DOLPHINS: What is the most important move the Dolphins need to make this offseason?
Andy Cohen: If it were up to me, I would draft a quarterback in the first three or four rounds, depending on the level of my conviction. Not because I don't expect Ryan Tannehill back next season because I do. It's because quarterback is the most important position on team and, as this year showed, you can never have too many. Not since Tannehill was selected in the 2012 draft have the Dolphins taken a quarterback in the first six rounds. That, in my opinion, needs to change.
John Congemi: The most important single move is settling on a quarterback to lead this franchise next season and into the future. The biggest issue or change that needs to be addressed is that this franchise must analyze the issues that held this team back in 2017, and re-set the entire culture of what's expected of every player that's on this roster for 2018. It's more of a mindset adjustment of attention to every detail. The 2017 team gave great effort, but lacked the mental discipline needed to allow that effort to shine through and be displayed on a daily and weekly basis.
Alain Poupart: There are several areas the Dolphins need to address in the offseason, but the one that stands out to me is finding a dominant defensive player, preferably at linebacker. The Dolphins really could use a difference-maker at that spot, and that's something they haven't had for a long time. On offense, what stands out is finding a big-play tight end and addressing the quarterback position from a long-term perspective.
NFL: Which four teams will advance past the Wild Card round?
Cohen: Home field will mean everything in this round so I expect the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds to all win. That means Jacksonville over Buffalo and Kansas City over Tennessee in the AFC and the Rams over Atlanta and the Saints over the Panthers in the NFC. Best chance for an upset? I'll go with Carolina because of the Cam Newton factor, but it's so hard to beat the Saints at their place.
Congemi: My Wild Card winners are Kansas City and Jacksonville in the AFC and Los Angeles and Carolina on the NFC side. I just feel that the Chiefs and Jaguars are better teams and will be difficult to beat at home. The Rams are rolling right now on both sides of the football and my upset of the Saints by Carolina is predicated on quarterback Cam Newton's ability to escape and use his legs to make plays that extend drives and score touchdowns in the red zone.
Poupart: I'll start with the easy one. Kansas City enters the playoffs on a roll and looks like a dangerous team, and should have no trouble handling a Tennessee team that may have been the weakest of the four 9-7 teams in the AFC. In the other Saturday game, I'll take the Rams over the Falcons in a close game. Moving to Sunday, the Buffalo-Jacksonville game should be low-scoring, but the injury to LeSean McCoy (he might play but won't be at 100 percent if he does) is a major problem for the Bills. I'll take the Jaguars in that one. That brings us to the Carolina-New Orleans game. The game is at the Superdome, but I really like the Panthers in this game. In fact, because of their defense, I see the Panthers as the most dangerous team in the NFC beyond the two top seeds. So the picks are Kansas City, the Rams, Jacksonville and Carolina.
Pop: Which team will win the national championship?
Cohen: The nation will have to accept a regional flair this time with neighbors and SEC mates Alabama and Georgia going at it for the national title. I expect the defenses to dominate. I expect the teacher Nick Saban to have one more trick up his sleeve than his former student, Kirby Smart. I was impressed with what Georgia did to Oklahoma, but even more impressed with Alabama shutting down Clemson. Got to take the Tide, say 20-16.
Congemi: What a semi-final game we were treated to by Oklahoma and Georgia! One of the most entertaining games of the entire season. Georgia made the adjustments in the second half to get the game to overtime, and made the plays to win down the stretch. Alabama looked healthy and just more physical than Clemson in all three phases and seems to be poised to prove that they are the best team in the country. While I'll be pulling for the Dawgs next Monday night in the Championship game, I believe that Alabama will win the game, and beat Georgia in a close one.
Poupart: Alabama really should not have gotten into the college football playoffs based on its ho-hum 2017 resume, which included no great victory of note (Florida State in the opener was the closest thing, but FSU lost its quarterback during the game), and no appearance in the SEC championship game. Rather, Bama got the spot based on reputation and the evaluation it was one of the four best teams in the country. I'm of the belief a playoff appearance needs to be earned on the field, but I digress. Alabama obviously is one of the best teams in the country and it's going to take advantage of that unfair invitation to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide showed against Clemson on Monday night how dominant its defense can be, and I would expect nothing different against Georgia. The Bulldogs have two talented backs with Chubb and Michel, but I have a hard time seeing them get much going against Alabama. I don't expect Alabama to put up a lot of points, either, but I think the Crimson Tide have a clear advantage at quarterback with Jalen Hurts against freshman Jake Fromm. I would expect a low-scoring game until Alabama pulls away in the second half. Hoping I'm wrong, but I'm going to say 20-6, Alabama.