Sure, you want our Super Bowl predictions. Ones you can revisit months from now and taunt us with on social media. But there’s more fun to be had as the 2017 seasons kicks off Thursday evening between the defending champion New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Six Yahoo Sports writers – Jordan Schultz, Shalise Manza Young, Charles Robinson, Kevin Kaduk, Jay Busbee and Frank Schwab – gave their predictions on all other things NFL this season.
A sampling: Collectively, Aaron Rodgers is the MVP front-runner. The familiar stone face in New England leads the pack of 32 for coach of the year. And there’s a lot of love for Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans to be the league’s breakout darlings.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
SCHULTZ: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
MANZA YOUNG: New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
ROBINSON: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
SCHWAB: Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (could not be same as MVP pick)
SCHULTZ: Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper
MANZA YOUNG: Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson
ROBINSON: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
SCHWAB: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SCHULTZ: Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas
MANZA YOUNG: Oakland Raiders DE Khalil Mack
ROBINSON: Arizona Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones
KADUK: Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller
SCHWAB: New York Giants S Landon Collins
COACH OF THE YEAR
SCHULTZ: Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey
MANZA YOUNG: Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson
ROBINSON: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick
BUSBEE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
SCHULTZ: Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
MANZA YOUNG: McCaffrey
ROBINSON: Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook
BUSBEE: Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette
SCHWAB: Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
SCHULTZ: New York Jets S Jamal Adams
MANZA YOUNG: San Francisco 49ers DL Solomon Thomas
ROBINSON: San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster
KADUK: Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett
Here are some of our other picks in the non-traditional categories, with the number of votes in parentheses for those who got the nod from more than one writer …
Marcus Mariota (4), Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford
Analysis: It’s hard to pick anyone but a quarterback in this era. There’s a lot of love for Mariota, who could blossom with a nice Titans team around him.
Deshaun Watson (2), Gareon Conley, Leonard Fournette, O.J. Howard, John Ross
Analysis: It’s tough to play quarterback in the NFL, and everyone assumes Watson will get a shot at some point to be the Texans’ starter. Note that players from five different positions got votes.
Adrian Peterson (2), Mike Glennon (2), Marshawn Lynch, Joe Flacco
Analysis: Three of the four players named were big free-agent signings in the offseason, and Kaduk went with the understandable pick of Flacco, who missed preseason with a back injury.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT, TEAM
Patriots (Schultz), Colts (Manza Young), Giants (Robinson), Chiefs (Kaduk), Saints (Busbee), Cowboys (Schwab)
Analysis: Six different teams get mentioned. Who voted for which team is noted so you know who to direct your angry tweets to.
BIGGEST BREAKOUT, PLAYER
Marcus Mariota (2), DeVante Parker, Ameer Abdullah, Chris Hogan, Carson Wentz
Analysis: It makes sense that Mariota got a couple votes, given his dark horse MVP standing. Hopefully you own some or all of these guys on your fantasy team.
Titans (3), Buccaneers, Giants, Lions
Analysis: Again, a lot of love for Tennessee.
David Johnson (2), Le’Veon Bell, Jordan Howard, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy
Analysis: With reigning rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott suspended for six games, five different players got votes.
ONE CRAZY PREDICTION
SCHULTZ: Cowboys will finish dead last in the NFC East
MANZA YOUNG: Jerry Jones will challenge Roger Goodell to a WWE-style cage match over the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott
ROBINSON: Blake Bortles throws more than 35 touchdowns
KADUK: The Colts finish last in AFC South
BUSBEE: Andrew Luck won’t play a single down this year
SCHWAB: Other than Jameis for MVP? The Titans will have a better record than Pittsburgh
WINS FOR THE JETS
MANZA YOUNG: 1
WINS FOR THE BROWNS
MANZA YOUNG: 6
PATRIOTS’ REGULAR-SEASON RECORD
MANZA YOUNG: 13-3
WHO STARTS FIRST: TRUBISKY, MAHOMES OR WATSON?
MANZA YOUNG: Watson
JAY CUTLER’S COMEBACK, IN ONE WORD, WILL BE …
MANZA YOUNG: Uninspiring
SCHWAB: Smokin’ (no, really: underwhelming)
HOW WILL TONY ROMO DO ON CBS?
SCHULTZ: Tony will do well. He will start off more vanilla than we’d like, but will find his groove by the second month of the season.
MANZA YOUNG: He will fail to live up to expectations, but not through any fault of his own – expectations are really high for a guy who’s never been in the booth before to be on the No. 1 broadcast team.
ROBINSON: Trips on Jim Nantz’s putter, breaks collar bone.
KADUK: Better than the guy he’s replacing.
BUSBEE: Great, but will get barbecued for being too nice.
SCHWAB: He’s going to be the next John Madden. Instant star.
Podcast: NFL season preview! It’s here!
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