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1500ESPN’s experts (???) answer 5 questions on the 2016 NFL season

By Matthew Coller

As we prepare to begin a new year of football, we asked four of 1500ESPN’s, um, best, um, prognosticators to predict the 2016 NFL season with 5 key questions and a bonus Vikings angle. Here were their….brilliant…. answers:

Phil Mackey (Host Mackey and Judd)


Which team will surpass expectations by the most?

The Chicago Bears. Absolutely nobody is talking about them – not that they should be – but they do have some weapons on offense, and John Fox teams generally take a big step forward in Year 2. Plus, the Bears play the Lions twice, Philadelphia, Dallas without Tony Romo, and Jacksonville, Tennessee and San Francisco all at home.

Which team will be the biggest flop?

The Broncos won’t make the playoffs. Super Bowl hangover + defense regresses a bit + no quarterback + Chiefs and Raiders will be tough beats in that division.

Who should everyone pick/have picked No. 1 in their fantasy draft?

Antonio Brown.

Which coach will be the first to be fired?

If the Colts get off to a bad start, Chuck Pagano could be gone. But I’ll say Jim Caldwell.

Who wins the Super Bowl?

The Patriots. Too much bulletin board material + Tom Brady’s last stand.

However… I will say this about the Seahawks: Everyone is worried about their offensive line, but great quarterbacks can offset bad offensive lines, and Russell Wilson has emerged into that category. Plus, Wilson is one of the most mobile QBs in the league, which is another reason not to sweat the offensive line.

BONUS: Which Viking player will define the 2016 season?

Everson Griffen. He will be one of the best defensive players in the league in 2016 on a Vikings defense that emerges into the top 10.

Judd Zulgad (Other host, Mackey and Judd)


Which team will surpass expectations by the most?

The New York Giants went 6-10 last season playing in the putrid NFC East. This cost Tom Coughlin his job and led to the hiring of Ben McAdoo. McAdoo is an offensive guy, he had been Coughlin’s offensive coordinator, but the Giants made some key upgrades on defense and that should help result in a division title.

Which team will be the biggest flop?

Peyton Manning was a shell of his former self last season, but the Denver Broncos still won the Super Bowl. The Broncos’ defense remains very good, but landing on Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian as the starting quarterback seems like an enormous stretch. It wouldn’t be surprise to see Denver miss the playoffs.

Who should everyone pick/have picked No. 1 in their fantasy draft?

Back in my day, and yes my days of playing fantasy football were in the late 1980s and 1990s (we did point totals by hand!), the answer to this question always was a running back. No more. This year, the pick should have been Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Which coach will be the first to be fired?

The Lions cleaned out plenty of front office folks last season but somehow Jim Caldwell survived. He’s coaching on borrowed time, however, and likely will be fired during the season.

Who wins the Super Bowl?

The prediction here is New England against Green Bay with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. Why? Because Bill Belichick and his team love nothing more than having to deal with adversity and having Tom Brady suspended for the first four games has to be considered a healthy dose of it. How much fun will owner Robert Kraft have receiving the Lombardi trophy from commissioner Roger Goodell, the guy who suspended Brady and made PSI levels a household term.

BONUS: Which Vikings player will define the 2016 season?

So much for the transition from Adrian to Teddy. As a team, the Vikings will be defined by their defense but if one player on offense is going to be counted on to save the day (time and time again) it’s going to be 31-year-old Adrian Peterson. This might be Peterson’s last season with the Vikings, but if it ends near his home in Houston no one will be complaining.

Derek Wetmore (1500ESPN.com editor)


Which team will surpass expectations by the most?
Can I say Raiders? Some people are picking them to win the AFC West. They finished 7-9 last year and this pick hinges on the best QB from the 2014 draft, Derek Carr. I’m taking them to win a division over an improved Chiefs team and the Peyton Manning-less Super Bowl champs.
Which team will be the biggest flop?
This feels to easy, but I’m going with it anyway. It’s the Broncos, and not just because they’re going from a Hall of Famer to a football thrower named Trevor Siemian. I’m not suggesting that Peyton’s impact was that great last year, but I think the team will take too many steps backward in other areas.
Who should everyone pick/have picked No. 1 in their fantasy draft?
Antonio Brown
Which coach will be the first to be fired?
Tough one, but you’ll see 5 coaches fired this year, I’m just having a hard time picking which falls first. I’m going to change the pace here from the apparent Lions haters and go with Gus Bradley. Jags have Bortles, but they always seem to get off to a slow start, and the owner in Jacksonville seems to have heightened expectations for this year’s club. Good recipe if it works; costly if it doesn’t.
Who wins the Super Bowl?
Packers.
BONUS: Which Viking player will define the 2016 season?
Sam Bradford. No question, in my mind. If he’s reasonably effective and stays out of the way then this is one of the best teams in the NFC. If he can’t cut it — or gets hurts — it’s going to be a weekly project for the Vikings to get by. Could see this being the best defense in the NFL, but I’m not convinced that would win the division on its own, or make noise in January.

Matthew Coller (Vikings analyst)


Which team will surpass expectations by the most?
Don’t sleep on the Jaguars. Drafting a bunch of guys with high draft picks has to work out eventually – unless you’re the Lions – doesn’t it? Blake Bortles has shown potential to be a good quarterback, if the rest of the roster, especially their defense, can improve, they can be the champions of a supremely mediocre division.
Which team will be the biggest flop?
Washington. I am not a Kirk Cousins believer. Last year they played in a pathetic division and were the best of the worst. This year the division isn’t that much stronger since Tony Romo decided to get hurt in preseason, but the Cowboys and Giants are better than Washington.
Who should everyone pick/have picked No. 1 in their fantasy draft?
Brandon Marshall. Chan Gailey throws the ball all the time and even though Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets’ quarterback, who the heck else is he going to throw to?
Which coach will be the first to be fired?
I have to go Pagano. Not because he deserves it – Ryan Grigson deserves it – but we always see the coach go before the GM. Like Cris Carter said, “have a fall guy.” Well, that’s you, Chuck!
Who wins the Super Bowl?
Of course Derek picked the Packers.
I’ll go with Carolina. Cam Newton will get it done this time and we will never talk about his post-game pressers again.
BONUS: Which Viking player will define the 2016 season?
OFF THE BOARD ALERT:
Matt Kalil. If he can have a bounce-back season, Sam Bradford and Adrian Peterson will benefit greatly. The offensive line is going to be a huge story all year. If they can’t get it together, we could be looking at the Vikings missing the playoffs.

The post 1500ESPN’s experts (???) answer 5 questions on the 2016 NFL season appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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