The NFL is in the thick of its midseason, and with a little over two months until Super Bowl LIII on February 3rd, 2019, it’s time to take a look at who will be awarded the top prizes come next January.
The “who was nfl mvp 2020” is a question that has been asked many times in the past. The NFL Staff Midseason Awards are coming up, and it is time to start making predictions for Super Bowl 56.
It’s hard to imagine, but the NFL regular season in 2021 is almost halfway over. As this is being posted a few days after the Miami Dolphins’ stunning Week 10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, we’re really at the halfway mark plus one game. And, since these quotes from our NFL team were collected earlier in the week, it does come into play a little bit here. But you clearly understand what we’re up to.
Isn’t this NFL season in 2021 shaping out to be a fascinating one? Some groups are doing precisely what was expected of them. Some, on the other hand, are clearly not. It’s been tough to figure out which teams in the AFC are the genuine thing (pardon me…too many State Farm ads this season), but five teams in the NFC are almost certain of making the playoffs.
Let’s wrap things up with our Super Bowl 56 predictions, but first, let’s take a look at the midseason accolades, beginning with NFL MVP.
Austin, Brandon: When it comes to injuries, the Baltimore Ravens have been struck the worst. Due to season-ending injuries, they’ve lost crucial players on both sides of the ball. Despite this, they have a 6-2 record, good for second place in the AFC. That’s something they don’t do without Lamar Jackson.
Tim Crean: I believe the MVP should be awarded to the greatest player on the best team, and Kyler Murray was that player in the first half of the 2021 season. He’s banged up right now, which is a given for a 5-foot-10 (ish?) quarterback, so he might fall behind in the MVP race as time goes on. Murray, on the other hand, was the man for the first nine weeks.
Matthew Stafford looks like a new man with the Los Angeles Rams, according to Jake Elman. Without their longstanding starter, the Detroit Lions are 0-6. If it doesn’t define Most Valuable, I don’t know what does.
Esser, David: Over the past several seasons, the MVP award in the NFL has become a bit of a shambles. The voters’ priorities tend to shift from year to year. That being said, it has traditionally been awarded to the greatest player on the best team. That’s Kyler Murray right now. It also helps that he’s a newcomer to the MVP debate. That appeals to voters.
Andrew Kulha: While Derrick Henry is the Titans’ most important player in terms of overall influence, and we’ve all seen what losing Aaron Rodgers did to the Packers, Tom Brady continues to play as if there’s no end in sight. He’s passed for 2,650 yards and 25 touchdowns, which puts him first in the league in touchdown passes and second in yardage behind only Matthew Stafford. Incredible.
Luke Norris: I’m going with Matthew Stafford at this time, but my instinct tells me Tom Brady will win it at the conclusion of the year. And he’d more than earn it if he keeps playing like he has in the first half of the season. After all those years in Detroit, it’s been a thrill to see Stafford finally seem like he’s having a good time. All three quarterbacks, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Kyler Murray, will be in attendance. Depending on whatever NFC club finishes with the best record, their quarterback might win the honor. So don’t rule out Dak Prescott as well.
Sheehan, Stephen: Is it conceivable that a 44-year-old Tom Brady is even better than he was when the New England Patriots were at their best? With 25 touchdown passes, the seven-time Super Bowl winner leads the league and has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in contention for the NFC’s top spot. Oh, and he’s done it despite the injuries to Gronk and Antonio Brown. That’s an MVP performance.
Matthew Wadleigh: This is a difficult one. Lamar, Brady, and Stafford are all strong contenders for the MVP title. However, I’m going to go with Stafford. The Rams are vying for the NFC crown, and with Stafford at the helm, they seem to be a completely different squad.
Player of the Year for a Comeback
Brandon Austin: This is a no-brainer. Dak Prescott’s comeback has resurrected a Cowboys club that was a laughingstock in 2020 without him. No other contender has had the same influence on his team as he has.
Tim Crean: Even though Dak Prescott is the popular choice, Joe Burrow deserves some respect in this area. Burrow is tied for third in the league with 20 touchdown passes in what amounts to the second half of his rookie season after his terrible knee injury, and the Bengals are very much in the AFC playoff race.
Dak Prescott is healthy and coming up big for the Dallas Cowboys, according to Jake Elman. Now we’ll see whether he can prove he deserves the huge money by making it to the Super Bowl.
Esser, David: Carson Wentz is here, baby! In 2020, he was benched for a second-round rookie after leading the league in interceptions. Now he’s in the top ten in passer rating and QBR, and the Colts are in the hunt for a Wild Card position.
Andrew Kulha: Joe Burrow is deserving of a lot of praise. After having his rookie season cut short, all he’s done so far this season is throw for 2,497 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Luke Norris: Given the severity of his injuries last season, I’m going with Dak Prescott. Cowboys supporters can only hope that his calf ailment doesn’t prevent him from playing well in the second half.
Dak Prescott may have gotten himself into trouble in Week 9, but there’s no denying he’s secured his reputation as the Comeback Player of the Year by destroying defenses on a weekly basis. This should be his prize as long as he avoids future injuries.
Matt Wadleigh: It’s Dak Prescott, as previously indicated. Joe Burrow is the only other option, but Prescott must take this prize home.
Rookie Player of the Year in the Offense
Brandon Austin: Ja’Marr Chase is my clear favorite. Week after week, he muted the preseason ruckus by destroying defenses. In terms of receiving yards and touchdowns, he’s in the top five. The link to Joe Burrow is unmistakable.
Tim Crean: In little over two months, Ja’Marr Chase went from being unable to catch in the preseason to being named offensive rookie of the year in the first half. The only issue now is how many clubs will choose their young quarterback’s favorite collegiate wide out in the upcoming draft.
Jake Elman: Anyone who declared Ja’Marr Chase a flop in August should not be allowed to watch the NFL again. Alternatively, force them to watch a Lions game.
Esser, David: This award may as well be announced tomorrow by the NFL. By a wide margin, Ja’Marr Chase has won. He’s not just the finest rookie in the NFL, but he’s already one of the top wide receivers in the league. He’s an absolute stud.
Andrew Kulha: It seems like we’ve reached an agreement on Ja’Marr Chase. He’s a high-octane player who’s a lot of fun to watch.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): This isn’t much of a race at this stage, since Ja’Marr Chase is the overwhelming favorite. Although Mac Jones has been the greatest rookie quarterback in the league, he will not be fighting for First-Team All-Pro accolades at the conclusion of the season. Chase is going to do it.
Sheehan, Stephen: While it’s been amusing to watch Ja’Marr Chase make top-flight corners seem mediocre, he’s only touched the ball 48 times. Mac Jones, the fifth quarterback picked in the first round, has clearly been the greatest rookie quarterback, and the New England Patriots appear poised to reach the playoffs owing to his strong performance, after Cam Newton failed to do so in his one and only season in Foxborough.
Wadleigh, Matt: As much as I’d want to name Rashawn Slater, an offensive lineman isn’t going to win this honor. Ja’Marr Chase is the one in charge. Remember how worried everyone was after Ja’Marr Chase’s preseason drops? That seems like an eternity ago. Chase is crushing his opponents, and the Bengals’ LSU connection is ideal.
Rookie Defensive Player of the Year is a title awarded to a player who excels on defense
Brandon Austin: Teams will rue the day they passed over Micah Parsons due to “character” concerns. He’s all he claims to be and more. His adaptability is one of the things that makes him so dangerous. Plus, he instills in this defense a sense of confidence that it lacked last season.
Micah Parsons should win by a landslide. Tim Crean: This should be a clean sweep. He might be the top linebacker and defensive end taken in the 2021 draft.
Micah Parsons is the genuine thing, according to Jake Elman. Cowboys fans can only hope that his first season performance will be remembered as “mediocre.”
Esser, David: Throw all of your “never pick a linebacker in the first round” arguments out the window. Micah Parsons is remaking the Cowboys’ defense from the ground up. The NFL could announce this award tomorrow, just like OROY, and no one would blink.
Micah Parsons can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and even play on the edge of the line. Andrew Kulha: Micah Parsons can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and even put his hand in the dirt and play on the edge of the line. He’s the NFL’s version of a five-tool baseball prospect.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): Remember how desperate the Cowboys appeared to be to get a top cornerback in the NFL Draft? But what happened when Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II were kidnapped? Most Dallas supporters, I believe, are now OK with Micah Parsons as a backup choice. That’s clearly my way of stating he’s my choice in this situation.
Stephen Sheehan: Dallas made a wise move by releasing Jaylon Smith and replacing him with a linebacker who has the necessary talents to thrive on Sundays. Micah Parsons’ terrifying mix of speed, burst, and strength has completely changed the Cowboys’ much-maligned defense. It’s terrifying to think he’s just scraping the surface of his abilities.
Wadleigh, Matt: Micah Parsons is another obvious possibility. It’s hard to believe he’s just a rookie, but he’s made a seamless transition to the NFL in every way.
Offensive Player of the Year
Cooper Kupp is just the second player in Super Bowl history to have 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ receiving touchdowns in his team’s first nine games.
Jerry Rice, a Hall of Famer, was the other person in 1990.
November 8, 2021 — NFL Research (@NFLResearch)
Brandon Austin: Ladies and gentlemen, Cooper Kupp has arrived. He’s always had the potential, but he finally has a capable quarterback, and it shows. He has established himself as one of the best receivers in the NFL right now because to his exceptional route-running abilities.
Tim Crean (interviewer): You’re the first-half offensive player of the year when you lead the league in catches, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and receiving yards per game. Cooper Kupp deserves to be congratulated.
Cooper Kupp is on pace for 139 receptions, 1,924 yards, and 19 touchdowns, according to Jake Elman. That’ll suffice.
Cooper Kupp topped 1,000 receiving yards in nine games, according to David Esser. That’s ridiculous. Kupp is proving to be one of the most complete wide receivers in football, thanks to his pairing with an exceptional quarterback in Matthew Stafford.
Andrew Kulha (Kulha, Andrew): It’s surprising that Lamar Jackson hasn’t been discussed yet. He racked up more total offensive yards than a couple of teams at one point during the season. He’s a major play in the making.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): Because these are just midseason honors, I’m going to go with Derrick Henry. He’ll be sidelined for the foreseeable future, which is terrible for the Titans since he was on track for a second straight 2,000-yard season until he went down.
Stephen Sheehan: Jonathan Taylor is deserving of recognition for demonstrating why the NFL made a huge error by allowing him to fall to the second round of the 2020 draft. Not only has he rushed for 840 yards and eight touchdowns, but he’s also caught 23 of 27 targets for 293 yards and another touchdown. Taylor has been the finest all-around offensive performer this season, as a genuine every-down back with breakaway speed.
Matt Wadleigh is the best in Eastern Washington. Cooper Kupp, to be precise. With Stafford at the helm, the Rams offense is a force to be reckoned with, and Kupp has enjoyed the advantages more than anyone else. Can you picture what will happen if Cam Akers returns healthy?
Defensive Player of the Year
Brandon Austin: Before the Broncos burned him, I would’ve said Trevon Diggs. Myles Garrett has been a model of consistency and, regardless of position, is one of the most dominating players in the game. The figures are self-evident.
Trevon Diggs wins by a hair over Garrett, according to Tim Crean. While sacks are essential, interceptions can make or break a game, and Diggs snatched them up at an unprecedented pace in the first half of the season. Plus, in eight games, he only has one less touchdown than his All-Pro WR brother, Stefon.
Jake Elman: Myles Garrett is tormenting opposing offensive lineman and is on pace to exceed 20 sacks for the first time since Aaron Donald in 2018. Is he capable of breaking Al Baker’s single-season sack record of 23?
David Esser: Trevon Diggs will garner votes due of his high interception total, but it’s worth noting that his coverage marks aren’t the finest. He’s just a fantastic ballhawk. With that said, Myles Garrett takes the cake with his league-leading 12.0 sacks. This season, he might easily end with 20 or more sacks. (Darius Leonard gets an honorable mention.) He has two interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Andrew Kulha: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a ballhawk like Trevon Diggs. He’s a natural cover artist, and I like his playing style. He’s a wide receiver who also plays cornerback.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): Trevon Diggs, in my opinion, deserves the honor right now. Not only does he have the most interceptions in the NFL with seven, but he also has the most passes defended with a dozen. Myles Garrett, who leads the league in sacks with 12 in nine games, is also deserving of some votes. T.J. Watt, on the other hand, is close behind him with 11.5. And he’s just played seven games so far.
Myles Garrett could eventually earn his first of multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards this season, according to Stephen Sheehan. In nine games, he’s already tallied up 12 sacks and 23 QB hits, putting him on track to beat his prior highs of 13.5/28 set in 2018. Garrett is the world’s most physically talented defensive end, and he exploits his unusual athleticism to cause havoc on a weekly basis.
Matt Wadleigh: There’s a case to be made for Myles Garrett and Trevon Diggs here. T.J. Watt, on the other hand, is my pick. The Steelers’ All-Pro edge rusher has been paid, and he’s demonstrating that he’s well worth it. He has one more tackle and is half a sack behind Garrett. In more ways than one, the race between the Steelers and Browns is tightening.
Coach of the Year
Matt LaFleur had a 33-8 record in his first 41 regular-season games as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Sean McVay is 26-15 in the same time frame. pic.twitter.com/Wge3LunQ97
November 9, 2021 — IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE Packers)
Brandon Austin: The Ravens have been dealt a poor hand in 2021, much like Lamar Jackson. Even yet, they’ve found a way to come out on top in tight games. Every time they’re knocked down, they get up. With a 6-2 record, Baltimore has as strong a chance as any AFC club to make a playoff push.
Mike Vrabel played under Bill Cowher and Bill Belichick, two of the finest coaches in the previous 40 years, and learned that a solid offensive line, a ferocious defense, and limiting errors will win you football games in any period. Why can’t a club like this, with the finest first-half coach in the NFL, make a long run in a year with no AFC superpowers?
Jake Elman: Since an abysmal Week 1 defeat to the New Orleans Saints, Matt LaFleur has kept his club afloat. This prize should be his if he keeps the team winning despite Aaron Rodgers’ controversy.
On paper, the Titans are a good football squad, but nothing spectacular. David Esser: Mike Vrabel’s talent is shown by the fact that they are 7-2. They’ve also defeated the Seahawks, Chiefs, Bills, Rams, and Colts twice already this season. Those aren’t low-cost victories.
Andrew Kulha: On Thursday Night Football, Matt LaFleur led his squad to the desert and defeated an undefeated Arizona Cardinals club that was without numerous players, including Davante Adams. The Packers have been plagued by injuries this season, but LaFleur’s only goal is to win.
Luke Norris: Kliff Kingsbury is obviously the obvious choice, but I’m going to take a different approach. And, although this may come as a surprise to some, I’m siding with Bruce Arians on this one. Sure, the Buccaneers were expected to perform well after returning all 22 starters from the Super Bowl-winning team. But how many times has a defending champion failed to deliver? Arians has his squad focused, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tampa Bay wins back-to-back titles for the first time since Brady and Belichick’s Patriots did it more than a decade and a half ago.
Stephen Sheehan: Kliff Kingsbury was on the hot seat heading into the season. All his team did was start 7-0 before falling by a score to the Green Bay Packers. In the third year of Kingsbury’s tenure, the Arizona Cardinals seem capable of making a long postseason run.
Matt Wadleigh: You can call me a homer if you want to. Brandon Staley, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the Chargers. With Anthony Lynn in charge, this squad is a world apart from the 2020 version. The intensity is palpable, and Staley’s ridiculous 4th down calls are becoming the norm. Oh, and this club has a good chance of winning the AFC West.
Coach with the Worst Record
The Bears are 27-21 with Mitch Trubisky as the starting quarterback under Matt Nagy’s leadership, and 7-16 with all other quarterbacks. Trubisky has 64 touchdowns and 37 interceptions, while the other Nagy quarterbacks combined for 25 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. A majority of the blame should have gone to Nagy’s strategies and play calls, not Trubisky.
November 9, 2021 — Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith)
Brandon Austin: Mike McCarthy is the worst coach I’ve ever seen in charge of a 6-2 club. He makes poor judgments week after week. He’s been given a great squad that makes him seem more skilled than he is.
Tim Crean (interviewer): It’s Kyle Shanahan, and I’ll be the one to say it. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes He’s a mind-boggling offensive genius! He’s a renowned coach’s son! Sean McVay is one of his pals! However, he has one more victory in five seasons than Matt Nagy had in four. If his name was Kyle Smith, he’d already be fired.
Jake Elman: I’ll support Matt Nagy when I can, but his handling of the Justin Fields issue throughout the summer and autumn was appalling. Why he wouldn’t want to promote his rookie quarterback is a mystery to me, and it might cost Nagy his job. And there’s the 3-6 record.
Esser, David: It’s not Urban Meyer, which is surprising. Instead, I’d want to suggest Robert Saleh, a first-year head coach. The Jets’ offense looks exactly as terrible under Saleh as it did under Adam Gase, while their defense (Saleh is a former defensive coordinator) ranks third in the NFL in projected points produced by defense. For the second week in a row, they’re starting Mike White? It’s simply filthy all over. Zach Wilson is a victim of circumstance.
Andrew Kulha (Kulha, Andrew): Here’s where I’m going to say something provocative. Andy Reid has been regarded as an offensive genius several times. The fact that he hasn’t been able to identify Patrick Mahomes’ difficulties this season, and the offense, despite having Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, seems to be suffocating? Reid is the one I would choose.
Luke Norris: Urban Meyer has no business coaching in the NFL, and Trevor Lawrence’s career will suffer as a result of the Jaguars’ blunder. Before I go into a 3,000-word editorial, I’ll stop there.
Brian Flores’ value has dropped considerably in recent months, according to Stephen Sheehan. The Miami Dolphins, coming off a 10-6 season, have been the league’s most disappointing club, winning only two games and raising major worries about the franchise’s future. Let’s not forget about the drama produced by all the speculation regarding Tua Tagovailoa being traded for Deshaun Watson.
Matt Wadleigh: I think you should give Dan Campbell a break on this one. As a result, I’m going with Matt Nagy. What was he thinking when he started Andy Dalton? Last year, this Bears club reached the playoffs (yes, really). Nagy’s stay in Chicago should have come to an end a long time ago.
The Most Surprising Fact (Team or Player)
Austin, Brandon: No one anticipated the Cardinals to start as hot as they did, much less to be on the verge of winning the NFC West. Before being injured, Kyler Murray was playing at an MVP level. It’ll be fascinating to see whether they can maintain their position at the top in the second half of the season.
Tim Crean (interviewer): I would have believed you if you told me before the season that the Kansas City Chiefs would be 5-4 at halftime and that their defense would be the worst in franchise history. “No way!” I would have replied if you told me Patrick Mahomes would look bad, pass for less yards than Jordan Love, lead the league in interceptions, and Andy Reid would have no solutions to remedy any of that. But that’s where we’re at right now.
Jake Elman: The Kansas City Chiefs are the obvious choice, but the Washington Football Team has disappointed me. What happened to the ostensibly top-tier defense? Perhaps it’s time for a new moniker.
The Raiders of Las Vegas, according to David Esser. Despite all of the drama and injuries, they’re 5-3 and have a legitimate opportunity at winning the AFC West, which includes the Chargers and Chiefs. It’s all pretty amazing things coming from a team that is now without a permanent head coach.
Andrew Kulha (Kulha, Andrew): I’m astonished the Rams have already dropped two games. Stafford has elevated their offensive, while Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are on the defensive side. They’ve lost to two excellent teams, but their flaws have been revealed.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): With Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals, I’ll stop here. Nobody could have predicted the Cardinals would be 8-1 and in first place in the NFC at the midway mark. But remember last year, when the Steelers went 11-0 and ended third in the AFC before falling in the first round of the playoffs? For whatever reason, I’m getting the same sense with this Cardinals club.
Stephen Sheehan: What happened to Patrick Mahomes’ dazzling version? Despite upgrading their offensive line, the Chiefs have struggled to protect their franchise quarterback. As a consequence, the NFL’s highest-paid player ranks 16th in QBR, below the Dolphins’ poor quarterback tandem of Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Cordarrelle Patterson In nine seasons, he has played for five different teams. Patterson, formerly seen as a glorified return guy, has risen to the position of starting running back and receiving threat. Oh, and the Falcons are still in contention for a postseason berth. They didn’t really need Julio Jones after all.
Team with the Most Overrated Players
Austin, Brandon: The Kansas City Chiefs are still the most overrated team, despite their poor start. I’m sick of hearing that Patrick Mahomes is impossible to beat. He’s a big part of why the Chiefs are where they are now. He can’t make up for a historically awful defense, no matter how talented he is.
Tim Crean: As much as it hurts me to say it, the Buffalo Bills are the team to beat right now. The Bills aren’t the Super Bowl contender many believe they are until offensive coordinator Brian Daboll takes his head out of his — I mean, calls better plays, and Josh Allen begins making wiser choices.
Jake Elman: Please don’t attempt to persuade me to support the New Orleans Saints. I didn’t like for them while Jameis Winston was there, and I don’t care for them now. They aren’t going to win the NFC South, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t make the playoffs at all.
The Green Bay Packers, according to David Esser. They’re 7-2, after all, and one of those defeats came with Jordan Love at the helm. However, we’ve heard this narrative many times before. In the playoffs, I’ll take the Buccaneers and Rams over the Packers every time.
Arizona Cardinals, Andrew Kulha. I can’t trust Kliff Kingsbury unless he wins anything significant. He’s always been all flash and no substance, dating back to his days at Texas Tech.
Luke Norris (Luke Norris): Because of everything I said about the Cardinals in the prior category, they’re also my selection here. Is it true that they are an excellent football team? Absolutely. Is it safe to say that I’m sold on them as a great football team? Certainly not.
Stephen Sheehan: The Los Angeles Chargers are 5-3, but they aren’t a legitimate Super Bowl contender right now. Sure, Justin Herbert has had his moments of brilliance. And the defense has displayed glimpses of brilliance…on occasion. However, Brandon Staley’s team has lost to the Cowboys, Patriots, and Ravens (a 34-6 thrashing), indicating that the Chargers are still a year away. Furthermore, a -2 point disparity does not seem to be very noteworthy.
Buffalo Bills’ Matt Wadleigh (hot take alert). In all seriousness, this team’s running game is non-existent. Josh Allen is the team’s second-leading rusher, behind only Devin Singletary by 36 yards. That is in no way a good thing. Sure, the defense is strong, but a one-dimensional offense isn’t enough, particularly with a crowded AFC playoff field.
The Most Underappreciated Team
Austin, Brandon: In my perspective, the Titans are grossly undervalued. When Derrick Henry went down, many feared their season was finished, but they went on to beat the Rams in prime time. Mike Vrabel is a tough coach who is well-liked by his players. An inspired ball club can never be counted out.
Tim Crean (interviewer): Is it true that the Bengals lost to the Bears and Jets? Yes. They do, however, boast a youthful, dynamic attack and an underappreciated defense, both of which have the potential to improve in the second half. Don’t write off the Bengals; despite their missteps, they have a chance to make a postseason push in the next nine weeks.
Over the next two weeks, keep a watch on the Indianapolis Colts, according to Jake Elman. Frank Reich is underappreciated, and Carson Wentz has done much more than anybody wants to realize. The absence of a dominating club in the AFC in 2021 might clear the door for a deep playoff run by the Colts.
Jake beat me to it, but I’m 100 percent on board with the Colts. David Esser: Jake beat me to it, but I’m 100 percent on board with the Colts. They had a string of bad luck early on, with injuries and a grueling schedule. Now that everyone is well again, they seem to be the same age as they were in 2020. Oh, and Carson Wentz is killing it, despite the occasional boneheaded turnover.
Andrew Kulha: Despite their 7-2 record, I have to choose the Packers. Without David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, or Za’Darius Smith, they have won seven straight games. Three of their top five players have left the team, although they are anticipated to return at some point this season. Look out if Green Bay ever reaches full power.
Luke Norris: I’m going with the Titans on this one. They are, in fact, 7-2. Yes, they are presently the AFC’s top seed. However, if you listen to the talking heads on the major networks, they don’t seem to receive nearly as much love as other teams. And, as Brandon indicated, they suffered a major setback when Derrick Henry went down and went out on Sunday Night Football and burned the Rams. They did it on the road, too.
Stephen Sheehan: The Patriots are just one game above.500, but they’re on the right track and have the pieces in place on both sides of the ball to make a strong run in the wide-open AFC East. New England’s retooled defense ranks fourth in points allowed, the ever-evolving offense is a top-10 scoring unit, and Bill Belichick’s presence gives this squad a genuine opportunity to make a postseason impact.
Matt Wadleigh: This will make Stephen happy: New England Patriots. I’m not sure why people want to undermine Bill Belichick. They put a lot of money into free agency, and it seems to be working so far. In the AFC East, the Patriots are now right behind the Bills.
Quote of the Year
Remembering Ty Johnson’s comment from last week: “He’s a hottie. Now, come on. Mike White is his name.” #Jets
October 31, 2021 — Rich Cimini (@RichCimini)
“Everyone can b**** about how difficult it is to play in this city,” Brandon Austin says. Simply said, if you play better, this city will adore you.” — Center for the Philadelphia Eagles Ben Simmons, according to Jason Kelce (Obviously, thank you, Captain)
“Hands on shoulders is my mentality,” says Tim Crean. — Steve Spurrier, former head coach of the WFT, offers guidance to Urban Meyer, former head coach of the Florida Gators.
“He’s a stud,” Jake Elman says. Now, come on. Mike White is his name.” – Ty Johnson, running back for the New York Jets.
“You don’t sit there and stare at a deuce,” David Esser says. You flush it and get on with your life. “We’re going to flush it out and move on.” – Jalen Hurts, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles
“I’ve had you all my f***** life!” says Andrew Kulha. “I own you, and I will continue to own you.” — Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, addressing Chicago Bears supporters
Luke Norris: I have to include two in mine. “He’s not entirely at ease with it yet.” I know that seems dumb, but if you’ve never done it before, it’s something we need to keep [working on] so we can make the right decision in that scenario.” — Urban Meyer, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, on his choice not to execute a quarterback sneak with Trevor Lawrence after going for it twice on fourth-and-inches on the goal line — “No. I’m at ease here. I haven’t used it in a game yet, but I’m confident in it… No, QB sneak is something we can do at any time, and I’m OK with it.” — Lawrence, who is 6-foot-6, on running quarterback sneaks — Meyer’s lack of knowledge is shown yet again.
Stephen Sheehan: “I can go out there and play three positions if my mother can work three jobs.” “Why can’t I do for us what she did?” Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons receiver/running back
“It’s a holy mantle for someone to call you Coach,” Matt Wadleigh says. — Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley’s reaction to the Jon Gruden incident
In Super Bowl 56, who will be on the field?
The Vince Lombardi Trophy of the National Football League | Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, by Brandon Austin
The Ravens have faced a lot of hardship this season, but they’ve handled it all in stride. This is a tough football squad led by one of the greatest players in the league. The AFC is wide open, and this may be Baltimore’s best shot to win it all. The NFC is led by Tom Brady. I believe they will regain their health at the appropriate moment and will be a formidable opponent for any other challenger. The Super Bowl matchup between Lamar Odom and Tom Brady is a must-see event.
Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers, by Tim Crean
Despite the fact that the Bills are presently the most overrated team, the defense is so outstanding that it can compensate for offensive shortcomings, and despite a bad first half, I have faith in Dabol and Allen to reclaim their 2020 form. For the Packers, the 2021 offseason was all about Aaron Rodgers at the start, it’s still all about Aaron Rodgers halfway through the season, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be all about Aaron Rodgers on the last day of the season.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals, by Jake Elman
This seems to be one of those years when a random club will reach the playoffs. The Bengals have a strong offense as well as a solid defense. I absolutely anticipate them to make a long postseason run if they can bounce back from two tough defeats and get back on track. Aside from Mike F-ing White, Matthew Stafford is the finest quarterback story in the NFL for the Rams. With the Rams winning 28-24, I’ll take these two.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens, by David Esser
The AFC is in shambles right now, and Lamar Jackson is putting up incredible numbers late in games. This seems to be the year he and the Ravens make it to the Super Bowl. Long ago, I quit betting against Tom Brady. He’s my choice to play in the Super Bowl as long as he’s healthy.
Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens, by Andrew Kulha
As I have said, the Packers will finally get healthy. They’ll have probably the league’s deepest and most battle-tested roster at that point, led by Davante Adams, the reigning MVP and the league’s top wideout. I don’t see a clear powerhouse in the AFC, but I trust John Harbaugh and believe Lamar Jackson will finally take the next step in the playoffs. Wink Martindale is also regarded as one of the top offensive coordinators in the league.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills, by Luke Norris
What the heck, why not?
New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Stephen Sheehan
The Titans are without Derrick Henry, the Bills are coming off a loss to the Jaguars, the Ravens have the 21st-ranked scoring defense, and the Chiefs aren’t the same club they’ve been in previous years. Meanwhile, the Patriots have a top-five defense, a top-10 scoring offense, the best head coach in NFL history, and a rookie quarterback who led Alabama to a national title in January. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers remain the NFL’s most talented team, and when was the last time Aaron Rodgers won a major playoff game?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, by Matt Wadleigh
Yes, Patrick Mahomes is having trouble. The AFC, on the other hand, is a complete toss-up at this time. Someone has to win it, and if Mahomes and the Chiefs get going, they’ll be hard to stop. On the NFC side, Tom Brady never slows down, and the Buccaneers have an endless supply of weapons. In February, the GOAT will attempt a repeat – and win his eighth Super Bowl. Even though I want to choose the Rams, it’s difficult to bet against Brady in the playoffs.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.