theScore's Super Bowl LIII and awards predictions
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The first Sunday of the 2018 campaign is on its way. theScore's NFL staff kicks things off with playoff, Super Bowl, and awards predictions for this season.

AFC

Editor East North South West WC WC
Alessandrini NE CIN TEN LAC HOU DEN
Browne NE PIT HOU LAC KC BAL
Chippin NE PIT HOU LAC JAX BAL
McClymont NE PIT HOU KC JAX BAL
McLaren NE PIT JAX LAC HOU KC
Srinivasan NE PIT JAX LAC HOU DEN
Woods NE PIT HOU LAC JAX CIN

The Patriots and Steelers remain the staples of the AFC, but theScore is all aboard the Chargers' hype train.

NFC

Editor East North South West WC WC
Alessandrini PHI MIN NO SF GB DET
Browne PHI GB ATL SF MIN LAR
Chippin PHI MIN ATL LAR GB SF
McClymont PHI MIN ATL LAR GB NO
McLaren NYG MIN ATL LAR SF NO
Srinivasan PHI MIN ATL LAR NO NYG
Woods PHI GB NO LAR ATL MIN

Not much turnover is expected on the NFC side of the bracket. However, not one editor picked the Panthers to return to the playoffs in 2018.

AFC Championship Game

Editor Prediction
Alessandrini Patriots vs. Chargers
Browne Patriots vs. Steelers
Chippin Patriots vs. Chargers
McClymont Texans vs. Jaguars
McLaren Jaguars vs. Texans
Srinivasan Patriots vs. Jaguars
Woods Steelers vs. Chargers

Despite the poorest collection of backs and receivers Tom Brady has had to play with, the majority of the team believes the Patriots will be back in the conference title game for the eighth consecutive season.

NFC Championship Game

Editor Prediction
Alessandrini Saints vs. Eagles
Browne Packers vs. Vikings
Chippin Rams vs. Packers
McClymont Rams vs. Vikings
McLaren Falcons vs. 49ers
Srinivasan Rams vs. Falcons
Woods Saints vs. Rams

Rams? Falcons? Saints? Vikings? It's anyone's guess who will emerge from the loaded NFC.

Super Bowl LIII

Editor Prediction
Alessandrini Saints def. Patriots
Browne Packers def. Patriots
Chippin Packers def. Patriots
McClymont Vikings def. Texans
McLaren Falcons def. Texans
Srinivasan Falcons def. Jaguars
Woods Saints def. Chargers

The AFC was shown no love when it came to predicting the Super Bowl LIII champion. The entire staff sided with the stronger NFC conference, with the Packers and Falcons earning multiple votes.

"The two greatest quarterbacks in the game weave through their respective conferences before giving the world the most enticing and exciting Super Bowl matchup of all time," Alex Chippin predicts in a Packers-Patriots matchup.

Rookies of the Year

Editor Offensive Defensive
Alessandrini Saquon Barkley Maurice Hurst
Browne Michael Gallup Darius Leonard
Chippin Saquon Barkley Roquan Smith
McClymont Saquon Barkley Derwin James
McLaren Sam Darnold Tremaine Edmunds
Srinivasan Saquon Barkley Roquan Smith
Woods Sam Darnold Derwin James

Saquon Barkley is the popular pick to follow in the footsteps of Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara for Rookie of the Year.

"An obvious choice, but the right one. Barkley has more talent than your average rookie, and he'll help pace the Giants' offense behind an improved blocking unit. Rushing for 1,500 yards and 10-plus touchdowns is not out of the question," Mike Alessandrini said.

Players of the Year

Editor Offensive Defensive
Alessandrini Aaron Rodgers Khalil Mack
Browne Antonio Brown Myles Garrett
Chippin Antonio Brown Jalen Ramsey
McClymont Antonio Brown Xavier Rhodes
McLaren David Johnson Tyrann Mathieu
Srinivasan Antonio Brown Von Miller
Woods Alvin Kamara Joey Bosa

What Madden cover jinx? theScore staff is putting its faith behind Antonio Brown breaking the mold and taking home his first Offensive Player of the Year award. On the defensive side of things, the list is dominated by pass-rushers.

"If the Steelers overcome the Le'Veon Bell fiasco, it'll be in large part due to Brown, who threatens to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in a single season. Everyone knows what's coming and yet Brown is simply unstoppable," Arun Srinivasan said.

Coach of the Year

Editor Prediction
Alessandrini Mike Zimmer
Browne Bill Belichick
Chippin Mike Zimmer
McClymont Bill Belichick
McLaren Dan Quinn
Srinivasan Dan Quinn
Woods Anthony Lynn

Would you believe Bill Belichick hasn't won Coach of the Year since 2010? Jack Browne and Michael McClymont believe this is the year in which Belichick wins his fourth award, tying Don Shula for the most all time.

"Because he's Bill Belichick," Browne put it, simply.

MVP

Editor Prediction
Alessandrini Tom Brady
Browne Philip Rivers
Chippin Aaron Rodgers
McClymont Deshaun Watson
McLaren David Johnson
Srinivasan Drew Brees
Woods Ben Roethlisberger

The MVP conversation is again dominated by quarterbacks. David Johnson is the lone player from another position to garner a vote.

"The conditions are perfect for Johnson to put together a statistical season that leaves voters with no choice but to give him the honor despite what's likely to be a poor Cardinals record," Esten McLaren said, who sees LaDainian Tomlinson's touchdown record falling.

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theScore's Super Bowl LIII and awards predictions
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