Key NFL Week 9 Takeaways + Midseason Award Winners/Chargers vs. Raiders TNF Pick

Now that we’re a little more than halfway through the NFL’s regular season, it’s time to revisit my preseason predictions for playoff teams, the Super Bowl, and award winners.

You can find my original article before the season started here as a source, but I will still be putting that information from early September on this article for easier comparison. Also, if you’re looking for my usual key takeaways which are normally found in this article…(clears throat) ahem –

Foles should be the Jaguars starter when healthyGreen Bay no-shows against the Chargersthe Patriots LOST a gamethe Miami Dolphins WON a gameand the Browns are now back to being certified trash.

Phew, alright. Next week we will return to the regular format, but it’s time to die on some hills!

AFC PLAYOFF TEAM PREDICTIONS

PRESEASON: Chiefs (1), Patriots (2), Steelers (3), Jaguars (4), Browns (5), Titans (6)

CURRENT: Patriots (1), Chiefs (2), Texans (3), Ravens (4), Colts (5), Steelers (6)

ANALYSIS: From the preseason, it looks like only two of my selections are absolute locks (yikes). I do like the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs over Buffalo, mainly due to the discrepancy of their second half-schedules. I’m fairly confident in a Patriots’ one-seed, but it’s going to be a toss-up between KC-Houston-Baltimore for that second bye in the playoffs.

 

NFC PLAYOFF TEAM PREDICTIONS

PRESEASON: Eagles (1), Saints (2), Packers (3), 49ers (4), Chicago (5), Dallas (6)

CURRENT: Saints (1), 49ers (2), Packers (3), Cowboys (4), Vikings (5), Seahawks (6)

ANALYSIS: Slightly better success in the NFC, with four preseason picks on track to make the playoffs. It’s such a deep conference that I have two 10-6 teams (Carolina and Philadelphia) and one 11-5 team (LA Rams) MISSING THE PLAYOFFS. The 49ers falter a bit in the second half, but still get a bye for the postseason, and Dallas has simply more avenues to the playoffs than Philly.

SUPER BOWL PREDICTION

PRESEASON: 1 Kansas City def. New Orleans 32-27

CURRENT: (see above)

ANALYSIS: If Patrick Mahomes returns as expected and is still the best quarterback on the planet, I’m not changing this pick. The Kansas City defense has played much better in recent weeks, and New Orleans is my #2 overall team this season.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR PREDICTION 

PRESEASON: Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets

CURRENT: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys

ANALYSIS: While Bell has looked good but not great after his 2018 holdout, the Dallas center has returned to his elite level of play after missing last season with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a very rare virus.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

CURRENT: Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

ANALYSIS: The #1 overall pick Murray certain has shown flashes of being the franchise quarterback that Arizona needs, but Jacobs looks like a top 10 running back for an improved Raiders team. He’s currently ranked sixth in the league in rushing yards.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CURRENT: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

ANALYSIS: White has missed some time this season, but his play has been very good. However, Nick Bosa has been a force in his rookie season, ranking sixth in the league so far with nine sacks. You can make an argument he’s been the best defender on San Francisco (who’s undefeated, btw).

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

CURRENT: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

ANALYSIS: It’s a shame that a non-QB will likely never win MVP again, but McCaffrey is the Panthers’ offense. On pace for nearly 2,500 total yards and 26 touchdowns, McCaffrey has solidified himself as the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

CURRENT: (see above)

ANALYSIS: This race is up in the air right now, as not one player has truly separated themselves from the pack like Aaron Donald did last year. I’ll stick with Garrett, as I do think the Browns’ second half will be better and he could lead the league in sacks.

COACH OF THE YEAR PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

CURRENT: Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

ANALYSIS: Now that I’ve lost all credibility from my preseason pick, I might as well try and earn it back with my pick now. Even if they finish 13-3 or 12-4, Kyle Shanahan deserves this award for his performance this season. He’s becoming the new McVay.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER PREDICTION

PRESEASON: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

CURRENT: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

ANALYSIS: Even if Mahomes didn’t miss two games with a knee injury, picking over Russ’ performance would be challenging. On pace for nearly 4,500 passing yards and a 40:2 TD to INT ratio, Wilson is on track to earn his first MVP trophy.

 

TNF PICKLOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-5) [-1.0] vs. OAKLAND RAIDERS(4-4)

Maybe not the star-studded Thursday Night Football matchup we would all like, but these two teams are still in the playoff hunt. The Bolts surprisingly manhandled Green Bay Sunday afternoon, while the Raiders went tit for tat with Detroit and was able to pull out a victory. It looks like LA gained some confidence back on offense this game, as Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon both played extremely well. The Raiders offense has been putting up a lot of points, so the Chargers will have to be weary of that. Nonetheless, I like the team formerly from San Diego to get back to .500 and maintain their hunt for post-season contention.

THE PICK: Chargers (-1.0)

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