Dark horse teams that have a chance to make postseason…
What fun would it be watching the NFL each week if everything went according to plan? That would be boring. Now that the midway point of the season has arrived and certain situations are starting to take shape, some bold predictions are in order for the remainder of 2018.
With the race for NFL MVP in full swing, what receiver might finish the year with at least 2,000 yards? The potential candidate mentioned within might be a little surprising.
And with a playoff picture just beginning to take form, there are a couple of dark horse teams that have a chance to make it to the postseason.
With that said, enjoy these mid-season NFL bold predictions.
Steelers miss the playoff boat
The past four years, the Steelers have been a fixture in the postseason. And, during head coach Mike Tomlin’s 12-year tenure, Pittsburgh has made the playoffs eight times. Though, the buck might stop in 2018. Currently, the Steelers lead the AFC North and sport a 4-2-1 record. But, the Bengals (5-3) and Ravens (4-4) could eventually clinch first place. Furthermore, there are several other teams in the AFC, playing at higher levels that could easily oust the Steelers out of a wild card slot. Lastly, question marks regarding a missing Le’Veon Bell — a game changer late in the season — cloud Pittsburgh’s forecast.
Patrick Mahomes surpasses 50 passing touchdowns
We are not sure what Mahomes is eating for breakfast on game days, but we’ll take what he is having. This second-year quarterback has been nothing but sensational and he currently leads the NFL with 26 passing touchdowns accomplished in only eight games. Just as a comparison, Tom Brady has thrown for only 16 scores. If Mahomes keeps slinging the pigskin into the end zone at his current pace, he will conclude 2018 with 52 passing touchdowns. This would be en route to Mahomes likely securing Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Rams go undefeated
The Rams are off to a fantastic start and remain the only undefeated franchise in the league. It’s an early call, but the Rams could finish out 2018 with a 16-0 record if they keep plowing ahead full steam. Beating the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 would be the next task at hand for the Rams. Next up after that on the Rams’ schedule would be contests with the Seahawks, Chiefs, Lions, Bears, Eagles, Cardinals and 49ers. Other than the Chiefs, the Rams have a a fairly favorable set of opponents. The team to go undefeated during the regular season was the New England Patriots in 2007.
Packers fire Mike McCarthy
McCarthy is on the so-called hot seat and many Packers fans would like to see him dismissed of his duties. The veteran head coach survived the chopping block last season after several other coaching staff got terminated. A couple of them were fired much to the dismay of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now in 2018, the strained relationship between Rodgers and McCarthy seems to be continuing while the Packers (3-3-1) rank third in the NFC North. Whether the Packers make it to the playoffs or not, Green Bay may decide it is finally time to move on from McCarthy.
Cleveland Browns produce another tie game
For the first time in ages, the Browns are an exciting team to watch. Even though the team sits in last place in the AFC North at 2-5-1, the Browns have had some close calls so far this season. Starting out with a tie game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, the Browns have since forced overtime in Weeks 4, 5 and 7. With this crazy stat hanging overhead, is it really too out of the realm to imagine another nail-biting overtime tie for Cleveland? It is not.
The Lions win only one more game
This is sad to even put into print. But the truth is, the Lions have been pretty bad under their rookie head coach Matt Patricia. The team is allowing more points than it is scoring and the road ahead looks grim. On their remaining schedule, the Lions play the Vikings and Bears twice, which is a tough task in itself. They also will face the Panthers, Rams, Cardinals, Bills, and Packers. And while the Cardinals and Bills may seem like easy wins, both teams’ passing defenses could prove troublesome. We will leave it Patricia to debunk this prediction.
Eli Manning finally gets benched
The New York Giants (1-7) are about as smelly as a landfill right now. Heading into their bye, the team needs a major work. Manning looks to remain the starter for the time being, though the Giants might eventually feel inclined to pull a Ben McAdoo switch-a-roo at quarterback if more losses keep piling up. While Manning is completing a career-best 68.3 percent of his passes, he has simply not been efficient in scoring touchdowns. With only eight thrown on the season, Manning is playing on borrowed time.
Jared Goff tops 5,000 passing yards
While the aforementioned Mahomes is piling up the touchdowns, Goff has been busy tallying up passing yards. As things currently stand, Goff ranks No. 3 in passing yards and is averaging 303.1 per game. This puts him on pace to pass for 4,849.6 yards for the 2018 season. Boldly, we are predicting Goff ups his pace just a bit and concludes the year with at least 5,000 yards. If so, he could be well on his way to leading in this stat.
Julio Jones never scores a touchdown
Jones’ touchdown production has been on the decline for the last four seasons. And, 2018 marks a very peculiar year that has yet to see Jones find the end zone. Never mind that he leads the league with an average of 116 receiving yards per game and has been targeted 81 times in seven games. The touchdowns are MIA, and quarterback Matt Ryan seems to prefer throwing to Jones’ various other teammates when within scoring range. If this trend continues — which it logically could — Jones will end up with a big goose egg in his scoring column.
Texans finish with a 13-3 record
Wouldn’t this be something? This is a fun prediction that could come true based on how the Texans turned around their 0-3 start to the season. Since, the team has won five games in a row and is on quite the roll. Houston has a powerful defense that has allowed just 20.9 points on average per game. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson is playing in prime form, coming off a five-touchdown performance. To clean sweep the rest of the season, the Texans will have to beat the Broncos, Redskins, Browns, Colts, Jets, Eagles and Jaguars. This is potentially doable.
Christmas Eve against the Broncos will be Raiders final game in Oakland
The Raiders’ new stadium in Las Vegas is not supposed to be ready until at least the 2020 season. But, the Raiders’ lease on their current shared Oakland Athletics stadium ends in 2018. On top of this, the Raiders are simply not happy with being in Oakland. It also does not help that the City of Oakland is reportedly suing the Raiders for their eventual relocation. All of these points are valid enough that we could see the Raiders playing in an entirely different city, temporarily located, in 2019.
Adam Thielen tops 2,000 receiving yards
Thielen sometimes doesn’t get the love he deserves for everything he brings to the field. But he should. He has scored six times and is averaging 12 targets and 115.6 yards per game. He also leads the league with 74 receptions. So, hats off to Thielen for his phenomenal work every week. If Thielen continues to maintain his average of yards recorded per game, he would finish 2018 with 1,849.6 total yards. Should he slightly increase his yards averaged per game, this originally undrafted receiver could top the 2,000-yard mark.
The six AFC playoff teams will be..
Part of this prediction is easy at the season’s midpoint. Right off the bat, the AFC West belongs to the Chiefs (7-1), the AFC East led by the Patriots (6-2) and AFC South looks to be there for the taking for the Texans (5-3). The Chiefs are playing out of their minds. And, since when has Tom Brady not made a playoff run? Houston is hot too and has that soft schedule we touched upon.
Now to the bold calls. The Ravens (4-4) can win the AFC North, largely due to their defense. As for two Wild Card teams, Andrew Luck and the Colts (3-5) stand to keep the wins rolling in enough to advance into the postseason. Lastly, Philip Rivers and the Chargers (5-2) are on course to earn a playoff berth.
The six NFC playoff teams will be..
Now it is the NFC’s turn. Easily, the Rams (8-0) win the NFC West. They really can do no wrong. And, the Saints (6-1) look poised to keep their lead all year. There is little to suggest Drew Brees and Co. suddenly fall back.
Next, picking winners of the NFC North and East get a bit more dicey. Boldly, and because they are currently leading their division, the Bears (4-3) get our vote. Lastly, the Eagles (4-4) could surpass the Redskins and win that division. As for Wild Card picks, it is too hard to ignore the Panthers (5-2) and the Vikings (4-3-1).
Drew Brees plays former team in Super Bowl
Tying all of this together and going bold on an AFC pick, we are calling for the Saints to face the Chargers in Super Bowl 53. This would pit Brees against his old team, which he last played for in 2005. How classic would this be? As things stand now, the Saints will likely have to beat the Rams to advance to the Super Bowl. That also likely means the Chargers will have to oust the Chiefs in the very end. As far-fetched as this scenario might sound, keep in mind this food for thought: Nick Foles is our current reining Super Bowl MVP. Nobody would have predicted that.