It has been 214 days since the final whistle was blown in Super Bowl LI, 214 days without NFL Football in our lives. That's too many days to go without America's real pastime, about 214 too many, in my opinion.
But we've made it. The wait is over. That's right, the NFL is back tonight!
That means it's time for us to once again make our fearless predictions for the upcoming season. It's time to unveil Hogs Haven's fifth annual staff predictions.
This year we've got a baker's dozen of your favorite Hogs Haven writers making 27 picks each. As always, I'll save you the trouble and do the math for you. That comes to a total of over 350 combined predictions on everything from the winner of Super Bowl 52 to the Redskins' final record.
Check out our picks and be sure to share some of your own as you prepare for the kickoff of another glorious season of NFL football.
|Category||Bill-in-Bangkok||Cadillactica||James Dorsett||Jennifer Filsinger|
|NFC Wild Card||Falcons||Falcons||Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
|NFC Wild Card||Cardinals||Vikings||Cardinals||Cardinals|
|AFC Wild Card||Chiefs||Raiders||Raiders||Chargers|
|AFC Wild Card||Titans||Titans||Bengals||Dolphins|
|1st Pick in 2018||Jets||Rams||Jets||Browns|
|Comeback POY||Rob Gronkowski||Navarro Bowman||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt|
|Coach of Year||Mike Mularkey||Dirk Koetter||Mike Tomlin||Jack Del Rio|
|Offensive ROY||Deshaun Waston||Dalvin Cook||Christian McCaffrey||Mitch Trubisky|
|Defensive ROY||Haason Reddick||Charles Harris||Rueben Foster||Myles Garrett|
|Offensive POY||Mike Evans||Derek Carr||David Johnson||Tom Brady|
|Defensive POY||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||Joey Bosa||Von Miller|
|MVP||Aaron Rodgers||Tom Brady||Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers|
|Redskins Off. POY||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Zach Brown||Ryan Kerrigan||Zach Brown||D.J. Swearinger|
|Category||Jamual Forrest||Tom Garrett||Chris Hess||Hog Hunter|
|NFC Wild Card||Buccaneers||Vikings||Buccaneers||Falcons|
|NFC Wild Card||Cowboys||Cowboys||Giants||Cowboys|
|AFC Wild Card||Chiefs||Chiefs||Raiders||Chiefs|
|AFC Wild Card||Ravens||Ravens||Steelers||Titans|
|1st Pick in 2018||Jets||Jets||Cowboys||Jets|
|Comeback POY||Earl Thomas||Rob Gronkowski||Junior Galette||J.J. Watt|
|Coach of Year||Dirk Koetter||Bill O'Brien||Jay Gruden||Bill Belichick|
|Offensive ROY||Christian McCaffrey||Christian McCaffrey||Dalvin Cook||Christian McCaffrey|
|Defensive ROY||Myles Garrett||Jonathan Allen||Jonathan Allen||Myles Garrett|
|Offensive POY||David Johnson||David Johnson||Kirk Cousins||David Johnson|
|Defensive POY||Jadveon Clowney||Von Miller||Josh Norman||Von Miller|
|MVP||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Kirk Cousins||Derek Carr|
|Redskins Off. POY||Jamison Crowder||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Jonathan Allen||Josh Norman||Josh Norman||Josh Norman|
|Playoff Finish||None||None||SB Champion||None|
|Category||Aaron Lesher||Ken Meringolo||Steve Shoup||Bryan Stabbe||Mark Tyler|
|NFC Wild Card||Saints||Seahawks||Falcons||Buccaneers||Falcons|
|NFC Wild Card||Cowboys||Cowboys||Redskins||Redskins||Cowboys|
|AFC Wild Card||Chargers||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs|
|AFC Wild Card||Broncos||Ravens||Texans||Ravens||Texans|
|1st Pick in 2018||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets|
|Comeback POY||J.J. Watt||Adrian Peterson||Josh Doctson||J.J. Watt||Keenan Allen|
|Coach of Year||Anthony Lynn||Bruce Arians||Mike Tomlin||John Harbaugh||Mike McCarthy|
|Offensive ROY||DeShone Kizer||Christian McCaffrey||Kareem Hunt||Mike Williams||Corey Davis|
|Defensive ROY||Derek Barnett||Jonathan Allen||Jonathan Allen||T.J. Watt||Jamal Adams|
|Offensive POY||Tom Brady||David Johnson||Antonio Brown||Le'Veon Bell||David Johnson|
|Defensive POY||Jason Pierre-Paul||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||Bobby Wagner||Landon Collins|
|MVP||Aaron Rodgers||Tom Brady||Russell Wilson||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers|
|Redskins Off. POY||Terrelle Pryor||Kirk Cousins||Kirk Cousins||Jamison Crowder||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Zach Brown||Josh Norman||Jonathan Allen||Josh Norman||Josh Norman|
|Playoff Finish||None||Divisional||Divisional||Wild Card||None|
Redskins and NFC East Predictions
- Only 2 of the 13 Hogs Haven writers polled (Chris Hess and Ken) had the Redskins taking home the division crown in 2017. Steve Shoup and Bryan Stabbe also had the Skins making the tournament as a wild card, which brings the Redskins playoff pick total to 4 (31%). Those numbers are way down from last year, when 79% of the staff picked them to win the NFC East and 86% of us had them in the playoffs. The only time our outlook for the season was worse was in 2015, when Washington won the division.
- Last year, 11 HH writers had the Redskins winning the division, but this time around it was the Giants leading the way, with 11 votes to win the East. And if you crave more symmetry, then take note of the fact that only 4 of us picked the G-Men to make it to the postseason last year, the same number that have the Burgundy & Gold playing in January this season.
- Technically we were pretty split on what exactly the Redskins final 2017 record would be; but, in reality, we were all pretty much in the same ballpark with our estimates. The top pick was an 8-8 record (4 votes), which just edged out 7-9 and 9-7, with 3 votes each. That means that 10 of the 13 participating writers had the team between 7-9 and 9-7. Ken and Steve went with 10 wins, which has essentially been the Redskins' ceiling since the first Joe Gibbs administration. Chris Hess, on the other hand, foresees a 12-win campaign through his burgundy-colored glasses.
- Kirk Cousins received 10 votes to be the team's offensive MVP for yet another season. Jamison Crowder (2 votes) and Terrelle Pryor (1 vote) also got some love here. I know we have all grown weary of Jordan Reed's injury woes, but I am still a bit surprised to not see him show up on this list at all. With 6 votes, Josh Norman was the top choice to be the Skins' best defender in 2017. Zach Brown and Jonathan Allen were the only other selections made by multiple staffers.
Super Bowl Picks
- I was expecting to see the Patriots be almost unanimously chosen to repeat as Super Bowl winners, but, surprisingly, that is not what happened. Only 5 Hogs Haven writers picked Brady and Belichick to take home their sixth Lombardi Trophy. Don't be fooled though, the Pats were our most popular choice to win it all next February in Minneapolis.
- Mark Tyler, Bill-in-Bangkok and Jennifer Filsinger had the Packers adding to their trophy case, while Steve and I picked the Steelers to win a seventh Super Bowl title. Ken and Aaron Lesher looked towards the west, and went with the Cardinals (last year's top choice) and Seahawks respectively. Shockingly (sarcasm font), Chris Hess said that the Redskins will win their sixth NFL championship this season. We can only hope that Chris knows something that we don't.
- Like the Panthers before them, the Atlanta Falcons are yet another runner-up out of the NFC South that we wrote off. Not one of us picked the Falcons to make it to the big game after allowing the Patriots to engineer a historic comeback in last year's Super Bowl. Don't be shocked if MVP Matt Ryan and company have us eating crow by season's end.
- The Steelers and Seahawks were not the most popular choices to win it all, but many of us would not be surprised if they at least made it to the doorstep with a Super Bowl appearance. They each got 4 votes to make it to Minneapolis.
Other Prediction Trends
- The only things that we could all agree on were that the Patriots would win the AFC East and the Packers would remain kings in the north. The next most popular picks were that the Seahawks and Steelers would win their respective divisions, with only one writer dissenting from the majority in each case.
- Some of our other favorites were: the Giants winning the NFC East (11 of 14 votes), the Jets sucking their way to the number one pick in the draft and whichever quarterback torpedoes his stock the least (10 votes), the Patriots making it back to a second straight Super Bowl (9 votes), the Redskins missing the playoffs (9 votes), the Titans winning the AFC South (9 votes) and Raiders taking the AFC West (9 votes).
- For the third straight season we could not agree on who would be named Coach of the Year. Mike Tomlin and Dirk Koetter led the way with just two selections each. We were also nowhere near a consensus on the Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards. The top choices in those categories (J.J. Watt and Jonathan Allen), were each only picked by 4 of us. The final tally for NFC's last wild card spot was deadlocked at 5 votes a piece for both the Falcons and the Buccaneers.
Writer Pick Trends
- Chris "iH8Dallas" Hess led the way with 9 unique picks. This is the norm for Chris, who has now been the clubhouse leader in off-the-wall predictions for the third straight season. If Chris had hit on his last few MVP and Coach of the Year calls then I think Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins would already have busts in Canton. But then again, I can't hate too much on iH8, because he is one of the only writers left that has made the most correct picks in a season before.
- Tom Garrett found himself on the other side of the spectrum, with only one pick that he could truly call his own: Bill O'Brien winning Coach of the Year honors.
- Cadillactica went with the chalk this year by picking 12 repeat winners from last season. Steve Shoup and Ken, on the other hand, foresee the most change on the NFL landscape; they each only picked 5 repeat winners from 2016.
We'll check back in February to revisit our picks, at which time you will be invited to either tar and feather us in the virtual streets for our lack of foresight or exalt us as certified football fortune tellers in honor of our Nostradamus-like vision.
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!