An Uneducated Take
The regular season is over and it’s time to reflect on what we saw and get ready for the playoffs (Yeah, it’s a little late, but hey, better late than never).
We got end of the year awards, top 5 games of the year, a preview of the Wild Card, and a re-ranking of the playoff teams. In the final week, I went 4-2, which takes the season total to 46-35 with 11 games to go. It’d be amazing if I didn’t get another pick right and finished at .500 or even below.
MVP: Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens. Was there even a question to this? He put up one of the greatest seasons ever by a QB as he led the league in TD passes and QBR with only 15 games played.
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers. Part of me wanted to put Lamar here as well, but that would be a disservice to the season that McCaffrey has had. Over 2,400 yards from scrimmage and 21 combined rushing and receiving TDs, and named first team all pro at RB and Flex. Just incredible.
Defensive Player of the Year: (tie) Chandler Jones – Arizona Cardinals and Stephon Gilmore – New England Patriots. Even though Arizona is staying at home, Jones had an amazing season with 19 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and was named first team all pro. Gilmore was also amazing as he led the league in passes defended and interceptions. Also, had two pick sixes and was named first team all pro.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders. A great first year as he averaged 4.8 yards per carry, had 7 touchdowns, finished with over 1,000 yards rushing and lost only 1 fumble all year. This is about as strong a first year performance you can have as a running back with only playing 13 games.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa – San Francisco 49ers. Sure, he might have benefited from being on the best D-line in football, but he definitely made an impact as he finished with 9 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers. In his 3rd year as head coach, everything finally came together as he took a team that finished 10 and 22 in his first two seasons, to a 13-3 record and gained the #1 seed in the NFC.
Top 5 Games of the Year
#5: Week 1
Houston Texans 28
New Orleans Saints 30
This game had one of the best finishes all year as the Texans took the lead on a go ahead touchdown with 37 seconds left, only to have Drew Brees lead the team down the field and Wil Lutz kicked a 58 yard field goal with no time remaining to win the game. Best possibly way to welcome back the NFL for the 2019 season.
#4: Week 10
Kansas City Chiefs 32
Tennessee Titans 35
With 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs led by 9. Ryan Tannehill then led Titans back into the game and completed a game winning touchdown pass to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds remaining.
#3: Week 17
San Francisco 49ers 26
Seattle Seahawks 21
In a game where there were no ties or lead changes, this produced one of the best endings of the year that garnered a fair bit of controversy and shook up the playoff picture for 4 of the 6 NFC playoff teams.
#2: Week 10
Seattle Seahawks 27 (OT)
San Francisco 49ers 24
This game had a bit of everything to it. 49ers went up 10 early, only to be down 11 in the fourth quarter. The San Francisco defense got a score early in the fourth quarter and the Niners were able to tie the game on a 48 yard field goal from replacement kicker Chase McLaughlin. Seattle got the ball first to start the overtime and got into the red zone. Wilson then threw an interception which was returned for 47 yards. McLaughlin missed a potential game winner. Seattle punted. San Francisco punted. On a third and 3, with over a minute to play, Wilson broke free for an 18 yard run into Niner territory and set up Myers to kick a game winner with no time remaining.
#1: Week 14
San Francisco 49ers 48
New Orleans Saints 46
There’s not a whole lot else to be said about this game. The 4th and 2 Kittle catch and run with 39 seconds left may go down as one of those legendary 49ers moments depending on how well they do in the playoffs.
Week 1: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Week 2: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 3: New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 4: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions
Week 5: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Week 6: Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
Week 6: Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans
Week 9: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
Week 10: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
Week 12: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Week 13: San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens
Week 16: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins
Week 17: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Week 17: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Re-Ranking the Playoff Teams
#1: Baltimore Ravens – They are the team to beat and have time to rest. With 5 players named All Pro, it’s hard to bet against them.
#2: San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers finally have a chance to rest as they have not had a week off since Week 3. It’s much needed since they have the potential to get back Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander.
#3: New Orleans Saints – The scariest team in the playoffs but they will have to go the hard way. If they win the Wild Card game, they will have to play the Packers in Lambeau on Sunday night and if current forecasts hold, could see a bit of snow.
#4: Kansas City Chiefs – They are healthy at the right time. I’m salivating at the chance to see them against Baltimore in the AFC Title Game.
#5: New England Patriots – This is the first time the Patriots have had to play in Wild Card Weekend since 2009 season. They seem to be one of the weak links going into the Playoffs but their defense is still one of the best in the league.
#6: Green Bay Packers – Elite defense, Aaron Rodgers, any questions?
#7: Seattle Seahawks – They are one of the most battle tested teams of the year, yet they are also one of the teams that are limping into these playoffs with injuries on both sides of the ball.
#8: Houston Texans – They got to rest their starters in Week 17 as there was nothing to play. Their game against Buffalo could be a lot of fun.
#9: Buffalo Bills – They are an incredibly tough team, and play well on the road.
#10: Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins has all the weapons to make a deep run, but he’s still Kirk Cousins…
#11: Tennessee Titans – They had a rough run early in the year and at the end, but I don’t see Tannehill being able to do much against the Patriots in Foxboro.
#12: Philadelphia Eagles – It’s a bit of a skeleton crew on this squad and it is going to take everything they have to compete with Seattle on Sunday.
Wild Card Weekend Picks
Houston hosts Buffalo and I would take Buffalo +3.
New England hosts the Titans on what could potentially be a rainy day in Foxboro. I’d take Tennessee +5.5, but take New England on the money line.
Vikings visits the Saints on Sunday. Definitely take New Orleans -7.5.
Seattle travels to Philadelphia for the final Wild Card game late Sunday afternoon. I feel an upset. Philly +1.5.