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RJ’s Gilbert Manzano picks NFL division winners, Super Bowl champ

Updated September 9, 2018 - 6:45 pm

Review-Journal NFL writer Gilbert Manzano predicts the 2018 playoff teams and Super Bowl LIII champion.

Division winners

AFC East: New England Patriots

Non-Patriots fans are hopeful this is the year the evil empire falls. Keep wishing.

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

This is probably Le’Veon Bell’s final year in Pittsburgh. It’s now or never for the “Killer Bs” to get to the Super Bowl.

AFC South: Houston Texans

If Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt stay healthy, the Texans will make noise in the AFC.

AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive offense will score often and quickly.

NFC East: New York Giants

Odell Beckham returns healthy and a much richer man. New coach Pat Shurmur gets the team back on track.

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings will be tough to beat with a dominant defense and the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins.

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons’ offense will run smoothly in Year 2 with Steve Sarkisian calling the plays.

NFC West: Los Angeles Rams

The stars aligned in L.A. to give the Rams a stacked roster on both sides of the ball.

Wild-card teams

AFC: Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers

The Jaguars’ defense will carry the team into the postseason despite a sluggish offense. The Chargers are deep enough to survive another injury bug.

NFC: Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals

The Eagles will struggle early with a Super Bowl hangover but get hot late with a healthy Carson Wentz. David Johnson reaches his lofty goal of 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards to lift Arizona to the playoffs.

Championship games

AFC: Patriots vs. Steelers

These two teams didn’t meet in the AFC title game last year for a change. They’ll be the last two standing in the AFC in January.

NFC: Vikings vs. Eagles

In a rematch of last year’s NFC title game, the Vikings get their revenge at home to dethrone the defending champs.

Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Vikings

A motivated Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get the job done this year for ring No. 6. One decides to retire during the celebration.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

 Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GManzano24 on Twitter.

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