In the case of predicting the NFL you would possibly as properly play the lottery utilizing the birthdays of your lifeless ancestors. What I imply to say, albeit flippantly, is that I don’t actually imagine it’s doable to have supreme confidence that your soccer opinions can be confirmed right in close to future.
This enterprise is one among calculated dangers. Not solely by groups hoping their draft choose and free agent gambles repay, however trickling all the best way down the system to folks like me, your humble, portly sportswriter. See, everyone knows that sizzling takes assist pay the payments. Brash, robust proclamations backed up by bravado and little extra is what retains guys like Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith entrance of thoughts. We’re all banking on one among two issues:
A. You received’t name us out for our errors.
B. We’ve got an employer who doesn’t care how a lot we screw up, so long as it makes cash.
Now look, I don’t hate the gamers dabbling on this recreation. It’s a hell of a racket to say one thing like “THE DENVER BRONCOS WILL NEVER MAKE THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE REST OF MY NATURAL LIFE!” realizing full properly folks both received’t keep in mind it, or received’t care sufficient to comply with via. The purpose I’m getting at is that this: We’re all simply guessing right here, people. A few of us are way more gifted than others, however regardless of how a lot movie, or deep into DVOA you dive, on the finish of the day we’re all simply hoping we will get just a few issues proper. So, in honor of this proud custom, I’m going to do the identical. Listed here are my predictions for the upcoming season.
The Payments will take a step again
I do know making a proclamation like it will anger upstate New Yorkers to the purpose of wanting to place my husky ass via a desk, however actually — it’s sort of a mark of respect.
I’m not saying that Buffalo received’t make the playoffs or something dumb like that, it’s extra that I simply don’t see any manner a 13-3 report holds in 2021. There are just a few components to this. Firstly, the remainder of the AFC East has gotten a lot better than a yr in the past. Secondly, the Payments stay good, however didn’t didn’t do a ton to get a lot better. Thirdly, and most significantly, no one is overlooking them in 2021.
That is the value you pay for making the transition from “superb” to “elite.” Not are you a tricky recreation on the schedule, you’re one which’s circled. Each group within the league has you earmarked to be their assertion recreation, and like Baltimore and Kansas Metropolis earlier than, so too the Payments will study that sustaining success within the NFL is much tougher than gaining it.
I absolutely imagine Buffalo will return to the publish season, and maybe even make a run. I simply don’t suppose it is going to be as dramatic as a yr in the past.
Matthew Stafford goes to shock lots of people
The seemingly lateral commerce of Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff was probably the most exceptional NFL offers in latest reminiscence. You simply don’t see two groups with franchise quarterbacks determine they don’t like them anymore and search for greener grass in a brand new pasture.
Once we look again in just a few years I absolutely imagine Detroit can have gotten one of the best of this deal, however the Rams are in win now mode (no less than comparatively talking). Stafford had sort of fallen into anonymity ever since Calvin Johnson retired from the NFL. Gone have been recollections of elite Lions passing offenses, and he turned relegated to a curious shrug. What I imply by that is that you simply’d take a look at finish of season passing information and be like “Huh, I had no concept Matthew Stafford handed for 4,000 yards this yr,” as a result of he did, final yr in Detroit — it’s simply that no one cares concerning the Lions outdoors of Michigan.
Now, in Los Angeles, with an elite protection and a bunch of strong receivers, I believe we may see a bog-standard, efficient Matthew Stafford season begin to get handled like transcendent, solely as a result of he has a greater forged round him. I believe the Rams may shock lots of people, and whereas robust, the NFC West nonetheless feels up for grabs.
The Chargers will lastly break freed from their shackles of mediocrity
Staying in Los Angeles we have now the Chargers, the Jan Brady of the NFL. Missed, forgotten, often with an episode centering on her — and usually as a result of she broke her sister’s nostril. It’s been such a very long time for the reason that Chargers have been related it harkens again to Philip Rivers and LaDanian Tomlinson, however I’m such a believer in Justin Herbert’s boyish attractiveness and arm that seems it was granted by Zeus himself that I believe it’s time.
On paper the Chargers have the whole lot a group must make a playoff run. They have been much better than their 7-9 report confirmed a yr in the past. Naturally it’s going to be robust in a division the place it’s a must to play the Chiefs twice a yr, however I actually suppose this could possibly be the season they lastly put all of it collectively.
In the event that they don’t, properly, i’ll simply make this prediction once more subsequent yr.
Mac Jones goes to anger everybody outdoors of New England
I stated earlier than the draft that Mac Jones wasn’t one of the best QB within the 2021 NFL Draft, removed from it, however he was the ideally suited Patriots QB. Clearly Invoice Belichick feels the identical manner, in any other case he wouldn’t have lower Cam Newton to clear the best way for his rookie.
I don’t suppose Jones can have a exceptional statistical yr, however I believe it’s going to be adequate that New England is a risk, and by Week 6 we’re going to listen to about Belichick’s genius at discovering the subsequent Tom Brady. I don’t suppose Mac Jones is Tom Brady, however I believe he’ll thrive in a system designed to reduce his errors.
It’s going to piss off everybody.
It’s going to be unimaginable to defend the Titans
This isn’t a lot a prediction, as an sincere to God query. How does a defensive coordinator discover a option to cowl A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on the surface, whereas respecting the run sufficient to comprise Derrick Henry?
It’s a easy numbers recreation, and I nonetheless don’t have the reply to it. Far smarter folks than I are making a small fortune to decode this enigma, however I do know defensive minds across the NFL are past glad they’re not within the AFC South and have to search out a solution twice a season.
The NFC East will as soon as once more be determined by who needs to suck the least
It’ll most likely be the Cowboys, as a result of that’s the best way issues go, however I absolutely count on whoever comes out of the East will simply delay the inevitable till they’re swallowed within the playoffs by a much better group.