2020-21 NFL Season Predictions

Welcome back to the NFL! Yes, it is really happening!

We are finally here, the NFL Season starts tonight. With everything going on in the world, it wasn’t always certain we would be here. I am certainly looking forward to some football each week.

Here are a few things I will be watching for this season:

  • Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot. Can’t say I actually expected that to happen. Not only is he on the Bucs, but he is joined by Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement. One thing is for sure, the Bucs offense is loaded. The defense is pretty good too, but can they put it all together and be the first team in NFL history to have a home game in the Super Bowl? Only time will tell.
  • The Patriots replaced Tom Brady with another former MVP in Cam Newtown. Vastly different styles, but now Bill Belichick can prove once and for all his coaching genius (although, I personally think he has proved enough already).
  • The Chiefs celebrated their Super Bowl victory by locking up Patrick Mahomes on a lifetime, billion dollar deal (kidding). Can he keep his incredible career arc pointing up?
  • Last season, it seemed the Dolphins were tanking and all things considered, they ended off the season in a promising way. This season, the Jaguars look to follow in their footsteps. Can they pull it off the same way?
  • Fresh off his MVP season, can Lamar Jackson keep it up?
  • How does the new playoff format impact the end of the season? With only 1 BYE in each conference, that #1 seed becomes very important.

These are only a small snippet of the offseason questions, the only way to get the answers is to play the games and today, we do just that. As usual, I will have my weekly NFL picks with the spread posted each week of the season. But before we begin the season, let’s get to how I see the 2020-21 NFL season finishing up:

AFC East
1. Buffalo Bills
2. New England Patriots
3. Miami Dolphins
4. New York Jets

Comments: Tom Brady is gone, is this finally the year someone else can win the AFC East? I think so. The Bills should have a top 5 defense and they added enough weapons (Stefon Diggs, Zack Moss) that their are no more excuses for Josh Allen. I think he makes a leap this year and they win the division.

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Cleveland Browns
4. Cincinnati Bengals

Comments: Don’t overlook the Steelers. Big Ben is back and indications are he is healthy. They will be able to score and that defense is one of the best in the NFL. I think the Ravens take a slight step back after an out of the world season by Lamar last year.

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Tennessee Titans
3. Houston Texans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Comments: This is a tough division to pick. Yes, it is safe to bet the Jaguars come in last, but the rest of the teams I could realistically see finish in any order. I’m going to pick the Philip Rivers led Colts to end up on top.

AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders

Comments: This is similar to the AFC South, except reverse. It is a safe bet to pick the Chiefs to win the division, but after that, I can see the other teams finish in any order. Don’t sleep on Tyrod Taylor in LA. He is more than capable to be a starting QB in the NFL. The Broncos season fully rests in whether or not Drew Lock is the real deal. He had flashes last year, but does he have a sophomore slump or take a step forward. The Raiders offense is going to keep them in games this season.

NFC East
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Football Team

Comments: This is a two tier division. The Cowboys and Eagles will be battling for the top and the Giants and Football Team will be battling to not finish last. Dak Prescott gets some hate, but he is a top QB in the NFL and the weapons they have on offense, it is safe to say they are loaded.

NFC North
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Detroit Lions
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Chicago Bears

Comments: Matthew Stafford was on pace for 5,000 yards before getting injured last season. If he stays healthy, the Lions are going to be in it all season long. Like many people, I am not sure what the Packers were doing this off-season. It didn’t seem to me that they were making win now moves, that I would have expected as Aaron Rodgers starts to age. Yes, I could see him have a season for the ages as a sort of revenge for the Packers trading up for a QB in the 1st round, but it seems to me this team is trying to focus more on the run.

NFC South
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Tampa Bay Bucs
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Carolina Panthers

Comments: Yes, the Bucs added Tm Brady and Rob Gronkowski to an already loaded offense. Brady will not be a turnover machine like Jameis Winston was, but I still think the Saints are the team to beat. Drew Brees is still right there with Brady, but he has the benefit of not having any kind of feeling out period. The Saints offense only got better this off-season.

NFC West
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. Los Angeles Rams

Comments: The Rams are a curious team. They have made a ton of win now moves and their cap in the near future is a mess. The funny thing is, I don’t see these moves leading to them winning. The division is too stacked for them to open their brand new $5 billion dollar stadium with a championship season. The 49ers defense will continue to be among the league’s best even with Buckner’s departure. The Seahawks are always in it with Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson leading the way. Kyler Murray is a darkhorse. If he progresses like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have in the past couple seasons, watch-out they could have a shot at winning the division. I don’t think he makes that leap this season, but that is why they play the games.

Wild Card Weekend
2. Steelers over 7. Titans
3. Colts over 6. Chargers
5. Ravens over 4. Bills

Divisional Round
1. Chiefs over 5. Ravens
2. Steelers over 3. Colts

AFC Championship
1. Chiefs over 2. Steelers

Wild Card Weekend
2. 49ers over 7. Eagles
6. Seahawks over 3. Vikings
5. Bucs over 4. Cowboys

Divisional Round
1. Saints over 6. Seahawks
2. 49ers over 5. Bucs

NFC Championship
2. 49ers over 1. Saints

Super Bowl LV
49ers over Chiefs
Yes, I predict a rematch.

NFL Honors
MVP: Drew Brees (Saints)
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin (Steelers)
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Bosa (49ers)
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young (Washington)
Comeback Player of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)

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