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NFL experts predict seven trends for the 2019 season

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Who is the best at play-action in the NFL? (1:46)

Tim Hasselbeck, Jeff Saturday and Dianna Russini nominate their top play-action teams in the NFL. (1:46)

The 2018 NFL season was marked by a spike on the offensive side of the ball, thanks in part to scheme creativity, high-end talent and more passing plays. So what will define the 2019 season?

We asked seven of our NFL experts to predict an on- or off-field trend for the upcoming season. Here are some things you might see this year.


A play-action explosion

The rate of play-action across the league has crept up from 19% of dropbacks to 21% and finally to 23% over the past three seasons. But after the Rams reached the Super Bowl running more play-action than any other team, it's particularly in vogue at the moment. And it's also more than just a hot trend: Play-action dropbacks averaged 7.8 yards per play last season, while non-play-action dropbacks managed just 6.1. It makes sense for all teams to run it more. -- Seth Walder, analytics writer

More man coverage from defenses

Watch for more teams to align the free safety in the post and challenge routes at the line of scrimmage with aggressive man-coverage technique. That's going to limit the open voids in coverage, while putting defenders in a positive position to counter the quick-game passing, play-action and run-pass options that we see from today's pro offenses. -- Matt Bowen, NFL analyst