The 2020 NFL season is finally here as the first Sunday slate of games are set to kick off. The defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs took care of business on Thursday against the Texans in the league-wide season opener. Is Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs destined to “run it back”? Are the Buccaneers for real? Who will win MVP?
Here are 20 predictions for the upcoming season:
1. The NFL Season Will Be Completed, On-Time
Despite doubts several months ago with the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeping the world, the NFL season will go on as scheduled AND will be completed on schedule with Super Bowl LV being played in Tampa Bay.
2. Colts Win The AFC South
It was just over a year ago that Andrew Luck surprised the NFL world and retired at the age of 29. That left a massive void at the quarterback position in 2019. In 2020, they will attempt to fill that void with former Chargers quarterback, Phillip Rivers. Rivers isn’t the same player he was 10 years ago, however, he will be good enough to lead a talented Colts team to an AFC South title.
3. Nick Foles Will Take Bears Staring QB Job Before Week 6
Bears fans don’t need to reminded that DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were both taken after Mitch Trubisky in the 2017 draft. That will happen on a week to week basis. However, it will only happen for five weeks with Trubisky as the starter as newcomer, Nick Foles will take the reigns following a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5.
4. Baker Mayfield Will Lead the AFC in Touchdown Passes
After a tumultuous, hype-filled year in which Baker Mayfield was closer to leading the league in interceptions than touchdowns, it finally begins to settle down for the Browns and Mayfield who is able to utilize the abundance of talent around him.
5. Antonio Brown Will Sign With the Ravens
This may not be too surprising because he and the Ravens have been flirting a bit throughout the offseason but now that teams know Antonio Brown will miss the first eight weeks of the season, there seems to be more certainty now that some team will take a shot and that team will be the Ravens as they try to erase last year’s one-and-done playoff performance. More on that later.
6. Joe Burrow Will Break Rookie Passing Yards AND Touchdown Records
Currently, Andrew Luck holds the record for most passing yards in a season by a rookie (4,057), and current Browns’ starter, Baker Mayfield holds the record for most touchdown passes in a season as a rookie with 27. Bengals rookie Joe Burrow will surpass BOTH those marks in 2020.
7. Joe Mixon Will Lead the League in Rushing Yards
After finishing last season with 1,137 yards, good for ninth-most in the NFL, Mixon signed a nice new deal in the offseason and, with a new quarterback under center, he will skyrocket up the rushing yards list to the very top in 2020.
8. This Will Be Pete Carroll’s Final Season in Seattle
It may come as a surprise to some but Pete Carroll is currently the oldest active head coach in the NFL. Older than Bill Belichick. Older than Andy Reid. And, despite the Seahawks still being in prime contention this season, there is far more uncertainty surrounding this team aside from Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner beyond this season. The timing may be right for both parties to move on after this year.
9. AFC Division Predictions
- AFC East – New England Patriots
- AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs
- AFC South – Indianapolis Colts
- AFC North – Baltimore Ravens
10. NFC Division Predictions
- NFC East – Dallas Cowboys
- NFC West – San Francisco 49ers
- NFC South – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- NFC North – Minnesota Vikings
11. The Packers Will Miss the Playoffs
The Packers finished 13-3 a year ago and lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game but the team hasn’t necessarily gotten better and even with the additional playoff spot, three teams from the West, two from the South, and the Vikings will keep the Packers and Aaron Rodgers from a return trip.
12. The Texans Will Miss the Playoffs
Did you watch Thursday Night Football? Yes, the Texans have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and SOME talent on the offensive side of the ball but the defense is still a mess and Bill O’Brien is in charge. The real question is…when the Texans miss the playoffs, does O’Brien get fired or promoted?
13. The Cardinals Will Make the Playoffs
With or without the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, this team has been trending up with Kyler Murray under center and Kliff Kingsbury on the sidelines. Adding Hopkins to a still-great Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the offense creates the potential of a dynamic unit in the Southwest and one that will sharpen itself against the tough NFC West competition.
14. Drew Brees Will Retire Following the Season
He thought about it a year ago. The Saints signed Jameis Winston as a backup. This will be the last “hurrah” for Drew Brees and the Saints as the all-time leader in touchdowns (for now) will call it a career following the 2020 season and the Saints will move into the Winston-era.
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15. The Chiefs Will Earn the Top Seed in the AFC
But not win a playoff game. How? Well, it’s the NFL and anything can happen but in this case, the Chiefs, after struggling down the stretch of the season, simply run out of energy and drop the Divisional Round game coming out of the bye.
16. The Cowboys Will Earn the Top Seed in the NFC
But lose in the NFC Championship Game.
17. The Ravens Will Win the AFC
After a disappointing 0-1 playoff record a year ago, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens return with a purpose and despite not matching their 14-2 record from a year ago, they are a much better team in 2020 than 2019. Partly from growth and partly because of in-season additions (see previous predictions) that help put them over the top.
18. The Buccaneers Will Win the NFC
Tom Brady has been a start for 18 seasons. In nine of those seasons, he has led his team to the Super Bowl. I’d say the odds are in his favor to do it again. Especially when you consider that he has the most talent around him since, perhaps, the 18-1 Patriots from 2007.
19. Your 2020 NFL MVP Will Be…
Tom Brady. At 43-years-old and with the strongest supporting cast around him in years, Brady will once again reset the bar for a quarterback past the age of 40. Despite a down year in New England in 2019, Brady bounces back with 38 touchdowns and over 4,600 yards in the air as he leads the Bucs back to the postseason.
20. The Super Bowl LV Champion Will Be…
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady gets his seventh and the Bucs their second as a franchise and becomes the first team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.