Tonight the 97th NFL season will kickoff and the road to Super Bowl 51 will begin the same way the road to Super Bowl 50 ended, with the champion Denver Broncos facing off against MVP Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Yes, NFL Football has finally returned to us in all its glory, and to celebrate the occasion, we at Hogs Haven would like to share our 2016 season staff predictions with you. This is the fourth year that we've done this (see here, here and here), but this season has a different feel to it for Washington Redskins fans.
We have not witnessed this combination of stability and potential for sustained success since the first Joe Gibbs administration, and because of that there is both a palpable buzz in the air and a quiet confidence among fans about the prospects of the 2016 Redskins.
Tonight's opener and the start to the Redskins' defense of the NFC East title on Monday night can't come soon enough, but until then check out all of our Redskins and NFL predictions for the 2016 season.
|Category||Jason Bacaj||Anthony Brown||James Dorsett||Jen Filsinger||Bryan Frantz||Tom Garrett||Mike Harar|
|NFC Wild Card||Cardinals||Panthers||Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks||Panthers|
|NFC Wild Card||Falcons||Falcons||Redskins||Vikings||Vikings||Falcons||Vikings|
|AFC Wild Card||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Bills||Broncos||Broncos||Jets|
|AFC Wild Card||Steelers||Ravens||Bengals||Steelers||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals|
|1st Pick in 2017||Eagles||Bills||Browns||49ers||Browns||Titans||49ers|
|Comeback POY||Andrew Luck||Jimmy Graham||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Kelvin Benjamin||Jordy Nelson||Kelvin Benjamin|
|Coach of Year||Jack Del Rio||Mike Tomlin||Mike McCarthy||Mike Zimmer||Bruce Arians||Jack Del Rio||Andy Reid|
|Offensive ROY||Ezekiel Elliott||Josh Doctson||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Carson Wentz||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott|
|Defensive ROY||Karl Joseph||Su'a Cravens||Myles Jack||Jalen Ramsey||Jalen Ramsey||Leonard Floyd||Jalen Ramsey|
|Offensive POY||Aaron Rodgers||Stefon Diggs||Antonio Brown||Antonio Brown||Aaron Rodgers||Antonio Brown||Aaron Rodgers|
|Defensive POY||Aaron Donald||Preson Smith||Khalil Mack||Khalil Mack||Aaron Donald||Von Miller||J.J. Watt|
|MVP||Aaron Rodgers||Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers||Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Adrian Peterson|
|Redskins Off. POY||Josh Doctson||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Jordan Reed||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Su'a Cravens||Preston Smith||Preston Smith||Preston Smith||Bashaud Breeland||Josh Norman||Will Compton|
|Playoff Finish||Divisional||NFC Champ Loss||Wildcard||Divisional||None||None||Divisional|
|Category||Chris Hess||Aaron Lesher||Ken Meringolo||Alex Rowsey||Steve Shoup||Bryan Stabbe||Mark Tyler|
|NFC Wild Card||Panthers||Cardinals||Seahawks||Seahawks||Cardinals||Cardinals||Seahawks|
|NFC Wild Card||Packers||Giants||Vikings||Buccaneers||Giants||Saints||Saints|
|AFC Wild Card||Raiders||Broncos||Raiders||Broncos||Colts||Jaguars||Texans|
|AFC Wild Card||Ravens||Steelers||Colts||Bengals||Bengals||Steelers||Bengals|
|1st Pick in 2017||Cowboys||49ers||Eagles||Browns||Browns||Browns||Eagles|
|Comeback POY||Jimmy Graham||Tyrann Mathieu||Andrew Luck||Jordy Nelson||Jordy Nelson||Terrell Suggs||Andrew Luck|
|Coach of Year||Jay Gruden||Pete Carroll||Mike Zimmer||Bill Belichick||Mike Tomlin||Marvin Lewis||Bruce Arians|
|Offensive ROY||Will Fuller||Ezekiel Elliott||Corey Coleman||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Corey Coleman|
|Defensive ROY||Su'a Cravens||Jalen Ramsey||Su'a Cravens||Myles Jack||Jalen Ramsey||Jalen Ramsey||Vernon Hargreaves|
|Offensive POY||Kirk Cousins||Antonio Brown||David Johnson||Antonio Brown||Antonio Brown||Andrew Luck||David Johnson|
|Defensive POY||Preston Smith||Khalil Mack||Khalil Mack||Khalil Mack||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||Khalil Mack|
|MVP||Tom Brady||Russell Wilson||Carson Palmer||Aaron Rodgers||Russell Wilson||Aaron Rodgers||Antonio Brown|
|Redskins Off. POY||Kirk Cousins||Jordan Reed||Kirk Cousins||Trent Williams||Kirk Cousins||Trent Williams||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Preston Smith||Josh Norman||Bashaud Breeland||Josh Norman||Josh Norman||Ryan Kerrigan||Bashaud Breeland|
|Playoff Finish||Super Bowl Win||Wildcard||Divisional||Divisional||Divisional||Divisional||Divisional|
Redskins and NFC East Predictions
- The Washington Redskins were the consensus pick to win the NFC East, as 11 of the 14 writers polled picked the Skins to defend their division title for the first time in 32 years (1983-1984). If this occurs, it will also mark the first time in 24 and 19 years respectively that the team has made the playoffs and has had a winning record in consecutive seasons.
- In each of the last two years, the Eagles were the top pick to win the East. This year, they're tied for the second most votes to finish the season with the worst record in football. Thanks again, Chip!
- A 10-6 finish was our favorite pick as a group (6 votes), while 12-4, 11-5 and 9-7 were all picked twice. The lowest projected win total was seven. Twelve of fourteen HH staffers have the Redskins making the playoffs this year, and eight of them have the team advancing to the second round of the tournament or farther.
- Kirk Cousins was picked by nearly two thirds of us to be the team's top offensive player. Josh Norman and Preston Smith tied with four selections a piece to be the MVP of the defense. Su'a Cravens was picked to be the defensive rookie of the year in the NFL by three writers; Josh Doctson got one vote on the offensive side. I guess I could see it for Cravens in a way, but in another very real way I can't for a guy that's not starting and is busy learning new positions. Then there's Chris' picks...
Chris "iH8dallas" Hess, Boom or Bust Homerism and Writer Prediction Styles
- For the second year in a row, Chris has picked the Redskins to win the NFC East, to have the defensive player of the year on their roster, for Jay Gruden to win coach of the year, for the Cowboys to have the worst record in the league and for Washington to take home its fourth Super Bowl title. He decided to get even weirder with things for the 2016 season. He also has a Redskins player winning Offensive Player of the Year (Cousins) and the team winning 12 games, instead of the 11 victories he predicted last year.
- And, just like last year, Chris made by far the highest number of unique picks (10) among the writers. The next closest in this department were Bryan (6), Mike (5) and Tom (5). In the first two years that we made predictions, the person with the most unique picks finished with the fewest correct picks. Last year, however, the script was flipped when Chris made the most unique selections (13) and managed to make the most correct predictions among us.
- Steve picked the most repeat winners in each of the last three seasons, but this time around he is tied for seventh in that area. Aaron, Jen, Jason, Bryan, Ken and I tied with seven predictions that involved repeat winners or occurrences from the 2015 season. You can hate on this strategy if you want, but it has actually worked out quite well for Steve and some others in the past. Chris, Anthony and Mike tied for the fewest number of repeat winner predictions with four each.
- There were no unanimous predictions made by the staff as a whole for the second year in a row. We couldn't all agree on any one thing, but here are some things that the vast majority of our 14 Skins scribes could agree on: Packers win the NFC North (13 votes), Patriots win the AFC East (12 votes), Panthers win the NFC South (11 votes) and the Redskins win the NFC East (11 votes).
- Some other very popular picks were: the Steelers to win the AFC North, the Chiefs to win the AFC West, Ezekiel Elliott to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and for Kirk Cousins to be the Redskins Offensive Player of the Year. Each of those predictions garnered 9 votes (nearly 66% of those polled). We were split down the middle (7 to 7) on whether the Cardinals or the Seahawks would win the NFC West.
- For the second consecutive year, the category that we could find the least common ground on was the Coach of the Year award. No more than two of us picked any one single coach, and ten head coaches were picked in all. Mike Zimmer, Jack Del Rio, Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians were all chosen twice. The Redskins Defensive Player of the Year (4 picks), the team with the worst record/ first pick in the draft (5) and the Super Bowl winner (5) were also areas where most of our predictions did not match up.
Super Bowl Picks and Snubs of 2015 Winners
- The Arizona Cardinals are our favorite bet to win the Super Bowl (4 picks), just ahead of the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers (3 picks each). The Steelers were picked twice, and the Seahawks and Redskins also received a vote. The Panthers, Chiefs and Colts were each picked by one of our writers to represent their conferences in the Super Bowl and to ultimately lose in the final game of the season.
- It's a little odd that only one writer picked the Panthers to make it back to the big game and that none of us have the Broncos making it back. Well, maybe less so with the Broncos, but only two us even have them winning their division and eight of us don't having them making the postseason at all. None of us have Cam Newton winning the MVP or OPOY this year again, the Vikings being kings of the North again, Riverboat Ron Rivera walking away with Coach of the Year hardware again or Chris Baker being the Redskins' top defender again.
We'll revisit our predictions after the Super Bowl, just as we've done in each of the last three years (here, here and here), and we'll see which writers are finishing their drives to glory and which are starting their walks of shame.
In the meantime, let us know what you think about our picks and share your own predictions in the comments section. Happy season kickoff day!