“NFL–2020 Season Preview-Who Wins and Why”
Are you ready for some football?
America is. Damn the Virus, full speed ahead with the regular season.
The NFL navigated thru the virus..held the draft…conducted free agency…solved the riddle of handling training camp..put a lid on fan attendance…cancelled preseason games.
Ready or not they are ready to play, and fans are ready to watch. A look at the races:
BILLS..They have been building towards this for a group of years. QB-Josh Allen now has a legitimate big play receiver in Stephon Diggs. He has other receivers, a strong run game and an unheralded defense. Coach Sean Mc Dermott has done a great job putting the pieces in place to win. They take the race this season.
PATRIOTS…It is more than life after Tom Brady. The critical mass loss is the fact 8-veteran players opted out, not to play in the year of the virus. Cam Newton may bring a different personality to the Pats offense, but there are huge holes on the defense.
MIAMI..Brian Flores did a good job rallying the Dolphins from a wretched season, and now they are awaiting the emergence of QB-Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. He’s not ready to play now, but will get an opportunity as the season moves on.
JETS…They have QB-Sam Darnold and money-bags RB-Le’Veon Bell, but they also have coach Adam Gase, whom many people think is in over his head. They also have lots of holes in that lineup, now that S-Jamal Adams has been traded and LB-CJ Mosely has to sit out another year with injuries.
STEELERS…As tough a division as there is in football, but Pittsburgh gets QB-Ben Roethlisberger back from surgery on his elbow, his RB-James Connor is healthy, he has WR star JuJu Smith and a stout defense. And he has Mike Tomlin, an elite coach.
RAVENS..Lamar Jackson, the 3-RBs led by Marc Ingram, WR’s and John Harbaugh’s. brand of defense makes this team equal to the Steelers. What a war this division will be.
BROWNS…So much expected last year, such disappointment. But Baker Mayfield has grown into the QB-position, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are still dangerous, RB-Nick Chubb is a power back, and Myles Garrett and a good young secondary will all probably come together under new coach Kevin Stefanski.
BENGALS…Hot shot QB-Joe Burrow, big play RB-Joe Mixon and finally healthy WR-AJ Green should help wipe out the bad taste of all the losing the last couple of years. But they still don’t have enough on defense.
COLTS….Prhilip Rivers arrives with leadership talent they have not seen at QB since the Peyton Manning era. He has WR-TY Hilton, TE-Jack Doyle, heavy duty RB-Marlon Mack, plus DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard to lead the defense. A great season on the horizon for Rivers to operate behind a special offensive line.
HOUSTON….Deshaun Watson has been special, despite alot of changes at the skill position around him the last two years. Can Brandin Cooks replace DeAndre Hopkins? Will David Johnson be the all everything RB they need? Can JJ Watt stay healthy? Very good team but not first place team.
TENNESSEE…Some season last year. The explosive RB-Derrick Henry. The amazing rescue job by QB-Ryan Tannehill. A pretty good offensive front. Now they add DE-Jadaveon Clowney as a pass rusher. They are tough, but not first place timber.
JACKSONVILLE…A legitimate chance to go (0-16). A terribly mismanaged franchise. What do the names Ramsey-Bouye-Fowler-Fournette-Bortels-Campbell mean to you? All first round picks the Jags had but dealt away or threw way.
CHIEFS…They return 20-of-22 starters from last year, and they have Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown for 76-TDs in two seasons. Tyreek Hill and friends catch everything. They are excited about rookie RB-Clyde Hellair from LSU. And Chris Jones at DT leads a rugged defense. They lose a couple of people sitting out the virus plagued season, but they are so dominant.
RAIDERS….Shiny new stadium, but no fans in the Crown Jewel Black Hole in Las Vegas. Jon Gruden has been building towards a breakout season, and it should happen this year. QB-Derek Carr has grown under strong coaching and demanding discipline. They have big time WR speed, though they lose WR-Tyrell Williams for the year. They added all new linebacking, have a young fierce pass rush. Henry Ruggs and speed-speed and more speed will make this an interesting season.
CHARGERS….Losing S-Derwin James for the year is a blow, but the pass rush is still there with Joey Bosa. They have two huge DTs, and Chris Harris joins a good CB-core. But life afrer Philip Rivers will be hard. Depth at RB behind Austin Ekeler is an issue. Tyrod Taylor can manage games, but can he win games? A non playoff team.
BRONCOS….A tough last practice setback losing LB-Von Miller. Retrenching the defense just got tougher. Drew Lock will grow at QB, and the RB-combo of Melvin Gordon-Philip Lindsey will be good, as will a collection of WRs and TE’s. They will be fun on offense, but stopping people on defense without Miller and fellow LB-Todd Davis may be hard.
DALLAS…Look at the names on paper and get fired up. They have all the components, and it’s not just Dak Prescott or Zeke Elliott. It’s the WR group, it’s the warrior OL. It’s a rebuilt defensive front, strong LBs and a bright secondary. Add to all that, the arrival of a very demanding Mike McCarthy as coach. He walks into a special job, even if he works for the demanding Jerry Jones.
EAGLES…They are built to be street tough, with Carson Wentz, and a good passing game. The defensive front led by Fletcher Cox and the linebackers are very solid. The secondary may be shaky.
GIANTS…QB-Daniel Jones learned on the job last year. Saquon Barkley can do everything at RB. But do they have anything else?
WASHINGTON…Ron Rivers will try to coach thru cancer treatments. Dwayne Haskins will try to lead at QB. The rest of the offense is questionable. What is not is the other side of the ball, from Chase Young thru Ryan Kerrigan and the all draft picks they have stockpiled.
They won’t be a playoff team. Daniel Snyder might not be their owner by the time they get to the end of the season. either. A long year, personally and professionally for Rivera.
PACKERS….Aaron Rodgers makes everyone around him so much better. A group of unknowns will start opposite WR-Davante Adams. They are two deep at running back, have gritty OL, and an improving defense. Key intangible is coach Matt LaFleur who did a great job creating a (13-3) season.
VIKINGS…How far will Kirk Cousins carry this team? Will Dalvin Cook have another banner season? Is there enough in the WR-group? Why so many changes on defense? A good group of LBs but questions other places for Coach Mike Zimmer.
BEARS…Big debate, when will the Bears ever get quality QB play? Seems to be an issue going back decades from the Jim McMahon to Bobby Douglass to Billy Wade era, and that was a long time ago. You hate to think they will waste all that good Khalil Mack-lcd defense, but it seems that way.
LIONS…Might be the last hurrah for Coach Matt Patricia. He has loaded his defense with a bunch of ex-Patriots to try and salvage a season. Adding veteran RB-Adrian Peterson should help QB-Matt Stafford, but do they have enough offense to be a playoff team?
SAINTS….In a take no prisoners division..the Drew Brees farewell tour should have quite a campaign. Run it with Alvin Kamara. Throw it to Mike Thomas. And pound people with an improving defense.
TAMPA BAY…What a matchup Tom Brady’s talents and smarts with the genius that is Bruce Arians as head coach. Brady to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be something to watch. Just like the double TE-package with Rob Gronkowski and OJ Howard. Now they add power RB-Leoanrd Fournette to go with dart-dash guy Ronnie Jones. Do they have enough on defense will be the issue.
ATLANTA…Matt Ryan has put together a strong track record at QB. They have Julio Jones and other good wideouts. But there is no Devonta Freeman now. And the defense has been destroyed by injuries two years in a row. Dan Quinn needs a big year to return next season.
SEATTLE…No place for the timid, and if I am going into a fight, I want Russell Wilson on my side. TE-Greg Olson joins a pass catching group led by DK Metcalf and Ty Lockett. Pick any of the three RBs and you like them. The Pete Carroll led defense is fast and furious. A complete team.
RAMS…They are not what they were two years ago. Jarod Goff no longer has Todd Gurley nor Brandin Cooks. But they are still loaded with skillpower, led by Robert Woods Cooper Kupp and others. Aaron Donald moves people upfront on defense, but so many parts have changed on that side of the ball. All new LB talent, the loss of Eric Weddel and Aqib Talib. Gone too is Def Coord-Wade Phillips. Will be a different team. Not sure it can be a playoff team.
49ERS….You believe in what you have seen in growth over two seasons, but they have had an injury riddled camp at wide out. Can Raheem Mustert be the power back again?
Will they miss DeForest Buckner? A bigger burden of expectation is now on Jim Garappolo’s shoulders.
ARIZONA…They are not really a last place team, could truly be a playoff team, and now QB-Kyler Murray does not have to do it by himself. You add WR-DeAndre Hopkins to Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, plus a run game, and they are dangerous. We’ll see if they have enough defense to support Murray and the offense. Kliff Kingsbury’s first year was fun. More will be expected this time around.