Some Early Thoughts for NFL 2018
By Pat Florio
Special to Pro Football Guru
NFL training camps have already started opening. So I just wanted to share some thoughts for the upcoming 2018 season.
My gut feeling at the moment is that Super Bowl LIII will match the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Los Angeles Rams. I’ll stick with that prediction barring a catastrophic injury. Being a longtime observer of the San Francisco 49ers, I have seen the Rams all too often. And they are now loaded with the additions defensively of Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Also wide receiver Brandin Cooks on offense will just add to that attack that already features running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff. But keep an eye on Aaron Rodgers, who will bounce back and and get the Green Bay Packers back in the mix.
As for the 49ers, there are a lot of people that feel they will contend this year. They will be better, but let’s remember that this team was 1-10 before Jimmy Garoppolo (obtained in a trade with the New England Patriots) started the final five games. Yes, they won each of those contests and that is reason for optimism. But the defense yielded a lot of points. That unit should be better with the addition of Richard Sherman. I’m thinking 8-8 or 9-7 is reasonable for this team. We also need to see how Garoppolo bounces back after adversity from his first loss as a starter.
As previously mentioned, my AFC pick is Pittsburgh. But New England is always there as long as they have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There seems to be some cracks in that armor – from the benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl to Julian Edelman being suspended for the first four games of this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are also team to watch as well. Can Blake Bortles have a solid year?
We shall see. There’s a lot to think about as NFL camps continue to open all over the country.
Pat Florio is fan of the NFL and all sports for the past 30 plus years and can be followed on Twitter at @mrflorio25.