Predicting the 2021 QB Carousel

By Saransh Sharma, Rohan Krishnan, & Pranav Thiriveedhi

The 2021 NFL offseason has produced some of the craziest storylines and rumors we have ever seen, with quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson requesting a trade and Russell Wilson frustrated with Seattle and seeking options out. To sum it all up, many of these rumors are smokescreens and very far-fetched, but to not talk about them would be ludicrous. Here are our predictions for where 9 of the most notable quarterbacks, all of whom are free agents or have trade rumors revolving around them. 

Saransh’s QB Carousel Predictions

Dak Prescott, Current Team: Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott has been the franchise cornerstone for the Dallas Cowboys for the past 5 seasons, and he has progressively improved, and last season, despite just 5 games, he put himself in elite company, throwing for 1,856 passing yards (371.2 passing yards/game) in those 5 games, including 3 consecutive games of 450+ passing yards (502 against Cleveland). Overall in his career, he has a 42-27-0 record and is one of the winningest quarterbacks in all of football currently (by win percentage). The fact that a player with his resume has yet to receive the long-term contract extension that he deserves is just a long list of failures for Jerry Jones since the Super Bowl glory days of ‘96. Prescott is demanding around $38M-$40M per year on a 4-year deal, but the Cowboys want to sign him for 5 years and pay him around $33M per year, or even put the dreaded franchise tag of $37.7M for the second consecutive season, which would force multiple players on the roster to restructure their contracts or have to be released. If the Cowboys would want to give Dak the ‘Kirk Cousins treatment’ and place the tag on him season-after-season, Dak, like Kirk, will surely walk, and if a quarterback of that caliber hits the open market, Dallas can kiss their chances of keeping Dak goodbye. Prediction: Dak gets franchise-tagged & walks next offseason.

Mitch Trubisky, Previous Team: Chicago Bears, Currently: Free Agent

Mitch Trubisky is one of the most interesting stories in the NFL. The Chicago Bears traded multiple picks to go from the 3rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, up to the 2nd pick, to take Mitch Trubisky over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. This move did not work, but the move did not look so bad at one point. In his second season, Trubisky led the Bears to a 12-4 record and was a Pro Bowler. The season following, Trubisky led the Bears to be just a game short of another playoff trip, and in 2020, the Bears made the playoffs as Trubisky went 6-3 in the 9 games he played (was benched for Nick Foles and then was injured, however). The problem for Trubisky has not been winning, but more so his inability to show any consistency and also struggling around great pieces around him and a great defense year-after-year. The issue is that his mediocrity has carried over to the team and put them down, leaving Chicago with zero interest in wanting to bring him back, and much of the NFL viewing him as a backup, as he should be viewed. Teams like Carolina, San Francisco, and New England are very much in the mix in terms of teams that need a serviceable backup who can start a few games while the team figures out their QB situation. We have heard rumors of Teddy Bridgewater and Jimmy Garoppolo either being traded or getting some QB competition, and New England potentially drafting a QB or re-signing Cam Newton and bringing in QB competition. No matter where he goes, Trubisky will most likely be in the mix for the starting QB spot, but he will not be viewed by any team as a starting option. Prediction: 49ers sign Trubisky on a 2-year deal, have Jimmy G compete with him for starting QB spot.

Marcus Mariota, Current Team: Las Vegas Raiders

Marcus Mariota is in a very interesting situation. He was benched 2 seasons ago by the Titans after his first three seasons were rather successful, being named a Pro Bowler in 2016 & making the playoffs, and winning a playoff game in 2017. But Mariota’s downfall in 2018 saw him become a backup in 2019 after Week 6, and his only action since has included the 2019 regular-season finale, one snap in the AFC Championship Game against Kansas City, and a game with the Raiders in 2020 where he replaced an injured Derek Carr and threw for 228 yards & 2 TDs in a 30-27 OT loss to the Chargers. Mariota proved that day that he can still be a good NFL quarterback and rekindle his magic from the start of his career. That being said, his current contract is driving teams away from wanting him, and Derek Carr’s consistent improvement and leadership will keep him as the long-term Raiders quarterback. Mariota could be released according to multitudes of reports, which would result in a much cheaper and lower-risk contract for teams interested in him, such as Washington, Philadelphia, & New England. Prediction: Mariota becomes the long-term QB answer In Washington, signing a team-friendly 3-year deal.

Pranav’s QB Carousel Predictions

Taysom Hill, Current Team: New Orleans Saints

Taysom Hill is one of the craziest quarterbacks in the NFL, and probably one of the weirdest players in NFL history, in terms of what position they play. Like really, what the heck does Taysom Hill even play? In terms of position, he’s a quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, full back, running back, return specialist, and punt blocker. If you could make a player that could play every position in the NFL, Taysom Hill would be your guy. As a member of the Saints, Taysom helped Drew Brees as a wide receiver most of the time, but the guy has a heck of an arm. And with the retiring of Brees inevitable, who’s going to get the job? Taysom or Winston? Taysom Hill hasn’t shown us flashes of being a franchise quarterback, especially since he’s already pretty old at 31. If Taysom decides to be a full-fledged quarterback still, I can see him riding the bench back in New Orleans, under a probably one or two-year deal. But if anything, it would have to be small of a deal, considering the Saint’s cap situation. But Taysom’s dream is to play under center, so I can see him signing with the Atlanta Falcons on a test ride contract if the Falcons decide to move on from Matt Ryan and draft a quarterback in the first round. Prediction: Taysom Hill will be in the QB competition for a starting job in Atlanta for the next season.

Jameis Winston, Current Team: New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston is the other moving part of the New Orleans Saints. The current backup to Drew Brees and even Taysom Hill is not like any other ordinary third-string bench warmer. Two years ago in Tampa Bay, before the entry of Tom Brady, Jameis Winston added 5000 yards and 30 touchdowns to his NFL resume but negatively added 30 interceptions as well. Winston is a rough-around quarterback who makes hasty decisions but is overall a diamond in the rough if played in a promising situation. Given a good offensive line, and a plethora of absolute brilliant wideouts, Jameis Winston can truly shine, as he did for Florida State many years ago. Winston was also playing on a very cheap contract for the Saints, and even though he sat all year long, picking a similar contract would suit beneficial for both the Saints organization, who are again deep in cap overflow and Jameis Winston, who deserves the restart on his career. Prediction: Jameis Winston will sign a 2-year deal to prove himself as the Saints’ long-term QB.

Russell Wilson, Current Team: Seattle Seahawks

Adding to the huge quarterback crazy moves is Russell Wilson, a proficient quarterback who is well known as the most liked player in the NFL. Russell Wilson is also one of the best quarterbacks in the league, who led the Seahawks to 2 Super Bowl appearances, including a win against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. All that aside, Wilson and the Seahawks are in some sort of grudge match, due to the offensive line struggles and the fact that the Seattle front office is careless to hear what Wilson has to say. If Wilson is to leave the Seahawks, it would most probably be on a trade, which is because of his three years left on his contract. Earlier last week, Wilson told his agent that he desires to stay on the Seahawks but if trade breaks through, he only had four teams on his mind: Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, or New Orleans. We can already rule out New Orleans (they can’t afford him) and Dallas (Dak is the situation to deal with), so we are left with Chicago and Las Vegas, who are both looking to get a replacement at quarterback. If I see Russell Wilson leaving Seattle, it would probably be to the Las Vegas Raiders, who seem to be the only team that has a Wilson-like offense and have money to contribute to a hefty contract. Prediction: In 2022, we see Russell Wilson don the Silver & Black in Vegas

Rohan’s QB Carousel Predictions

Derek Carr, Current Team: Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr arguably had the best season of his career in 2020 despite the team going 8-8. In 16 games, Carr completed 67.3% of his passes for 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He is in the top half of the league at his position, and if the Raiders gave him a decent defense, they would easily be a playoff team. A recent report from Ian Rapoport said that several teams have called the Raiders about Derek Carr, however, the Raiders aren’t looking to trade Carr right now. He has improved in each of his 3 years with head coach Jon Gruden, throwing for 4,000+ yards in each and registering a 100-plus passer rating in back-to-back years. They also have a powerful bond, and it’s hard for me to see Carr being traded this offseason. Carr is also on a very team-friendly deal, averaging $19.5 million over the next 2 years. Prediction: Derek Carr will remain the Raiders starting quarterback in 2021.

Deshaun Watson, Current Team: Houston Texans

Houston is a huge mess and they are on the verge of losing their franchise star quarterback. It was a string of unpopular moves that led to this situation, from trading All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts to keeping around heavily criticized executive Jack Easterby. Deshaun Watson requested a trade back in late January and to this day remains unhappy with no plans to play for the Houston Texans ever again. Watson just signed a lucrative 5-year contract extension last offseason so his only leverage right now is to sit out games. They can play hardball with Watson and wait until the regular season to see if he sits out games and that is what I think they are going to do. According to Ian Rapoport, the Texans do not plan on trading Deshaun Watson for a long, long time and if Watson decides to skip 2021, he would spark a total financial loss of roughly $20 million. Also, I think new GM Nick Caserio is operating on a much longer timeline and is perfectly fine with Deshaun sitting out. I don’t see Watson’s value changing much if he does sit out a year and this upcoming season is a lost one for Houston anyways. Prediction: Houston plays the long-game, wait until 2022 to trade Watson.

Sam Darnold, Current Team: New York Jets

Sam Darnold was the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but he has not lived up to the hype. Most of that blame can be put on the Jets as they have done the least to help out their quarterback, but Darnold has also had his fair share of mistakes. His decision-making and processing have raised lots of questions and he is near the NFL bottom in several areas including passer rating and QBR. However, Sam Darnold is still salvageable and young at 23 and could improve with a change of scenery. The Jets hold the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft and have the chance to pick up a terrific QB prospect like Zach Wilson or Justin Fields. Multiple teams have reached out to the Jets and inquired about trading for Sam Darnold, and it is the right move for New York to deal with him. I think possible landing spots for Sam include the Steelers, Bears, 49ers, and Washington Football Team. Let’s talk about Pittsburgh which is where I think Sam is headed. Ben Roethlisberger’s time is quickly coming to an end and they need a new quarterback to build around. Striking a deal for Darnold would make a lot of sense for Mike Tomlin and his crew as Darnold can develop behind Big Ben. Prediction: The Steelers send a 2021 4th-rounder and 2022 2nd-rounder for Sam Darnold.

2021 NFL Super Wild Card Predictions

By Saransh Sharma, Rohan Krishnan, & Pranav Thiriveedhi

For the first time in the NFL’s history, we will be seeing a playoff with 14 teams, as opposed to the usual 12 teams, with each conference having 7 representatives, and one team in each conference receiving a bye week, bringing us our first-ever Super Wild Card Weekend, where we get to see 6 games between Saturday and Sunday played to decide who moves throughout the playoffs. Here are our predictions for who will prevail in the Super Wild Card.

AFC Predictions

#7 Indianapolis Colts @ #2 Buffalo Bills

Saransh’s Prediction: The Buffalo Bills have at times looked like the scariest team in the NFL not named the Kansas City Chiefs, and it is no secret as to why. Josh Allen has played like an MVP candidate all year and drastically improved and like the Chiefs with their QB-Receiver duo of Mahomes and Kelce, Allen has found his duo partner in Stefon Diggs, who was acquired this past offseason. 

Meanwhile, for the Colts, they signed QB Philip Rivers to a 1-year, $21M deal, which surprised many, but his consistent play in the late-season stretch, along with the elite defense, helped Indianapolis secure the 7-seed in the AFC. This game features two defenses that have been hot for the majority of the season, but the Bills’ offense is far superior and more consistent than that of the Colts, propelling them to a win. Final Score: 31-21, Bills

Pranav’s Prediction: The Buffalo Bills are your AFC East Champions! That is something the world has not been heard in over 20 years, but after an upsetting season from the New England Patriots, who placed 3rd in the division, the Bills not only filled the seat but also took the #2 seed in the AFC conference. The Bills are a scary team on all sides of the ball. A very dynamic yet work-in-progress quarterback Josh Allen is the leader for arguably the best wide receiver core in the league. Stefon Diggs, the NFL’s leader for receiving yards and receptions, is finally on a team with a quarterback that can reach his ceiling. 

On the other side, the Indianapolis Colts have proven to be an excellent team, especially with their destructive defense. They ranked first or second in the categories that matter, including points and rushing yards allowed. Matching up a weaker secondary against a strong suited receiving core, though, could prove to make the difference in a win or loss. The Bills are going to take the dub here, but watch out for the Colts next year. 

Final Score: 38-31 Bills

Rohan’s Prediction: The Bills will be hosting their first playoff game in 24 years! A lot has changed for the franchise as they have returned to relevance thanks to HC Sean McDermott, GM Brandon Beane, and MVP candidate Josh Allen. Allen has shattered franchise records this year, throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs, who was acquired in a trade this past offseason, was a big part of that and became Buffalo’s first player to lead the NFL in catches (127) and yards receiving (1,535). Furthermore, the Bills are perhaps the hottest team in the NFL as they are winners of six straight to end the regular season. 

On the other side, Phillip Rivers, who was signed on a 1-year deal, is a veteran passer who can take the offense down the field. He needs to hit on all cylinders Saturday and put the ball into the endzone as the Bills’ offense is dangerous. The run game and defense are the highlights of this Colts squad. The defensive unit is fantastic and has not allowed more than 90 rushing yards in any of the last five games. Furthermore, Jonathan Taylor is a joy to watch and became the third rookie in Colts history to have 1,000-plus rushing yards and 10-plus rushing TDs in a season. The run game will be key to the Colts victory, and if they can find leaps of success, they can pull off the upset. The Bills defense is poor against the run but tightened up recently and has played much better in the 2nd half of the season. It will be a close battle, but the hot Bills will take this one and get their first playoff win since 1995. Final Score: 24-16 Bills

#6 Cleveland Browns @ #3 Pittsburgh Steelers

Saransh’s Prediction: If the Cleveland Browns did not have their head coach, along with four other players out for this game due to them having tested positive for COVID-19 or having been in close contact with those that did test positive, I would pick Cleveland, but without them, especially without your head coach, that will be a difficult task. Pittsburgh started as maybe the most underwhelming team ever to start a season with 10+ wins and be undefeated, with losses to the Washington Football Team, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals, and big losses at that proved exactly why. The offense was simple and easy to figure out for defenses after a while, there was no run game, and the defense never missed a beat all year, until that Washington game. 

Cleveland, meanwhile, looked like they were headed for a bit of a downfall when they had gotten their season back on track, but then Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL, but they found themselves finishing the season 11-5 and having a Week 17 rematch with the Steelers as their Wild Card matchup. This game will come down to the wire and Cleveland will earn the respect of the NFL, but Pittsburgh will take advantage of the players out for Cleveland. Final Score: 34-27, Steelers

Pranav’s Prediction: Cleveland is going into their first playoff game in a very long time. That is hard to win with a team that has no playoff experience. Cleveland is going into their first playoff game without their head coach, without their best player [Odell Beckham Jr], and four other players. The Browns are an exceptional team who have proved to show that they are not quitters. They have the guts and talent to win games against any team. But being matched up against their division rivals, who they barely beat after the Steelers rested many starters, is not a welcoming entry into the playoffs. 

I have to congratulate them for doing what would have been the impossible two years ago, and even though they possess the running power to beat many teams. The Pittsburgh defense, along with Cleveland’s vacancy in the head coach position will cost the Browns their first playoff win in a long time. 

Final Score: 28-13, Steelers

Rohan’s Prediction: Browns fans have been waiting nearly two decades for their team to return to the playoffs, and it finally happened. Sadly, Cleveland will be without COTY candidate Kevin Stefanski, safety Ronnie Harrison, and LG Joel Bitonio, the longest-tenured player on the team and made three consecutive Pro Bowls. They could also be without tight end Harrison Bryant and cornerback Denzel Ward as they are still on the COVID-19 list. Moreover, the team has not practiced all week and their facility remains closed, which is brutal for Cleveland considering the magnitude of this game. 

It is difficult for me to pick Cleveland to win here despite the Steelers finishing the season 1-4. To be fair, Pittsburgh took Cleveland to the final minutes in Week 17 without Ben Roethlisberger, TJ Watt, and Cam Heyward. The Steelers will win this one comfortably. Unfortunately for Browns fans, they will have to wait a little longer for a playoff win. Final Score: 24-13 Steelers

#5 Baltimore Ravens @ #4 Tennessee Titans

Saransh’s Prediction: The whole ‘Lamar Jackson is 0-2 in the playoffs’ narrative has been the biggest topic of discussion coming into this matchup, but the real talk should be about how the Titans beat them in the playoffs last year, and that this year they may be even better. Titans RB Derrick Henry rushed for over 2,000 yards this season, Ryan Tannehill had a career-high in passing TDs and won 11 games and the AFC South, and Mike Vrabel continues to be one of the NFL’s premier coaches. 

One big advantage that Tennessee has had is to have fans (14,500 total) since October. Having fans during the playoffs will give them a true home-field advantage. The Ravens defensive line will do their job to stop Henry, but it will come down to which QB will make more big plays, and I will take the most underrated QB in football in Ryan Tannehill, in what should be the most exciting game of the weekend. Final Score: 41-37, Titans

Pranav’s Prediction: I agree with Saransh that Tennessee is a good team, but Baltimore is better on paper. I will wait for him to prove that Lamar Jackson truly is a playoff quarterback so I will keep this short and sweet. Final Score: 28-21, Titans

Rohan’s Prediction: The Titans stunned the Ravens in last year’s postseason and the Ravens are looking to get their revenge, this time in Tennessee. This will be an exciting matchup as two of the NFL’s most explosive offenses go head-to-head, with the spotlight being on Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry. Tennessee built off of last year’s playoff run and got better this year. Derrick Henry had another impressive 2,000 rushing yard season, and Ryan Tannehill had the best season of his career, throwing for a career-high 33 touchdowns and leading the Titans to an 11-5 record. The receiving core of AJ Brown and Corey Davis is no joke, and the Titans defense is very talented. 

Meanwhile, the hungry Ravens are looking to redeem themselves and are entering the playoffs on a 5-game winning streak. Lamar Jackson endured a midseason slump but bounced back in December thanks in part to an easy schedule. The Ravens also have a great rushing attack like the Titans, averaging 191.9 yards per game with Jackson, rookie J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards. I think it will come down to the defenses. Baltimore has a far superior defense, and the Titans just gave up 38 points to a Texans team that had nothing to play for. The defenses will prove to be the deciding factor, and the Ravens will come out on top this time around. Final Score: 34-30 Ravens

NFC Predictions

#7 Chicago Bears @ #2 New Orleans Saints

Saransh’s Prediction: Alvin Kamara tweeted on Thursday evening ‘See y’all Sunday,’ signaling to fans, as well as the Chicago Bears, that he should be back on Sunday evening after having tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday. Chicago’s offense has been explosive as of late, and Drew Brees has had his playoff struggles the past few years, but with the return of both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, Chicago may not have much of a chance. Final Score: 38-28, Saints

Pranav’s Prediction: This is a very complicated game for me to predict. On one side, the New Orleans Saints are a heavily talented team on both sides of the football, but even with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas returning to the lineup, Drew Brees has not played like his former self. I think a strong Chicago defense can step up and steal a few possessions from the Saints. While I do not believe an inexperienced Mitch Trubisky will be enough to take down the Saints, I will call the upset thanks to that defense.

Final Score: 17-14, Bears

Rohan’s Prediction: Alvin Kamara is a huge factor here. He is currently on the COVID-19 list but the Saints are hopeful that he plays and he recently tweeted “See y’all Sunday”, suggesting that he plays. Drew Brees loves to depend on Kamara, who leads the Saints with 83 receptions, and Brees still looks shaky after returning from his rib injury. 

The Bears and Saints met in the regular season and went into overtime, but things are different this time around. Mitchell Trubisky is now the starting quarterback for the Bears, and both Drew Brees and Michael Thomas are back for the Saints. The Bears defense is elite and is among the best at stopping their opponent’s wide receivers, but I do not see their offense giving enough firepower to win this game. With Michael Thomas back and Kamara likely to play, I think the Saints will move on. Final Score: 26-10 Saints

#6 Los Angeles Rams @ #3 Seattle Seahawks

Saransh’s Prediction: What if I told you that since Week 11, the Seattle Seahawks had the #1 scoring defense in the NFL? After the historic start to the season for the offense, setting multiple scoring records and such, the defense was on pace to a historically tragic start, and at one point could have allowed the most yards per game on average. The return of Jamal Adams and the trade for Carlos Dunlap has changed the fortune of this defense and has made them lights-out, but their offense has sputtered since. The offense that could once put up 30+ effortlessly every week can barely even score 20, and this Rams defense that ended the season as the #1 defense in the NFL will hold that Seahawk offense in check, but potentially without QB Jared Goff or Jared Goff at 100%, the Rams defense may be asked of too much, and we all know that Russell Wilson and this offense always finds a way. Final Score: 23-20, Seahawks

Pranav’s Prediction: Is it just me, or has the Seattle Seahawks offense been playing badly recently. So bad that the defense that once was atrocious is now winning them games. I like Russell Wilson, but he has not been meeting any marginal expectations, regardless of his record. A strong Rams defense against a weaker Seattle offense will sputter points for Seattle, and an explosive offense (even if Goff does not start) will be the deciding factor for whether the Rams can pull off the playoff upset. But for my prediction, I will be taking the Rams. 

Final Score: 21-20, Rams

Rohan’s Prediction: The Seahawks got off to a hot start to begin the season, but the offense, led by Russell Wilson, started to run out of gas and became inconsistent. The defense, however, is the complete opposite, as the unit is improving and was responsible for the Seahawks winning 6 of their last 7 to finish the year. No matter what the records were, games between these two teams were always tight, and I expect a close game once again. The Rams have an elite defense and held Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense in check in both games. 

A player to keep an eye on is quarterback Jared Goff who did not play in Week 17 due to a thumb injury and is questionable for this wild-card matchup. The problem with Los Angeles is poor QB play, limiting their potential. Even though Goff has had a subpar year, he is better than backup John Wolford and gives them the best chance to win. Due to the inconsistencies at quarterback for the Rams, I am going to go with the Seahawks here. Final Score: 20-14 Seahawks

#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ #4 Washington Football Team

Saransh’s Prediction: The Washington Football Team, who would have thought that after everything they endured, such as Alex Smith’s near-death injury, Ron Rivera’s battle with cancer, Dwayne Haskins being one of the most immature football players of recent memory, and a major scandal involving owner Dan Snyder, that the Washington Football Team would host a playoff game? Well, not any of us, as you can see from our preseason predictions. The NFC East was not great, but teams like Washington and New York both played better than what their record shows. Washington sports the #2 defense in the NFL with the most intimidating front-4 that we have seen since ‘Sacksonville’ in 2016. Alex Smith is 5-1 as a starter, and even without the most impressive numbers, one thing that has stayed consistent with him is that he is a winner. He battled back to the playing field, and Ron Rivera, who battled through cancer, got this team from 2-7 and the bottom of the division to the playoffs. 

Meanwhile, the Bucs acquired Tom Brady, and they have had a mostly consistent season, with most of their mishaps coming in primetime games against strong blitz defenses, which bodes well for Washington. Brady also may not have Mike Evans, but Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski are plenty to work with. Washington’s defense will pressure Brady all night and slow down this offense, but the Bucs defense, who has been solid all season, should slow down the injured Alex Smith, and backup QB Taylor Heinicke. It will be a slugfest, but Tampa should pull it out. Crazier things have happened, however. Final Score: 24-22, Buccaneers

Pranav’s Prediction: The Washington Football Team has a top-five defense that is like none other, and Chase Young is my vote for DROY, but their offense is atrocious compared to any other playoff team. I know the saying, “Offense wins games, Defense wins championships,” but a 7-9 Washington Football Team that doesn’t even possess a mascot, has not won a sufficient amount of games to show me that they belong in the playoffs, regardless of how the playoffs work. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the far better team here. With future HoF quarterback Tom Brady, who is the greatest of all time, and a crazy offense to counterpart (even without Mike Evans), Washington’s defense is like a wall with a big door. Tampa Bay also has a top-10 defense to complement themselves as well. And against a weak WFT offense, who will not move the ball, expect a playoff blowout Saturday night.

Final Score: 38-7, Buccaneers

Rohan’s Prediction: You could say that Washington only made the playoffs due to how atrocious the NFC East is, but they are the best team in the East, and it is very impressive how big of a leap they made from last season to this season. Ron Rivera is a Coach of the Year candidate, fighting cancer at the beginning of the season and taking Washington from 2-7 to 7-9 and a division title. They also have the Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Smith, who has inspired millions of people with his road back from his devastating injury and was a big part in taking the team to the playoffs. 
Washington’s defense is tremendous, ranking 2nd in the NFL, with a phenomenal pass rush that should force a lot of pressure on Brady this weekend. However, this is going to be a tough task as the Buccaneers have a crazy loaded offense that has Tom Brady coming off a 40 touchdown season. They arguably have the best receiving core consisting of Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and potentially Mike Evans will be a handful for Washington’s secondary. Also, Alex Smith is still nursing a calf injury that has affected the offense as a whole. Washington’s run game, headlined by Antonio Gibson, keeps the offense alive, but Tampa has the number-1 ranked rushing defense. WFT has the defense to make this a battle and shock the world, but I feel that their offense just will not give enough to win. Tampa takes this one. Final Score: 31-20 Buccaneers

NFL Storylines Week 15: #StarWars Edition

The NFL season heads into its 15th week and at this point, teams are either playing for draft picks, a spot in the playoffs, or home-field in the playoffs. Here is how I see some of the biggest NFL storylines panning out, as compared to characters and movies of the Star Wars franchise:

What to Expect in The Return of Aaron Rodgers (the NFL’s Luke Skywalker)

Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the NFL (yes, he is better than Brady), comes back off of a 9-week layoff from a collarbone injury he suffered in a Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Since his injury, the Packers have gone 3-4, and the Vikings have only lost 1 game. The Packers this week go to work in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers, a team that currently holds the 5th seed in the NFC, but a loss could cost them a playoff spot. Now, you may be wondering, what do I expect out of Aaron Rodgers? I didn’t write a blog post about this, yet my preseason Super Bowl prediction was Packers-Steelers, with the Packers winning. My prediction has stayed the same, and the return of Rodgers, with all of the odds against him, gives me even more confidence as to what the Packers can do. In 2013, Rodgers had injured his collarbone and came back for Week 17 against the Chicago Bears. The winner of the game would go to the playoffs, and Rodgers won the game on a 4th and 8 with 46 seconds to go by throwing the game-winning TD to Randall Cobb. In 2014, after the team started 1-2 and people counted the Packers out, Rodgers had the famous R-E-L-A-X press conference, and the team ended up going 11-5 and were 1 game away from the Super Bowl. I expect Rodgers to work his late-season magic and lead the Pack to the playoffs, and to the Super Bowl. The force is strongest with Rodgers when they need it most.

A New Hope for Philly?

Carson Wentz was not just the possible MVP QB of the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was the man the city rallied around. He had done so much in supporting the city, especially through the AO1 Foundation, that he became a savior for the city of Philadelphia. Their dream season with Super Bowl hopes looked like it would become a reality, but Wentz’s ACL injury last week ended most hopes of that (by the way, my best wishes and prayers are out to Carson in hopes that he has a speedy recovery and comes back better than ever next season). Now, go back to the previous sentence where I said ‘most hopes’ are gone and not all. Yes, the Eagles have hope, ‘A New Hope’, as Star Wars fans would like to say. Nick Foles replaced Michael Vick in 2013 after his injury, and threw 27 TDs-2 INTs, won the NFC East, and became a Pro Bowler in that season. Now, I am not saying that you should expect Foles to play at that high a level, but to say that the Eagles have no chance at a Super Bowl is not right. I see NFC Championship Game for sure, but Super Bowl is unlikely. Don’t count out Foles.

The Steelers Killer B’s

The Killer B’s, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and yes, even kicker Chris Boswell, are orchestrating a season similar to the way Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca fought their way to victory against Darth Vader and the Emperor in ‘Return of the Jedi’, as The Killer B’s have led the Pittsburgh Steelers to an 11-2 season so far. This has led them to first place in the AFC, and nothing but smiles on the faces of them and all those in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh now goes faces their biggest test, ‘The Dark Side’ of the AFC, the New England Patriots, who are 10-3 after their suspect loss to the Miami Dolphins Monday night. Now, of course, this game not only will determine who will get home-field advantage, but the winner of this game will probably win the AFC and go the Super Bowl. After watching the stagnant and lethargic Pats offense, and the confused Pats defense, I have supreme confidence in Pittsburgh, especially since the game is in their house.

NFL Week 5: The Injury Report

Week 5 has been a week in the NFL which has been full of injuries to many key players from their respective teams. Let’s have an update to see how bad the outcome of these injuries are.

Lamaar Woodley: Right Hamstring, Questionable Return.

Woodley’s injury seemed scary at first, but the Steelers won’t have to worry after the great play by backup linebackers Lawrence Timmons and James Worilds. Woodley had not registered a tackle or any other defensive stat.

Troy Polamalu: Aggravating Right Calf, Out Week 6 (vs. Titans).

Polamalu’s injury will be very serious. The Steelers only hope at Strong Safety is Ryan Clark, who says that it is hard to see Polamalu get hurt after forcing Michael Vick’s second fumble (which he recovered and fell 1 yard shy of the end zone).

Robert Griffin III: Mild Concussion, Questionable Week 6 Return.

RG3’s season has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s had one of the best rookie seasons you could’ve imagined from a rookie quarterback. This will hurt for Redskins fans. The Redskins are testing out Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman.

BJ Raji: Ankle, Expected to Play Week 6.

Raji has been one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL, and for Green Bay players and coaching staff, the injury sure did look ugly. Luckily for the Packers, Raji is to return for Week 6.

Cedric Benson: Foot, Questionable Return.

Many said that he would be the best running back in Packers history, though his dreams of being a great back were shattered. Packers are looking to use John Kuhn on a lot of rushing plays.

Andre Brown: Concussion, Questionable Return.

Brown was looking to impress a lot of experts this season with his great speed and blocking ability. The Giants used a good 200 rushing yards from Ahmad Bradshaw, so there’s no need to worry for NY Giants fans.

Will it be a big return and bounce-back for these players, or will some have to go home and cheer on their team as a spectator? What’s next for these players and their future? We shall wait to find out what will happen…