NFL Exclusive: Brad Hopkins backs Tom Brady to inspire Tampa Bay once again

Planet Sport spoke exclusively with former NFL star Brad Hopkins and squeezed out his top picks the new season.

Left tackle Hopkins was a first round draft pick in 1993 and emerged as one of the best offensive linemen in the sport for more than a decade with the Houston Oilers and the Tennessee Titans.

In 1999, Hopkins and Tennessee made Super Bowl XXXIV but were denied by Kurt Warner's St Louis Rams.

Now a broadcaster and analyst across a host of media outlets, Hopkins' opinions are sought after but Planet Sport managed to grab him before the opening weekend.

Planet Sport also got his top picks for every division, before going into who he believes would be making it all the way to Los Angeles next February…

AFC East

Hopkins said: "The Bills are the best team in this division that is for sure, but the Patriots have improved and the Dolphins.

"I am just not sure Tua Tagovailoa has the weapons, Mac Jones might have in New England, but this is the Bills division to lose and I don't think they will."

Brad's pick: Buffalo to win the AFC East.

AFC North

"Last year the AFC North had three teams in the playoffs, and that could easily happen again.

"For me, it is between the Browns and Ravens, and the Browns need to go through Lamar Jackson, they are way better than ten wins and I think they will be the ones to challenge the Chiefs in the Conference.

"I just think they have a beaten rounded offence. The two running backs, the old LSU pair in Jarvis and Odell. The Browns overall are the best team."

Brad's pick: Cleveland to win the division.

AFC South

"There is a lot of pressure on my former team Tennessee, they have Julio Jones in the mix now, but they have new offensive callers with Arthur Smith now in Atlanta and things will be different, so I am not sure we see as much dominance on running the ball with Derrick Henry - but they win this division.

"I just don't think Carson Wentz comes in for the Colts and becomes a world-beater, it is Tennessee that makes the play-off march from this division."

Brad's pick: Tennessee to make the playoffs.

AFC West

"The problem last year for Kansas was protecting Patrick Mahomes, but they have drafted, brought in free agents and they have improved his ability to work in the pocket, as we already know he can do that.

"The Chiefs are going to win this division no doubt about it, but I think the Broncos are being overlooked - Miller and Chubb are great and Teddy Bridgewater is solid and he has enough to navigate them through to the playoffs."

Brad's pick: Denver to finish second in the AFC West.

AFC overall

"I think it is the Browns who make it to play Kansas City in the AFC Conference final but for me, it is the Chiefs who make it back for a second year-in-a-row."

Brads pick: Kansas City Chiefs to win AFC Conference.

NFC East

"I think the Cowboys have high expectations and rightfully so, if their offensive line can hold up this season then I think Dak Prescott can take over, but they have to give him time.

"Defensively there is a question mark but I think they have enough and will be the ones to beat.

"But I would not rule out the Giants, I think they can make a push to the play-offs with Saquon Barkley back, but it will take something for them to overcome Chase Young and Ryan Fitzpatrick at Washington."

Brad's pick: Dallas to win the NFC East.

NFC North

"Aaron Rodgers is the man, and he is in the system that helps him, it helps Matt LeFleur and we have seen that with two 13 win seasons.

"But I think Minnesota can put it together, I think Kirk Cousins can do it and I think they have the defence that can disrupt the Packers, but every year something seems to happen with the Vikings.

"Dalvin Cook is one of the best backs in the league and Justin Jefferson is going to be a star, but can they keep it together for 17 weeks - I don't think they will."

Brad's pick: Green Bay to win NFC North.

NFC South

"The Buccaneers are the class act here, not sure anyone else has it in them to challenge. The accountability and the process, everyone having experienced what is on the line - the professional atmosphere in that locker room with Bruce Arians and Tom Brady, you can't underestimate it.

"The Falcons have lost so much with Julio Jones, I am not sure that will be good for either Calvin Ridley or Kyle Pitts and The Saints I think are going to struggle until they get Michael Thoms back. I just think New Orleans will lack any sort of consistency."

Brad's pick: Tampa Bay to win NFC South.

NFC West

"I have to go with the Rams with my son Brycen playing for them, but seriously how can you overlook them. Aaron Donald, the best defensive player in our game, and Jalen Ramsey - if Matthew Stafford can just continue what he did in Detriot then I think they will run away with this division.

"If you think what Stafford did in Detriot and now is with Sean Mcvay, this could be exactly what Rams owner Stan Kroenke was looking for.

"The Rams are going to win this division. I think the 49ers make it too, using Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, with Nick Bosa back I think the 49ers make it through and even the Seahawks you can't rule them out and I can completely see that all three making the play-offs for sure."

Brad's pick: LA Rams to win NFC West.

NFC overall

"For me it is a Super Bowl repeat therefore Tampa Bay make it through just denying the Rams making it to their own stadium, but it would not shock me to see them make it all the way."

Super Bowl

"I think for the first time since 1993 we see a repeat and it is back-to-back wins. Back then it was when the Dallas Cowboys overcame the Buffalo Bills twice-in-a-row and I see the same thing happening with Tampa Bay and Tom Brady again beating Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City.

"I just think Tampa Bay with their processes, everyone having experienced what is on the line - the professional atmosphere in that locker room with Bruce Arians and Tom Brady, you can't underestimate it."

Why?

"For me, the big difference between all these teams is Tom Brady.

"When Tom Brady arrived in Tampa Bay it just changed things. The way he prepares himself is unparalleled - you have to perform the best you can or you won't play.

"It is the little things he does that makes the differences, everyone does weights, everyone runs quick but it is the over small differences that do it for him.

"It is all about commitment, doing the little things Tom Brady raises that accountability, everyone around him plays better - I saw that from playing against him.

"The way he handles himself is just so impressive the way he exploits people from studying and learning is that difference."

Brad's Super Bowl pick: Tampa Bay to win.