So, let's look at some hot topics coming into the 2019 season... 1. How good will the Browns really be? Obviously, this team will be the media darling coming into this season. The hype is off the charts. They have collected a lot of talent and word is will try to add some more before we reach the trade deadline. The biggest question mark is likely how their first time head coach will handle the talent on this team. He will have his hands full with a variety of head cases. If they come out of the gate winning that will help because if this team starts losing early, look out. The good news is they start with two very winnable games against the Titans and Jets before getting their first big test against the Rams at home in week three. They then face division rivals the Ravens at Baltimore in week 4. Then out to the west coast to play the 49ers, home for the Seahawks before getting a bye and coming back from that by traveling to play the Patriots. We'll know what they are by the halfway point of the season. 2. Can the Chargers stay healthy this season? The Chargers finished with the same 12-4 record as the Chiefs last season. There is, however, a lot more hype about the Chiefs because of their young QB. This is a talent loaded team but one that seems snake bit by injuries. No question they now have one of the best rosters in football but that only counts if the guys play. They appear on the poll above because it will be something if the Chargers can repeat and build on their success last year. Success for this team though means getting to the Super Bowl. There is too much talent here for that not to be the goal. 3. Will the Bears be even better? The Bears dominated the NFC North last season while the Vikings and Packers fell apart. These guys are also on the poll above but success for them this season does mean getting to the NFC championship game and having a shot at the Super Bowl. The Vikings and Packers both hope to be better this season. How the Bears young QB builds on last season may be the big question. The Lions, well, they look like the Lions and not sure they did much to improve the team since last season. 4. Who will take the AFC North? Again, this involves the Browns, the team I think the media is rooting for. Last year the Ravens took it with the Steelers right on their heels. When the Ravens switched QBs and went with Jackson they recovered from a 3 game losing streak under Flacco and went 6-1 to finish the season and secure the division and a playoff spot. I think you have to give the edge here to the Steelers and Ravens to fight it out but the Browns will have a shot because both of these teams have flaws that could lose them games. Big Ben is obviously on the decline and the Steelers may look different with no Antonio Brown. The Ravens QB does not look NFL ready and will likely face a lot of opponents that stack up against the run and try to force him to throw to win games...that could be ugly. This division could go to any of these three teams but I see them all as having a major uphill climb to get there. The Bengals should be competing for a very high draft pick and a shot at one of the QBs in the 2020 draft. Andy Dalton is on his way out. 5. What will the Raiders do this season? The AFC West looks like one of the best divisions in football. It is talent loaded. The Chargers and Chiefs are thought to be sure playoff teams. The Broncos are going with yet another QB, Flacco, and drafted a young arm to learn behind him, plus still have a solid defense. We'll see what Flacco has left and what he brings. The Raiders have added a lot of talent on offense but is it enough to compete in this division and if they struggle will Antonio Brown tear this team apart. Basically, I think if the Raiders can finish 3rd in their division, that's a good season for them. It looks like their defense will again be dismal. Gruden has got a collection of nutjobs on the roster, and this is a make or break year for Carr at QB. I have to think the Raiders could be a lot better, meaning 8-8 rather than 4-12, or they will totally collapse this season allowing Gruden a shot at drafting a top talent at QB in 2020. They have a good young RB, the best WR group Carr has played with, and a QB that despite the win total played pretty good last season. They should be interesting to watch.