2018 NFL Predictions: Playoffs And Player Awards

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Rahim Ali Merchant

Latest posts by Rahim Ali Merchant (see all)

By RahimAli Merchant & the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff

If you don’t know by now, the writers of Fourth Quarter Sports have come together to put a series of articles together to break down each division as we see it. Of course, each division was done from the view of one individual writer and everyone else has their own opinions too. So that brings us to this next piece which you can read below.

This piece will tie all the articles together with everyone giving you their picks for the playoff picture and each round leading up to the Super Bowl. It will also provide you with a special look at who we think could potentially win the players awards. So let’s huddle up and get the clock rolling. If you missed the daily posts with the individual divisional picks, you can click the link and read it there.

Rahim’s NFC West:                              Cullen’s AFC West:

  1. L.A. Rams (12-4)                      1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) 
  2.  S.F. 49ers (10-6)                      2. L.A. Chargers (7-9)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)          3. Oakland Raiders (5-11)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)        4. Denver Broncos (4-12)

Adam’s NFC North:                                  Adam’s AFC North:

  1. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)     1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)   
  2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)     2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)  
  3. Detroit Lions (8-8)                  3. Cinnantani Bengals (9-7)    
  4. Chicago Bears (6-10)              4.Cleveland Browns (5-11)

Aman’s NFC South:                                   Mickayeen’s AFC South:

  1.  New Orleans Saints (12-4)          1. Houston Texans (11-5)
  2.  Carolina Panthers (12-4)             2. J-ville Jaguars (9-7)
  3.  Atlanta Falcons (10-6)                  3. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)      4. Indianapolis Colts (7-9)

Joel’s NFC East:                                         Mickayeen’s AFC East:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)          1. New England Patriots (10-6)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)                  2. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
  3. Washington Redskins (9-7)        3. New York Jets (7-9)
  4. New York Giants (8-8)                 4.Miami Dolphins (4-12)

After recapping what we all thought of each division individually, let’s take a look at who everyone picked as their playoff teams!

 

                                        Rahim’s Picks:

NFC West:  Rams (2)                                  AFC West: Chargers (4)

NFC North: Vikings (1)                             AFC North: Steelers (2)

NFC South: Falcons (3)                             AFC South: Jaguars (3)

NFC East:  Eagles (4)                                 AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1: Packers                               Wild Card 1: Texans

Wild Card 2: Saints                                  Wild Card 2: Ravens

                                     Cullen’s  Picks:

NFC West: Rams (3)                              AFC West: Chiefs (4)

NFC North: Vikings (4)                         AFC North: Steelers (2)

NFC South: Saints (2)                            AFC South: Texans (3)

NFC East:  Eagles (1)                             AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1:  Falcons                          Wild Card 1: Jaguars

Wild Card 2:  Packers                          Wild Card 2: Ravens

                                      Adam’s  Picks:

NFC West:  Rams (2)                               AFC West: Chargers (2)

NFC North: Vikings (1)                          AFC North: Ravens (3)

NFC South: Falcons (4)                         AFC South: Texans (4)

NFC East:  Eagles (3)                             AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1:  Packers                           Wild Card 1: Chiefs

Wild Card 2:  49ers                                Wild Card 2: Steelers

                               Mickayeen’s  Picks: 

NFC West:  Rams (1)                             AFC West: Chargers (4)

NFC North: Vikings (3)                         AFC North: Steelers (2)

NFC South: Falcons (2)                         AFC South: Texans (1)

NFC East: Eagles (4)                              AFC East: Patriots (3)

Wild Card 1: Saints                             Wild Card 1:  Ravens

Wild Card 2: Packers                           Wild Card 2: Broncos

                                       Aman’s  Picks:                                        

NFC West: Rams (4)                              AFC West:  Chiefs (2)

NFC North: Vikings (2)                         AFC North:  Steelers (3)

NFC South: Saints (1)                           AFC South:  Jaguars (4)

NFC East: Eagles (3)                               AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1: Panthers                         Wild Card 1: Texans

Wild Card 2: Falcons                           Wild Card 2: Ravens

                                        Joel’s  Picks:                                         

NFC West: Rams (2)                               AFC West: Chargers (4)

NFC North: Vikings (1)                          AFC North:  Steelers (2)

NFC South:  Saints (4)                          AFC South:  Jaguars (3)

NFC East: Eagles (3)                              AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1: Packers                          Wild Card 1:  Texans

Wild Card 2:  Cowboys                       Wild Card 2: Chiefs

NFC Breakdown:

Those are some interesting picks aren’t they? Everyone had a clear consensus on who was going to win most of the divisions, but let’s still take a look at them all. For the NFC, everyone has the West being won by the Rams, while the East is won by the Eagles and the North title goes to the Vikings. Each of those teams would have won it for the second consecutive year, but could the Saints win back-to-back division titles too, or will the Panthers or Falcons knock them off? The Rams seem to be a force to be reckoned with, featuring elite, young play-makers on both sides of the ball. The Eagles repeat as East champions in an interesting division, and Wentz makes a run for the MVP. Vikings have now added QB Kirk Cousins at the helm with an elite defense, which is just enough for the Vikings to hold off the Packers and win the North again. The South will once again be a three-team race and it looks like its going to be between the Falcons and Saints.

AFC Breakdown:

Like the NFC, everyone favored certain teams to win the division. Everyone had the Patriots winning the East, but I’m sure the whole world could see why. Everyone except Adam picked the Steelers to win the North. He picked the Ravens, which you could read why in his predictions piece above. Ravens are in the playoffs as a wild card from four of the other five writers. Both the South and West have gotten everyone dealing with tough decisions. In the South division, it’s either the Texans or the Jaguars. Don’t let the 4-12 record of the Texans last season fool you, they are a much better team when at full health. QB Deshaun Watson will prove that as he makes a run at the MVP odds. The West is back and forth between the Chargers and Chiefs. Most believe that it is the Chargers year with an up-and-coming defense and Philip Rivers entering his 15th season. Rivers is the oldest QB in the AFC West, but could be challenged by the youngest QB from Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes and the Chiefs already have an explosive offense, but struggle to get to the next level…. a win in the playoffs.

 

                                        Wild Card Matchups:

                                           Rahim’s Wild Card:

5. Packers over 4. Eagles                          5. Texans over 4. Chargers

3. Falcons over 6. Saints                            3. Jaguars over 6. Ravens

                                          Cullen’s Wild Card:

5. Falcons over 4. Vikings                             4. Chiefs over 5. Jaguars

3. Rams over 6. Packers                               3. Texans over 6. Ravens

                                            Adam’s Wild Card:

5. Packers over 4. Falcons                             4. Texans over 5. Chiefs

3. Eagles over 6. 49ers                                    6. Steelers over 3. Ravens

                                         Mickayeen’s Wild Card:

5. Saints over 4.  Eagles                            4. Chargers over 5. Ravens

6.  Packers over 3. Vikings                       3. Patriots over 6. Broncos

                                          Aman’s Wild Card:

5. Panthers over 4. Rams                          5. Texans over 4. Jaguars

3. Eagles over 6. Falcons                            3. Steelers over 6. Ravens

                                             Joel’s Wild Card: 

4. Saints over 5. Packers                          4. Chargers over 5. Texans

3. Eagles over 6. Cowboys                         3. Jaguars over 6. Chiefs

NFC Reflection: 

Probably the toughest decisions to make in the NFC is the matchups. There is no clear favorite amongst all of us. Everyone has one of two different teams advancing. Rahim and Cullen believe the Falcons will advance, but Rahim has the Packers as his second team where Cullen has the Rams. Adam has the Packers beating the Falcons, and the Eagles beating a surprising 49ers team. Mickayeen has both his wild card teams (Packers and Saints) winning to advance to the divisional round. Aman has the Falcons losing to the Eagles in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Aman also has the Rams losing in the Wild Card for the second consecutive year. Joel might have surprised us all with having the Cowboys make the playoffs, but he has still picked all the division winners to advance. That means his beloved Cowboys will be eliminated, but we already expected that anyways right?

AFC Reflection:

With most of us having the Patriots and Steelers as No.1 and No. 2 in the AFC, we turn our attention to the other four teams in the wild card. Rahim has both the AFC South teams (Jaguars and Texans) advancing on to the divisional round. Cullen picked the higher seeds (Texans and Chiefs) to win their Wild Card games, which means CB Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars will not be in the Conference championship. In fact, no one seems to believe in the Jaguars and their powerful defense to make it that far again. Sorry Jaguars fans, the defense may win championships, but you need to have someone else on offense besides RB Leonard Fournette. Adam went with his lower seeded Steelers to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, and the Chiefs continuing to struggle to find a playoff win as they fall short to the Texans. Mickayeen also has the higher seeds winning in the Wild Card round. Surprisingly enough, one of those teams is the Patriots, who everyone else has as one of the top two seeds. Mickayeen is also giving the Chargers a chance to prove themselves in the playoffs. Aman, like Adam, had the Steelers in the Wild Card round instead of the first round bye and agreed with Adam that the Steelers will win their Wild Card game against the Ravens, except Aman has the Steelers as the division winner. Aman also has another divisional rematch between the Texans and Jaguars. Joel has two teams from the South and West in his wild card, but they are not playing each other. The Chargers managed to take advantage of home-field and knock out the Texans, while the Jaguars defense appeared to be too much for the young Chiefs QB as they embarrass the Chiefs. But let’s see who has the better chance against the top-seeded teams.

 

                                         Divisional Round:

                                   Rahim’s Divisional Round:

5. Packers over 1. Vikings                          1. Patriots over 5. Texans

3. Falcons over 2. Rams                             2. Steelers over 3. Jaguars

                                  Cullen’s Divisional Round:

1. Eagles over 4. Falcons                              1. Patriots over 4. Chiefs

2. Saints over 3. Rams                                 2. Steelers over 3. Texans

                                 Adam’s Divisional Round:

5. Packers over 1. Vikings                         1. Patriots over 6. Steelers

2. Rams over 3. Eagles                             4. Texans over 2. Chargers

                                 Mickayeen’s Divisional Round:

1. Rams over 6. Packers                           4. Chargers over 1. Texans

2. Falcons over 5. Saints                            2. Steelers over 3. Patriots

                                    Aman’s Divisional Round:

1. Saints over 5. Panthers                         1. Patriots over 5. Texans

2. Vikings over  3. Eagles                           3. Steelers over 2. Chiefs

                                     Joel’s Divisional Round:

1. Vikings over 4. Saints                          1. Patriots over 4. Chargers

2. Rams over 3. Eagles                               2. Steelers over 3. Jaguars

Divisional Round Recap:

Who are the final two teams to meet in each conference? For the AFC, it is either the Patriots or Steelers as one of the teams, if not both. In fact, Adam and Mickayeen are the only two that don’t have another AFC Conference championship between the Patriots and Steelers. Adam has the two of them facing in the divisional round with the Patriots coming out on top. Mickayeen has the two against each other as well, but he has the Steelers winning this time. The Chargers and Texans seem to be the other teams who could be in the Conference finals, but let’s see where that leaves us in the NFC.

Who is the No. 1 overall team in the NFC? It seems like everyone is all over the place, but one thing for sure, the NFC is the stronger conference this year. Rahim believes the Falcons will host the Packers again to fight their way to the Super Bowl in Atlanta. Adam’s love for the Packers has him picking them over the Vikings and putting the Rams defense to the test against one of the greatest QB’s in NFL history, Aaron Rodgers. Only Cullen is showing love to the reigning Super Bowl champions as they beat the Falcons and set up a date with the New Orleans Saints, now that’ll be a nail-biter. Mickayeen also has the Falcons in the Conference Championship again, but they get to beat down on the young Rams team again. Aman has the Vikings and Saints advancing, while Joel is taking his chances with the Rams. So how does the Conference Championships look from our view? Keep reading!

 

                               Conference Championship:

                           Rahim’s Conference Championship:

NFC:  Falcons over Packers                     AFC: Steelers over Patriots

                        Cullen’s Conference Championship:

NFC: Saints over Eagles                           AFC: Patriots over Steelers

                          Adam’s Conference Championship:

NFC:  Packers over Rams                       AFC: Patriots over Texans

                        Mickayeen’s Conference Championship:

NFC: Falcons over Rams                        AFC: Steelers over Chargers

                         Aman’s Conference Championship: 

NFC: Saints over Vikings                       AFC: Patriots over Steelers

                          Joel’s Conference Championship:

NFC: Vikings over Rams                          AFC: Steelers over Patriots

For the AFC, it’s either the Steelers or the Patriots as the team to represent in the Super Bowl. But do the Patriots have what it takes to make it back to the big game for the third consecutive year? Or will it be the first Steelers appearance since 2011? For the NFC, the South seems to be getting a lot of attention, but can the Falcons really be the first team to play in the Super Bowl as the host team? Or will the Saints, Packers, Vikings, or Rams stop that from happening? Let’s see what kind of dream matchups we could see in the Super Bowl.

 

                                  Super Bowl LIII Picks: 

Rahim’s Pick: Atlanta Falcons over Pittsburgh Steelers

  • MVP: QB Matt Ryan

Cullen’s Pick: New Orleans Saints over New England Patriots

  • MVP: QB Drew Brees

Adam’s Pick:  Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots

  • MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers

Mickayeen’s Pick: Atlanta Falcons over Pittsburgh Steelers

  • MVP: WR Julio Jones

Aman’s Pick: New Orleans Saints over New England Patriots

  • MVP: QB Drew Brees

Joel’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings over Pittsburgh Steelers

  • MVP: QB Kirk Cousins

Rahim and Mickayeen both have the Falcons doing the unthinkable and winning a Super Bowl in the city in which they play, and their opponents will be the Steelers. Joel also has the Steelers losing the Vikings, as Kirk Cousins picks up MVP honors. In fact, neither the Steelers or Patriots will win the Super Bowl they play in. I personally love the Packers over Patriots pick by Adam. It’s a dream come true for all the cheeseheads in Wisconsin. I mean seriously, Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady in a Super Bowl, now that is epic! Drew Brees and the Saints facing the Patriots and Brady would be pretty awesome too, but nothing like the Packers over the Patriots. But I, Rahim, want to see history being made, and the Falcons could possibly do it for the first time ever!

Now that you know who everyone’s picks are, let’s take a look at everyone’s player awards as well.

 

Most Valuable Player:

Rahim’s: QB Deshaun Waston, Houston Texans

Cullen’s: QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Adam’s: QB Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Mickayeen’s: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Aman’s: QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Joel’s: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The Most Valuable Player award has become the best Quarterback of the season award. Quarterbacks have won the award more than any other position in history and 2018 will be no different. Can we see Wentz or Watson capture the MVP, or will it be the familiar faces like Brady and Rodgers?

Offensive Player of the Year:

Rahim’s: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Cullen’s: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Adam’s: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Mickayeen’s: RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Aman’s: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Joel’s: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Can Gurley repeat as the offensive player or could we see another dominating running back making his way to the top of the offensive players list? Though half of us at Fourth Quarter Sports think that Gurley will repeat, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook could be top candidates.

Defensive Player of the Year: 

Rahim’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Cullen’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Adam’s: OLB Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Mickayeen’s: OLB Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Aman’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Joel’s: DE Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers

It seems like the Rams are huge favorites to win both the Offensive and Defensive player of the year. With the defense that is around Aaron Donald, he could keep up the honors of D.P.O.Y. Von Miller also has a great chance at being the D.P.O.Y. and the addition of Bradley Chubb could be a big advantage for Miller. Or we could continue to see Joey Bosa get better and steal the spotlight?

Offensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s: QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Cullen’s: RB Saqoun Barkley, New York Giants

Adam’s:  WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Mickayeen’s: WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Aman’s: TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Joel’s: RB Saqoun Barkley, New York Giants

This award seems like it should go to Saqoun Barkley, but with the situation that the Cowboys are in at receiver, we could see Michael Gallup earn the honors. Rahim believes that it will be Josh Allen as he comes in and has the best offensive performance by any rookie this season. Let’s not count out Dallas Goedert from the Eagles. Of course, Ertz will be part of his success as well, but we already know that both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles loves to use the Tight Ends.

Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s: DE Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos

Cullen’s: EDGE Harold Landry, Tennessee Titans

Adam’s: ILB Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears

Mickayeen’s: ILB Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears

Aman’s: DE Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints

Joel’s: S Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

The defensive rookie is another one of those interesting picks. Adam and Mickayeen both think the trade the Bears made to acquired Khalil Mack will help Roquan Smith become the Defensive Rookie of The Year. Chubb and James look to benefit from the experienced veterans around them, and Landry will be a surprise to us all.

Comeback Player of the Year:

Rahim’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Cullen’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Adam’s: QB Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Mickayeen’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Aman’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Joel’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

This is probably the most obvious choice, right? Well it wasn’t for Adam, who decided to pick Watson over Luck. I guess he doesn’t believe Luck will have a productive season. With the Colts offensive line and running backs not being what they’d hope, Luck may have a tough time this year.

Coach of the Year:

Rahim’s: Pat Shurmur, New York Giants

Cullen’s: Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans

Adam’s: Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco  49ers

Mickayeen’s: Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

Aman’s: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

Joel’s: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

What? Shurmur and Shanahan are on this list. For the 49ers, Adam had them as his wildcard team and they are expected to do much better. Rahim picked Shurmur because he has the Giants finished 10-6 and 9th in the NFC standings, 49ers are 8th in the standings. Shurmur will give QB Eli Manning a few more years on his career. Shanahan and QB Jimmy Garropolo will be together for a very long time, as long as the two sides succeed. Texans’ Bill O’Brien and Falcons’ Dan Quinn could win it based off how their teams does. Super Bowl for the Falcons? Or one of the safer picks is Saints’ Sean Payton. Payton and QB Drew Brees are out for one more run to the Superbowl, where they would like to win it, but regardless Payton is one of the better coaches and should be a candidate all season.

You have read what each of us at Fourth Quarter Sports thinks about each division and the playoff pictures with the awards, but we would like to see what you think. Don’t forget to subscribe and comment with your picks below!

Also get that popcorn ready cause we’re in for a long run ahead of us!

Drew Brees” by Brook Ward is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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2018 NFL Predictions: Pla…

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