By Saransh Sharma, Rohan Krishnan, and Pranav Thiriveedhi
The 2020-21 NFL season is just days away, and many storylines are coming into it. Justin Fields will not be starting for the Bears, Aaron Rodgers may be playing his final season with Green Bay, Cam Newton is not in the NFL, and Tom Brady is still winning Super Bowls and looking to keep adding to the count. Here are our 6 bold predictions and storylines to watch for this season:
Saransh’s Bold Predictions
1. Cam Newton Gets Signed By the Giants… & Starts
Daniel Jones is not a good quarterback he is a bad quarterback. I will never understand what possible insane statistics a Giants fan can use to try to defend this man, but if you support a guy who in 27 games played has thrown just 35 touchdowns, yet has also thrown 22 interceptions, and has 21 fumbles (almost 2 turnovers per game played), then I am not sure what football you are watching. The Giants cannot waste valuable years of Saquon Barkley’s prime, as well as the prime of this defense, and let it go to waste because they want to see their QB quite literally throw away games. Newton, with his rushing prowess, would fit wonderfully alongside Saquon, and his throwing was good in preseason, as well as before he got COVID-19 last season. If the Giants want to win games, Daniel Jones will do nothing to help them out, and they do not have the luxury to let young players on their roster see their careers wasted by another year because of an incapable QB.
2. Matt Nagy Is The First Coach Fired
Matt Nagy was not too bad of a coach in his first few seasons with Chicago, when they went to the Playoffs with Mitch Trubisky, won the NFC North, things looked great for the former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator. Since then, QB problems, erratic offense, playcalling, as well as a rather broken locker room, have all occurred, all due to Nagy and his decline as a coach. He gave up playcalling towards the end of last season, which helped the Bears sneak into the Playoffs, but this season he comes in with the playcalling back in his hands. Andy Dalton being named the starter was controversial, but it will depend on how long Fields is on the bench. If Dalton is the starter for more than 5 weeks and Nagy does not make the change, he will get fired.
Pranav’s Bold Predictions
1. Washington Finishes Last in the NFC East
Last year, Washington was poised to take the 4th rank in the NFC East, while the Cowboys and Eagles were the NFC East favorites to win the division. Look how that turned out… I think Washington lived up to their hype towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, but a new offense with a new quarterback for a season has never worked well for Washington, regardless of when. The Football Team also do not have that leadership player they have had in years past like Alex Smith or Ryan Kerrigan. Their defense is scary and will win them games, but I do not see them winning more than five games. Of course, the NFC East is the laughing stock of the NFL, and five games is a lot, but with a lot of new talent pouring into those teams, I think we are here to see a breakaway season. All the NFC East teams will be firing on all cylinders, but I feel that the Washington team is too hyped up to start the season.
2. The Bengals Make the Playoffs
The main reason Joe Burrow could not stay healthy in his first season was the miscues and problems of the offensive line, but now that changed. A new OL coach and a terrific performance by the offensive line in the preseason will allow Burrow to find his receivers. I do not see Jamarr Chase playing as valuable of a role as Tyler Boyd or Tee Higgins, but there is a chance he will perform much differently as the season goes forward. The Bengals have one of the most underrated offenses in the league, and their only key to success this season is getting those stops on defense. If the Bengals can add talent or find a way to improve the talent on defense, I do not see a problem with them matching the Browns, Steelers, or Ravens in arguably the league’s most competitive division.
Rohan’s Bold Predictions
1. Jameis Winston Wins NFL Comeback Player of the Year
Jameis Winston took less money in 2020 to sit behind Drew Brees and learn more about playing quarterback in the NFL. Winston can sling it and have big games, but the question with Winston has always been if he can protect the ball. He is famously known for being the first quarterback to finish a season with 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season. This season, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton named Jameis Winston the starting quarterback over Taysom Hill, and Payton is the perfect coach to help Winston lead an offense and protect the football. I think this season, football fans are going to see the best version of Jameis Winston as he leads the New Orleans Saints to the Playoffs.
2. The New York Jets Make the Playoffs
It is now over a decade since the Jets have made the playoffs, which is currently the longest drought in the NFL. This time last year, NYJ’s head coach was Adam Gase, Sam Darnold was leading the offense, and the Jets had one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Now, the Jets have completely revamped the team and culture. They signed respected coach Robert Saleh as their new Head Coach, drafted promising quarterback Zach Wilson with the 2nd pick in this year’s Draft, and revamped their offensive line and receiving corps. The signing of Corey Davis, who is coming off a career-best year, was a great addition to the receiving room of Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and rookie Elijah Moore. They also picked up offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker in the 1st round to help shore up an offensive line that also has Mekhi Becton. I think Zach Wilson and the Jets will surprise a lot of people and sneak into the postseason with 10 wins as a Wild Card team.