2018 AFC Crystal Ball Predictions

By Jake Barrett



In suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Grandma Barrett’s creaky old basement holds the stories of three generations and six children. Jake, a curious and handsome young lad, fancies himself brave when he adventures down into the piles of 70s jazzercise records and discarded old black and white televisions. In the corner, a glowing white light shoots up from a dilapidated cardboard box and Jake goes towards it. In the box, a luminiscient sphere with foggy images of Blake Bortles and Desean Jackson inside. “It must be from the Irish gypsy side of the family!” Jake thinks. Jakes holds the ball and suddenly visions of NFL seasons past and future course through his body, he sees everything, from the Eagles winning the 1960 Championship to the Eagles winning Super Bowl 52. He is graced with the knowledge of NFL star coaches and GMs. Anyways, here’s some NFL season predictions with some bold takes.





AFC East

New England Patriots



BORING. The Patriots will once again win their division and obtain a first round bye. There is not much to say here, with all the speculation going on about Tom Brady, Gronk and Belichick, they can reign in at least one more great regular season. The Pats will lose the games they do lose because their offensive line is now bad.



Crystal Ball: Tom Brady goes back to his home planet after this season.



New York Jets




Seemingly a lateral move, this is improvement. I think this will be a strong 6-10 with a lot of competitive games which the Jets should not be in, but they are. It is almost a foregone conclusion that Todd Bowles can get the most out of a sneaky decent defense, the question is with Jeremy Bates and his uninspiring tools on the offense.



Crystal Ball: Sam Darnold makes 11 starts and looks promising, somewhere in between that Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky spectrum, which is franchise level.



Buffalo Bills




They do not have a good roster, but I do believe in Sean McDermott’s defensive brain. The team sold a lot of draft capital and players to get both Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds, so now the team needs to build around their overrated QB to show how he can’t place a ball correctly. Their offense is very bad, it will most likely be a bottom 3 offensive unit next year.



Crystal Ball: AJ McCarron gets more time than he should while the defense makes a step into the top 10.



Miami Dolphins




Ultimately, this team will be a tire fire and could win less. Adam Gase is on a very hot seat and Mike Tannenbaum, along with the rest of the front office, do not know what they are doing. The strategy of getting rid of good players to pay much lesser players might not work this time.



Crystal Ball: Frank Gore murders somebody.



AFC North


Pittsburgh Steelers



Again, this is BORING. The Steelers play in a much more difficult division than the Patriots, thus the worse record, but this offense will be historic. The defense will struggle more than people think without Ryan Shazier, but their secondary should take some steps forward and their d-line is very stout, so they should be okay enough there.



Crystal Ball: Big Baby Ben Roethlisberger takes Josh Dobbs, not Mason Rudolph, to the Sadie Hawkins dance.



Baltimore Ravens




A little promising considering this will be Joe Flacco’s last season behind center. The Ravens have a good, deep defense and an upgraded offense, but their limited “franchise” QB and questionable ground game will bog them down. I expect Lamar Jackson to start at least the last three games.



Crystal Ball: Justin Tucker hits the longest field goal in NFL history and, unrelated, John Harbaugh is wrongfully fired.



Cincinnati Bengals




I think this is the Bengals’ ceiling. How is Marvin Lewis back? I cannot figure out how this is possible. He is so mediocre that it kicks my core belief system in the shin. The Bengals ownership and front office are asking for 7-9 and they are getting it.



Crystal Ball: Marvin Lewis contracts his head into his body during a post game press conference, finally revealing his true turtle nature.



Cleveland Browns




The Browns will most certainly do worse than this, Hue Jackson and Gregg Williams are not good coaches. I think Tyrod will play well, but none of the young players will develop because none have over Hue Jackson’s tenure. Not hiring John DeFilippo or anybody inspiring will come back to hurt them.



Crystal Ball: Hue Jackson is fired halfway through the first game.



AFC South


Jacksonville Jaguars



Chalk. The Jaguars have everything but the most important position in football. How is that possible? Just trade for someone competent. Anyways, Jalen Ramsey is great. The defense is the best in the NFL.



Crystal Ball: Tom Coughlin’s been dead for 30 years!



Tennessee Titans




I really like the Titans, they have a nice, somewhat young defense under the tutelage of Mike Vrabel and will have a modern offense under Matt Lafleur (the flower). This is a good team that will shock a lot of people. Mariota will flourish and might win comeback player of the year.



Crystal Ball: Harold Landry shows a lot in his rookie year, over the next decade he shows everybody why he is actually a first round player.



Houston Texans




I think the Texans are nowhere near a complete team, but I think Deshaun Watson will produce many miracles and the defense will be elite now that it possesses a secondary. I actually believe Bill O’Brien is a good coach and that the offense will continually get better, Hopkins, Fuller and Ellington can be elite.  



Crystal Ball: The Texans will go on a run and Sportscenter will make an insensitive hurricane joke.



Indianapolis Colts




Andrew Luck is in trouble, if he plays, which seems increasingly unlikely. If Luck does play, he will need to knock off some major rust and may never be the same. The last time the Colts had a good defense, pagers were a thing. I do really like the Frank Reich hiring, but I am unsure about his play calling ability, which got him fired in San Diego.



Crystal Ball: Frank Reich will be a better head coach than Josh McDaniels would have been. Also, It will be revealed that Jacoby Brissett was the reason McDaniels was not hired.



AFC West


LA Chargers



They will be good. Anthony Lynn’s ability to hold onto that locker room was incredibly impressive, and now that they have Caleb Sturgis, they will win close games. Just keep Sturgis away from kickball tournaments. Gus Bradley will orchestrate an elite defense. It is very hard to not like this team.



Crystal Ball: Philip Rivers pumps out another child.



KC Chiefs




With Pat Mahomes, they will be fun to watch on offense, but their inability to play defense will doom their playoff chances. Mahomes will throw a lot of interceptions, but he will put up crazy positive passing numbers as well. Andy Reid might be run out of town, but he will always be welcomed back as an offensive coordinator/associate head coach in Philadelphia.



Crystal Ball: Late in the season there will be a 3rd and 7 where if the Chiefs can stop their opponent, they get the ball back, then score and get into the playoffs. They do not though.



Denver Broncos




The jury is still very out on Vance Joseph. Their offense will be better than last year, but will struggle running again and Case Keenum will most certainly regress. The defense has the top end talent to make an impact, with players like Roby and Harris Jr. along with Chubb and Miller, but the rest of their defensive starters and depth raise real questions.



Crystal Ball: John Elway’s seat temperature becomes very hot.



Oakland Raiders




Jon Gruden is not the answer in Oakland. The Raiders’ move to Vegas needs to be with a new, inspiring coach/GM pairing. The Raiders will be bottom 10 on both sides of the ball and ownership will be put into a bind with Gruden losing the locker room after his big contract.



Crystal Ball: Khalil Mack will be triple teamed every play, leading him to get 2.5 sacks next season, but will still become the highest paid defensive player in the NFL until Aaron Donald gets paid.







Steelers (3)

Texans (6) WIN

The Texans have the top end talent to slow down the Steelers, who will not be able to stop Deshaun Watson. Playoff Deshaun will arrive in the NFL.


Chargers (4) WIN


Titans (5)

This is such a fun game. The Titans are too young to win this, but I will reiterate, this will be a very fun, close game.




Patriots (1)

Texans (6) WIN

The depleted Texans brought the Patriots down to the wire last year and Playoff Deshaun along with Deandre Hopkins will dismantle Eric Rowe.


Jaguars (2)


Chargers (4) WIN

Blake. Bortles.




Chargers (4) WIN

Texans (6)

I mean, the Chargers are more talented, their pass rushers will devour the Texans. This is the Chargers’ time to win the AFC, hopefully they can capitalize.