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September 07, 2017

Jimmy Kempski's 2017 NFL season predictions

Eagles NFL
090717NFLPlayoffs Jimmy Kempski/for PhillyVoice

NFL football begins tonight, when Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs travel to New England to take on the Patriots. And so, let's make some league-wide predictions on the season:

Division winners and playoff seeds



• The Seahawks' offensive line is extremely concerning, but holy crap that defense is stacked.

• The Packers don't have much in the way of a challenge from the other teams in the NFC North.

• I'm banking on the Falcons coming back down to Earth after that disaster in the Super Bowl, and think the Panthers are closer to the dominant team they were in 2015 than the disappointment they were in 2016.

• The Giants are like the "Seahawks Light," in that they have a good defense and will make enough plays on offense behind a crappy offensive line, but they aren't nearly as talented. I can see them winning the division at 10-6. The Eagles will be better in Year 2 of Carson Wentz, but they still have a ways to go before they contend for the Super Bowl. I have them sneaking into the playoffs at 9-7.

• The notable omission here is Dallas, obviously. They have no pass rush, a re-worked and/or inexperienced secondary, and all kinds of off-field drama that could distract from their play on the field.

• The Patriots just are who they are, and that Steelers offense could be a juggernaut. Those two picks are easy.

• I still believe in Andy and his Chiefs, even with some down on them this season.

• The Titans are a little overhyped, but their division is just so bad. With Andrew Luck not playing until ???, Marcus Mariota is head and shoulders above the quarterbacks in the AFC South.

• The Raiders have a legit franchise QB in Derek Carr. He's what Eagles fans should hope Carson Wentz develops into.

• The Bengals made the playoffs in each of the five years prior to 2016, and I see them getting back there again this year, with their customary first round exit.

• Here's my pointless game-by-game look at the playoffs:

Playoff results


2018 NFL Draft order


• The Jets are God-awful, but the Browns have an average age of 24.24 years, and an unpolished rookie second-round quarterback at the helm. They are going to lose a ton of games.

• The 49ers are going into the season with Brian freaking Hoyer as their starting quarterback.

• The Bears may have something in Mitchell Trubisky. We'll see. But for now, it's Mike Glennon and a trash roster.

• When is Andrew Luck coming back? Even with him last year, the Colts were 8-7 in the worst division in football. They have disaster written all over them this year.

Individual awards


• Tom Brady is in the conversation for best quarterback of all time, but I still believe that Aaron Rodgers is by far the most talented player in the league.

• I drafted David Johnson first overall in my fantasy football league this year, and fear that was a mistake. Le'Veon Bell could have a monster season heading into a contract year under the franchise tag.

• Joey Bosa missed the offseason last year and still put up 10.5 sacks. I project a similar second season for him like Khalil Mack had in Oakland.

• Leonard Fournette feels like a pretty obvious choice in a Jacksonville offense that wants to run the hell out of the ball.

• Typically, the Defensive Rookie of Year is either a pass rusher who puts up big sack numbers, or a linebacker on a bad team that racks up a ton of tackles, like Luke Kuechly, Brian Cushing, Patrick Willis, and DeMeco Ryans. I strongly considered Reuben Foster here, but opted instead to appease the local homers with Derek Barnett, who I believe will also have an immediate impact.

• J.J. Watt is the obvious choice for Comeback Player of the Year. I didn't get cute there.

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