9 Musicians Share Their Predictions for the 2019 Football Season
Jerry Cantrell, Patrick Carney, Brad Shultz and others sound off on which NFL teams they're betting are Super Bowl-bound
They’ve popped up at halftime, sang the national anthem, raised the team flag before kickoff, and are often in the stands for big games. Though fame and fortune can gain musicians better access to their favorite football teams, many rockers are as diehard as the average fan who’s cheering from the nosebleed section or in front of a TV at home. That includes during the first few weeks of the new season, when even the most skeptical football fan feels good about their team’s prospects—regardless whether a franchise has Super Bowl or playoff expectations, or if they’re in the process of rebuilding.
So how do some of the recognizable names in music feel about the 2019 NFL season? We checked in with Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell, The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, and others to see how confident they are of their team’s prospects, whether that means a potential shot at at Super Bowl LIV, or if they’d be lucky to simply have a winning season.
Read on for the musings of our musician panel on how their favorite NFL teams will fare in the 2019 football season—and yes, their way-too-early Super Bowl predictions as well.
Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
Team: Seattle Seahawks
The biggest question is going to be finding a replacement for [former wide receiver] Dougie Baldwin. Tyler Lockett is going to be taking a lot of the load, and hopefully, [rookie wide receiver] Metcalf can learn a lot. He’s got a lot of speed and a lot of talent. We’ll see what the defense develops into.
We went through our transitional year last year and still made the playoffs. We didn’t have Dougie, but we had [running back Chris] Carson and [running back Rashaad] Penny. Russell Wilson is good for eight wins on his own! Ever since [coach Pete] Carroll and our GM took over, [late owner] Paul Allen let them do what they needed to do instead of being one of those owners who was too involved. They built the organization into a perennial playoff contender and I’m really excited to see how the young guys do.
The Rams may be the front-runner in the division, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get in the playoffs somehow. But you never know what’s going to happen. That’s the great thing about the NFL.
Season outlook: Worst case scenario, nine wins, but I’d probably say 10. I got them in the playoffs.
Super Bowl prediction: New England Patriots—it makes me gag, but you can’t knock that organization—over New Orleans Saints.
Patrick Carney, The Black Keys
Team: Cleveland Browns
Even before I started watching baseball, I watched the Browns. I started in ’85, when I was 5 years old. Of course, the Browns were pretty fucking good then with Bernie Kosar, and I got Earnest Byner’s autograph before “The Fumble” at an appliance store. (I crumpled the thing up when that happened because I was pissed off.)
I hadn’t watched sports after 1997 since I was so crushed that the Indians lost to the Marlins in the World Series. But I slowly got back into it. I’m a sports optimist—you have to be when you’re a Cleveland Browns fan—and you always hope that every year is the year.
The past few years have been really fucking hard to be a Browns fan. For the first time since I was probably 11, I have a lot of faith in this team. I want to see something happen. At first, I wasn’t that familiar with Baker Mayfield—only about a year and a half ago—after what happened with Johnny Football, I was suspect of any first-round quarterback pick of theirs. Johnny Manziel, that was the worst era of Cleveland Browns football, it was the worst fucking embarrassment. But after last season, I was convinced when he came in and won in his first game, and he seems really fucking cool too.
Odell [ Beckham Jr.], I hope he brings it this year. I have a good feeling about [wide receiver Jarvis] Landry too. They should be unstoppable. As long as they have a winning record this year, I think it’s a success. Being a competitive team is a success.
Season outlook: 10-6, make the playoffs as a Wild Card. I knew their record was going to be 0-16 a few years ago [in 2017]—I was confident about that and am this.
Super Bowl prediction: New England wins again, since the world is unjust.
Steve Gorman, The Black Crowes
Team: Tennessee Titans
We’re the safest 8-8 bet for the last decade. If you had to pick one team that’s going to have good games and bad games in equal measure, it’s pretty much the Tennessee Titans. The one great season we did have [in 2008], Kerry Collins was the starting quarterback.
Like any NFL team and their fan base, you’re subjected to whims of the ownership. If you have a bad owner, there’s nothing you can do. The one thing about the Titans is that for the past few years, we’ve had a good GM with Jon Robinson. This is the year of reckoning, not just for [head coach Mike] Vrabel, but for [quarterback Marcus] Mariota. It’s his fifth season, so if he doesn’t have a clear uptick this year, it’s time that the Titans look elsewhere. I don’t know about Vrabel either.
It’s hard to take a mediocre culture out of a team. Being a Titans fan is saying if we can stay healthy, just get lucky here and this goes our way—there’s never a sense that things will go our way, just a hope.
Season outlook: 8-8 or 9-7 is as much as I’d put any money into. We’ll win a couple that we shouldn’t win and lose a couple we shouldn’t lose. 10-6 would be a really successful campaign for this team.
Super Bowl prediction: New England over New Orleans. I’ll stop betting on Brady when he retires.
Zach Lind, Jimmy Eat World
Team: Arizona Cardinals
I’m concerned. While I think Kingsbury could help the offense improve from last year (not a high bar), it remains to be seen if he can be an effective NFL head coach. Head coaching encompasses so much more than just X’s and O’s, and we have no idea at this point if Kingsbury can be that guy.
I predict [rookie quarterback Kyler] Murray will be a significant improvement over [former quarterback Josh] Rosen. I didn’t dislike Rosen, and thought he was thrown into a very bad situation last year. But I think Murray has the skill set to make more things happen even in sketchy situations.
My expectations this year are pretty modest. Let’s see if Kingsbury will sink or swim. Let’s see if the David Johnson of old returns. Let’s see how this offensive scheme, whatever it ends up looking like, can work in the NFL.
Season outlook: 6-10
Super Bowl prediction: New England Patriots over the Green Bay Packers.
Brad Shultz, Cage the Elephant
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
I feel pretty good about them. I think we’re a bit of a sleeper team. Last year, had our kicking game been on, we would have made the playoffs. All of the drama—Antonio Brown definitely had something that was bothering him and had a legitimate gripe—and getting under wraps is going to be good. [Editor’s note: Brown announced on September 22 that he will no longer play in the NFL.]
I honestly think we’re going to win the division. When we first made the trade for [Brown] and got a 3rd [round draft pick] and 5th, I was like: ‘Why would we ever do that?!’ I think we have a really strong draft class this year, and got some quality players. I think that Big Ben [quarterback Roethlisberger] is going to honor his contract and play three more years. He talked about retiring three years ago, but the next three years, the offensive line is going to be old and starting to rebuild.
Season outlook: 12-4 and I don’t think I’m being overly optimistic either. We missed the playoffs by only a half game and we’re going to fly under the radar and surprise teams.
Super Bowl prediction: Steelers over New Orleans Saints.
Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
I actually feel pretty good. The reality is, is that we’ve had the same coach [Marvin Lewis] since I was in 6th grade, and I’m 28 years old now. You have to understand that the entirety of my adult life and most of my cognitive years, we had one coach and one way of doing things.
From what I’ve seen of the new batch of players is that we can contend, or at least make the season interesting. I think Andy Dalton is good enough to make things happen when there’s pieces around him. He’s had success on a consistent basis, but he’s not [Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP] Pat Mahomes and going to make the team better around him. Dalton will make us just good enough where we’ll draft 13th overall, and not having the possibility of getting a young quarterback.
It’s a weird time to be a fan because a lot of people are down on the team, but I’ve had fun watching shit happen. I’d rather them win two games this year and be weird as fuck and crazy shit happens, than we win six games and everything is exactly the same as every other year.
Season outlook: 7-9 is the expectation, 9-7 and maybe sneak into a Wild Card spot is the best-case scenario. I don’t see them being a game or two under .500 or being terrible enough to get a top-3 pick.
Super Bowl prediction: Green Bay Packers over Kansas City Chiefs. Old man Rodgers pulls it out in a Super Bowl I rematch.
Soup, Jurassic 5
Team: Dallas Cowboys
With the start of the 2019-2020 NFL season now upon us, there’s only one team that will forever be accepted as America’s team: the Dallas Cowboys. That’s right, I said it. Patriots fans, if y’all don’t go and sit y’all asses down!
But if I’m being honest, affection for the Cowboys has been a hard love affair of late. With contract talks still on going with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, the Cowboys know how to tease. Given the talent at our disposal this year—a defense I feel finally looks in order on all fronts—the return of good old (yeah, he’s old) reliable Jason Witten, the addition of Randall Cobb and some decent draft picks, I think the ‘Boys can actually position themselves to make a legitimate run in the playoffs.
Now with all things said, there’s always the issue of health, and that has derailed many a great runs, if the core of the team can stay healthy.”
Season outlook: 12-4, win the division.
Super Bowl prediction: Dallas Cowboys over New England Patriots.
Bob Crawford, The Avett Brothers
Team: Los Angeles Rams
I hope they can make it all the way back to the Super Bowl and win it this time. However, I have been a fan for as long as I can remember. (For some reason, my father was always a Rams fan, which was strange because we lived in South Jersey.) Over the course of my life, the Rams have endured more losing seasons than winning.
All that said, I’m hopeful. I’m excited for the return of wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and I’m curious to see how Clay Matthews fits in with the defense. The health of Todd Gurley’s knee is a big question mark. He was largely absent throughout the playoffs and the Super Bowl last year, and there were rumors that he may be suffering from arthritis. I think we will know pretty quickly whether Gurley is healthy, or not. If he is not, perhaps running back Malcolm Brown or Darrell Henderson Jr. will have a breakout season.
Considering Jared Goff just signed a four-year, $134 million contract extension, all eyes are on him. He has three seasons under his belt, including playoff and Super Bowl experience. This is the year his talent and experience need to come together.
Season outlook: 11-5, and a possible Super Bowl run.
Super Bowl prediction: I’ve heard people mention Chicago vs. Cleveland. As a fan of the sport, I think that would be a great matchup. I asked my 8-year old son his prediction. He is a Rams and Panthers fan, just like his old man. He didn’t ponder my question for long. He said, “Rams vs Raiders.” I’ll go with that.
Team: Atlanta Falcons
I think the Falcons will be an explosive team, as always. I think with the proper rest that they gave the key players like Julio [Jones], Damontae [Kazee] and Matty Ice … when the players come in healthy and refreshed, they are the healthiest they’ve ever been since their rookie season.
I don’t really see any big transitional changes. I think that they’ll be one of the teams to be reckoned with, especially in the NFC South. My expectations for the 2019 season, I think it’s going to be a great year. I think that the talent is finally spread out amongst the NFL equally. I don’t think one team has more of an advantage as the other. I think that every team has a shot this year.
Season outlook: I think my team’s record will be 12-4, 13-3, take your choice. If the Falcons don’t make the playoffs, it might be some changes. It might be some coach changes, or personnel changes within the team. But I can’t see them not making the playoffs.
Super Bowl prediction: Atlanta Falcons over New England Patriots. Atlanta for the win this time. We won’t blow the league.