Slavko’s 2017-18 NFL Predictions


We are few hours from the first game of the 2017 NFL season. It has been a very long off-season, so for us football fans, Thursday is basically a holiday. It’s that time of the year where every fan-base is hopeful. However, by the end of the season, there will be only one team left standing. Who will it be? I’m here to give you my predictions for the 2017-18 NFL season.

AFC

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (11-5)
  2. Buffalo Bills (8-8)
  3. Miami Dolphins (5-11)
  4. New York Jets (1-15)

Breakdown

I bet nobody’s surprised to see the Patriots at the top of the division yet again and for good reason. New England has a stacked lineup on both sides of the ball and is especially dominant at home. However, New England has arguably the hardest schedule in the league and they’re the team to beat, so don’t be surprised when they drop some games. Buffalo being second might surprise some people, but look for their new coach Sean McDermott to make something out of this team. They have quality players in the trenches on both sides. Add that to their dominant running game and home field success, and you have yourself a solid team. The Miami Dolphins will disappoint many this year and its mainly because of the difficulty of their schedule. Having to go up against the AFC West and the NFC South is a nightmare for any team, even the Patriots. Look for them to go on a losing streak at around midseason when they play Baltimore, Oakland, Carolina, New England and Denver in a five-week span. The Jets have one of the worst offenses on paper ever, but they do have a young, talented defense, which is why I think they’ll one win game against an eased-up opponent.

AFC North

  1. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
  3. Cleveland Browns (4-12)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)

Breakdown

Baltimore overtakes Pittsburgh this year because of their stout defense. They have pass rushers galore with Suggs, Bowser, Smith, and Williams, not to mention their top notch safety tandem of Weddle and Jefferson. Also, Marlon Humphrey is a beast and he will be a key contributor to this defense. Smith-Humphrey-Carr is an excellent, hard-nosed corner group. Flacco will be healthy for the season so the offense should be good enough to get wins behind the defense. Pittsburgh still features the best offensive trio in the league, however, their defense isn’t scary enough. Haden and Burns are questionable starters and the front seven is very inconsistent. Their offense should be a lot better with the weapons they have, but against good teams power runs and screen passes aren’t very effective. Cleveland had themselves a nice draft and are slowly putting a team together. However, they’re still at least a year away from putting a good team on the field. Their offense is an underrated group and I expect Kizer to be a decent quarterback. The Bengals will fall apart this year. The losses of Zeitler and Whitworth in FA will make the offense a lot worse. Their defense is pretty bad too featuring no play-makers besides Atkins. Overall, they’re a rebuilding team and they will realize that after this season.

AFC South

  1. Tennessee Titans (11-5)
  2. Houston Texans (10-6)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)
  4. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

Breakdown

Tennessee tops the division this year due to their talented roster. On offense, they can do almost anything they want as they have two quality receivers in Matthews and Davis, a great tight end in Delanie Walker, and an amazing running game with Murray. Not to mention, their monstrous hog mollies on the offensive line. This year will truly tell us how good Mariota really is. On the other side of the ball, their front seven is alright, but their secondary is quite good. FA pickup Logan Ryan is excellent all-around and they have a very underrated safety duo with Cyprien and Byard. Houston slides down to second because of their questionable offense. However, they still have arguably the best defense in the league so they still compete for the playoffs. The Jaguars clearly have issues on the inside. A lot of players hate Bortles, and when your team can;t focus on playing football, then they’re probably not going to go far. Andrew Luck is going to miss the beginning of the season and the Colts have a mediocre defense at best, so they won’t fare too well.

AFC West

  1. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
  4. Denver Broncos (6-10)

Breakdown

Having to play the NFC East obviously makes the schedules really tough for these teams. Oakland still makes it out on top because of their large amount of play-makers. Their offense is complete and their defense is solid, especially if Karl Joseph makes a jump and if Gareon Conley can produce. Kansas City loses some tough games during the season and barely misses out on the playoffs. Lack of a true outside receiving threat costs them. Los Angeles has too many holes on their team to be a good team. The offensive line is awful, the safeties and linebackers are awful, and with three groups being awful, you can’t have a playoff team. Denver is similar to San Diego, too many holes causes them to lose close games to good teams. They need to sort out their QB position before they make another super bowl run.

AFC Playoff Picture

  1. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
  3. New England Patriots (11-5)
  4. Tennessee Titans (11-5)
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
  6. Houston Texans (10-6)

NFC

NFC East

  1. New York Giants (12-4)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
  4. Washington Redskins (8-8)

Breakdown

The most competitive division in the league will be very interesting to watch this year. The Giants have the most complete roster in the division and possibly even the league. Their front four is at the top of the league and so is their secondary and maybe even their receiving core. Overall, the team has too many stars to not be a really good team. Second place goes to Philadelphia and their all-around quality. Jim Schwartz will certainly make the Eagles a top ten defense with the weapons he has in the front seven. Carson Wentz will feel comfortable once again behind his now healthy offensive line. The Cowboys will lose a step because of the losses of Claiborne and Carr, and their non-existent pass rush. The offense will continue to excel, but the Cowboys play a lot of good teams this year so their shaky defense won’t be enough for a playoff spot.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  2. Detroit Lions (9-7)
  3. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
  4. Chicago Bears (3-13)

Breakdown

Green Bay lands on top yet again as Aaron Rodgers leads an average roster towards a top spot in the playoffs. They drafted some players to the secondary so that should help, but their front seven is still below average. However, they have Aaron Rodgers so they will succeed. The Lions will have a fairly good year but will end up on the outside looking in. They lack playmakers on defense besides Slay and their offense isn’t elite, so they won’t be able to beat good teams. Minnesota lacks offensive consistency and explosiveness because of their weak offensive line and average quarterback. Their defense is still stacked, but they’re not complete enough to compete against Green Bay. The Bears are a rebuilding team and will perform like one. Depending on how good Trubisky is, the Bears could win some more games, but they still are a below average team that needs more pieces.

NFC South

  1. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
  2. Carolina Panthers (12-4)
  3. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)

Breakdown

Atlanta finishes at the top for the second season in a row. Dan Quinn has built a really good team in Atlanta, so expect them to be competing for the super bowl for years to come. Their defense is stacked with hard-nosed players who relentlessly pursue the ball-carrier. Their offense is probably the best in the league as they have plenty of depth and star power. Carolina almost beats out Atlanta however, they’re still a step behind. Carolina has a questionable receiving corps that makes Cam’s job hard sometimes. But, they did add Matt Kalil to help anchor the line and rookie Taylor Moton. Look for Cam to have a bounce back year with all his new backfield weapons. Defensively the Panthers have arguably the best front seven. Their secondary has improved a little, but Mike Adams hasn’t looked good in preseason. New Orleans finishes at .500 because of their excellent quarterback Drew Brees and an improving young defense. Marshon Lattimore becomes the shut-down quarterback he was drafted to be. Tampa Bay disappoints everybody. Jameis Winston hasn’t shown any real consistency over his career. Tampa’s defense doesn’t have a real game changer, which is what will cost them against quality opponents.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
  2. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)

The NFC West isn’t very competitive. Seattle is by far the most talented team in the division. They have the best secondary trio of any team in the league, Sherman-ET-Chancellor, and they have a very good front seven. Their weakest link is their offensive line and that is what will decide how far they get in the playoffs. The Cardinals have an interesting defense with lots of versatile players like Reddick, Mathieu, and Baker. However, they lack consistency on offense and Palmer is only getting older. Their front seven doesn’t look good enough for them to be a top overall defense. Los Angeles still needs to rebuild as they lack playmakers on both sides of the ball. I think Jared Goff will play a little better this year and Sean McVay and the boys will be able to squeak out some wins. San Francisco is still a rebuilding team as well and they made some good moves in the off-season. Drafting Foster and Thomas will do great things for the defense. However, they still lack overall talent, so don’t expect much from the Niners.

NFC Playoff Picture

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
  3. New York Giants (12-4)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
  5. Carolina Panthers (12-4)
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

NFL Season Awards

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive Player of the Year: Luke Kuechly
Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Christian McCaffrey
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore
Clutch Performer of the Year: Jordy Nelson

Wild Card Round

AFC

#6 Houston Texans at #3 New England Patriots

A rematch of last years divisional match-up, except this time JJ Watt will be dressed for football. The Texans will get off to a fast start and make Tom Brady’s day really tough with their three elite pass-rushers, Clowney, Watt and Mercilus. The Texans will have a short lead heading into the half. The Patriots will look to expose the Texans linebackers with their quick backs, which leads to success in the second half. The Patriots complete a fourth quarter comeback and the defense holds up against Tom Savage at the end of the game.

  • Prediction: New England Patriots, 17-13

#5 Pittsburgh Steelers at #4 Tennessee Titans

The Titans are back in the playoffs for the first time in what seems like forever. Mariota’s first playoff game will be an interesting one. The Veteran filled Steelers come in ready to upset the home crowd. Mariota throws an early red zone pick and this kills the Titans momentum for most of the game. The Titan defense struggles to stop Bell and this leads to a 17-7 lead at the half for the Steelers. In the second half, the defenses start to lock up and Mariota continues to struggles. Then at the beginning of the fourth, Murray breaks off a long fifty-yard touchdown, trimming the lead to 20-14. But sadly for Tennessee fans, they aren’t able to complete the comeback as the Steeler defense shuts it down at the end of the game.

  • Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-14

NFC

#6 Philadelphia Eagles at #3 New York Giants

A divisional rivalry shows up in the first week of the playoffs as the Eagles visit the Giants. Carson Wentz goes into his first playoff game against arguably the leagues best defense. On the first Giants drive, Eli doesn’t start off too well, as he throws a pick six, leading to an early 7-0 lead for Philly. The Giants offense struggles, but so does the Philly offense. However, the Giants finally get on the board after a long drive at the end of the first quarter. The Giant offense then continues their success in the second quarter, scoring two more touchdowns. The Eagles team looks outmatched against the stellar Giants defense. Carson Wentz gets picked off in the third which basically ends the game.

  • Prediction: New York Giants, 31-13

#5 Carolina Panthers at #4 Atlanta Falcons

Another divisional rivalry during Wild Card Weekend as the Panthers visit the Falcons. The Falcons won the season series 2-0 so they are the favorites heading into the match-up. Carolina starts off well with an opening drive touchdown. However, the Falcons answer back shortly after, as Tevin Coleman punches it in. The game then slows down a bit as both offenses struggle in the second quarter, leading to a halftime score of 13-13. The Falcons then commit the first big mistake, as Matt Ryan gets picked off by Thomas Davis. This leads to a Cam Newton punch-in. This is when the real shootout starts as both teams respond with touchdowns leading to a 27-20 lead heading into the fourth for the Panthers. The Panthers add a field goal and hang in for the win.

  • Prediction: Carolina Panthers, 30-20

Divisional Round

AFC

#5 Pittsburgh Steelers at #1 Oakland Raiders

The veteran Steelers visit the Black Hole for a trip to the conference championship. Big Ben leads the offense to an opening drive score as he abuses the secondary with an aerial attack. Derek Carr responds right back and the shootout theme becomes present. Oakland and Pittsburgh continue to trade blows. The Oakland offense is more successful but, Carr throws a pick in the second quarter to Artie Burns leading to a tied halftime score. The second half becomes a lot more tense, as both defenses begin to come alive. In the fourth quarter, Mack comes up with a huge strip sack, and this is where the game completely changes and gets taken over by Oakland. Big Ben isn’t able to muster enough to get back into it, as Oakland solidifies themselves a top-4 spot.

  • Prediction: Oakland Raiders, 38-31

#3 New England Patriots at #2 Baltimore Ravens

The defending champions visit Baltimore to play their first away playoff game in a long time. The physical Ravens defense looks to make a statement against the Pats and Tom Brady. The home crowd plays a big factor as the excellent Raven defense sacks Tom Brady multiple times in the first half. Flacco finds Nick Boyle in the end zone for the only touchdown of the first half as the Ravens lead 13-6 at the half. Brandon Carr picks off Tom Brady early in the second half, which leads to another Ravens touchdown. The Patriots finally answer back in the fourth as Brady finds Gronk in the end-zone making it a 23-13 game. The Ravens defense then shuts Tom Brady down for the rest of the game, leading them to victory.

  • Prediction: Baltimore Ravens, 26-13

NFC

#5 Carolina Panthers at #1 Green Bay Packers

The Panthers visit the Packers in this divisional game. The Packer defense struggles early against Carolina’s heavy run game-plan as Christian McCaffrey opens the scoring. Aaron Rodgers answers back, but so does Cam Newton. Luke Kuechly forces a fumble at the beginning of the second quarter, which leads to a Carolina field goal. Rodgers again answers back. 17-14 Carolina at the half. Kuechly and the defense start to dominate in the second half causing punts as the snow continues coming down. Cam Newton runs it in to give the Panthers a big lead, but then Rodgers answers back. Rodgers ties it up at 28 late in the fourth with a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. Cam Newton leads a two-minute drill, putting the Panthers in position for a game winning kick, which Harrison Butker successfully kicks through the uprights.

  • Prediction: Carolina Panthers, 31-28

#3 New York Giants at #2 Seattle Seahawks

The two best defenses left in the conference go up against each other in this divisional match-up. Eli quickly gets swallowed by Seattle’s front four. Russel Wilson throws the first touchdown of the game at the beginning of the second quarter giving Seattle a 10-0 lead. Eli and the offense continue to struggle as Odell and Marshall continue to grow more and more frustrated. Sherman continues locking down Odell throughout the game. Seattle takes a 13-0 lead into the second half. The Giants finally put up a field goal in the third quarter. Then, Russel Wilson throws a pick to Landon Collins giving the Giants hope. Sadly for Giants fans, Eli throws it right back to Earl Thomas. The Seahawks put up another touchdown in the fourth, ending the Giants season.

  • Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 20-3

AFC/NFC Championship

AFC Championship: #2 Baltimore Ravens at #1 Oakland Raiders

The Ravens visit Oakland to decide who makes it to the Super Bowl. Oakland comes in as the favorite. Both defenses start off the game strong up until the second quarter, where Marshawn Lynch scores his first playoff touchdown of the postseason. Oakland adds another field goal later in the quarter. Flacco continues to struggle as Mack sacks him for the second time in the quarter. Then at the end of the half in the red-zone, Derek Carr throws a pick-six to Marlon Humphrey. trimming the lead down to 10-7. Furthermore, Flacco finally finds his rhythm, hitting Nick Boyle in the end-zone in the third quarter. Lynch strikes back with another touchdown. Then in the fourth, Flacco is strip-sacked by Mack, which leads to a Cooper touchdown. Flacco can’t do anything for the rest of the game, which leads to an Oakland super bowl berth.

  • Prediction: Oakland Raiders, 24-14

NFC Championship: #5 Carolina Panthers at #2 Seattle Seahawks

Carolina looks to continue their upset streak as they go to Seattle for a chance at a Super Bowl berth. Both defenses start off strong in this rivalry game. Carolina strikes first with a field goal in the first quarter. The Seahawks then answer back with a Doug Baldwin touchdown. This is all the scoring that comes from the first half as both defenses dominate. Then in the second half both teams at field goals in the beginning. Carolina finally reaches the end-zone, as Kelvin Benjamin makes a catch in front of Richard Sherman. The Seahawks hit back as C.J Prosise finds the end-zone. Cam Newton then leads the offense to midfield during the two-minute drill, but his last-second Hail Mary is not answered. The Seahawks secure their spot in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl

Super Bowl: Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks

Just three years ago, the Seahawks were just one yard away from winning the Super Bowl. “Play clock at 5… pass is… INTERCEPTED at the goal line by MALCOLM BUTLER!….Unreal!” Many believe all they had to do was give the ball to Lynch to punch it in, but they decided to pass. Now, they’re finally back in the Super Bowl, the only team in front of them and their goal? Marshawn Lynch’s team. Lynch finally has his chance to get revenge on Pete Carroll and his horrible play-call. The Super Bowl is finally here. Oakland starts off with the ball and they take it up to about midfield, where their drive stalls and they punt it away. Seattle doesn’t get a single first down and then proceeds to punt it back.

The defenses control the first quarter as the only points to show for are three for Oakland. Seattle kicks off the second half with a long pass to Paul Richardson as he got behind Gareon Conley. Then, Russell Wilson throws an interception on the goal-line to safety Karl Joseph. Oakland takes the ball back and takes it eighty yards down the field, where Marshawn Lynch punches it in, 10-0 lead Raiders. Wilson fires back with his own eighty-yard drive leading to a scrambling touchdown. The halftime score stays 10-7, as the Raiders lead. The second half starts with the first big play as Oakland tries an onside kick, which is unsuccessful and taken by Seattle. The short-field is quickly used as Wilson finds Willson in the back of the end-zone.

Oakland responds with a field goal, making it 14-13 Seattle. The defenses hold up for the rest of the quarter. In the fourth, Irvin strip sacks Wilson, leading to a turnover. The Raiders quickly turn it into six as Lynch punches it in. 20-14 Raiders. Wilson on the very next play heaves it to Doug Baldwin who makes a spectacular catch over Conley. The Seahawks then continue to march down until Wilson sneaks it into the end-zone. 21-20 Hawks. With five minutes left, the Raiders need points.

They make it to midfield with three minutes left, and on fourth down, Carr finds Cooper on the sideline. First down Raiders! The Raiders then chew the clock with Lynch and kick a field goal with thirty seconds left. The Seahawks don’t have much time left, but after a few quick passes, they reach mid-field. With three seconds left, Blair Walsh steps up for a 59-yard field goal, he strikes it and…… short! The Raiders win! The Raiders WIN!

That’ll do it for my predictions on the NFL season this year. What are your initial thoughts? Do you think the Raiders will win the Super Bowl this year? How does your favorite team fare? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.

Published on 9/7/17 at 3:30 PM EDT. Photo credit: Sporting News.
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