2018 NFL preview and Super Bowl prediction

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Last week, I asked you to pick which 12 teams will make the playoffs this season. Here are my playoff picks and Super Bowl prediction.

NFC WEST

1. Los Angeles Rams. They added three big-time defensive players during the offseason: Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh. But, the Rams still have holes on defense, and lack enough maturity offensively to win the Super Bowl. This team is a year away.

2. San Francisco 49ers. This team is at least a year away. DeForest Buckner needs help. He’s the only great player on the defense. Cassius Marsh is the team’s best edge-rusher and he’s not a good edge-rusher. Plus, he’s a liability against the run. He can’t play on first down or second down or third and less than seven. Otherwise, offenses will run him over. This is a 9-7 team.

3. Seattle Seahawks. They’re falling apart, but still have the best quarterback in the division — Russell Wilson. They’ll win eight games.

4. Arizona Cardinals. They have a new head coach and a new starting quarterback — Sam Bradford — who almost certainly will get injured. The question is how soon? The Cardinals should be decent while he’s healthy. A 7-9 team.

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay Packers. They added three quality tight ends — Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Lance Kendricks — who will help the pass game. They drafted two corners — Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson — who will help the pass defense. They signed defensive tackle Mohamed Wilkerson, who will help the run defense. They FINALLY got rid of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who was washed up. They replaced him with Mike Pettine, who’s not bad. And they’re getting back Aaron Rodgers, who missed nine games last season with a broken collar bone. The Packers better win the division this year. If they don’t, they probably will fire head coach Mike McCarthy.

2. Minnesota Vikings (Wild Card). They have an excellent roster, but also have a new quarterback (Kirk Cousins) and a new offensive coordinator (John DeFililppo). How long will those two take to get comfortable with each other? A week? A month?

3. Detroit Lions. New head coach Matt Patricia’s first task: force offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to run the freaking ball.

4. Chicago Bears. They have a good defense and a talented young quarterback (Mitch Trubisky), but still are a ways away. They’ll win six or seven games.

NFC SOUTH

1. New Orleans Saints. They always had a good offense. Now, they have a good defense, too. Marshon Lattimore is a shut-down cornerback. The 49ers could have had him, but drafted Solomon Thomas instead. Oops!

2. Carolina Panthers. New Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been around the league 100 times, but never has coached a mobile quarterback like Cam Newton. Turner will get the most out of the him. The previous offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, was a dud.

3. Atlanta Falcons. Julio Jones’ contract dispute and holdout will cost the Falcons a playoff berth. No wonder they drafted a wide receiver in the first round this year. They probably anticipated this problem with Jones.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They could go 8-8 and still finish last. Jameis Winston’s three-game suspension hurts.

NFC EAST

1. Philadelphia Eagles. They won the Super Bowl last year with Nick Foles, and now they’ll have Foles and Carson Wentz. And they still have an excellent coaching staff. But, teams will have a book on the Eagles. They caught the league by surprise last season.

2. New York Giants (Wild Card). They have a rookie running back, Saquon Barkley, who probably will be the Rookie of the Year. They have Eli Manning, who still has life. They’re getting back Odell Beckham Jr., who was injured last season and missed 12 games. And they have a new head coach, Pat Shurmur, who will bring a much more positive attitude than the previous head coach, Ben McAdoo, a real downer.

3. Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott has no one to throw to.

4. Washington Redskins. Even though they got Alex Smith, I can’t get excited about this team. It has no defense.

AFC WEST

1. Los Angeles Chargers. They clearly have the most talented team and the best quarterback in the division. Can they stay healthy? The Chargers seem to lose their players before the season even starts. They already lost their tight end, Hunter Henry. He tore his ACL during OTAs.

2. Kansas City Chiefs. They got rid of lots of key players on defense, including Marcus Peters, the best corner in the NFL. They also have an inexperienced quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who’s basically a rookie. He started only one game last season. The Chiefs will take a step back.

3. Oakland Raiders. The defense still stinks. Same story every season with this team.

4. Denver Broncos. Vance Joseph will be the first head coach to get fired next season. John Elway won’t sit and watch his team deteriorate like last season.

AFC NORTH

1. Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost their offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, but still are the only playoff team in this division.

2. Cleveland Browns. The Browns have Haley now, and he knows this division well. Plus, they have quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who took the Bills to the playoffs last season. The Browns could push the Steelers for the division title.

3. Baltimore Ravens. John Harbaugh better make the playoffs this year or he’s out. He hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014. His offense puts me to sleep. And his quarterback, Joe Flacco, is relentlessly mediocre. They need some explosion. They need to start rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.

4. Cincinnati Bengals. I have no faith in their quarterback, Andy Dalton, or their head coach, Marvin Lewis. They always find ways to louse things up.

AFC SOUTH

1. Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a great defense and a great running game. They’re like the Seahawks from five years ago, minus Russell Wilson. But their quarterback, Blake Bortles, isn’t that bad. The Jaguars got him under control. Their head coach, Doug Marrone, is a tough guy, and so is Tom Coughlin, who runs that team. The Jaguars will be fine as long as those two run the show.

2. Houston Texans (Wild Card). DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and quarterback Deshaun Watson made the offense extremely explosive last season before he injured his knee. He supposedly is ready for training camp.

3. Tennessee Titans (Wild Card). Marcus Mariota is a less-exciting version of Watson, and the Titans are a less-exciting version of the Texans. Both teams are very good, though.

4. Indianapolis Colts. I assume Andrew Luck won’t play until I see him actually throw a ball.

AFC EAST

1. New England Patriots. The Patriots own this division until Bill Belichick and Tom Brady go away.

2. Miami Dolphins. Who are they?

3. Buffalo Bills. They have a new quarterback, A.J. McCarron. Big whoop.

4. New York Jets. They are the Jets.

SUPER BOWL: New Orleans Saints over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Saints have Drew Brees, and the Jaguars don’t.

 

 

This article has 146 Comments

  1. Good stuff. I have the Saints missing the playoffs so we couldn’t be any further apart in that regard, but the other predictions I agree with somewhat…with the exception of the Browns pushing the Steelers for the Division title. That has to be the result of a lack of sleep while trying to get this on the site ;)

    1. Ha! A definite possibility. I’m not in love with the Browns — I’m down on the Steelers.

      Saints missing the playoffs, eh? I’ll find your post and read your reasoning. They’re an interesting team. One of the few good teams from last season that didn’t have a lot of turnover this offseason.

      EDIT: I see you picked the Falcons to win that division. Fair enough. That’s the toughest division in football. The Falcons, Panthers and Saints have almost identical records the past seven or eight seasons, I believe.

      1. Yeah my thought process was there are 3 teams so good and close that they will fight a war of attrition with the Falcons coming out on top. Saints are a good bet to make it obviously but there is always so much turnover in playoff teams I forced some new ones into the mix

      2. Very nice effort Grant. I find it funny how often we do see eye-to-eye on the “big picture”.

        As tough as it is for me to put Bortles and Super Bowl appearance in the same sentence, since I don’t have the 49ers getting all the way to the big dance until next season, a Saints vs Jags Super Bowl makes a lot of sense to me.

        A couple notes: I do expect big things out of Jimmy G and the 49ers offense this season, and I am prepared to see things like I’ve never seen before, out of the phenom – Saquon Barkley.

        GO NINERS!

      3. You mention the Steelers losing Todd Haley like it’s a bad thing. If anything, shipping Haley off to The Mistake by the Lake is a blessing for the Steelers and a curse for the Browns. That guy was awful.

  2. Picked same NFC
    AFC Browns are interesting.
    I think Baltimore squeaks past them if Flacco goes down and Lamar gets in there.
    I think combo of Chubb and Von plus a solid QB performance gets Broncos back in the 6 seed.

      1. Playoff teams were almost the same.

        In the AFC I put Baltimore in over Tennessee. They were a crazy play at the end of the season from winning 10 games last year and I think they improved over the offseason. Mike Mularkey limits the Titans. He’s never won more than 9 games in the regular season.

        In the NFC I have Washington in over NY. Smith is what Cousins isn’t, a winner. Also have Atlanta in and Minnesota out. Took some time last season for the Falcons to get their offense figured out, that should be better from the get go this season. Like most NFCCG losers before them, Minnesota will fall short. See Cousins comment above.

        1. Baltimore is a good pick, but I don’t think Flacco can take them to the playoffs. Has to be Jackson.

          Washington is a gutsy pick. I like their offense.

  3. I appreciate the work you put into this column. With that said, here’s where I disagree.

    The 49ers will be carried by their offense. We should have at least 5,000+ yards from scrimmage and I expect us to do better in the RZ. The stuff you mentioned about the D is valid and could bite us in the playoffs. That’s why you won’t here any SB predictions from me this year unless the D gets a lot better.

    Az. Bradford getting hurt could be a blessing in disguise if Rosen is as good as I think he will be.

    I have Atl. winning the South. New Orleans is my 7 seed.

    The Giants aren’t going anywhere unless Barkley balls out, which is possible so that’s not a bad sleeper pick.

    The Browns won’t push for the division. 4 to 6 win range, which would be a nice improvement for them.

    Sadly, I think Oak. will get a Wild Card berth.

    Houston is a decent sleeper pick, but I don’t see it.

    SB: Patriots over Eagles.

    Pretty much agree with everything else.

    1. The 49ers offense will be good, but the competition to make the playoffs is so tough in the NFC. Have to have an offense and a defense to make it.

      You’re picking a repeat of last year’s Super Bowl? How often does a repeat happen?

      1. Brady and Belichick want this one badly. I don’t think any of the other AFC teams can win in Foxborough. I agree that Bortles isn’t that bad, but he needed to be more in the playoffs.

        I’m not as sold on Philly. I could see Minnesota in the SB with Cousins.

        1. The Patriots had so much turnover this offseason, both on the roster and the coaching staff. Doesn’t seem like their year to me.

      2. The 49ers with JG averaged 42 yards per drive last year, if they had him all year and kept that average they’d have been the #1 offense (yards) in the NFL. Scoring is a different story but if you average 40+ yards you basically put yourself in FG range (50 yards, but in range) every drive (obviously some drives go 75 yards and a TD, others go 10 and a punt).

        This year should be a step up from there. They get a more versatile RB, the WR depth improves, and the JG has had a whole offseason to digest the playbook, its not new to him. No reason to think they can’t be a top 10 offense easily, defense just needs to not be bottom 10 and thats good enough to push for a WC or NFC West division title.

  4. I don’t know who wins or what happens, all I know is I can’t wait for this thing to start!

    Go Niners!

  5. What I expect… 49ers have had worse than average injury rates 2014-2017. If the trend continues 7 to 8 wins.
    49ers need another draft and free abency to make a serious run. They need edge rusher and better rotational depth.

    How could the 49ers suprise?
    – Less injuries.
    – Thomas and Armstead finally emerge as top inside pass rushers. With Buckner, the trio create a rotational inside pass rush akin to the Panthers 2013-2016
    – Sherman comes back 90%-100%
    – Run game is consistently strong enough to make play action effective enough to compensate for loss of T. Brown’s pass pro

    10-12 wins if all of the above happen.

    What will suprise most casual fans?
    – It’s been nothing but Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy but the offense will emphasize run, run, run.
    The Niners didn’t spent big in FA and the draft acquiring Richburg, McKinnon and McGlinchy for nothing. Shanahan’s system is more run oriented than some realize.

    1. Yes, I think so too. Titans and Texans are very similar but IMO the Titans roster is much better than the Texans. I’m not sold on Vrabel as a head coach. Not sure what he did to even deserve a chance at the job. The guy was DC in Houston for 1 year and he still had Romeo Crennel on the staff to tell him what to do. Even then, the Texans had the worst defense in the NFL last year. They gave up 436 points which was worst in the league by 26 points. Amazing to me this guy got a head coaching job.

  6. Same picks as me, even the 3 AFC South playoff teams (I think one of those three could end up at 8-8). Except where you have the Giants I have the Niners. Garropolo will raise the Niners higher than Saquon will the Giants. Manning has a new OC, a new system, how will he handle it, most QBs struggle with that year 1 change.

    1. I stole your picks.

      Manning has a better supporting cast than Garoppolo. That’s how I see it.

      1. Loved this article Grant! Lots of hard work went into this, I have felt lately this team will be anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7. Got a feeling this D will be better than we think but at least a half season is needed for the o-line to gell! Thank you Grant!

  7. If the season goes well the Niners could make the playoffs, but I don’t see them getting far.
    In the NFC I think the Packers have a good shot at the Super Bowl. Rogers is the best QB in the league and with the added players they could be a very tough team.
    The Eagles, Packers, Saints, Rams and Vikings all have a shot at the Super Bowl, however, probably one of those teams won’t make the playoffs. There is almost always a team that is projected to make the playoffs, but misses out.
    In the AFC it will probably be the Pats. How boring.
    If I had a wish it would be the Niner’s stomping the Pats into the ground in the Super Bowl. Not as good as beating the Cowboys in 81, but very satisfying.

  8. The 49ers (12-4) will win the nfc west. . . . Players that wasn’t on the field the last 5 games!!!
    Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Jonathan Cooper
    Mike McGlinchey
    Garçon
    Garnett
    Sherman
    Tartt
    Ward
    Attiouchi
    Malcom Smith

    That is an INFUSION of TALENT!!!!!!! (Pow!!!)
    Also the 49ers were the hottest team in the NFL when the season ended. The NFC was lucky we didn’t qualify for the playoffs cause NOBODY wanted 2 see us!!!

  9. Nice assessments.
    AFC East- Pats are dominant.
    AFC South- Titans. Mariota is way better than Bortles.
    AFC North- Ravens. Steelers are getting old, and Lamar Jackson will surprise.
    AFC West- Chargers. The are the most talented, with the best QB.
    .
    WC.
    Jax. Their defense will win games. I previously had Cleveland here, but I listened too much to Tom Tolbert.
    Chiefs. Mahomes will make the fans forget about AS.
    .
    NFC East- Philly. They won with their backup QB, and acquired Bennett.
    NFC South- Saints. One more push for Breeze, and the defense looks stout.
    NFC North- Vikings. Cousins is an upgrade, and they have the number one defense.
    NFC West- Rams are loaded, with good coaching.
    .
    WC.
    Packers. AR will be back, and they have improved their roster. If they can avoid being decimated by injuries, they have talent. They also can beat up on Detroit and Chicago, for 4 possible wins.
    Niners. Total homer call, but if the planets align, JG may lead them into the playoffs.
    .
    SB matchup- Chargers , Rams. A West Coach matchup, which will make the bookies furious. Both Philly and Pats do not make it to the conference championships.
    .
    SB winner? Chargers, because Bosa and Ingram get sacks, while the Rams had been beaten up in previous matches, so they are not at full strength. Vikings continue their losing streak, choking in the biggest game.
    .
    However, I can dream of a 49er- Patriot matchup, and hopefully, Bellichick will rue the day he traded JG to the Niners.

  10. Your going to get your dream matchup Seb. Niners vs Pats in the Super Bowl. My bet is already in. One thing for sure. It’s not going to be the Saints vs Jags. Please. The NFL and the powers that be will make sure of that! That would be without a doubt the lowest rated Super Bowl in history. What a yawner. There’s no way in hell that’s going to happen, but if that highly unlikely event occurs, I think I’ll go roller skating, along with what I would assume would be 2/3’s of the world. Nobody is going to watch that dud.

    1. Good call.
      .
      The All-LA matchup would bore everyone from Barstow eastwards.
      .
      Do not worry, Jax must improve their QB position. Bortles will not lead them to the SB.
      .
      Saints- Jags? Maybe TB- Miami would be worse.

  11. ‘Oakland- The defense still stinks. Same story every season with this team.’
    .
    That is why I proposed a multi player trade. Chucky may be desperate enough. However, now that TCs have started, all the teams will roll with what they have. Their best strategy will be to wait until the 53 cuts, and upgrade weaknesses.

  12. 10 reasons why the Niners may improve.
    1. JG will be the field general, and he will out think the opposition. He will have learned the playbook frontwards and backwards. He will have thrown to his receivers thousands of times.
    2. The O line will be be an upgrade from last season. Richberg is better than Kilgore. Garnett will be an upgrade from Fusco. McGlinchey will help the running game.
    3. The running game will help JG. McKinnon is a better fit than Hyde. Joe Williams will emerge and show how explosive he is.
    4. While the Rams are poised to return as division champions, both the Seahawks and Cards may regress. Seahawks have defensive turnover, while the Cards have coaching turnover, and QB questions.
    5. Niner coaches have had continuity, unlike the Tomsula and Chip seasons. Saleh has a year to assess the players, and he can put them in their best positions to succeed. KS has finally gotten the players who he thinks will fit his system.
    6. If the Niners can establish the running game, it will make the play action passes more effective.
    7. Many injured players have healed, and can contribute. Hope they bring some of them back slowly, so there are no setbacks.
    8. Niners have a relatively easy schedule. They have only 4 games against 2017 playoff teams.
    9. The Niners have upgraded the DBs, by getting rid of Dontae Johnson. If the CBs can cover for a half second more, the pass rush may have time to get to the passer. Colbert is emerging as 7th round steal. The Niners have acquired several new DBs. There will be spirited competition in the secondary.
    10. Despite not drafting a pass rusher early in the draft, the pass rush could improve. Arik Armstead will be back from a hand injury. Marsh may start to have fun. Signing Attaochu may result in more sacks. The improved pass rush could result in more pressures, sacks and turnovers.

  13. Don’t really see anything way off base. I would say though, I think Minnesota could have a run like Philly had last year if they get Cousins going like they had Case Keenum going last year. Minnesota’s roster is outstanding and they have a great coaching staff. They just need to get hot at the right time. In the AFC I can see the Jags taking a step back this year. They will definitely win the division but the Superbowl might be too much. Calais Campbell had his best year as a pro by far and he’s old. He may not have that same production this year which means that defense might be less dominant. I still think they have a top 3 defense but they may not be 86 Bears or 2000 Ravens level of great. I don’t see their offense carrying this team anywhere. Bortles is an ok QB but he can’t hit the crossing routes to save his life and this offense depends on those routes.

    All in all good job Grant. I think for your next endeavor you should have a guest blogger post their season picks. Maybe someone like say,,, your fiance. Then all the readers can see how you guys did in your competition. My theory on marriage is this: Marriage is a competition. Everything is a competition. Quick example – when you have your first kid and your both exhausted and the kid wakes up crying in the middle of the night both of you will pretend to be asleep so the other one will get up with the kid. The one who can pretend to be asleep the longest forcing the other one to get up is the winner. See… Marriage is a competition.

  14. Very well thought out, with the exception of the AFC East, but they are the Pat’s and nobody else, so who cares.
    Nice return article Grant.

    I think their are a few very tough divisions to decide their order…
    NFC East – Its Philly and the who’s
    NFC South – Brutal – Atlanta, NO, and Carolina can all win with Tampa being the odd man out.
    NFC Norse- Minn is the most talented team but Green Bay has that Bad man. Chicago and Detroit battle not to be relegated.
    NFC West – LA is the class of the division, SF and Seattle will fight for 2nd and AZ is the clear whipping boy

    AFC East- Is their anyone in the Division worth mentioning outside of NE?
    AFC South -Houston edges out Jacksonville, Indy, then Tennessee
    AFC North – Pitt, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland
    AFC West – Denver (Defense and an OK qb), Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs

    1. The Browns seem to have a pretty good defense, at least on paper. So I think they will finish 2nd or 3rd in that division. If the Seahawks lose Earl Thomas, they will be vying for the cellar of our division, imo.

  15. Hoping the 9ers don’t suffer any major injuries during camp–especially those of a season (or career) ending nature.

      1. If that town he’s in is Santa Clara, there ain’t nothing to paint red there. So you are probably right, razor.

    1. His agent has a history of taking signings right down to the wire. I think he’ll ink a contract within 24hrs of camp’s start.

  16. Think you nailed the NFC West. Rams should be a juggernaut.. 49ers look like a wild card team if all falls into place. Key defensively is Richard Sherman. If he is anywhere near what he once was the front seven become a way better group just by virtue of Sherman’s coverage. And if Sherman drags Witherspoon along, watch out. Two very long potential shut down Corners..

    The Jags regress. Bortles back to a disaster.. The Patriots regress. I like Houston big time with Watson and JJ Watt returning to form.. It’s the Texans and the Rams in the Super Bowl..

      1. My prediction is our secondary is going to be a lot better than people think with or without Sherman. Its got speed and some nastiness!

    1. Key defensively is Richard Sherman. If he is anywhere near what he once was the front seven become a way better group just by virtue of Sherman’s coverage.

      don, looking good on that front!

      “[Sherman] is good to go,” said Shanahan. “He’s been cleared. He’ll be practicing on Thursday. No PUP. He’ll just start playing with them going with two days on, one day off.”

      The 49ers signed Sherman as a free agent in March the day after the Seahawks released the veteran. While San Francisco has been cautious with his return, training camp was always the target for the cornerback to be fully cleared by the team’s medical staff.

      This offseason is the healthiest Sherman has felt in years. Even before the November injury, his Achilles was not completely healthy. Following the surgery on his leg, Sherman had another surgery to clean out bone spurs in his left foot – an injury which had hampered him for years.

      I feel light years better than I have over the past few years,” Sherman said during the team’s June minicamp. “This is the first offseason I’ve actually gotten to heal up and let all the ailments go away and come out completely healthy.”

      https://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/117072-injury-update-richard-sherman-medically-cleared-practice-training/

  17. What do all of you including Grant thinkof the bleacher report article naming the 49ers has the most overrated hyped team? I do not think it is the team that hyped them but fans and thoughs that want to progect that next big thing, I still think it will take another season to get more talent but it is interesting thatnVefas has them up their in the positive and they do well for the most part in sniffing out the studs from the duds.

    Sorry I could not link bleacher report still on vacation and no access to full computer

    1. The Vegas Line is driven by how bettors are betting. It’s like actuarial response to wagers made. The initial Line offerings are predictive as to bettors’ trends, the adjustments are reactive to cover the House position.
      Are the Niners and JG a bit over-hyped in the media? Probably.
      Do the Niners make the playoffs? Maybe.
      Eyeball Test in pads required.

      1. The same thing happened with the Atlantic City bookmakers. The Giants zoomed up the SB odds due to North Jersey homers driving down and putting money on them. Something like 18/1 – no one outside of maybe Grant gives them anywhere near that.

  18. Agree, NFC south is brutal and I think Julio’s contract situation will impact the Falcons play-off birth.

    For us, the key is the first 4 games. If we are 2-2 or above, we have a very good chance of making a deep run in the playoffs. Go Niners!

    1. If they go 4-4 in the first half there’s a good shot at 10 wins. They have 1 game outside of the Pacific time zone and don’t leave the state over the last 4 weeks of the season.

      1. Yeah because being suspended for two-games for off the field issues has anything to do with his ability on it. Thanks for playing.

        1. If he disappears in a puff of smoke, it does not matter if he is elite.
          .
          Subpar LBs have little self control.

      2. You were saying Seb?

        Lawrence Taylor, the premier linebacker of the Giants, was suspended yesterday by the National Football League for 30 days for violating its substance-abuse policy.

        Taylor will miss the Giants’ opening game Monday night against the Washington Redskins, the defending Super Bowl champions, as well as games against the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams.

        https://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/30/sports/giants-taylor-gets-30-day-suspension-for-the-use-of-drugs.html

        1. Thanks for proving my point. Even though LT was very talented, his 4 game suspension hurt his team. They lost 2 games during the suspension. They were eliminated from the playoffs due to tiebreakers with the Rams, one of the teams the Giants lost to.
          .
          While LT eventually had a HOF career, I can confidently assert he had a subpar season in 1988.
          .
          Some posters think Josh Gordon is an elite talent. I think his self inflicted wounds have over shadowed his career. Reuben Foster has 2 strikes. Hope he follows LT, and not Gordon.

  19. What I find surprising is that the Rams are considered a shoo-in for the Super Bowl based primarily on their improved but combustible mix of talent on D. McVay has done a masterful job in adjusting to limit exposure of Goff’s weaknesses. But the other DCs have had some time to study the tape.

    The Rams have extended the contract of a receiver that Sean Payton and Bellichick felt compelled to move. They still haven’t offered Donald the contract extension and he will be holding out of TC. Once they lose a couple of games in a row (e,g., in the October stretch where they 3 of 4 on the road against Niners, Seattle and Denver) there is a chance that the fuse will light for the incendiary mix of Peters, Talib, Suh and an upset Donald. The result will be spectacular :)

    1. McVay has done a masterful job in adjusting to limit exposure of Goff’s weaknesses.

      Not so loud. Rocket will hear you.
      ;>)

      Like you, I’m hoping there’s an adversity bug infestation throughout the Rams facility before the ink dries on the paper wether’s….

    2. These all-powerful DCs sure have studied tape and found a way to shut down every QB that has played the game, haven’t they?

      Not a dig at you, mood, I’m just saying there are certain QBs that defy the opposition’s best efforts to suppress them. They are able to process the game faster than the wrinkles the D throws at them. I think Garropolo may fit into that category (I’m not sure about Goff)

      1. Agree. I think JG does fit that mold. We saw some of it with his “off-schedule” plays last season (IIRC, that was one of the things that impressed KS the most). Maybe those were mostly due to his lack of knowledge of the offense or not being on the same page as the other offensive players, but it showed his ability to quickly adjust on-the-fly.

      2. On this “defensive coordinators have a book on him” thing, really think it takes about 32 starts or so for that really to be the case. They’ll still be trying to figure out Goff and Garoppolo this year.

        1. I think the Falcons pretty much gave the NFL the 101 on Goff last year in the playoffs. Like any QB, he does not like to be touched.

      3. rib,

        Good observation. The figuring out myth has always been a fan creation based on hope that another team falls back after they’ve shown they can play well. DC’s can scheme based on what they think the offense will do as a whole; it’s never just about the QB. It’s about the QB along with everything else around him and the caliber of playcaller running the show. The Rams aren’t going anywhere because they have a crap load of talent and one of the best young minds in the game. Luckily the Niners aren’t that far off from having the same thing. They have the QB and great young mind. Now they just need to increase the talent.

    3. What do you think the chances are of all those bad things happening to the Rams while everything goes great for the Niners Mood?

      Razor,

      I’ve never said Goff doesn’t have weaknesses. Just keep pointing out that he’s not the scrawny bum you said he was ;)

    4. “What I find surprising is that the Rams are considered a shoo-in for the Super Bowl”
      I don’t think that’s the case… the NFC has Minn, Philly, Nola, and ATL who are serious threats to go to the big dance.

    1. First, I highly doubt the Falcons would accept such a package for Jones. Second, why on earth should the 49ers even go after Jones when they already have a deep WR corps?

        1. Absolutely and Shanahan would if he were available, but he isn’t and won’t be with three years left on a contract the Falcons control.

          1. “Absolutely and Shanahan would if he were available, but he isn’t and won’t be with three years left on a contract the Falcons control.”

            I’m aware that there’s only a 1% chance of getting him (if that). But here, have a plus one for your trouble.

            +1

        2. I wouldn’t unless he was the missing piece needed to get to the Super Bowl. His TD numbers have also declined since 2015.
          The team should stick with what they have for now. If Jones is released, then they should go after him.

          1. Jones is a huge piece though. You can line him up anywhere. JG throwing slants to Julio would be tough to defend. It would open things up for everyone else.

      1. More like a snowballs chance in hell they’d do that trade, but Jones gives them a combination of speed and physicality in one player. Not to mention he’s a guy you can just throw it up to and trust to come down with it. Having said that, I wouldn’t entertain mortgaging the future for him. Khalil Mack would probably be the one player I’d be willing to do that for….

        1. Like Razor, I would rather have the elite pass rusher. Julio is elite but JG is more mobile than Matt Ryan and can extend plays enough to allow lesser talents to be as productive. Garcon is close enough in my opinion. An elite pass rusher and healthy Sherman would really vault the defense. Bringing in Julio would improve the offense but not nearly as much as the potential improvement on the defense. I see it as a question of which unit would see the bigger improvement.

        2. I like Mack but the money is getting out of hand. The only players worth the 20+ price tag are QB’s until the cap goes up a lot more. Too much money to spend on a player that doesn’t touch the ball.

          1. I still don’t get why you think you can determine how much money is too much money?
            This is the NFL where money does grow on trees. With the way deals are structured with some guaranteed and some not, it doesn’t matter how much teams spend because at the end of the day,these deals will never put teams in any sort of cap problems.

            Back in 1994 when the cap was 34 million, yeah you could not spend. But it’s set now for 2018 at 177 million. Now tell me how paying a guy 20 million is too much when he is a marque player like Mack? Teams don’t have a choice but to pay that much.
            The Eagles signed a bunch of players won the Super Bowl and are 4 million over the cap. They cut 2 players or restructure a deal and they easily get under and still have a contending roster.

          2. Not sure if I agree with you rocket. That’s become the going rate for a top tier pass rusher. Mack’s production has been equal to that of Von Miller over the last 3 years.

            1. I get that but paying defensive players that kind of money rarely makes a difference in the win column. Raiders have had one of the worst defenses in football with Mack and the Broncos haven’t done much of anything without a QB.

              I think in today’s game you pay the offensive stars and keep replenishing defense through the draft. Obviously there are exceptions if you have a QB on the first contract or have some good players at umder market deals.

              1. There’s some truth in that too. Neither of the two teams in the SB last season had guys with double digit sacks.

      2. If there is a Julio available and you have the opportunity to get him, go get him. It’s worth it. Whatever that price is, whatever that draft pick is, go get him. There’s not too many Julios on this planet.

        –K Shanahan in March

        Maybe up oneniners offer?

          1. I wouldn’t right now because that pick could be used to get a quality pass rusher, an OT if Staley retires after the season, or a CB in case Sherman fails to pan out in 2019.

            1. Don’t believe I would either because although 2019 is the year of the pig in China, it’s also the year of the pass rusher in the 2019 NFL draft, and we happen to need one. The 1st round targets:

              Baby Bosa
              Eddie Oliver
              Dexter Lawerence
              Clelin Ferrall
              Christian Wilkins
              Dre’Mont Jones
              Joe Jackson
              Rashan Gary
              Austin Bryant
              Josh Allen

              1. No way you pass up the chance to get a HOF talent for the low percentage shot in the dark that is the draft, both in regards to the player and where you will be in the selection process. Odds are half the players or more in that list won’t be in the league long term never mind become top players.

                This is all fantasy anyway because the Falcons won’t trade him, but there is no way you pass on getting a player of that caliber if all it costs you is a 1st round pick. The Rams traded a first for a WR in the last year of his deal who is a tier lower than Jones. The sure thing beats the unknown every day and twice on Sunday.

              2. I’d pass on Julio Jones as well. He’s a HOF for sure but the money he wants and because he plays the WR position I’d use that pick and money on other areas. The Niners are better to see what this new group of WR’s can do this year before making a bold move like Julio.

  20. Not bad, but you realize your are setting your self up for a lot of critical future grief if either the Niners make the playoffs or the finish ahead of Seattle.

  21. Taylor and Cooper to be put on the PUP list. Taylor had surgery after last season. I bet the Niner brass considered Taylor’s PUP possibility when they drafted Pettis. It’s like they know what they’re doing.

    1. It’s nice to have two quality guys in reserve, while at the same time allowing the young buck’s to wet their palate’s.

  22. “The percentage of 13-36 year olds in the US who say they watch sports on live TV is down to 63% this year from 86% two years ago, according to a poll by @ypulse.” ~ Darren Rovell Twitter

    They’re probably turned off by players kneeling.

  23. “We like having Pierre back and working with Marquise, Trent, Kendrick, Dante.”

    No real surprise, but looks like Lynch pretty much laid out the top 5 receivers.

    Will be interesting to see if they feel the need to carry 6 like they did last season.

    1. If they want an elite special teams unit, they’ll keep Mostert and a 6th receiver in Burbridge. James goes to the practice squad, perhaps along with DWJr.

    2. So Aldrick Robinson gets featured heavily against the Cowboys in the first preseason game? :)

      I would do that and try to get a 5th or 6th rounder for him.

  24. 9 W- 7L is a good, safe call. However, I’m going to stand on my prediction of 10 to 11 wins for this 49er team. If 11, in the playoffs, if 10, maybe. I also think we’ll see some of the best and most exciting football that we’ve seen in many years. Let’s rock n roll again!

  25. sebnynah says:
    July 25, 2018 at 10:36 am
    Foster will not even be allowed to play the first 2 games. Great LBs play every game.

    I will not ‘Foster’ a grudge for this asinine statement ?

    “Defenses are required to be much more reactionary than offenses- this to me, makes defense inherently more difficult. In particular, I don’t think there is a more difficult job in all of sports than covering a receiver. He is fully aware of where he is going (what route he is running) while the defensive back (linebacker or DL in a zone blitz situation) has to react to his reads of the route.”….. Many end up injured it’s so stressful and can’t play evvvery down…..Wake up and smell the coffee/football, Seb.

    1. TrollD, I have been trying very hard to ignore you, but your post deserves a retort.
      .
      Obviously, you are clueless, and my comment went over your head.
      .
      Does not matter the scheme, or even the talent. What matters is staying out of trouble, so there are no suspensions.
      .
      Reuben Foster could disappear in a puff of smoke, apparently, like Josh Gordon. Gordon has millions of reason to stay clean so he can stay on the field, but his self destructive habits may haunt him.

          1. At least you agree that Trump has paid them off.

            Did you see the TMZ clip from the next day? According to Kiara the 49ers will win the Super Bowl because everything she touches turnes to gold.

            1. The affluent pay people off all the time.

              Yes, she’s involved in a new project for a porn bond movie coming out this fall called, Goldcootie.

              1. Razor,
                As long as the movie is not called Goldrapolo!

                Wonder what JG meant by “learning experience.”
                1. Use better foot work?
                2. Throw the long ball with more accuracy?
                3. Quicker release?
                Oh well, to each his own.

          2. Billionaires? *snort* If you talking about the guy I think you are, I’ve got a bridge over the Volga I want to sell you.

    1. Jimi G is just rebelling against our expectations of him as a shiny pure object — sort of like Dylan going electric……

  26. On Rotoworld:

    49ers signed DT Cedric Thornton, DT Will Sutton, and OL J.P. Flynn.

    S Don Jones, OL Jamar McGloster, and DL Blaine Woodson were cut to make room. Thornton and Sutton are well-traveled journeymen, while Flynn has spent time with San Francisco before. Thornton specializes as a five-technique run stopper.

  27. I’m changing things up from my original selections and adding one of my shocker predictions.

    Buffalo wins the AFCEast.

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