Here’s a Super Bowl Prediction that is guaranteed not to come true. Maybe.
By: Elias McMillan
First, here are my picks for the 2017 post-season awards:
MVP: Tom Brady, QB (New England Patriots) – Despite missing the first four games of the season and not having his number one weapon in the passing game (Rob Gronkowski), Tom Brady still had a dream season in 2016. Going into to this season, Brady has Gronk healthy and an even talented WR core to work with. And he is determined to break the Madden Curse. I think Brady will turn back the clock again this year.
Offensive MVP: David Johnson, RB (Arizona Cardinals) – Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell get most of the headlines when it comes to RB’s in the league but David Johnson can be just as productive. I think Arizona will continue to lean on him this season. Especially, with Arizona’s questions in the passing game.
Defensive MVP: J.J Watt, DE (Houston Texans) – Watt will probably will NFL Man of the Year with the work he has done in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. But Watt will also have the goal of reminding the league this year of how dominant he can be. I think he will have a huge season lining up opposite of Clowney.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, RB (Carolina Panthers) – I criticized this draft pick numerous times since April. But Carolina seems to be highly impressed with what McCaffrey will bring to this offense. He will definitely get the touches in Carolina and his numbers will impress in his first season.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Reuben Foster, LB (San Francisco 49ers) – Its an absolute shame that Foster dropped all the way to the bottom of round one in this past draft. Foster will be playing this first season with a chip on his shoulder and will remind 49er fans of Patrick Willis.
Comeback Player of the Year: Earl Thomas, S (Seattle Seahawks) – Earl Thomas was pondering retirement when he went down with a significant knee injury last season. Now, he will have a chance to be apart of a pretty good Seattle defense once again. He will prove to be the most valuable piece of the Seahawk defense this year.
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) – It seems like Belichick has everything. Its been a while since he has won this award. New England is bound to have a killer regular season this year so, why not?
And now, here is my forecast for the playoffs this season. As a reminder, here are the teams I see qualifying in 2017:
- New England Patriots – 15-1 (AFC East)
- Oakland Raiders – 12-4 (AFC West)
- Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5 (AFC North)
- Tennessee Titans – 10-6 (AFC South)
- Houston Texans – 9-7 (Wild-card)
- Denver Broncos – 9-7 (Wild-card)
- Atlanta Falcons – 13-3 (NFC South)
- Seattle Seahawks – 11-5 (NFC West)
- New York Giants – 10-6 (NFC East)
- Green Bay Packers – 10-6 (NFC North)
- Arizona Cardinals – 10-6 (Wild-card)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 9-7 (Wild-card)
AFC: (3) Steelers over (6) Broncos, (5) Texans over (4) Titans
NFC: (3) Giants over (6) Buccaneers, (5) Cardinals over (4) Packers
AFC: (1) Patriots over (5) Texans, (2) Raiders over (3) Steelers
NFC: (1) Falcons over (5) Cardinals, (3) Giants over (2) Seahawks
Conference Championship Sunday
AFC: (2) Raiders over (1) Patriots
NFC: (1) Falcons over (3) Giants
Super Bowl LII from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Atlanta Falcons over Oakland Raiders
Recap: The Patriots might have been the number seed in the AFC playoffs last season but they were not supremely talented. They traded away many of their better defensive players. They had injury problems on offense. And they still won the Super Bowl last February. This offseason, the Patriots reloaded much like they did in 2010. And much like 2010, I think we will see New England slice through the regular season only to see them fall short in the playoffs. I think Oakland needs this season. That fan base in Oakland is ready to tear the city apart. They need one last shot at glory while in that city. I think David Carr will return this season and play at a high level. Oakland has some things to figure out defensively but behind Khalil Mack and that talented front seven, they’ll get after the QB and they’ll administer some revenge in Foxboro in January. In the NFC, I think we’ll see a two-dog race between Atlanta and Seattle. I have the Giants as a sleeper team because I like their defense and that have so many offensive weapons. But Atlanta’s defense is young and on the rise. Coming off of what happened last year, I believe Atlanta will ride a story of redemption all the way back to the Super Bowl. I know that Atlanta has a long history of folding under pressure. I know picking a team to return to the Super Bowl and win really isn’t bold and it kind of jinxes it. But I had to pick somebody. I think Atlanta can correct the ending from a season ago this upcoming February in Minneapolis. But then again, it is September.