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Goldfish's Slightly Too Early 2019 Season Predictions - All 32 up

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18. Dallas Cowboys

Image result for zeke cowboys

 

What’s New in 2019:

Kellen Moore at OC might be of the most intriguing developments around the league, he desperately needs to inject a bit of mystery into what has become a predictable and stale offense. Randall Cobb comes over from Green Bay to replace the departed Cole Beasley in the slot, Jason Witten's miserable commentary career came to a short end and has re-joined the team and a third veteran in Robert Quinn was signed to help the pass-rush opposite Demarcus Lawrence. A quiet draft class with no 1st round selection was signed, headlined by 2nd rounder Trysten Hill. 

Roster Strengths:

Offensive Line – Still the hallmark of this team, even if its dominance isn’t quite what it was at its peak. The return of Travis Frederick is a huge boost if he can get back to his old self, even if Joe Looney was far from a failure in filling in last year. There are a few questions at left guard and right tackle, but it’s an All Pro line-up elsewhere.

Linebacker – Jaylon Smith is a miracle, that guy has no business playing to the level he is and Leighton Vander Esch had an excellent rookie season alongside him. Anything they can get from Sean Lee looks like a nice bonus, when in years past he was a make or break player on the defense.

Running Back – Zeke is still one of the premier talents in the league at the running back spot and there were a couple of rookie additions who might be able to help him with the workload.

Elsewhere – Demarcus Lawrence is one of the best edges in the league and Amari Cooper obviously deserves a mention at wide receiver as someone who can carry the can there and Byron Jones is reliable wherever he lines up

Roster Weaknesses:

Interior D Line – It’s a very average group on paper, even with adding Trysten Hill in the 2nd round of the draft.

Safety – Again, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods are a work in progress at this point. Heath in particularly was very average last year. 

Tight End – Jason Witten is back and the fact he’s been retired a year and immediately pencilled in at starter tells you everything you need to know about this spot.

Elsewhere – If Randall Cobb has something left, a trio of Cooper-Gallup-Cobb isn’t bad  - but there isn’t much to get excited about around them and not a burner to take the lid off. 

Breakout Player:

Michael Gallup – The darling of PFF's draft coverage in 2018 had 33 catches for 507 yards and 2 TDs in his first season, but seemed to develop some chemistry with Dak Prescott down the stretch after a rocky start.

How they can win in 2019:

It’s a bit of a studs and duds kind of a roster, so maintaining health amongst their key players is essential to their success because the backup situation at most spots is pretty bad. A healthy offensive line could dominate again. Outside of that, Kellen Moore potentially holds the biggest key because the offense needs to offer so much more than to simply line-up and expect their guys to get open. That inability to surprise and execute in the red-zone last year was their ultimate undoing. Moore obviously comes from a spread offense at Boise and his brother coaches in college so in theory he can help install the pre-snap motions and deception needed to get bring this thing into the 21st century. That might require a bigger role from Dak. 

On defense, the Cowboys need to find a pass-rush outside of Demarcus Lawrence who needs another healthy season. Whether that comes in the form of well-travelled FA signing Robert Quinn, or former 1st round pick Taco Charlton who has seriously underwhelmed in that department in his two seasons. The secondary has Byron Jones and little else to hang your hat on, so there are combinations to be tried and worked out at the back end. Chidobe Awuize needs to take that next step in a way he didn’t last season and it would be nice if Jourdan Lewis can start to show something in year three. 

Predicted record 2019:

8-8 – The Cowboys are absolutely capable of pushing for a playoff run if their stars can roll in 2019, but they’re not built to sustain injuries

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8-8 sounds about right for the Panthers, but three corrections:

1. Ross Cockrell broke his leg last year, not two weeks ago, and is slated to compete for a job.

2. After the selection of Greg Little, Greg Van Roten is gonna be headed to the bench. The team will see who works best between Daryl Williams and Taylor Moton at LG and RT. So it'd be Little - Williams/Moton - Paradis - Turner - Moton/Williams.

3. This isn't as big of a deal really, but last year's DC, Eric Washington, won't be calling plays. Rivera will. He'll be more of an assistant and possibly help out at his former job, coaching the DLine. Rivera called the last three or four games, iirc.

Hopefully we miss the playoffs and we finally fire Marty Hurney. God I hate that idiot. #BringBackGOATtleman

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20 is fair for the Titans.  I'm higher on Mariota than most, so I see the Titans coming closer to the 9-7 mark that's been the record these past three years, but they also have a tough schedule, and the Colts look more intimidating than they have in a long time.

Hard to pin the Titans down when they lost to the Bills then turned around and stomped the Pats.

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14 minutes ago, Daniel said:

20 is fair for the Titans.  I'm higher on Mariota than most, so I see the Titans coming closer to the 9-7 mark that's been the record these past three years, but they also have a tough schedule, and the Colts look more intimidating than they have in a long time.

Hard to pin the Titans down when they lost to the Bills then turned around and stomped the Pats.

It is difficult for me to see what players like Mariotta, Tannehill, Carr and Alex Smith does that makes people high on them. They take very good care of the football and doesn't risk much, but their ceiling also seem very limited and combined with their injuries they are the prototype of QB-pergatory

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18 minutes ago, Danand said:

It is difficult for me to see what players like Mariotta, Tannehill, Carr and Alex Smith does that makes people high on them. They take very good care of the football and doesn't risk much, but their ceiling also seem very limited and combined with their injuries they are the prototype of QB-pergatory

Well, for Mariota specifically, it's play really well at times, be a beast on third down, and being able to blame a lot of problems on literally never having the same offensive coordinator for two years his whole career (and those doing a poor job of letting him get into a rhythm, except for 2016) and the combo of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and co being the best group of receivers he's had in his career.  I didn't say he's about to be league MVP, I said I'm higher on him than most others.

Injuries are his biggest problem, and it's hard to see a good fix for that beyond getting a good backup.  This is his make or break season though, as the Titans have a very strong roster around him.  If he can play even close to the level he played at in 2016, and if he can stay healthy for an entire season, the Titans should be very good.  One of those is a much bigger if than the others though.

My worry is that even if he struggles again, the Titans are a 6-10 squad at the worst, which seems too high to snag a good QB next year.

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Good write up, but Cockrell actually broke his leg last year, not two weeks ago.  He’s healthy right now.

Otherwise I agree.  Panthers should be competitive as usual, but Cam’s health for 16 games will make the difference between making the playoffs or not.  If he holds up I like our chances, if not 8-8 seems likely.

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On 6/24/2019 at 5:36 PM, goldfishwars said:

18. Dallas Cowboys

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3 hours ago, Daniel said:

Well, for Mariota specifically, it's play really well at times, be a beast on third down, and being able to blame a lot of problems on literally never having the same offensive coordinator for two years his whole career (and those doing a poor job of letting him get into a rhythm, except for 2016) and the combo of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and co being the best group of receivers he's had in his career.  I didn't say he's about to be league MVP, I said I'm higher on him than most others.

Injuries are his biggest problem, and it's hard to see a good fix for that beyond getting a good backup.  This is his make or break season though, as the Titans have a very strong roster around him.  If he can play even close to the level he played at in 2016, and if he can stay healthy for an entire season, the Titans should be very good.  One of those is a much bigger if than the others though.

My worry is that even if he struggles again, the Titans are a 6-10 squad at the worst, which seems too high to snag a good QB next year.

And while I don't think we disagree much about Mariotta, the things you mentioned is something that holds several QB's back.

To me it just seems as there are some media/fan favorites, that get the benefit of doubt that other QB's don't. Mariotta seem like a fan favorite, so did Bridgewater before the injury and so does Carr to some instance.

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47 minutes ago, Danand said:

And while I don't think we disagree much about Mariotta, the things you mentioned is something that holds several QB's back.

To me it just seems as there are some media/fan favorites, that get the benefit of doubt that other QB's don't. Mariotta seem like a fan favorite, so did Bridgewater before the injury and so does Carr to some instance.

What?  My status as a fan in no way inhibits me from making an objective, bias free observation about our beloved QB.  How dare you even imply such a thing!

I definitely didn't do the same thing for Locker either!

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17. Buffalo Bills

Image result for bills josh allen

What’s New in 2019:

Very little in the way of dramatic coaching changes, which is really good news for Buffalo. Mitch Morse comes in from KC and should shore up a troublesome center spot and there were several other savvy FA signings which have bolstered previously weak spots on the roster in John Brown, Cole Beasley, Frank Gore, Quinton Spain, Kevin Johnson and Ty Nsekhe. After a strong free agency, Brandone Beane also brought in one of the better draft classes with Ed Oliver headlining a pretty good crop. He is one of the most exciting defensive picks this franchise has made in years and their second round selection of Cody Ford should also yield early returns. 

Roster Strengths:

Running Back – Right now the team has LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, TJ Yeldon and 2nd day draft selection in Devin Singletary to cycle through. A roster cut to one of those veterans is likely between now and the season, but it's deeper than most  groups around the league

Defensive Tackle – Harrison Phillips and Ed Oliver could be a building block pairing for years to come and both Star Louteleli and Jordan Phillips are capable of logging meaningful minutes

Linebacker – Matt Milano was a surprise hit on the team last year and the blue-chipped potential Tremaine Edmunds turned it around at the end of his rookie season where he really stepped it up in pass coverage. That’s a dynamic duo who could surprise in year two together.

Safety – Micah Hyde remains one of the most underrated payers in the league and Jordan Poyer has been an unlikely, but effective running mate alongside him. One of the success stories of the McDermott era.

Roster Weaknesses:

Edge – Jerry Hughes came alive again last year, but there’s little in way of pass-rush outside of him. Trent Murphy was a disappointing addition last year and Shaq Lawson hasn’t developed in that area at all.

Tight End – The Bills might have something in Dawson Knox, but he was underutilised at Mississippi and may take time to take on a full workload. The likes of Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith and Tommy Sweeney are probably best suited to a support role

Number 1 Receiver – There’s a rotation of number two’s and threes and the additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley add to the depth of that pool, but no obvious volume target

Breakout Player:

Tremaine Edmonds – The youngest of all first rounders selected last season, he had his fair share of struggles but the lights seemed to come on at the end of the year. Physically, there’s enormous potential for him at the linebacker position and we could see him flourish into a game-wrecker in year two.

How they can win in 2019:

The Bills have one of the smartest coaching staffs in the league, so they’re going to be put into the best positions to win this year. The biggest challenge of all, is putting this offense in the best positions to win. Josh Allen is 100% key to their success and showed enough flashes of the impressive physical tools in year one to dent those who really disliked his game coming out. The truth is, he also showed plenty to for those doubters to believe they were also right. The running is fine, but not when he didn’t see open receivers and the wild inaccuracy on some of his throws need to be cut down. It’s going to be a thin line to tread with him, but they have to realise a traditional drop-back game isn’t something that will play to his best ability and adopting and run and gun style is much more in his wheelhouse. A successful running game should help and they seem to know that. The offensive line personnel improvements should mean he isn’t running for his life this year with what will probably be four new starters (Spain, Morse, Ford and Nseckhe), but they have to mesh together.

On defense they should be good because they are exceptionally well coached and drilled. Potentially this year they get a bit of blue chip quality if they can find a way to consistently field Ed Oliver without the running game suffering. It would be a shame to see him relegated to a 3rd down specialist as a rookie, but it's possible until he develops. The pass defense was great last season, but the spot opposite Tre’Davious White still feels like a vacancy that is open. They are hoping Kevin Johnson can do it, even if he has been mostly disappointing in his career to date. Taron Johnson was good in the slot last year, but has a few injury concerns. Levi Wallace looks like good depth to have around. The secondary is a unit that has to continue to pay above itself.

Predicted record 2019:

8-8 – A few too many questions about a Josh Allen led offense which lacks a receiver who can carry the can for him, but there’s plenty to be encouraged about the direction they are travelling in and they'll beat some good teams this year. 

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On 6/30/2019 at 3:50 PM, goldfishwars said:

21. Washington Redskins

Image result for haskins redskins

What’s New in 2019:

Former Patriots legend Kevin O’Connell becomes the new OC after two seasons as the team’s quarterbacks coach Landon Collins was the team’s big FA splash move. Ereck Flowers was signed to 'help' the offensive line and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was picked-up to help bolster the secondary. A whole new franchise quarterback to call their very own in Dwayne Haskins via the draft. Washington navigated yet another weird power struggle at the top, to somehow land one of the league’s best rookie classes.

Roster Strengths:

Defensive line – Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Matt Ioannidis has a real nice mix of power and disruption to it

Edge – Preston Smith has eloped to Green Bay, but the team still have Ryan Kerrigan who has put together one of the quietest fringe HOF caliber careers you’ll ever see. Last year’s 2nd rounder Ryan Anderson is stout presence on the edge and new 1st round pick Montez Sweat could be an absolute steal where at where he landed.

Elsewhere – The secondary has some bright spots in Josh Norman and FA signing Landon Collins, with some intriguing names at corner who may emerge. Running back too has plenty of talent, albeit viewed through a blurry lens with Adrian Peterson’s rising age and the health concerns around Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson.

Roster Weaknesses:

Middle Linebacker – With no Reuben Foster for 2019, they’ll be searching for starters amongst Mason Foster who has been serviceable (at best) and then you have well-travelled, but not well-liked Jon Bostic and recent later round picks Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons. Dion Hamilton is probably the most intriguing of that trio.

Free Safety – There’s a bit of a vacancy at free safety in the wake of DJ Swearinger’s departure.

Left guard – Ereck Flowers is pencilled in at this spot currently, which cannot be ideal. Internally they might be hoping rookie Wes Martin can beat him out.

Elsewhere – It’s worth mentioning the Trent Williams situation, because if that’s not settled they potentially go from an all-pro to a back-up caliber player at left tackle in an instant

Breakout Player:

Derrius Guice – The 59th overall pick last year tore his ACL in preseason after a rocky draft season. He could be bring some real juice to the running back position if he can reach full health before the season starts.

How they can win in 2019:

One offense, Dwayne Haskins has to win the quarterback job and have earned the right to it. His ceiling far exceeds his veteran counterparts and can set the passing game alight if Jay Gruden and O’Connell can lay a sensible passing attack around him. A season of good health from Jordan Reed could really open the passing attack and there are young players who can emerge at receiver - finally. Getting good protection is important, because as was well noted during the draft process, Haskins isn’t the most mobile. Trent Williams is obviously hugely important for how this side of the ball performs in both facets and that's a big unknown right now. 

On defense, Manusky can field a very tough front five from snap to snap and that can become the identity of this whole team. Finding a combination that works at linebacker behind that group becomes important and that need to emerge. At cornerback, they just have to identify who their starting group is, obviously Josh Norman is fine on one side of the field. Rodgers-Cromartie could be pencilled in to play free safety according to early reports, which leaves Jimmy Moreland as someone who could be a real x-factor in the slot, but that’s a lot to ask for in year one from a small school 7th round pick and they already have some interesting names there.  Fabian Moreau has been okay as a starter and has space to grow, but needs to take a next step and Greg Stroman is small but has plenty to like.

Predicted record 2019:

7-9 – It could easily be a better year in Washington with a roster full of emerging talent and a favorable schedule, but there are a few too many questions about the shape of the offense to make a sunnier prediction

You have the Redskins rated too high.  5 win team at best.  

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Yeah, idk why anyone thinks Josh Allen is anything above trash. He may not be an outright disaster, but he's still a fairly subpar quarterback.

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2 hours ago, Elky said:

Yeah, idk why anyone thinks Josh Allen is anything above trash. He may not be an outright disaster, but he's still a fairly subpar quarterback.

There is this wild chance that a rookie QB could improve - especially with better players around him. 

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16. San Francisco 49ers

Image result for kyle shanahan 2019

What’s New in 2019:

The front office, HC and coordinators all resume their responsibilities from last season. On the field, the biggest difference between this year and last are the additions of Dee Ford in FA and Nick Bosa via the draft at edge. Kwon Alexander was signed for lots of money and that’s worth mentioning. Tevin Coleman arrives too for not much money at all, in what could be one of the savvier moves of the off-season.

Roster Strengths:

Tight End – The 49ers stumbled into something special in George Kittle, who was probably drafted entirely based on his workout at Iowa and has grown into one of the game’s most unplayable receivers

Defensive Line – A Bosa-Armstead-Bucker-Ford is the best front four they’ve been able to field in years and they should be able to deliver consistent pressure as an attacking unit.

Running Back – They’ve got a deep rotation of pass-catching backs with Tevin Coleman joining Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Breida. That’s a dynamic trio of backs for Shanahan to cycle through if health permits. 

Roster Depth – John Lynch, or whoever is pulling the personnel strings, has done an excellent job of transforming this roster and filling it out at most spots on both sides of the ball

Roster Weaknesses:

Number 1 Wide Receiver – There’s plenty of support-type role players at receiver, but not an obvious prototypical go-to guy

Secondary – Outside of Richard Sherman, the secondary was terrible last year. With little investment in the off-season outside of a forever-dinged Jason Verrett, they can hope for better health and a drastic improvement in play particularly from Ahkello Witherspoon who was very poor in 2018. 

Interior Offensive Line – They had some pass protection issues inside last year, but are likely to be running with the same trio as last year so they have to hope for improved play in that area too

Breakout Player:

Dante Pettis – Had his fair share of injuries in his first season, but averaged over 70 yards per catch over the last five games of the season where he showed off his silky route running. Word is he’s bulked up on his slight frame in the off-season, so let’s hope that leads to a healthier stretch in year two. 

How they can win in 2019:

Finally, we should get a full season of Shanahan with Jimmy G tossing the pill after admirably getting-by with their back-up and then the back-up to the back-up. The offense should be good, it’s always going to have the chance to be good under Kyle Shanahan – but this year it could really motor along if the injury bug can take a year off and the offensive line can hold up. I was a big Deebo Samuel guy coming out, so I’m interested to see what they do with him and their 2nd day selection of Jalen Hurd is fascinating. Outside of a further George Kittle ascendance, which is more likely than not, the backfield game is always crucial to a Shanny offense and they’re better stocked there to help sustain this offense than in year’s past.

Really, it's likely the 49ers success this year is going to come down to what they are able to do on defense. Robert Saleh was lucky to keep his job after last season and gets an opportunity to turn it around. That starts up front, that’s where nearly all their resources have gone. The Bosa-Armstead-Bucker-Ford needs to stay healthy and be solid in both facets. Two tall trees in the middle and a defensive end who is light in the pants is something they will have to think about working around, whether that means more formation diversity or rotating guys in and out. That increased pressure up front is probably their best route to getting improved play at the back end, but they still have to work out their combinations there. Any stretch of good health from Jason Verrett could help them immensely, but that must treated as a bonus.

Predicted record 2019:

8-8 Whilst it would be no surprise to see them do well this year with more firepower and a cleaner a bill of health, I still think they’re a year away from really breaking through. 

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