COLLEGIAN SPORTS STAFF
While the world looks completely different from the last time we watched football in February, the season seems as though it will continue on without any delays. The Collegian Sports section makes its predictions for the season all the way up to Super Bowl LV in Tampa.
Division winners: Jets, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers, 49ers
League MVP: Russell Wilson
Super Bowl LV: Green Bay Packers over Baltimore Ravens
Biggest Surprise: Jets win AFC East
The parity in the NFL is the obvious narrative of the 2020 season. Oddities are everywhere in the league this year, with teams like the Jets winning many close games to exceed expectations. Wilson is the clear MVP, but even he can’t win his division. Despite the rumors that Aaron Rodgers is aging past the ability to play at an elite level, he overcomes a fourth quarter deficit to take down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl LV.
Division Winners: Dolphins, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, 49ers
League MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Super Bowl LV: New Orleans Saints over Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Surprise: Miami Dolphins steal the AFC East
Regardless if there are fans or not, the NFL will still be one of the most exciting sports to watch this year. The AFC will now be wide open now that Tom Brady left for the warm beaches of Tampa Bay. This clears room for one of the younger teams in the Miami Dolphins to make a magical push for the playoffs. However, Patrick Mahomes is the new sheriff in town and will likely claim the AFC and his second MVP. That brings us to the NFC where the divisions are absolutely loaded. From the NFC West to NFC South, there are about 10 teams that have a legitimate chance to win the NFC. Although, I think the Saints, in Drew Brees’s last season, will overcome their playoff woes and win the NFC. The Super Bowl will then be a battle for the ages, but I think Brees’s veteran experience and Sean Payton’s play calling will carry the Saints over Mahomes in a late fourth quarter TD drive to win Super Bowl LV.
Division Winners: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Eagles, Packers, Buccaneers, 49ers
League MVP: Deshaun Watson
Super Bowl: Buffalo Bills over San Francisco 49ers
Surprise: Detroit Lions make the playoffs as a wild card
This NFL season will be like none other, and the differences from years past will be seen everywhere. However, the play on the field will be just as exciting as every other season. With some big names, such as Tom Brady, DeAndre Hopkins and Rob Gronkowski all playing on new teams, there are many people excited to see how things will stack up in this NFL season. With a season full of surprises, the 2020 NFL playoffs will be no exception. Led by the new duo of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the Buffalo Bills will upset several AFC heavyweights, including the Chiefs and Ravens, and the Buffalo Bills will reach their first Super Bowl since 1993. Meanwhile in the NFC, the 49ers will once again be the NFC Champions, defeating the Buccaneers to reach the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl will come right down to the wire, and an Allen to Diggs touchdown pass with under two minutes will give Buffalo their first Super Bowl title. Bills Mafia rejoice!
Division Winners: Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Cowboys, Bears, Buccaneers, Seahawks
League MVP: Russell Wilson
Superbowl: Baltimore Ravens over Seattle Seahawks
Surprise: Cam Newton
With COVID-19 being the biggest factor to deal with in the season, this year will truly be based on survival of the fittest. With the amount of time used to prepare during preseason being cut due to COVID restriction, I’ll be taking teams with more raw talent over coaching skill this year— except for Belichick and the Patriots of course.
Russell Wilson will put it all together with a strong offense around him and take home MVP. His MVP play along with his team’s usual formidable defense helps lead them to a Super Bowl run. However, their dreams are cut short by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens after they finally get over the playoff hump and push towards securing their franchise’s third Super Bowl.
Oh, and Cam Newton returns to form and wins Comeback Player of the Year.
Division Winners: Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers, Seahawks
League MVP: Lamar Jackson
Superbowl: Baltimore Ravens over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Surprise: Rams finish last in NFC West
This NFL season will be quite different than those in years past. Without any preseason due to COVID-19, teams with good coaching staffs who had success last season should have an edge over teams with a lot of roster turnover. In the AFC, this is a clear sign of success for the Chiefs and the Ravens. Both teams are returning a majority of starters and have two of the top five coaches in football. I didn’t see any sign of a team being able to shut down Lamar Jackson last season, and with the Ravens having the easiest schedule in the league, Jackson has the inside track to become the fifth player in NFL history to win back-to-back MVPs.
The NFC is wide open, but the Bucs and the Saints are the frontrunners. With stacked rosters, great coaching and two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, I would be surprised if the NFC South wasn’t represented in the Super Bowl. Harbaugh and the Ravens have been one team that consistently gives Brady headaches, and now flying solo without Belichick, I give the Ravens the edge over the aging GOAT.
After losing his first two career playoff games, Lamar Jackson will deliver on his draft day promise: “They gonna get a Super Bowl outta me, believe that.
Division winners: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Eagles, Bears, Buccaneers, 49ers
League MVP: Deshaun Watson
Super Bowl LV: Tampa Bay Buccaneers over New England Patriots
Biggest Surprise: Buccaneers win Super Bowl
Young quarterbacks fuel today’s NFL. Even though Josh Allen has struggled with accuracy, his new weapons — mainly Stefon Diggs — will elevate his game. There is no reason to believe Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes won’t vie for the MVP again. If Carson Wentz goes down with another injury, don’t be surprised if Jalen Hurts joins their company. Mitch Trubisky won the Bears’ starting job — it will be interesting to see if he could keep it. A full season of Jimmy Garoppolo should offer a more clear picture of his abilities. Despite all this, Tom Brady leads the Buccaneers to the promised land — his seventh Super Bowl win — and rides off into the sunset.
Division winners: Bills, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Cowboys, Lions, Buccaneers, Seahawks
League MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Super Bowl LV: Kansas City Chiefs over Seattle Seahawks
Biggest Surprise: Lions win NFC North
The 2020 NFL season brings more unpredictability in trying to predict the success or failures of each team. In an unusual year with no preseason and new procedures, this season will undoubtedly favor the teams who are most established. The Chiefs are exactly that, with Mahomes signed to a new contract there looks to be a new emerging dynasty. In addition to Mahomes, Andy Reid will still be roaming the sidelines, giving the Chiefs the better coach in most matchups. The rest of the roster remains stacked as well. Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and one of the best right-tackles in the league in Mitchell Schwartz all return. On the defensive side, Frank Clark and Chris Jones are back and bring a veteran presence to this otherwise young group. Lastly, with Brady out of the AFC the Chiefs path to becoming superbowl champs only becomes easier.
Division winners: Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Eagles, Bears, Saints, Seahawks
League MVP: Russell Wilson
Super Bowl LV: Seattle Seahawks over Baltimore Ravens
Biggest Surprise: Bears will have a top 15 offense
The Chicago Bears will — fingers crossed — shock the world by having an above average offense. Yes, you read that right. That would be an accomplishment at this point. Mitchell Trubisky will finally have the breakout Bears fans have been yearning for the past few years. Cam Newton will return to his former MVP level play under Bill Bellichik in New England. Drew Brees’ farewell tour will be spoiled by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in the NFC Championship. After Lamar Jackson destroys the Chiefs’ defense in the AFC Championship, the Ravens will face off with Seattle in Super Bowl LV. Following a nearly perfect MVP season, Wilson will outgun Jackson in one of the best QB battles in NFL history to win his second Super Bowl.
Division Winners: Bills, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, Giants, Lions, Buccaneers, Cardinals
League MVP: Kyler Murray
Super Bowl LV: Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Surprise: Giants win NFC East
Just as the story has been for the past two years, another second-year quarterback will enjoy a breakout season and take home the MVP award. Kyler Murray shows a lot of game similar to Lamar Jackson, and has a new weapon to use in DeAndre Hopkins. With the abundance of talent surrounding him, Murray just has to avoid injury and all signs point to him having a big year.
Picking the Giants to win the NFC East is a bold pick, but with a healthy Evan Engram back, the Giants have arguably the best young core in the division. As long as Daniel Jones avoids the turnover woes that plagued his rookie season and Jason Garrett proves to be a better offensive coordinator than head coach, 2020 is all New York’s for the taking. Neither the Cowboys or Eagles got much better and the Giants’ never had their entire starting skill positions on offense play a game together in 2019. Call it a bold pick, but the COVID-19 season is wide open for the Giants to steal.
As for the Super Bowl, the Buccaneers are a safe pick but barring injury they are far and away the most talented team in the NFL. Despite how hot Kansas City has looked so far since Mahomes’ emergence, it is still tough to see them overcoming the GOAT in Tom Brady with his new squad. Tampa Bay’s defense, led by the tremendously underrated Shaquil Barrett, will shore up their weaknesses and help the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory.
Division Winners: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers, Seahawks
League MVP: Dak Prescott
Super Bowl LV: Kansas City Chiefs over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Biggest Surprise: Browns will make playoffs, Patriots will not
After a historic and unprecedented offseason, the NFL has a great year on their hands. There will be a season-long MVP duel between quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray. In the very end, Prescott will edge Murray in the race and win league MVP. The Browns, who usually fail to live up to expectations, will finally have a winning season, secure a wild card spot in the playoffs and not fire their head coach after one season. The Patriots will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Cam Newton will show promise, but the Patriots’ lack of star power around him will cause them to lose close games all year. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will have a historically great season offensively. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will have a QB battle for the ages in Super Bowl LV. In the end, the Bucs will lose to the Chiefs in dramatic fashion.