2020 NFL standings and Super Bowl predictions


Cooper O'Kelly, Staff Writer

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Viking Logue 2020. In this article, I’m going to be giving you my predictions for which NFL team wins their respective division as well as who will make it to and win the Super Bowl. To give a little disclaimer, I’m writing this article after all of the games in Week 1 took place, but I had already settled on a list of who I thought would win each division prior to those games. With all that being said, let’s hop right into it.

NFC North: Packers

I’m going to be starting off with a division that may be very dear to a majority of readers’ hearts, the NFC North. Now I’m just going to say right off the bat that I know my prediction might make fellow Bears fans a little upset, but I had to go with the Green Bay Packers. What really made me end up choosing the Packers was Aaron Rodgers, and his high powered offense. I think this year, A-Rod is going to be very motivated after the Packers took a quarterback with their first round pick in the 2020 Draft and is going to  thrive on the offense built around him with two superstars in Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. Now, this division certainly won’t be Green Bay’s to run away with, as the Vikings and their spectacular offseason signings/trades and maybe even the Bears (even with Mitch…) will put up a fight all year long.

NFC South: Saints

Another division that I think is going to be really competitive, and it could really be a toss-up towards the end of the season, is the NFC South. This division was abuzz this offseason as each and every team seemed to be picking up superstars, from Tom Brady (Tampa Bay) to Todd Gurley (Atlanta) to Teddy Bridgewater (Carolina), but I really think that the team in this division with the, debatably, least impactful offseason will take the crown: the New Orleans Saints, led by veteran QB Drew Brees and an offense full of match-up nightmares. Obviously the Buccaneers adding Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette to their offense is huge. However, I’m not totally convinced that this team is going to be as good as everyone assumes. Make no mistake, Tampa Bay is going to be a good team and a serious contender for this division, but I really feel like the Saints’ success in seasons past as a team makes them more of a safe bet.

NFC East: Cowboys

Debatably one of, if not the, worst divisions in football last year would be the NFC East. The playoff “race” between the Eagles and Cowboys down the stretch of the 2019 season was bad and honestly kind of painful to watch. Both of these teams seemed as if they were trying to give the division away last year, but this year the Dallas Cowboys will take the crown. While they’re plagued by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, Dak Prescott will thrive this season with the many skilled pass-catchers around him and Ezekiel Elliot will be eating all year long. The factor that really puts the Cowboys ahead of the Eagles (with Washington and New York not being real contenders), is their offensive line. Carson Wentz simply has no time to do anything in the pocket, and their offense really won’t be able to get anything started because of it.

NFC West: Seahawks

Despite one of the teams in the NFC West making it to the Super Bowl last year, it was really a surprisingly easy choice for me to pick the Seattle Seahawks to win it. No team in this division is bad. I can definitely see the Seahawks, Cardinals, and 49ers being contenders (and the Rams just being meh), but there’s two reasons that point towards Seattle being the best team. The first is maybe a little obvious, as over the offseason an already above average Seahawk defense picked up one of the best safeties in the NFL, Jamal Adams. I really liked this move a lot, as Adams serves as an anchor to their secondary who can make strong impacts on both opponents’ run and pass game. But the second reason is just simply Russell Wilson. Number 3 is one of the best quarterbacks in the league year in and year out, but never really gets the love he deserves. This year, that all changes as he will lead the Seahawks to the division title and be a legitimate MVP candidate.

AFC North: Ravens

To start off the AFC, we’re heading north to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. To keep it blunt, this was a no-brainer. The Baltimore Ravens are going to win the AFC North, backed by the reigning league MVP in Lamar Jackson. On top of the Ravens high paced offense, a really slept-on subject of that team is their defense. The Baltimore D really succeeds at defending against the pass and with a huge addition this offseason, Calais Campbell, they will elevate their defensive line to the next level. While I think the Ravens will take home the division pretty handily, the Steelers may be able to make a Wild Card run with their great defense and the return of Big Ben from injury. As for the Browns and Bengals… this just isn’t their year. Although, if the Bengals can find a way to surround Joe Burrow with a competent offensive line, they may become a good team in the following years to come.

AFC South: Titans

Now we move onto one of the hardest divisions to predict, the AFC South. I was personally torn between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts, as the Texans lost their best wide receivers and the Jaguars are just bad. While the Colts weren’t a great team last year, they added veteran QB Phillip Rivers, which is huge. However, I really think that a run-based offense behind Derrick Henry and a solid defense will be able to push the Titans ahead. In the 2019 playoffs, the Titans shocked the world by coming in as a Wild Card and upsetting both the Patriots and the Ravens in back to back games. I feel like that was their way of showing everyone what they were made of. Especially with a weakened division to compete against, the Titans should be able to coast to the division title.

AFC East: Bills

For the first time since 2008, a team that isn’t the New England Patriots will be winning the AFC East come playoff time: the Buffalo Bills, who finished second last year and made the playoffs as a Wild Card. Josh Allen, the young quarterback, exceeded expectations last year despite the  lack of seriously talented pass-catchers and weapons. This year, the Bills added star wide-out Stefon Diggs to their squad via a trade with the Vikings, which gives Allen a lot more to work with while the  young and talented Bills defense battles on the other side. Going back to the Patriots, losing Tom Brady and replacing him with a beaten-up Cam Newton was a big setback. Many of the standout players from the Pats’ spectacular defense opting out of the season due to COVID-19 is a big, perhaps even bigger, blow. Despite all this, I feel like the Pats will find a way to pick up a few wins here and there and possibly get a Wild Card spot because under head coach Bill Belichick, it seems anything is possible (just make all their footballs are properly inflated).

AFC West: Chiefs

An absolute no-brainer here in the AFC West. Barring a fluke injury to the best QB in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, there is no doubt in my mind that the reigning champs in the Chiefs will win this division. Of their 22 Super Bowl winning starters, the Chiefs are bringing back 20 to play for them this season. There’s no real obvious weak spots on this Chiefs team as they have one of the best offenses in the league and a solid defense highlighted by Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones, and even a good special teams unit. The only team in this division that has a slight sliver of a shot of dethroning the Chiefs would be the Denver Broncos, a young squad with a bunch of potential offensive stars. Cortland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy highlight the receiving core, and second year QB Drew Lock will be throwing them passes all year long. I’d say if everything goes right for this team, and all their young players play like proven vets, they might be able to get within a game of the Chiefs or overtake them by a game. This should show you how immensely confident I am in the Chiefs, as this is the one pick I am nearly 100% sure of.

With all of the division winners being set, it’s only right I give a quick Super Bowl prediction. The two teams with the two best QBs of their conference, and the league really, will play against each other come February. These two teams led by Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes, will be the Seahawks and Chiefs. I could definitely see this game being an absolute shoot-out and coming down to the wire, and it would result in the Chiefs being back-to-back winners in a close game.