With the 2017-18 NFL season kicking off Thursday, here are The Ledge staff’s matchup and winner predictions for Super Bowl LII…
New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
As a Patriots fan, I had some pretty bad flashbacks writing this, and I’m sure every other Patriots fan out there had the same flashbacks reading it. I’m predicting Pats-Giants III for Super Bowl LII. Believe me, I’d prefer it not to happen, but I think this the year we’re going to see Brady give it one last try against the Giants. While it’s a scary thought, I know those two Super Bowl losses keep TB12 up at night, and him finally winning this matchup would put the icing on the cake for his career (as if he really needed any more icing). This matchup looked like a possibility late last season, but it ended up not being the Giants’ year. This season, they have the kind of team that could make a run in a conference that’s up for grabs. As for the Patriots, well I shouldn’t even have to justify why I’m picking them out of the AFC at this point.
Patriots beat Giants, 35-31.
New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
I think this year’s NFL season sets up perfectly for a Super Bowl rematch. The Falcons will be driven by the huge lead they blew in last year’s Super Bowl, and they only got better and more explosive this offseason. As for the Patriots, they’re the clear favorite to win the whole thing. Even with the loss of Julian Edelman, I still believe they have what it takes to get back to the big game. I feel much more strongly about my Patriots pick then my Falcons pick, but the Falcons pass rush will be too much for the Seahawks or Packers in the playoffs.
Patriots beat Falcons, 28-24.
New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers
Honestly, how can you not pick New England? Even without Edelman, they are still the cream of the crop in the AFC. It’s extremely rare for a team to win the Super Bowl and then improve both their offense and defense, but that’s exactly what the Patriots did in the offseason. New England still has a plethora of weapons on offense, and they will put up ridiculous points week in and week out. I don’t even have to mention the clear advantage they have in the coaching category. Over in the NFC, I think this is the year that Rodgers returns to the Super Bowl. He also has a great cache of weapons on offense – and similar to the Patriots – the Packers can score at will. On the defensive side of the ball, they used a first-round draft pick to improve their secondary. To put it mildly, Green Bay’s defensive backfield was not good last season. That is why they also brought Davon House back to play corner. In short, with an improved defense, the Packers will be able to outscore their opponents.
Patriots beat Packers, 38-31
Drew “Big Buck Hunter” Pearson
New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings
Not even my mighty Jags are going to be able to take down the Patriots this season. I wanted to make a bold prediction in the AFC but there is just no chance the Pats fall short of a Super Bowl appearance. The NFC is a whole different story. As you can see, from my colleagues picks above, they have all picked different teams to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LII.. and I will continue that trend as I believe the Minnesota Vikings are the top dogs heading into 2017. Now, if you want to play it a little more safe than bet on the Seahawks as they have just acquired Sheldon Richardson and I’m predicting a BIG season from Russell Wilson. But if you’re in need of a big wad of cash, than the Vikings are your team. People forget that the Vikes started off 5-0 last year and beat Super Bowl caliber teams, like Green Bay and Carolina. Heading into a second season with Sam Bradford as the QB will only build the chemistry of the offense as they take a big step forward. But the most exciting part of this team is their furious defense led by Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, and Harrison Smith. This game will be hard fought but I like the stingy defense in Minnesota to steal its first Super Bowl win at their brand new stadium to end Tom Brady’s career.
Vikings over Patriots, 23-20
New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys
Inspired by the controversial Ezekiel Elliott suspension, expect the Dallas Cowboys to be just as dominant as they were last season as they storm through the NFC. However, standing in their way at the finish line will be the New England Patriots, who, even without the services of Julian Edelman, could very well run the table this season. Expect Tom Brady to dominate in what could be his final NFL season, and expect the Patriots to win their second Super Bowl in a row and third Super Bowl in four years by coasting to a victory over the Cowboys in Minneapolis this coming February.
Patriots beat Cowboys, 34-20.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
With Le’Veon Bell ending his holdout, the Steelers may actually have a full season with all killer bees. Now, they add another with Martavis Bryant returning from his suspension which will give the Steelers the best offense in the NFL. This could possibly be Ben Roethlisberger’s last season, and winning a Super Bowl would be a storybook ending for his career. They get the Seattle Seahawks, who have been waiting for this moment since not handing it to Marshawn Lynch on the goal line in 2015. The biggest question mark is the offensive line, but I expect Russell Wilson and the offense to have a bounce back season. What made the Seahawks defense so dominant in 2013-14 was their defensive line. With the addition of Sheldon Richardson and the emergence of Frank Clark, this line has the chance to replicate 2013. Of course, we can’t forget about the Legion of Boom with Earl Thomas returning from a leg injury that ended his 2016 season. Defense wins championships, right? I’m going with the better defense. The Seahawks gets their revenge on the Steelers (and the refs) from 12 years ago.
Seahawks beat Steelers, 28-22