The NFL regular season officially begins tonight when the Green Bay Packers pay a visit to their long time divisional rival, the Chicago Bears. With only the team rosters and a small sample size of preseason games to work with, the DC sports staff makes their picks for Super Bowl LIV and who will ultimately hoist the Lombardi Trophy in the league’s centennial anniversary.
Sean Janos, Staff Writer
As a Patriots fan, you probably expect me to pick the defending champs. As much as I would love to, I just don’t think it’s our year, and my expectations are low. It pains me to say this, but I think the New York Giants are going to do what they do every so many years and shock everybody with an out-of-the-blue Super Bowl victory. Saquon Barkley looked like not only the best running back, but perhaps the best skill position player in the NFL in his rookie year, behind a bad offensive line. Now, with a season under his belt and an improved line in front of him, he could have a season unlike any we’ve ever seen. As for the quarterback play, who cares! Eli Manning won two Super Bowls without eclipsing 300 yards in either big game—and that was with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs instead of Barkley. Plus, there’s the possibility of Daniel Jones making Dave Gettleman look like a genius. All that matters is the Giants have a way of magically winning Super Bowls out of nowhere ... and I am totally not trying to jinx their season with this roundtable.
Story Salit, Campus Correspondent
With Zeke and Dak locked up on long term deals, the Cowboys can leave the offseason drama of preseason behind and begin their quest for the franchise’s first Super Bowl since the 90s. There is a lot to dislike about Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and Cowboys nation in general. However, there is a lot to like about the Cowboys roster headed into this season. Dallas finished 10-6 last season, claimed the NFC East crown and knocked off a strong Seahawks squad in the first round before eventually losing to the eventual NFC Champion Rams in a very competitive game. The Cowboys will look to build on last season and will rely on their dominant defense, led by studs Sean Lee, Demarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones and co. It is on the offensive side of the ball, however, where the Cowboys have true potential to rise to the elite level. Zeke is the ideal modern running back and showed tremendous improvement in pass protection as well as his pass catching ability. The offensive line is finally fully healthy again this season and will likely be the strongest of any unit in the league. Amari Cooper proved a touchdown threat at receiver nearly every time he touched the ball last season, and he, along with Michael Gallup, proved to be favorite targets for the developing Prescott. I predict the Boys finally get revenge for the Dez Bryant non-catch with a win over the Packers in the NFC title game and hold a dangerous Chiefs offense to a low score en route to a Super Bowl title.
Jorge Eckardt, Staff Writer
I may be (I am) completely biased, but I believe my New York J-E-T-S are going all the way to the Super Bowl and will come out on top. The Jets have one of the strongest cores of young talent in the NFL, led by none other than future MVP Sam Darnold. Darnold was the best QB in the NFL at the end of last season, and that’s not even false; he led the league in QBR from weeks 14-17. They also brought in the best RB in the last decade in Le’Veon Bell and secured an offensive guru in Adam Gase to lead them to the promised land. As for the defense? Well, they have the best safety in the NFL, Jamal Adams, captaining the squad, top-five MLB C.J. Mosley quarterbacking and a high-powered line that’s going to give quarterbacks lasting nightmares. And who cares about cornerbacks? It’s an overrated and unnecessary position anyway. The AFC East is also one of the weakest so the Jets will have no problem charging through to the playoffs and should go 6-0 against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and the New England Retirement Home. In the playoffs, they’ll make quick work of the now Clowney-less Texans and defense-less Chiefs before going head-to-head with the New York Giants, just like Sean predic—HAHA, I can’t; the Giants are going to be so bad. It’s probably going to be the Saints or something, idk & idc. Darnold MVP. Adams DPOY. Quinnen DROY. Polite Enterprise Rent-A-Car employee of the month. Neva. Lost.
Danny Barletta, Staff Writer
In the last five years, if you were to pick the New England Patriots to come out of the AFC every single year, you would have been right 80 percent of the time. If you picked them to win every year, you would have been right 60 percent of the time. I don’t know about you but I like those chances. Personnel-wise, this may be the best Patriots defense this decade, and while there are some questions on the offensive side of the ball, I’m not really worried. Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels seem to make something work no matter who is out there. In the NFC, I’m picking the New Orleans Saints, not just because they have a loaded roster, but also because I’m hoping we finally get to see the Drew Brees-Tom Brady Super Bowl that has somehow escaped us all these years. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are two of the best at their respective positions, and they also have a top-10 defense. In this Super Bowl with two of the best QBs of all time, offense should be easy to come by, and in usual Patriots fashion, they will win by a touchdown or less to hoist their seventh Lombardi Trophy. Come on, it’s 2019. If you’ve been betting against the Patriots, you’re probably out of money by now.
Ben Berg, Campus Correspondent
For the past 19 years, the only constant in the entire league has been the unparalleled dominance of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. So, for the fourth year in a row, the Patriots are going to make it all the way to February. However, this year, they won’t be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. No, that honor belongs to Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams, who will get redemption for their 2018 Super Bowl loss.
The Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl a year ago but faltered when it mattered most. This year will be different; Jared Goff is about to prove all of his doubters that they’re dead wrong about the 24 year-old LA QB. After being selected with the number 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Goff looked like a bust, going 0-7 in his first year as a pro... Then, Sean McVay was hired as the team’s head coach, Goff became a pro-bowler, and the Rams established themselves as an offensive juggernaut. A year later they made it to the Super Bowl. The problem is Goff struggled in the big game, which is why people are currently looking at the Rams as underdogs. However, Goff has shown an exceptional ability to improve in each of his 3 seasons in the NFL, which is why I think the Rams will get over the hump and bring a championship to LA. This year, (along with his better-than-ever supporting cast of Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald) Goff will lead the Rams to a 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl VIV.