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NFL 2019: Who Will Triumph in the NFL’s 100th Season?

Posted on September 02, 2019 by Dean Hybl

As the National Football League prepares for its 100th season, the top NFL betting sites are making predictions for which team will lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LIV.

At 42-years old, Tom Brady is still one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.

Given that they have appeared in each of the last three Super Bowls (winning two), you can never go wrong putting your money on the New England Patriots.

Conventional wisdom tells us that at some point the amazing reign of the Patriots will end, but every time it looks like the magic run is over, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick pull another rabbit out of the hat. In a league where parody and volatility from year-to-year is the norm, New England has posted double digits victories for 16 straight years and won 10 straight division titles.

Even though Brady is 41-years old and will be without one of his favorite targets in recently retiree Rob Gronkowski, there is little reason to doubt that the Patriots offense will again be among the best in the NFL. Last year they scored the fourth most points in the league and ranked in the top 10 in both passing and rushing yards.

Solid defense is typically a key to the success of the Patriots. Last year they were seventh in the league in points allowed, but ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed. In a conference that boasts some great quarterbacks, the Patriots have to improve their pass defense this season.

Most prognosticators are jumping on the band wagon of the team guided by one of those young quarterbacks, the Kansas City Chiefs. Pat Mahomes nearly led the Chiefs past the Patriots in the AFC title game last season and appear to be positioned to make another run in 2019.

Another AFC team receiving a lot of early buzz is the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the same Cleveland Browns who went 1-31 in 2016-2017 and have not had a winning season since 2007. After posting a 7-8-1 record last year, Cleveland fans are talking about the playoffs and even dreaming of a trip to the Super Bowl.

Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield proved that he was deserving of being the first pick in the 2018 draft and now is looking to cement his place among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. Adding All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a receiving unit that also includes Jarvis Landry and David Njoku certainly will not hurt. The Browns also have a strong running game with Nick Chubb and former Kansas City star Kareem Hunt (who will miss the first eight games due to a suspension).

Defensively, the Browns have been stockpiling top-10 draft picks for several years and should continue to improve. Former top pick Myles Garrett had 13.5 sacks last season and could emerge as one of the top defensive players in the league.

The Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers have been perennial contenders in recent years and all four will certainly be contenders in 2019. However, each team has suffered the loss of veteran performers in recent years, so it will take young players stepping up if they intend to reach the playoffs this season.

Having reached the Super Bowl last season and still possessing a young team with great talent, the Los Angeles Rams are likely the safe bet from the NFC. However, unlike the AFC where the Patriots have been dominant, the NFC has not seen a team reach back-to-back Super Bowls since the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014.

Jared Goff led the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his second season as an NFL regular.

Jared Goff has developed into a top-flight NFL quarterback and the Rams also have a plethora of high level offensive skill players. Though injury plagued him late in the 2018 season, Todd Gurley was a first team All-Pro and dangerous weapon as a rusher and receiver. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks each had more than 1,200 yards receiving last season and Cooper Kupp was on pace for similar numbers before he was lost for the season.

The Rams have arguably the best player in the NFL anchoring their defense. Aaron Donald was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 while registering 20.5 sacks. However, even with Donald on the front line, the Rams were 20th in the league in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed. They must improve the defense if they want to repeat as conference champions.

In the 100th year of the NFL it would be appropriate if one of original teams contended for a championship. The Chicago Bears went 12-4 last season before losing by a point to the Philadelphia Eagles in their opening playoff game. The Bears had the top rated scoring defense in the NFL last season and a solid offense that was ninth in scoring.

Third year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky developed into a solid NFL starter last year tossing 24 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions. All-purpose back Tarik Cohen earned All-Pro honors while registering 1,599 all-purpose yards.

After joining the team in a preseason trade, Khalil Mack registered 12.5 sacks and forcing six fumbles to earn All-Pro honors. Overall, the Bears had 27 interceptions and 45 total defensive turnovers.

Despite Jerry Jones annually proclaiming that “this is the year” for the Dallas Cowboys, something seems to always throw a wrinkle in the plans for the Cowboys. This year Jones is creating early conflict by not negotiating a new contract with running back Ezekiel Elliott. The result is that with only days left before the start of the season, it is unclear if the All-Pro back will be on the field for week one.

The Cowboys have enough talent to contend in the NFC, but if Elliott is not in the lineup (or is not at top form) early in the season, it will be hard for them to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years.

Last season the New Orleans Saints went 13-3 and had it not been for a blown pass interference call would likely have reached the Super Bowl.

With quarterback Drew Brees now joining Brady in the Over-40 club, there is some question as to whether he and the Saints can repeat their great 2018 season. While Brees and the offense will certainly have a role in whether they have another great year, the bigger question is there defense. Last season the Saints ranked second in the league in rushing yards allowed, but were 14th in points allowed and 29th in passing yards allowed.

The Carolina Panthers started strong last season, but an injury to quarterback seemed to derail their season. If Newton is able to stay healthy in 2019 you can expect the Panthers to be contenders in the NFC.

Another team that seems to always be competitive in the NFC is the Seattle Seahawks. Last season they posted a 10-6 record and reached the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. Quarterback Russell Wilson has developed into one of the most dynamic players in the league.

The Seattle defense is not what they were during the “Legion of Boom” era, but Bobby Wagner is an All-Pro linebacker. They also just upped their defensive game by trading for Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney from the Houston Texans. Adding Clowney to the pass rush will be a big plus for the Seahawks defense.

Since Pete Rozelle made league parody a key virtue of the NFL back in the 1960s, the one thing that can be expected in each NFL season is the unexpected. Teams that we all think will be among the best can struggle while there seems to always be at least one team that comes from nowhere to make the playoffs and sometimes even win a title.

In the 100th year of the NFL there are certainly teams that are betting favorites, but when the season is over you can likely bet that not all of those favorites will be standing.

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