Can you feel it? The NFL season has nearly come and gone.
This truly odd season featured a plethora of injuries to star players; more National Anthem protests; a near coup of Roger Goodell; and the rise of new superpowers proved that football is the most unpredictable sport on God’s green earth.
Here are four bold predictions for the final two-plus weeks of the regular 2017 NFL season.
The Browns go winless
This might not be that bold of a call. The lowly Browns, winless in 14 games as of this writing, have been utterly atrocious all season. After a power struggle between the moneyball front office was lost to coach Hue Jackson, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam decided to stop Trusting the Process and trust a “football guy” who is 1-29 in two seasons as Cleveland’s head coach.
Make no mistake: the Browns have talented players, especially on defense. The team should be much better than they are, but bad coaching and poor QB play has led to an ugly, winless season.
The Browns will have their best (last?) chance at staying out of the history books with a game against the Bears in Week 16. The Bears’ John Fox might be the only coach worse than Jackson, which may mean the Browns can notch their first victory of the year.
There’ll be another injury that shakes up the postseason
We’ve already seen some of the biggest superstars in the NFL not make it through an entire season, including the loss of MVP candidates Carson Wentz and Antonio Brown in the last two weeks. But the season-altering injuries won’t stop there. We’re going to see at least one—and possibly more—heartbreaking injuries in these final two weeks.
Last year, it was Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota who went down to ruin the first round of the NFL playoffs—so let’s hope we avoid that happening another year.
We won’t predict who’ll get injured, but when it happens, just know that that’s exactly who we were imagining when this was written.
The Seahawks blow it up
There are already whispers that these are the final games of the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks as we know them. Not only will the team rid themselves of boisterous, high-priced veterans, but we’ll also see even bigger changes.
Expect Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Jimmy Graham and potentially Earl Thomas to be either on different teams or out of the league next season. But that’s not all. We expect this to be the final year Pete Carroll is the Seahawks’ head coach.
Carroll, 66, is the oldest coach in the NFL. And with the league turning to coaches who are younger and younger, especially with the success of Rams coach Sean McVay, it’s hard to imagine Carroll wanting to stick around for a rebuild while younger coaches best him.
10+ teams will need new coaches
The Seahawks won’t be the only team needing a coach after canning Carroll. Nearly one-third of the league could be on the search for a new leader.
Here’s how we break it down:
Locks (6): New York Giants; Cincinnati Bengals; Indianapolis Colts; Chicago Bears; Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the bubble (4): Cleveland Browns; Houston Texans; Tennessee Titans; Oakland Raiders.
Possible, but unlikely (6): Miami Dolphins; New York Jets; Denver Broncos; Washington Redskins; Arizona Cardinals; Seattle Seahawks.
That’s looking like 10-15 potentially open jobs come January, and the crop of possible head coaches is pretty shallow compared to previous seasons…