Today I have my final four teams in my 2018 NFL preseason countdown. These 4 teams all have a legit shot at the Super Bowl, depending on health. They, on paper, seem to have it in every phase. But, each team does have faults, and I will point some out today. But, all of these teams will be heard from all year. They should all easily win their divisions, and be in the playoffs for sure.
Okay, lets do it.
At number 4 I have the Pittsburgh Steelers. First things first, I despise the Steelers. I hate the Cowboys and Seahawks more, but the Steelers are a close third. I got so much joy watching the Jaguars put it on them, in Pittsburgh, last year in the playoffs. That was amazing. They also have a rapist at QB. People will say that he has changed since he got married and had a kid. But, he still committed sexual assault, multiple times, and he is a garbage person. That being said, when healthy, he can sling the ball around the filed. He is slow, plodding and out of shape constantly, but he is still hard to take down. Although, I love when his punk ass takes a big hit. It is glorious. The Steelers have one of the best running backs, LeVeon Bell, but the dude has never been properly paid by the franchise, and he always seems to get in some kind of small trouble prior to the season. I think these dudes should smoke pot to heal injuries and what not, but be better about hiding it Mr. Bell. But, Bell is one hell of a running back. He is patient, follows his blocks and bursts through the line when he gets his shot. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He scores a ton of TD's. Bell is great. The Steelers also have the best receiver in football, Antonio Brown. Brown is amazing. He catches everything. He is faster and taller than anyone covering him. He finds ways to get open all the time. He is so god damn good. He needs to get paid, which I'm sure the Steelers will do. I have nothing but good things to say about Brown. I also like Ju Ju Smith Schuscter and the rookie they took, James Washington. The Steelers are set at receiver. They also have a solid tight end. They have an okay O line. The Steelers are set on offense. Their defense is another story. First off, the whole Ryan Shazier thing was frightening and the NFL should be embarrassed with how they handled that. But, on the field, the Steelers defense is very blah. They should be better, but they aren't. They could not stop the run against the Jags. The secondary also let Blake freaking Bortles torch them with his arm and legs last year. They need to shore that up. But, they can score enough points to be a title contender next year. The offense could even get them home field advantage in the weak AFC.
At number 3, as much as it pains me, I have the Minnesota Vikings(I don't know if this makes you mad or happy RD). The Vikings win with defense. That side of the ball is amazing. They rule at all three phases. They have a stout line, great linebackers, who can cover, and a secondary that covers better and hits with fury. They are a dominant defensive team. I know that didn't show in the NFC title game last year, but that was a blip. They pretty much stopped everyone that came their way last year. I remember how they completely shut down the Packers twice last year. That was basically what they did to every other team. The Vikings defense is elite. On offense, they are good, but not great. I know everyone is going nuts over the Kirk Cousins signing, but not me. They gave him way too much money, all guaranteed, and he has never won anything of signifigance since he became a starting QB. He is more known for shouting, "YOU LIKE THAT!" to some random camera guy than anything he has done on the field. They do get Dalvin Cook back, and he will totally open up the offense. He is shifty, fast and can catch the ball out of the backfield. They have solid tight ends. They have Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at receiver, and while they are good, are they one year wonders, or will they be able to sustain their newfound success? I don't know. Also, Diggs will always own a special place in all football watchers heart after scoring that miracle TD versus the Saints. The Vikings also have an elite O line. I just don't buy into the Cousins hype. But, if he is better than Case Keenum, which he better damn well be, with all the money they are paying him, the Vikings will be just fine. Their defense will take them very far.
At number 2 I, begrudgingly, have the New England Patriots. They just keep rolling out the same team, with pretty much the same staff, and they keep winning 12 or 13 games and easily win the division. That is what they do. Tom Brady is still elite. He may be the best QB to ever play the game. They don't have much of a run game, but since Corey Dillon retired, did they ever have a run game? Their running backs are just an extension of their passing game. Sure, they hand the ball off, but it is not that overwhelming. The receivers, while not being top notch, always put up numbers. Brady has made a ton of guys a ton of money. Sure, they lost Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman is suspended four games. But, I'm sure they have some dudes in waiting that will be just fine. Look at a guy like Chris Hogan. The Patriots have 5 more of him on their roster. They also have Gronk. Now, I do not like Gronk at all. He is overrated, in my opinion, and if he were on any other team, and not a white guy, people would view him very differently. That is sickening, and his schtick has worn way, way too thin for me. But, he is a matchup nightmare, when he is healthy, which isn't very often. The Patriots defense is awful, but that doesn't really matter because they play in a shitty division, in the crummy AFC, and they always win double digit games. They will do that again, even with a horrendous defense, and most likely be in the Super Bowl once again. The Patriots are the Yankees of football, only they have a sustained 21st century success. I loathe this team.
My final team, the best team in the NFL in the preseason, and on paper, coming in at number 1, I have the Philadelphia Eagles. They won the Super Bowl, didn't lose anyone of importance and added Michael Bennett. I mean, how are they not everyone else's number one team. They have 2 solid QB's that work very well within their system. Carson Wentz is a future star and MVP. Once he is healthy again, he will be the starter and he will lead this team to many, many playoffs appearances. Until then, they have Nick Foles, who beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl last year. Foles is in the perfect spot for him to come in and do what he is good at doing, then take a back seat when Wentz is back. They have a seemingly endless number of running backs that can do a bit of everything. Jay Ajayi is big and fast. Corey Clement is going to get more carries, and he is a classic running back. I'm sure they have 2 or 3 other dudes that will help them out when called upon. They have Zak Ertz at tight end, and he may be the most underrated tight end in the league. He is good, big, fast and has great hands. He also had the second best TD of the Super Bowl last year. They have Alshon Jeffrey signed long term now, and he blossomed there last year. He is a great, solid and awesome receiver. The O line can run and pass block with the best of them. I know the defense gave up a ton of yards and points in the Super Bowl, but don't get it twisted, they are real good. They can rush the passer very well. They added Michael Bennett, who will help with that, and run stopping, and grit and toughness. They have great, young linebackers. They have a solid secondary. The coaching staff knows how to best utilize the players they have. The Eagles, right now, are the best run team in the NFL, and they have some of the best talent on both sides of the football. I didn't think it would come together for them as quickly as it did, but it did and they are the reigning champs. I don't think it is too wild of a concept to believe they can repeat. They are that good.
There you have it, my 2018 NFL preseason countdown. Come back tomorrow and I will have full playoff predictions, my award winners and my Super Bowl opponents and champs.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is looking forward to the day when he does not need to automatically put New England and Pittsburg in his top four. Maybe he will have that change in 2030.
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