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NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: If Rodgers and the Packers live up to expectations, the Green Bay quarterback could claim his third NFL MVP award. After winning in 2011 and ’14, Rodgers could join former Packers quarterback Brett Favre as a three-time league MVP.
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After a Super Bowl loss of their own the year before, the Panthers looked like a shadow of that team last year. However, Cam Newton has a new arsenal of offensive weapons surrounding him, and the defense is still solid. This team should rebound.
While the Saints and Bucs both made noticeable improvements to their weakest positions, they will head into the season as underdogs to make the playoffs. Drew Brees is now 38 years old, and Jameis Winston still has his doubters. But it wouldn’t be all that surprising if these two teams ultimately on top of the division at the end of the season.
Possibly the beginning of the last season in Washington for Kirk Cousins, for still largely-unfathomable reasons. Leapfrogging Washington out of the NFC East basement would be an accomplishment, but so would beating them, period: The Eagles have lost to them five straight times. If Carson Wentz makes the leap plenty around the team believe he will this year, that streak will end, and so will their time in last place. Eagles, 28-23
Everybody’s sleeper from last season travels east to open against everybody’s sleeper for this season. One of the many things the Raiders should feel good about is that, last season, they went on the road for three of their first four, and won all three, including at Tennessee. Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr have both recovered beautifully from gruesome late injuries last year. The deal-breaker: defense. Uh-oh. Titans, 20-17