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3 NFL Offseason Predictions

1. NFL Coaching Carasoul Predictions:

Panthers

We might as well start off with the most obvious one, since we are currently only one of two teams to have already fired their HC. Hiring Rhule was a mistake from the start, and allowing him to stay another season instead of getting one of the promising coaching candidates from last year's cycle hurt us even more. However, at least the damage is done, and we can finally look forward to anyone other than Rhule coaching our team next year.

Best Replacement: Shane Steichen, OC, Eagles

I'm sure Tepper will try to go after the big-name former head coaches like Peyton and Quinn, but I doubt they would want to coach here anytime soon, which means he'll have to settle for one of the other candidates. Reich will almost certainly get interveiwed because of his coaching experience, but I don't see Tepper hiring a guy who or more less coached a medicore team led by bad QB play when those are the problems he's trying to fix with his own team. Wilks will be in the conversation too, but I think he'll be the fall-back option in case all of the other candidates turn down the job. With that being said, I think the most realistic option is that one of the current OCs for a contending team will be our next HC.

Yes, there are some really good defensive candidates out there too, but it's quite obvious which side of the ball we need help with, and it would make sense to get a guy who can help develop our next QB. Even though most fans won't want to hear this, I do think Bienemy is the most likely candidate since he's interviewed with us before, supposedly left a positive impression, and he has an extensive resume full of NFL experience and offensive success. However, I'm hoping that Bienemey either turns us down or gets hired by someone else, since I don't think he's the best candidate available. Even though Dorsey and Roman are also solid options, I think the clear-cut best candidate available would be the Eagles' OC, Shane Steichen. The first reason why he's a good fit for us is because even though he's 10 years younger than Rhule, he still has over 3x the amount of NFL experience. From his work with Herbert as the OC of the Chargers, to his incredibly impressive development of Hurts with the Eagles, Steichen has shown that he is a young, offensive mastermind who can build an offense around the talents of his QB.

Colts

Now for the only other team that has fired their HC, the Colts made the somewhat surprising decision to fire Reich after they once again failed to get competent QB play this season. Even though Reich is a solid coach, he was kind of screwed by Luck's retirement, since they have failed to find a franchise QB, or even win a playoff game, since his retirement.

Best Replacement: Johnathan Gannon, DC, Eagles

Almost all of the Colts' problems seem to lie on the offensive side of the ball, but the trend in the NFL tends to be that once you fire a coach from one side of the ball, you typically try and hire someone from the other side. As such, since Reich was an offensive-minded coach, I have a feeling that they'll be looking at the top DCs. Quinn is arguably the best one available, but he just seems like a weird fit for the Colts, especially because he is almost like a defensive-minded Reich. From there it basically comes down to Ryans and Gannon, since they are both young DCs coaching the best defenses in football right now. Ultimately I gave the edge to Gannon since their owner seems to like guys that he has familiarity with (see Jeff Saturday), and Gannon was the Colts' DBs coach from 2018-20220.

Broncos

To put it plainly, the Broncos absolutely suck right now. They choked to the Raiders in overtime, got embarrassed by a Darnold-led team, and couldn't beat a Ravens team forced to start their backup QB. It is quite obvious that the problem is both their HC and QB, but unfortunately for Broncos' fans, they're stuck with Wilson for the forseeable future. So considering their team has a new owner who isn't in anyway committed to their HC, and considering the fact that Hackett was only hired in a failed attempt to trade for Rodgers, it seems very likely that Hackett will be one-and-done after this season.

Best Replacement: Dan Quinn, DC, Cowboys

Similar to the Colts, the Broncos' issues rest on the offensive side of the ball, but as I said before, my predictions will follow the trend of hiring someone from the opposite side of the ball as their previous HC. So assuming the Broncos focus on a defensive-minded coach here, one candidate seems very obvious. Quinn is doing very well for the DC of the Cowboys right now, he has experience being a HC, and most importantly, he has familiarity with the Broncos' GM. In fact, Quinn was seen as one of the finalists last year, and he only declared his intention to stay with the Cowboys after the Broncos hired Hackett, so it seems quite clear that he wanted this job.

Saints

The Saints' post-Payton plan has completely failed them this year. Instead of hiring a new HC, they simply promoted their DC to keep continuity, and instead of allowing for a slight rebuild, they foolishly traded up with the Eagles in the 1st round of last year's draft. Now they're a bad team with an incompetent HC, no plan at QB, and their top 5 pick doesn't even belong to them. Considering the absolute hopelessness of this team, I could see their GM firing their HC as a scapegoat so the blame doesn't fall on him instead.

Best Replacement: Eric Bienemy, OC, Chiefs

Bienemy was one of the few candidates who the Saints interviewed for their coaching vacancy last year, and considering how successful the Chiefs have been on offense despite losing Hill, I could see him getting interest again. The Saints desperately need someone to replace Payton's offensive creativity, and will need someone to help develop whoever their next QB is, so getting the right-hand man from Andy Reid's offense makes sense for them. Also, everyone has heard by now about Bienemy's off-the-field issues, but the Saints have never had a problem with that in the past, so I don't see that stopping them here.

Cardinals

Similar to the Broncos, the Cardinals seem to have a disconnect between their HC and QB. Everyone has read the rumors about how Murray and Kingsbury don't get along, and considering how bad they've been this year, I could see their owner/GM making a change, and it won't be to the guy that he just signed to a 5-year, $230 million deal. It also doesn't help that Kingsbury has never had a winning record at any level of coaching, and his late-season collapse last year clearly did not sit well with their owner.

Best Replacement: DeMeco Ryans, DC, 49ers

The Cardinals have enough talent on offense that any competent OC should be able to make it work, but their defense needs all the help it can get. Considering they'll be replacing an offensive-minded coach, and play in a division with offensive juggernauts, getting the best defensive-minded coach here makes sense for them. With that in mind, Ryans has clearly established himself as one of the best DCs in the league this year, and it also wouldn't hurt that the Cardinals get to steal from a prized assistant from a divisional rival.

Chargers

The Chargers are currently projected to miss the playoffs, which is inexcuable considering the amount of talent they have on that team. Their owner has to realize that their window of opportunity is tied to Herbert's expiring rookie contract, and to have zero playoff appearances in his first 3 seasons is simply a waste of his talent.

Best Replacement: Sean Payton, Former HC, Saints

This fit just seems too obvious for several reasons. The first is that the Chargers would be firing a defensive-minded coach, so getting an offensive mastermind like Payton makes sense. The second is that Payton has an extensive history of playoff success, including a Super Bowl win, and got the most out of his Pro-Bowl QB, so pairing him with a talent like Herbert would be exciting. The third is that Payton would only come out of retirement for a few opportunities, and getting to coach one of the best QBs in the league in LA seems like a dream come true for him. Even though Payton is currently still under contract with the Saints, I imagine they'd be willing to trade his rights to the Chargers for a 1st round pick.

2. NFL Playoff Predictions:

AFC

1. Bills

The Bills have definitely fallen into a bit of a slump after being early Super Bowl favorites, but as of this writing they're still winning the games they're supposed to, and are currently projected to earn the #1 seed due to their head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs.

2. Chiefs

I would not be surprised at all if the Chiefs reclaim the #1 seed at some point in this season, but that loss to the Bills earlier in the season might really come back to haunt them if the Bills don't slip up to close out the year.

3. Bengals

Due to Lamar Jackson's injury, as well as the Bengals' recent resurgence as contenders, it does seem like they should be favored to win the division. Unfortunately, even though they also have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs, their record isn't as good, so they may be forced to settle for the 3rd seed here.

4. Titans

This is by far the most obvious seed to predict, since the Titans are not in anyway close to being a true playoff contender, they're just lucky to play in one of the worst divisions in football.

5. Dolphins

Even though the Dolphins currently have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills, unfortunately for them their record is worse, and I don't see them winning the rematch in Buffalo. But, with how well they've played so far, they do seem like a guarantee to earn one of the top Wildcard spots.

6. Ravens

The Ravens have a good enough record that they should still be able to make the playoffs even with Jackson's injury, but unfortunately for them I don't seem them winning their rematch against the Bengals, which will cost them the division.

7. Jets

This Wildcard spot is going to be a race to the finish, with the Jets, Patriots, and Chargers all being in contention. It was really though to predict which team would earn this spot, since the Jets have a one-game lead over the Patriots and Chargers, but the Patriots have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Jets, and the Chargers seemingly have the easiest schedule down the stretch. Ultimately I defaulted to the Jets due to their better record as of today, as well as due to their improved play under Mike White.

NFC

1. Eagles

At this point the Eagles seem to have the #1 seed locked up, because even if they faulter and lose a game down the stretch, they'll still have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

2. Vikings

You can practically pencil the top 2 seeds in already, since the Vikings have all but clinched their division, and none of the other division winners are even close to catching up to them.

3. 49ers

The 49ers did just lose Jimmy G to a season-ending injury, but with the way their defense has been playing, to go along with Purdy playing very welll in his first start, I would not be surprised to still see them win their division.

4. Buccaneers

Similar to the AFC, this is the most obvious seed to predict, since it is quite clear that the NFC South is this year's worst division. After getting a huge divisional win this past Monday, it seems clear that Brady will once again win the division.

5. Cowboys

In any other year, this Cowboys' squad would have been good enough to win them the division, but unfortunately for them the Eagles decided to be a Super Bowl contender this year. However, with their insanely good record, they should be able to lock up the top Wildcard spot, and might even have a chance at the division if the Eagles can't finish out the season.

6. Giants

The Giants are a surprisingly good team this year, so as long as Daniel Jones doesn't choke down the stretch, they should be able to earn one of the Wildcard spots.

7. Seahawks

Arguably even more surprising than the Giants' success would have to be how well Geno Smith has been playing this year, since he is really the only reason why the Seahawks are even in playoff contention right now.

Wild Card Round

Chiefs-Jets

I think the Jets' defense would make this one closer than Chiefs' fans would like, but at the end of the day when the match-up is Mahomes vs. White, I'm taking Mahomes every day of the week.

Bengals-Ravens

Divisional match-ups are always hard to predict in the playoffs, but it seems clear to favor the Bengals in this one since they'll be at home, and went on a Super Bowl run the last time they were in the playoffs. It also doesn't help that the Ravens are infamously known for choking in the playoffs.

Titans-Dolphins

Getting a Tannehill revenge game in the playoffs is literally the only reason why this might be exciting, because on paper this shouldn't even be close. Yes, the Dolphins have a playoff-inexperienced HC and QB, but they simply have the more talented team, and should be favored to win this one.

Vikings-Seahawks

While Geno Smith will do his best to keep the Seahawks in this game, unfortunately I just don't see their defense being able to stop anyone on the Vikings' offense, so I see the home team winning this one.

49ers-Giants

The 49ers should be thanking their lucky stars for this match-up, since even though they're a talented team, it will be tough to win without Jimmy G in the playoffs. Fortunately, they'll be playing at home, against a worse team on paper, with a playoff-inexperienced HC and QB. So as long as Purdy doesn't choke in his first playoff appearance, he could become the first Mr. Irrelevant QB to win a playoff game.

Buccaneers-Cowboys

This is a very tough match-up to predict, because there are several reasons why both teams should be favored in this one. The Bucs are at home, already beat the Cowboys this year, and it's almost impossible to stop Brady in the playoffs. However, the Cowboys are the better team on paper, and have had a much more impressive season compared to the Bucs. Even though I'm sure I'm going to regret going against Brady in this one, I'm giving the edge to the Cowboys since I could see them avenging their Week 1 loss here.

Divisional Round

Bills-Dolphins

Remember how I said it's almost impossible to predict divisional match-ups? Well this one is even harder considering how talented both teams are. Ultimately I'm giving the edge to the Bills since they'll be at home, and have the more playoff-experienced HC and QB.

Chiefs-Bengals

If history tells us anything, I should be putting my money on the Bengals in this one. However, given how close the Chiefs have been to winning each game in the past against the Bengals, as well as how hard it is for any team to beat a rival 4 straight times, I see the Chiefs getting the revenge win at home here.

Eagles-Cowboys

Remember everything I said about the Bills-Dolphins match-up? Well all that applies here and more. The Eagles and Cowboys are arguably the two best teams in the NFC right now, so this game could honestly go either way. However, I'm giving the edge to the Cowboys, since they do have more playoff experience among their HC and QB, and they've been absolutely dominating recently while the Eagles have faultered a bit.

Vikings-49ers

If Jimmy G was starting in this one, I would 100% pick the 49ers due to their playoff-proven combination of dominant run game and defense. While I could still see them getting the upset win here, at some point the Vikings are going to put the pressure on Purdy to win the game, and I just don't see that happening in his second ever playoff appearance.

Conference Round

Bills-Chiefs

This would certainly be a gauntlet for the Chiefs, since the road to the Super Bowl would include having to get revenge games on the teams that beat them during the regular season. The fortunate news for them is that they were actually in this situation last year, where they lost to the Bills in the regular season, however they were then able to avenge that loss in the playoffs. While the Bills are at home and should win this one, their team has been weakened by injuries, and they have yet to figure out how to beat Mahomes in the playoffs, so I see the Chiefs winning this one.

Vikings-Cowboys

The Vikings should be favored to win this one, since they're at home, on paper they're the better team, and they should be motivated to avenge their blowout loss from the regular season. Even though I do think the Vikings will make this one closer than their last performance against the Cowboys, I'm favoring the Cowboys here since they already beat the Vikings before, and have the more playoff-experienced HC and QB. It also doesn't hurt that McCarthy has the threat of Sean Payton replacing him breathing down his neck whenever he's in the playoffs.

Super Bowl

Chiefs-Cowboys

What a match-up this would be. Mahomes vs. Prescott. Big Red vs. Big Blue. America's Primetime Team vs. America's Team. While the Cowboys have the talent to win this one, I just don't see it happening. The first is that Dak and McCarthy always choke at some point in the playoffs, so if they've made it this far, that just means it's bound to happen eventually. The second is that even though the Cowboys' defense has played really well this year, they're still susceptible to big passing plays, which is right up the Chiefs' alley. The third is that Mahomes has only ever lost to Brady and Burrow in the playoffs, and since the Cowboys don't have either of them on their team, it would be tough for them to get the win here. And with this win, I could see Mahomes becoming only the 3rd player in NFL history to win both MVP and the Super Bowl in the same year.

3. NFL Quarterback Predictions:

Tom Brady Won't Return to the Buccaneers

But not because he's retiring. Even though Brady doesn't have anyhting left to prove in the NFL, his is stil clearly playing at a high level, so why quit now? He already sacrificed his marriage for his career, now he doesn't have anything holding him back. However, if he does decide to keep playing, I just don't see why he would return to the Bucs. Their O-line can't protect him, his WRs can't stay healthy, his playcaller is mediocre, and he has to play the Saints' defense twice a year. So where will he go? Well that leads me to my next prediction...

The Raiders will sign Tom Brady

Last offseason, the Raiders went all-in on winning now by hiring a new HC, hiring a new GM, trading for the best WR in the NFL, and by signing several big-name Free Agents to help their defense. Well that went about as well as the Broncos' trade for Wilson. McDaniels isn't a good coach, Carr isn't playing up to his contract, and their defense is as bad as ever, which has led to them losing to Jeff Saturday and Baker Mayfield in less than a month. Unfortunately for Raiders' fans, their owner doesn't have the finances to afford to fire McDaniels right now, which means he'll be sticking around for the forseeable future. However, after a year as bad as this one, some change has to happen, and it seems clear that Carr and McDaniels can't win together. So if they can't fire the HC, that means they'll need a new QB.

Supposedly Brady and Gronk were supposed to sign with the Raiders in 2020, but Gruden nixed the deal. Now that Gruden is no longer there, but has instead been replaced with Brady's former OC from New England, and this seems like a match made in heaven. McDaniels gets the QB that made his career, and Brady gets to go a team with his favorite playcaller, a solid O-line, the best WR in the league, a good run game, and most importantly, a top 5 TE which he's been missing ever since Gronk retired. But you may be wondering, what happens to Carr? Well I'm glad you asked.

Derek Carr will be traded to the Jets

The Jets are in a tough predicament right now. Their team is talented enough to be a playoff contender, but the only thing holding them back is their QB. Wilson has been absolutely awful for them, and while White has been fun, he clearly isn't a long-term answer. So they have a choice to make, which is either keep Wilson and hope they get a return on investment, while risking the team sucking as he develops, or give up on him and get a QB to win now. Considering they basically already made this choice in-season by benching Wilson in favor of White, I think the writing is on the wall for what they'll do this offseason. In a perfect world they would be able to keep Wilson and then sign a guy like Jimmy G in Free Agency to compete for the starting job, but unfortunately for them it seems like the 49ers plan to re-sign him. Rodgers could also be an option, but at this point it seems like he would rather retire than leave the Packers.

With all that being said, Derek Carr makes perfect sense for the Jets. While he's not the greatest QB in the world, he has at times played like a top 10 QB, and at the very least would be a massive upgrade over what they have now. From Carr's end, he should be willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Jets, since they have good coaching, solid weapons, and an elite defense. Due to Carr's age and contract, this trade shouldn't cost the Jets more than 1st or 2nd round pick depending on who else gets involved on the bidding. But that once again leaves another QB without a home, and to avoid ending this with another leading question, I'm just going to tell you where Wilson ends up.

The Saints will trade for Zach Wilson

It's been hard to tell given how successful the Saints have been in years past but at the end of the day, their QB situation has been scarily similar to ours ever since Brees retired. Due to them always being out of position to draft a QB in the 1st round, they've had to sign Free Agents like Winston and Dalton, who have both had some success, but neither are long-term options. Now that the Saints have a new HC in this scenario, it would make sense for them to get him a new QB. Unfortunately for them, they can't afford to go after Brady Jackson in Free Agency, nor would they able to take on Carr's or Rodgers' contracts. Even worse, the 1st round pick I'm predicting them to get from the Chargers will almost certainly be too late in the draft to get one of the top QBs. So that leaves one other option to solve their QB problem, one that we're unfortunately quite familiar with: trade for a QB on a rookie contract.

Obviously there aren't many teams willing to trade their rookie QB right now, so the Saints' options will be limited. Lucky for them, the Jets' benching Wilson and then trading for Carr will drastically lower Wilson's value, meaning that he'll probably only cost them a 2nd round pick and change. Obviously Wilson hasn't been a good QB up to this point in his career, but his college version would be perfect for this Saints' offense, and he's still young enough to develop. Also, the Saints still have Winston under contract for one more year before they can void his contract, so they could have Wilson compete for the starting job, or sit and develop for a year if that's what they prefer. I'm not saying this is the right move to make, we just know from personal experience that desperate teams make desperate trades, epsecially when they need a QB. But enough of the already established QBs, let's move on to the most exciting part of the offseason: the draft.

The NFL Record for QBs Drafted will be Broken

Do I actually believe this will happen? Not really. Do I even know what that record is? No, I just needed a catchy title to lead us into the draft segment, and I feel like there is a good chance that the record could be broken given how deep this QB class is. With that being said, let's play some QB match-maker for the draft:

  • Texans- CJ Stroud, Ohio State
  • Panthers- Bryce Young, Alabama
  • Lions- Will Levis, Kentucky
  • Colts- Anthony Richardson, Florida
  • Seahawks- Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  • Buccaneers- Tanner McKee, Stanford
  • Giants- Jaren Hall, BYU
  • Commanders- Jayden Daniels, LSU

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