Five "crazy" predictions for the upcoming NFL Season
The 2020 Season starts on Thursday Night and the excitement only increases by the day. The 2020 Season is poised to be unlike any other with Covid-19 still drastically changing everybody’s lives and thus the NFL Season will be altered a bit. For starters, fans will either be limited or not allowed into stadiums for the time being (depending on the team’s stadium rules). We also have to be prepared for players missing time with Virus concerns or a potential team outbreak which can have major effects on the season. Even though many people are writing down similar predictions to one another, this season can lend a few surprises. Here are five wild but reasonable predictions that can happen in the upcoming season. It has to be noted that I am not making these predictions or am placing money down on these predictions, rather they are five things that we should anticipate and see as reasonable considering the upcoming season is less predictable than a usual one.
5. Tre'Davious White (+2900) wins the Defensive Player of the Year
Last season, Stephon Gilmore became the first cornerback since Charles Woodson (2009) to win Defensive Player of the Year. Can a cornerback win the award for the second year in a row? If that corner is Tre’Davious White, then it is completely understandable. Tre’Davious White was one of the best defensive players in the NFL last season and with six interceptions last season, quarterbacks stopped throwing in his direction. It might be a reach to say that White will repeat the success that he had last season and that White can win the award considering his position doesn’t favor corners that are true lockdown corners (the stats for a corner that doesn’t get thrown at are zero interceptions). At the same time, if the Bills are one of the best teams, the defense is one of the best in the NFL, and Tre’Davious White continues to play at the level he has played until now, it’s very likely he wins the award.
4. The Saints collapse this season
The Saints have been knocking on the door of the Super Bowl for the past few years. The New Orleans Saints have seen each season end in heartbreak, which leaves Saints fans only wondering how a team that was built to win at the moment, never received a fair chance (through unlucky breaks or bad officiating). Now we look at the Saints and we see the window either barely open or closed. For starters, Drew Brees is entering the final years of his career and is on the verge of retiring (he wants to retire after a ring but this shows there is a sense of urgency) and with many quarterbacks struggling after reaching the age of 40, Drew Brees might be hitting the wall soon. The larger problem with the Saints is the cap space the team is starting to lose. The Saints were able to take advantage of two great draft hauls where they brought in stars like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, well now it’s time to pay those stars and the Saints are struggling to pay all of them (there are other great, young players looking to be paid including Marshon Lattimore and Alex Anzalone on the defense). The Saints already gave Michael Thomas a big contract and are starting to pay other stars which points to a possible Saints collapse. The Saints roster is built top-heavy and in a season like this one, depth can become an issue. With the Saints roster starting to deal with potential cap Hell and the rest of the division improving this off-season (notably the Bucs built a fantasy team), it’s possible the Saints take a step back and don’t make the playoffs (or even worse).
3. Aaron Rodgers (+3000) wins the MVP this season
I don’t believe that this is a bold prediction. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks the game has ever seen and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. With that in mind, it raises some eyebrows seeing Rodgers isn’t considered as an MVP candidate and is currently behind Cam Newton in odds to win the MVP. The Packers offense has shifted to a more run-heavy offense since Matt LeFluer became head coach and Rodgers doesn’t look like he will have mind-blowing numbers in a run-first system. The major factor that might make Aaron Rodgers and MVP this year is the draft pick that the Packers decided to take in the first round. Jordan Love was a value pick at quarterback late in the first round, that is if the team drafting him didn’t have Aaron Rodgers. The pick is viewed by many as an affront to Rodgers but the young prospect can be the fuel that pushes Rodgers to have one of the best seasons of his career.
2. Patriots (40/1 to win it all) and Eagles (25/1) play in the Super Bowl
Both teams are in the same tier this season as they both look to be competitive but neither have a Super Bowl-caliber roster. The Patriots went through an off-season that saw a change at quarterback and a roster where many of their star players chose to opt-out of the season. The Eagles didn’t wow us in the off-season and have made simple but valuable moves.
The Patriots will always have a chance to win when they have Bill Belichick as their head coach. Belichick always creates a game plan that gives the Patriots a chance to win and even with unknown players on defense, Belichick will find a way to get the best out of his players. The Patriots can also be in the Super Bowl with the ceiling of the offense being all in the right arm (and shoulder) of Cam Newton. Cam Newton is expected to lead the Patriots offense and if Cam can play like the 2015 MVP he was, this offense can be unstoppable.
The Eagles were clipped by injuries last season and were fortunate to still make it to the playoffs even though Boston Scott was the lead running back at the end of the season (Scott wasn’t on the roster at the start of the season). The finishing blow was in the Wild Card round game when Carson Wentz was forced to leave the game in the first quarter with injuries. Assuming the training has been adjusted, the Eagles are expected to be a healthier team this year and have more depth with the players added to the roster in the draft and free agency. Moreover, if Carson Wentz gets hurt again, the Eagles now have a viable young backup in rookie Jalen Hurts, who can give the offense a new look that makes the Eagles a more dynamic attack. The Eagles reached the Super Bowl is also more likely considering they have Doug Pederson as their head coach, Pederson like Belichick, gives the Eagles a chance to win every game, regardless of the situation.
1. Three rookie quarterbacks lead their teams to the playoffs
I wrote an article last month that looked at the three teams that drafted a quarterback in the first round and wondered if any of them can lead their team to the playoffs. We haven’t seen three rookie quarterbacks lead their teams to the playoffs since 2012 when Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson all did such. This year’s draft class shows a lot of promise and all three rookie quarterbacks can surprise us, granted Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert aren’t starting at the moment but if the teams struggle early on we can see both rookies take over. This doesn’t exclude the other rookie quarterbacks that have the ability to start if a starting quarterback goes down to injury or a possible Covid-19 sidelining, I’m thinking particularly of Jalen Hurts for the Eagles and Jordan Love for the Packers, both can be asked to start on short notice and with a good team at their disposal, they can lead their teams to the playoffs.
Note: The odds are courtesy of Vegasinsider.com they did not sponsor this article but I recommend looking at their site to get a gauge of who will be good this season.