
AFC champion: Chiefs
NFC champion: Seahawks
Super Bowl champion: Seahawks

Storyline to watch: So many juicy storylines this year! How will Tom Brady do in Tampa Bay? Is this the end of the Patriots? Can the Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champs?

To me, the underrated storyline revolves around the quiet retooling of the Seattle Seahawks. They paid a steep price for stud safety Jamal Adams, have explosive depth at running back, and — oh yeah — Russell Wilson is still playing at an elite level. Physical freak receiver D.K. Metcalf enters his second season with limitless upside and couples with Tyler Lockett to give Wilson reliable playmakers.

All the pieces are in place for a Super Bowl run, and I think Seattle gets it done. Don’t sleep on the Seahawks!

Emily Sadler, Staff Writer

MVP: Patrick Mahomes
AFC playoff teams: 1) Chiefs, 2) Ravens, 3) Colts, 4) Bills, 5) Steelers, 6) Texans, 7) Browns
NFC playoff teams: 1) 49ers, 2) Packers, 3) Saints, 4) Cowboys, 5) Rams, 6) Vikings, 7) Seahawks
AFC champion: Chiefs
NFC champion: Saints
Super Bowl champion: Chiefs

Storyline to watch: Football season brings a sense of normalcy for so many of us, but it will also bring so much more than that as athletes use their platforms to speak up against racial injustices and organizations take action in the direction of real change. We saw what the NBA and WNBA did this summer and how many leagues and athletes — including those throughout the NFL — stood with them. Football players have long been pillars of great change in their communities, and we’ll see that this season in more ways than one: with stadiums becoming polling stations, players peacefully protesting and personnel joining together with them to fight racism. As athletes continue to speak up, it’s crucial now more than ever that we pay attention.

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