Labor Day is always the unofficial end of summer. With that comes the start of another NFL season. This year’s destination is Miami, FL, for the 54th edition of the Super Bowl. That game is on February 2. Today is September 2. How will the next five months play out?
It’s time for my Two Cent NFL preview. I want to try and keep this fun, so I will give you my predicted order of finish for each division, but also two headlines for each team. The first will be a headline that actually pertains to each team’s season. The second will be my attempt at being humorous. Notice, I said attempt. Hopefully I will have a higher percentage than whoever kicks for the Bears this year.
- Patriots 11-5
- Jets 10-6
- Bills 5-11
- Dolphins 2-14
AFC East Headlines
- Sony Michel leads way for Patriots offense
- Without Gronk, Patriots team “functions” suck
- Sensational Sam becoming a star in a New York minute
- Le’Veon Bell finds new love at FlashDancers
- Josh Allen showing better as a runner early in his career
- Bills decide McCoy a little too shady for his own good
- Dolphins tank to get shot at Tua
- Josh Rosen already penning farewell letter to Miami fans
Two Cent Synapses
Surprise, surprise. The Patriots will win this division for the 334 straight season. They will get a challenge from my 2019 surprise team, the New York Jets. Sam Darnold will blossom in to a star, and Le’Veon Bell gives them a real threat(and a top notch rapper) on offense. All you need to know about the Bills is Cole Beasley ranks as their best receiver. The Dolphins throw their hat into the Tua Tagovailoa sweepstakes, despite the presence of Josh Rosen on the roster.
- Steelers 11-5
- Browns 10-6
- Ravens 9-7
- Bengals 3-13
AFC North Headlines
- Rejuvenated Roethlisberger leads Steelers to another division title
- Meeting the standard: Tomlin Translator #1 new app
- Can Browns back up boastful brags?
- OBJ yells “shotgun” in huddle, Kappa Sig Mayfield grabs another beer
- Lamar Jackson struggles with decision making in second year
- John Harbaugh loses “Smuggest Harbaugh” contest; vows to work harder at being douchey
- After paying Andy Dalton over $79 million, it’s time to find a replacement
- Will Zach Taylor’s tenure in Cincy last longer than Zachary Taylor’s did in the White House?
Two Cent Synapses
The Browns thumped their chest all offseason, while the Steelers quietly went about their business. The Browns will be good, but the Steelers will win the division behind the leadership of Roethlisberger. The Ravens will make this a three team race, but will get inconsistent production from Lamar Jackson. The Bengals will probably finish the season, though that isn’t certain.
- Texans 10-6
- Jaguars 9-7
- Titans 6-10
- Colts 6-10
AFC South Headlines
- Deshaun Watson has breakout year
- Texans send retirement gift basket and thank you card to Andrew Luck
- Jags defense becomes Nick Foles biggest fan
- Jalen Ramsey talks trash to an actual trash can
- Teams key on Derrick Henry causing Titans engine to stall
- Titans offer free tickets to anyone who can prove they were awake for an entire Tennessee game
- Brissett can’t find enough Luck at quarterback to lead Colts offense
- Colts fans boo local kid who drops out of punt, pass, kick competition due to injury
Two Cent Synapses
This is the toughest division for me to pick. I like the Texans the most because of their overall talent. If Watson breaks out, and JJ Watt stays healthy they should win this division. I like the Jaguars, with Nick Foles at quarterback, to have a bounce back year. If they win this division I wouldn’t be at all surprised. The Titans are soooo boring, and the Colts without Luck will struggle.
- Chiefs 12-4
- Chargers 11-5
- Raiders 6-10
- Broncos 4-12
AFC West Headlines
- Mahomes beats the Madden jinx
- Tyreek Hill beats everyone else
- Will Old Man Rivers have the Chargers flowing to Miami?
- LA Chargers…yea, that’s still stupid
- Brown’s Carr is no BENtley
- Vontaze Burfict clotheslines AB in practice for old time sake
- Joe Flacco proves he really was washed up two years ago
- Fans, and John Elway, have to be a mile high to watch this team
Two Cents Synapses
Kansas City is everyone’s favorite to get to the Super Bowl out of the AFC. The Chiefs clearly have a potent offense, but will have to overcome the Andy Reid jinx in the playoffs. This may be the last, best chance for Philip Rivers to lead the Chargers to the promised land. They certainly have the talent to do it. The Raiders are starting to gain some traction under Jon Gruden, and John Elway’s search for a quarterback continues to go wayward.
- Eagles 13-3
- Cowboys 10-6
- Giants 6-10
- Redskins 4-12
NFC East Headlines
- Healthy Wentz will have Eagles soaring
- Philly Fans boo Doug Pederson, forgetting he isn’t Gabe Kapler
- Jerry Jones glad to have brightest star, Ezekiel Elliott on board
- Jason Witten bores teammates in huddle to stay ready for next announcing gig
- Saquon Barkley may win MVP if he were on better team
- Daniel Jones should get chance to prove he wasn’t worthy of sixth draft choice by Halloween
- The Dwayne Haskins era should start now
- Thanks to Daniel Snyder, Donald Trump is only the second most dysfunctional person in Washington
Two Cent Synapses
This is the Eagles division to lose, as long as Carson Wentz stays upright. Their defense is not as stout as they’d like, but the offense may average 35 points per game. Getting Ezekiel Elliott back increases the Cowboys odds greatly. However, I don’t feel like Dak Prescott is a championship quarterback. Saquon Barkley is the most talented player in the league. Unfortunately the Giants need about ten more of him. The Redskins need to let Dwayne Haskins start learning for when some day they may be decent.
- Bears 10-6
- Packers 9-7
- Vikings 8-8
- Lions 8-8
NFC North Headlines
- Brutal schedule will give these bears sharp teeth
- Matt Nagy still in “double doink” counseling
- Season hinges on keeping Rodgers healthy
- Must win or risk getting thrown back when doing Lambeau Leap
- Receivers will catch it if Cousins can throw it
- Kirk Cousins: “You like that! Vikings fans: “Not really”
- Stafford and Lions sick of being turkey
- Matt Patricia’s seat so hot already he has to shave to stay cool
Two Cent Synapses
In addition to its division foes, the Bears play the Chiefs, Chargers, Saints, Rams, Eagles, and Cowboys. That is a true gauntlet. Surviving that schedule will make them playoff ready. The Packers don’t have a cakewalk by any means, and they are trying to avoid three losing seasons in a row. The Vikings will continue to rue the Kirk Cousins signing. Detroit has enough talent to be a sleeper, but again this division has tough schedules this year.
- Saints 12-4
- Falcons 8-8
- Panthers 7-9
- Buccaneers 4-12
NFC South Headlines
- Saints start slow then ride a warm Louisiana Brees to the finish line
- Saints ask for review of every pass interference call this year
- Matt Ryan to Julio Jones is deadly, but so is the Falcons defense
- Arthur Blank already looks like he needs someone to hold him, but especially so after another rocky season
- McCaffery can do it all, but all isn’t enough
- Newton’s Law states a Cam at rest is not what’s best
- If Arians can’t scare Winston straight, nobody can
- Arians comfortable being back where he can use his most colorful vocabulary
Two Cent Synapses
This is the New Orleans Saints and everyone else. So close a year ago, and then the pass interference flap ended the Saints season a game short of the Super Bowl. Sean Payton and Drew Brees will be laser focused on finishing the job this year. Atlanta has some parts but will end up just sort of “meh” again. Cam is injured more and more, and quite frankly declining. The Bucs also have some pieces, but unfortunately one of them isn’t quarterback.
- Rams 12-4
- Seahawks 11-5
- 49ers 6-10
- Cardinals 3-13
AFC West Headlines
- Gurley, Kupp healthy, but it’s “In Goff We Trust” for the Rams
- Opposing fans will love the renovated Coliseum and all the available seats
- Russell Wilson will be throwing to…who?
- Pete Carroll turns 68 in two weeks; but still gets carded at bars
- Time to see if Garoppolo really is the next big thing
- Kittles and bits, Kittles and bits, this team’s got too many bits
- Can Kyler Murray spark a fire in Arizona?
- The ladies dig Kliff Kingsbury as much as opposing teams do
Two Cent Synapses
The Rams have a really good roster, and should be bolstered by the healthy returns of Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp. I’m not completely sold on Jared Goff, but there is too much talent here not to win the division. Seattle signing Jadeveon Clowney means they plan on staying relevant. Russell Wilson will once again be asked to do a lot with very little. I dare you to name one Seahawks receiver. The 49ers put all their eggs in to Jimmy Garoppolo’s basket, and this year may prove that was a mistake. In Arizona, a coach who couldn’t win at a Texas Tech with Patrick Mahomes is being treated like a savior. I’m not sold.
Two Cent Takes
~It’s time to break out my trusty old friend and see how it thinks the NFL playoffs will unfold.
The Two Cent Cracked Crystal Ball(#TCCCB) can get a bit wonky at times. Many doubt its reliability. I, myself, have pondered finding a new device, but getting more predictions right just adds too much pressure.
- Patriots over Jets
- Chargers over Texans
- Chargers over Chiefs
- Steelers over Patriots
- Chargers over Steelers
~Philip Rivers finally makes it to the big game. He will have to be a road warrior to do it, coming out of the five slot to beat Houston, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
Andy Reid’s famous faltering in the playoffs continues. The Steelers will beat Tom Brady twice this season, once to start the season and once to end the Patriots season. Mike Tomlin silences some of his critics, but loses at home in the championship game.
The LA Chargers win the AFC.
- Rams over Cowboys
- Bears over Seahawks
- Saints over Rams
- Eagles over Bears
- Saints over Eagles
Drew Brees and the Saints exact revenge for what they thought was a call that cost them a Super Bowl berth a year ago, and they do it in hostile Philadelphia. The Eagles defense finally costs them against the high powered Saints in a game that could be first to fifty wins.
The Rams have a Super Bowl caliber team, but again I don’t believe in Goff like most do. The Bears are a step behind the others at quarterback, with Mitch Trubisky.
The New Orleans Saints win the NFC.
Super Bowl LIV
- Chargers 31 Saints 27
It will make a great story if Phillip Rivers can finally win a Super Bowl. The Chargers have the talent to make it happen. It won’t be easy with Kansas City in the same division. As for the Saints, they too have the talent to win a Super Bowl. At age 41, Drew Brees will be outdueled by the 38 year old Rivers.
From Venice Beach to Miami Beach, the journey for the Los Angeles Chargers will end with a Super Bowl victory.
A Penny For My Final Thought…
A Pennsylvania Super Bowl? No, it’s not that farfetched.
In the NFC, The Philadelphia Eagles May have the best overall roster. Certainly they have one of the best offenses in the league. There are two keys for Philadelphia. One, find enough defense to let the offense win games. Two, keep Carson Wentz healthy. Nick Foles is gone, so there is not a legitimate fallback option.
The Eagles should win the NFC East fairly easily. Once in the playoffs there are a lot of land mines to negotiate. With Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz, and a solid group of veterans set on getting back to the Super Bowl it wouldn’t be a shock to see them do just that.
On the other side of the state Steeler Nation should do plenty of waving of their Terrible Towels. Gone is Le’Veon Bell. Gone is Antonio Brown. Gone are the distractions.
A quiet lead up to the season seems to have Ben Roethlisberger more focused than he has been in years. And there is plenty of talent still on the roster. JuJu, James Washington, James Conner, and Vance McDonald are serious weapons. Plus the offensive line is still one of the best in the business.
More importantly, the defense will be better. Rookie Devin Bush finally gives them a presence in the middle, plus Steven Nelson and Joe Haden give the team their best cornerbacks in years.
Better yet, the Steelers are flying under the radar this year. That can be a good thing. Kansas City, New England, and San Diego are all in the spotlight. Even Cleveland has spent the offseason stealing the AFC North spotlight. The Steelers will still win the division, and be primed to make noise in the playoffs.
Last year I said it was Super Bowl or bust. I was wrong. The Rooney family thrives on consistency and continuity. However, they only extended Tomlin’s contract through 2021, so it’s time for Tomlin to quit losing games he shouldn’t, make better game decisions, and follow Al Davis’ mantra and just win.
The Eagles are a favorite. The Steelers are an underdog. Still, it isn’t that far fetched to think that the state of Pennsylvania could converge on Miami in early February.
Fly Eagle Fly on one side of Hard Rock Stadium. Terrible Towels flying on the other side. Many Pennsylvanians go to Florida for winter anyway, so why not take the football teams.
The #TCCCB didn’t pick it that way, but maybe that’s a good thing.
Just my Two Cents…
Tim Clark is a columnist and editor for PennSports.LIVE, and a wonderful writer of words. He is a lifelong sports fanatic with an eclectic mix of favorite teams including USC Trojans football, Louisville Cardinals basketball, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins in pro sports.