NFL 2021 – AFC North Preview

Three of the four AFC North teams held significant positions in the standings for the 2020 season. The Browns and Steelers battled in the Wild Card weekend only for the Browns to move to lose to eventual AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. After a disappointing playoff game against the Bills, the Ravens are still not over the hump to get to a championship. Here is the quick preview for the 2021 AFC North Division!

Baltimore Ravens

  • Key Additions: OT Alejandro Villanueva, OT  Kevin Zeitler, RB Gus Edwards, G Kevin Zeitler, DE Derek Wolfe, WR Sammy Watkins
  • Key losses: OT Orlando Brown, DE Yannick Ngakoue, OLB Matthew Judon
  • Starting Quarterback: Lamar Jackson
  • Last season: 11-5

    2021 outlook: It almost seems like its time for the Ravens to make that Super Bowl run happen. But then Patrick Mahomes still is employed by the Chiefs and for a long time. The only thing standing in the way of the Ravens getting a shot in Los Angeles in Feburary 2022 for the championship will be themselves being able to win the big playoff games. This team should be in tact to be a top team season after season with the current core roster still in place. It’s Lamar Jackson‘s time to shine again. He’s 1-3 in the playoffs, has thrown more interceptions in the last two playoffs than touchdowns. Something has to give at the QB position to be better in the playoffs otherwise the Ravens are just another great regular season team only. The division is definitely winnable for them this season however.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Key additions: DE Trey Hendrickson, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Mike Hilton, DT Larry Ogunjobi, CB Eli Apple, WR Ja’Marr Chase
  • Key losses: DT Geno Atkins, WR A.J. Green, DE Carl Lawson
  • Starting Quarterback: Joe Burrow
  • Last season: 4-11

    2021 outlook: Burrow was 10 games into his Rookie season before a knee injury derailed the rest of the season. Five interceptions in the 10 games put Burrow at 5th best out of Quarterbacks in 2020. If he even kept that pace you could argue that he was on pace similar to what eventual champion Tom Brady did on paper (12 INT). The Bengals let go some long-time talent this offseason but now focus on a new direction. Ja’Marr Chase was taken with the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft this past spring. A former LSU teammate of Joe Burrow and now reunited in the pros. These college matchups are becoming more common but the Bengals are filling holes to move on from Andy Dalton and now A.J. Green. A hefty part of their offseason was building up the defense. Starting to notice a trend here? Some of the young offensive cores have arguably a better defense than offense which is like a safety net for the young QB and his learning curve. The Bengals are still slated to be around a 4-6 win team. Anything more than that is overachieving.

Cleveland Browns

  • Key additions: DT Marvin Wilson, CB Troy Hill, DE Jadeveon Clowney,
  • Key losses: OT Kendall Lamm, DT Larry Ogunjobi, CB Terrance Mitchell
  • Starting Quarterback: Baker Mayfield
  • Last season: 11-5

    2021 outlook: This is an outlook we can say is very bright. The Browns clearly have talent on both sides of the ball and on paper might be the best of the division (depends who you’re talking to). Cleveland has done nothing but trended upwards last season. After their season opener loss to the Ravens last season, they went on a four game win-streak and never looked back. In fact they would win another four games in a row later in the season to finally beat the Steelers in the Wild Card round. Signing Clowney finally and with their current roster makes this defensive line one of the top tiers in the league. Something is working in Cleveland and the offensive core seems set with Baker Mayfield at the helm, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb as targets and serious threats for any defense in the NFL. The Browns are set up this season on paper to make serious noise as an AFC contender. However, their divsion rival, the Baltimore Ravens could force the Browns into the Wild Card weekend again if the competition stays close this season. Will the Browns take the leap to contenders this season? Let’s find out.

Pittsburg Steelers

  • Key additions: OT Joe Haeg, C BJ Finney, RB Kalen Ballage, QB Dwayne Haskins
  • Key losses: CB Mike Hilton, CB Steven Nelson, OLB Bud Dupree
  • Starting Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
  • Last season: 12-4

    2021 outlook: There might be a new division leader this season should the Steelers not have some sort of overacheiving part of their season in 2021. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is back on a one-year deal and the Steelers have more key losses than additions to help their case in 2021. The division is obviously much better with Cleveland and Baltimore but it feels like they haven’t gotten up to speed with the arms race in the division. One extra win made the difference between the Steelers having to let a tie breaker decide on who won the division last season. Pittsburg would have won all tie breaker scenarios against the Browns and Ravens but an overacheiving 11-0 start helped that cause. The most the Steelers can hope for is to squeeze out wins against the division rivals. They’ll have games that are winable against Denver, Cincinatti twice, Chicago, and Detroit. However, that’s as far as you could say are sure wins as the rest of the schedule plays out against tough teams like Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Buffalo, Green Bay, Seattle, and Kansas City.

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NFL 2021 – NFC East Preview

We will start this preview with a little more positive thoughts. Dak Prescott is supposed to return from his gruesome injury last season. The Eagles are trying out a Quarterback change while Washington is still the Washington Football team. Post-Eli Manning isn’t looking too great for the New York Giants but Saquon Barkley also needs a consistent healthy season. Health is WEALTH in the NFC East this season.

Here is the quick preview for the 2021 NFC East Division!

Dallas Cowboys

  • Key Additions: LB Micah Parsons, LB Keanu Neal, CB Kelvin Joseph, DB Damontae Kazee, DL Chauncey Golston, DL Osa Odighizuwa
  • Key losses: CB Chidobe Awuzie, QB Andy Dalton, OT Cam Erving, LB Joe Thomas
  • Starting Quarterback: Dak Prescott
  • Last season: 6-10

    2021 outlook: In the first five games for the Cowboys 2020 season they were 2-3 and had a bit of an underwhelming start for a team primed to win the divison. Prescott going down in the fifth game (although Dallas won that game), set the tone for the rest of the season. A lousey 6-10 season and Ezekiel Elliot rushing for a career low 979 yards all season helped the 7-9 Washington Football Team capture the divison in 2020. Prescott was slowed by a should strain entering the 2021 training camp. However, the Cowboys and Dak are both taking things slow and awaiting for September 9th’s season opener in Tampa to determine his status. The Cowboys come into this season as the most polished team overall in the division if healthly. Sure 979 yards for Elliot was his worse so it can only get better from there. Again, barring injuries to key players will be the best thing in order for Dallas to win the NFC East this season. Favorites to win the division but a long way to be considered contenders for the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Key additions: OL Landon Dickerson, CB Steven Nelson, WR Greg Ward
  • Key losses: QB – Carson Wentz, WR DeSean Jackson
  • Starting Quarterback: Jalen Hurts
  • Last season: 4-11

    2021 outlook: The Jalen Hurts era officially begins in Phildelphia. Signing Joe Flacco is a sign and security for Hurts to know that the Eagles are fully committed to him as their prime QB1. The Eagles appear to move on with their lives away from Wentz and enter a rebuild? Drafting WR Devonta Smith is hope that him and Hurts turn out to be one hell of a fast QB and WR combo that defenses struggle to keep up with. The Eagles signed Shane Steichen as the new offensive coordinator. The positive in that is Steichen can be credited with the success of Chargers young QB Justin Herbert. Dallas Goedert is the favorable Tight End now that Zach Ertz is a thing of Philly’s past like Carson Wentz. What doesn’t give much hope to Phildelphia is their schedule. This season they will face the NFC South that includes Tampa Bay and New Orleans as more superior teams. Kansas City, San Francisco, Los Angeles Chargers, and Dallas twice means the Eagles may have a tough window winning more than 7 games.

New York Giants

  • Key additions: WR Kenny Golladay, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Kadarius Toney, CB Adoree’ Jackson, OLB Azeez Ojulari
  • Key losses: DT – Dalvin Tomlinson, OLB Kyler Fackrell, QB Colt McCoy
  • Starting Quarterback: Daniel Jones
  • Last season: 6-10

    2021 outlook: Can Saquon Barkley stay healthy finally? That is the biggest question for a team that seemed to be on the brink of top five draft pick last season. The third game of the 2020 season started a long season without Barkely who was injured with a torn ACL. The star running back also has missed 17 games in three seasons. If you’re good at math he’s basically missed a season worth of games. Daniel Jones is the post-Eli Manning Quarterback who doesn’t seem to live up to expectations as the next best thing for the Giants. This season the Giants will have new additions at the Wide Receiver position for Jones to target but Barkley staying healthy would open up wonders for the Giants on offense. Defensively, the Giants can defend the run well and their defensive additions this season should improve their defense overall. How do the Giants pan out this season in the division or NFC? Possibily as close as the Washington Football Team’s 7-9 record last season but missing the playofs.

Washington Football Team

  • Key additions: QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick, T Gabe Wright, OL Najee Toran
  • Key losses: OT Geron Christian, DE Ryan Kerrigan, S Bobby McCain
  • Starting Quarterback: QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Last season: 7-9

    2021 outlook: The defending division CHAMPS! That’s right the Washington Football Team might not have a clear cut name or mascot however, they are champions of something. Securing the fourth seed in the playoffs meant hosting a playoff home game last season. However, that home game was against the eventual champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Chase Young as the standout on their defensive side, Washington’s best attribute is their defense. However, on the offensive side is the biggest question mark. Sure Fitzmagic tried his best to push the Dolphins into the playoffs but he isn’t the answer to a long term future at Quaterback for this team. WR Terry McLaurin is the best option to throw at and the run game is Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Defensively, Washington could maybe pull out 3-4 wins and an overacheiving 2-3 more wins with Fitzpatrick’s leadership? If all bodes well for the Cowboys this season sorry Washington, back to the bottom you battle for in the NFC East.

NFL 2021- AFC East Preview

Surprise surprise at the Miami Dolphins last season? A division that Tom Brady in a New England Patriots jersey once couldn’t see much success in for years. The newest division leader that comes up is the Buffalo Bills. Besides that, the Dolphins gave one hell of a run to almost make the playoffs. The Patriots were active this past offseason and maybe the tables have turned. The AFC East finally a more competitive division overall?

Here is the quick preview for the 2021 AFC East Division!

Buffalo Bills

  • Key Additions: RB – Matt Breida, QB Mitchell Trubisky,
  • Key losses: WR – John Brown
  • Starting Quarterback: Josh Allen
  • Last season: 13-3

    2021 outlook: The Bills should still be favored to win this division however, there could be just a little more flavor added to the mix this season. The Dolphins and Patriots appear to come into the 2021 season a little bit more prepared to be taken seriously. Should it bother the Bills winning the division? No. The real problem for Buffalo is going to be overcoming the more serious threats in the AFC. That’s right, looking at Baltimore, Kansas City, Tennessee, and Cleveland. Buffalo is seeking its third straight winning season and trip to the Super Bowl. Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Emmanuel Sanders are the best targets to throw to and the Bills add Matt Breida to the mix in the backfield. Sounds like they are staying put with most of last year’s defensive roster but that’s the key. The Bills defense will have to flex this season since no major additions was added to that side this past offseason.

Miami Dolphins

  • Key additions: QB – Jacoby Brissett, RB Malcolm Brown, DT – Adam Butler, CB – Justin Coleman, WR – Will Fuller V
  • Key losses: QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick, LB – Kyle Van Noy, NT – Davon Godchaux
  • Starting Quarterback: QB – Tua Tagovailoa
  • Last season: 10-6

    2021 outlook: Rumors of Dashaun Watson preferring Miami as a destination once was the glarious of times until his legal troubles came to light. The Dolphins might see that as a blessing in disguise as they are now focused on Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick is now the Quarterback of the Washington Football as the Dolphins stay with their main offensive core as last season. Adding Will Fuller V is a huge deal for a WR core that needed a player with some explosiveness. Tua’s inexperience could be overshadowed if Fuller stays healthy and able to give his young QB more confidence to throw. The defense for Miami improved nonetheless and has been their strong point while allowing the offense to groom over the past couple of seasons. With an added 17 weeks don’t be suprise if the Dolphins win 10+ games this season. Miami also can’t bank on getting better as why they’ll win more as the Patriots could make the argument as well and spice up the division battle.

New England Patriots

  • Key additions: QB – Mac Jones, TE- Hunter Henry, WR – Nelson Agholor, TE – Jonnu Smith, LB – Kyle Van Noy
  • Key losses: DT – Adam Butler, S – Terrence Brooks, LB – Matthew Judon
  • Starting Quarterback: Mac Jones
  • Last season: 7-9

    2021 outlook: With the official news that Cam Newton is no longer with the Patriots, guess who? Mac Jones! The worse part about this for Cam is that the Patriots were active this past offseason. Adding some offensive threats in Smith and Henry as the prime Tight Ends and Nelson Agholor as a receiver. This is more appealing than what the Patriots put on the table for Newton last season. However, the bright spot is that the Patroits went 7-9 and really worked the free agency to fill their gaps or re-sign key defensive players. New England, on paper, should be knocking on the door of the division championship against Buffalo this season. With Belichick still at the helm it’s hard to count the Patriots out but talent of the Ravens, Chiefs, and Browns could outlast them in the AFC.

New York Jets

  • Key additions: QB – Zach Wilson, DE – Carl Lawson, DE – Vinny Curry, RB Tevin Coleman, WR – Keelan Cole, WR Corey Davis, CB Justin Hardee
  • Key losses: QB- Sam Darnold, OLB – Jordan Jenkins, WR – Breshad Perriman, DE – Henry Anderson
  • Starting Quarterback: QB – Zach Wilson
  • Last season: 2-14

    2021 outlook: The Jets gave up on Sam Darnold three years in and now with new Head Coach Robert Saleh. The hiring of Saleh hopes to add some of his defensive sucess he’s had as the Defense Coordinator of the San Fransisco 49ers from 2017-2020. However, hot from the draft is QB Zach Wilson who the Jets won a measly 2 games just to secure the BYU product. Not saying that’s a bad thing however, the offense features RB Tevin Coleman and WR Jamison Crowder at best beyond the QB position. Jeff Ulbrich was hired by Saleh to run the defense. However, the best defensive signing was DE Carl Lawson to beef up the defensive line but don’t expect much from the Jets secondary. Saleh hasn’t gotten the full opportunity to rebuild the defensive side in one summer. Expect much of the same for the Jets in 2021 as they did in 2020. A few winable games on their schedule but hopefully a fun game on December 26th as Wilson faces off against the number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars.

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NFL 2021 – AFC West Preview

The NFC South and the AFC West may have a very compelling argument that their respective division winners last season are in the same boat, almost I add. While the Buccaneers returned all of their starting championship squad the Cheifs had minor roster changes but look to easily win the 2021 AFC West Division this season yet again. With that said the Denver Broncos bring in a new Quarterback while the Chargers have hope with their young Quarterback, Justin Herbert. What did the Raiders do to get better?

Here is the quick preview for the 2021 AFC West Division!

Denver Broncos

  • Key Additions: CB Kyler Fuller, CB Ronald Darby, RB Javonte Williams
  • Key losses: A.J. Bouye
  • Starting Quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater
  • Last season: 5-11

    2021 outlook: The Broncos focused a little more on bolstering up their defense this past offseason and reasonably so. Teddy Bridgewater gets the start but it could still be a long year for the Broncos on offense. However, their bright spot is WR Jerry Jeudy and WR Courtland Sutton returns from an ACL injury. The backfield is Melvin Gordon who had his best rushing reason since 2018 (885 yards with L.A. Chargers). He rushed for 986 yards in 2020, his first year as a Bronco. The Broncos chose Patrick Surtain II in the 2021 Draft and RB Javonte Williams that also can play a huge part next to Denver’s respective pro bowl talent. They’ll be facing some solid defenses such as Baltimore, Kansas City (twice), and Cleveland. Unless the offense overachieves the Broncos are looking at another 5-11 season scenario.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Key additions: OT – Orlando Brown, G – Joe Thuney, DT – Jarran Reed
  • Key losses: T – Eric Fisher, T- Mitchell Schwartz
  • Starting Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes
  • Last season: 14-2

    2021 outlook: We can argue that the Chiefs sort of coasted into the Super Bowl last season. They dodged a bullet in the playoffs when Patrick Mahomes went out in the playoffs against the Browns. However, they squeeked out a 22-17 win. They had no problem beating up the Bills 38-24 but Super Bowl LV was a different beast. Could we very well see another repeat of the Buccaneers and Chiefs in Super Bowl LVI? Absoluately, with Mahomes manning this team the sky is the limit. They addressed beefing up the frontline that Mahomes sit behind. That could almost be equal as Tampa brining back their entire starting roster.

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Key additions: WR John Brown, C- Nick Martin, DE- Yannick Ngakoue
  • Key losses: T – Trent Brown, C- Rodney Hudson, G – Gabe Jackson
  • Starting Quarterback: Derek Carr
  • Last season: 8-8

    2021 outlook: Las Vegas and their shiney new arena is lovely but an 8-8 season may have been a little underwhelming for it’s debut season. Did the Raiders go out and get better this season? That is hard to say with their way of attempting to retool an offensive line. If the O-line didn’t get any better this season what are we to expect? John Brown is a nice addition to the team this season next to Henry Ruggs III. Josh Jacobs is trending upwards as a consistent 1,000-yard rusher a season as he’s rushed for 1,000-plus yards in his first two seasons with the Raiders. Gus Bradley takes over as the defensive coordinator with a little overhaul of personnel on the defensive side for this team. Their biggest question mark will be if the defensive end performs there shouldn’t be a reason this team knocks on the door of the playoffs or secures a wild card spot at least.

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Key additions: Head Coach Brandon Staley, OT – Rashawn Slater, TE Jared Cook
  • Key losses: TE Hunter Henry, LB – Melvin Ingram
  • Starting Quarterback: Justin Herbert
  • Last season: 7-9

    2021 outlook: Brandon Staley its go time for the new Head Coach. He’s taking over responsibility of calling the defensive plays but most importantly says he’s open to hearing his team’s suggestions for offensive. The Chargers look great with a line up of Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Kenan Allen, and Mike Williams. Justin Jackson sits in the backfield behind Ekeler. It sounds like we may not get much of an idea of the offense in reality until the season wears on. However, defensively the Chargers will need Derwin James Jr. in the line up next to Joey Bosa, Drue Tranquill, and Kenneth Murray Jr. All names mentioned are probably the best bet for Staley to succeed defensively. However, the talent may be lacking behind them. Herbet has proven he’s a QB1 in the NFL. Another step in the right direction could help the Chargers knock on the door of the playoffs. However, it would be shocking if they finished last in this division (see Denver).

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NFL 2021 – NFC South Preview

Fire the cannons? The Tampa Buccaneers enter the 2021 season as the NFL’s defending champions. They also return all starters from offense and defense for another run at a title. Clearly, they are the clear favorites in this division this season. Only one other NFC South team returns a Quarterback from last year, that being the Falcons. The Panthers welcome in Sam Darnold and the Saints are still figuring out who will start out of Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill.

Here is the quick preview for the 2021 NFC South Division!

Altanta Falcons

  • Key Additions: Drafted TE – Kyle Pitts, re-signed RB – D’Onta Freeman, re-signed DE – Dante Fowler
  • Key losses: WR – Julio Jones (traded to TEN)
  • Starting Quarterback: Matt Ryan
  • Last season: 4-12 (4th in NFC South)

    2021 outlook: Julio Jones is in Tennesse and it seems like Matt Ryan favors his other receivers anyways. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage return as targets. A new comer rookie Kyle Pitts also should be a favorable option for Ryan. The Tight End was draft in the 2021 draft as the Falcons lost TE Austin Hooper to the Browns. With Brees retiring and the Panthers making another QB change, the door is open for the Falcons to possibly surprise or disappoint. They’ll be chasing the Buccaneers all season long for the division but playoffs? You’re asking the Falcons to at least go no more than 9 losses if the NFC standings allows an 8-8 team to qualify for the playoffs. The highest cieling for this team?

Carolina Panthers

  • Key additions: QB – Sam Darnold (via trade), CB – Jaycee Horn, DE – Morgan Fox, DE/LB – Haason Reddick, LB – Denzel Perryman, LB – Frankie Luvu, CB – A.J. Bouye, and CB – Rashaan Melvin
  • Key losses: QB – Teddy Bridgewater (traded to DEN)
  • Starting Quarterback: Sam Darnold (assumed)
  • Last season: 5-11 (3rd in NFC South)

    2021 outlook: Carolina makes up one of two NFC South teams that we can say is “rebuilding”. Out goes Bridgewater as QB and here comes Sam Darnold to prove himself again. Can Darnold overachieve and put the Panthers as a winning ball club this season? If you believe in schedule strength based on last season’s records then, the Panthers have an easy schedule for the most part. Their October schedule features five Sunday games and three of them against NFC East teams (Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants). They also are scheduled to play only four teams that made the playoffs last season (Buccaneers, Saints, Washington, and the Bills). We probably would be more surprised if this team goes the season competing for a .500 record.

New Orleans Saints

  • Key additions: WR – Jalen McCleskey, FB – Alex Armah, DE – Tanoh Kpassagnon
  • Key losses: QB – Drew Brees (retirement), TE – Jared Cook, LB – Kwon Alexander, DT – Malcom Brown, WR – Emmanuel Sanders
  • Starting Quarterback: Jameis Winston
  • Last season: 12-4 (1st in NFC South)

    2021 outlook: the Saints coming marching in errr, Jameis Winston does actually now that he is announced as the QB1. WR Michael Thomas is going to miss time and with a new QB (and hopefully it’s not a caresoual between Winston and Hill) the Saints will struggle to find their new indentity in the post-Brees era. They start the season with a test against the Packers and could be a .500 football team by Week 5 and then face the Seahawks and Buccaneers in Week 6 and 7 respectively. With the extra game this season and the defensive core still in place the Saints could jump into the playoffs on Wild Card weekend.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Key additions: Re-signed entire starting unit from offense and defense
  • Key losses: Maybe thinking about the 5 games they lost last season?
  • Starting Quarterback: Tom Brady
  • Last season: 11-5 (2nd in NFC South)

    2021 outlook: at this point can we expect the Buccaneers not to try for 17-0? What can top last season’s journey? Only thing we can think of is repeating as the 2021 NFL Champions. Again, barring serious injuries disclaimer here the Buccaneers are primed as one of the best champions of recent time to repeat. Their defensive is well respected and intact the same as last year. The only thing that the Buccaneers had was extra time to get better prepared for this season. As for this division consider it Tampa’s again in 2021.

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NFL 2021 Preseason brings on a few changes

We gotta say it. Are you ready for some football? The NFL 2021 Preseason is here!

The NFL will return with a formal preseason for the 2021 season. COVID-19 is still around but it will not cancel the preseason like last season.

Tom Brady is coming off of his 7th NFL Championship and the defending champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers return all starters from their 2020 roster.

Out in the NFC, the Quarterback position enters with a few notable narratives. Brady got richer while the Packers almost saw their 2021 season without Aaron Rodgers. However, Rodgers and Green Bay kissed and made up for the 2021 season for now.

It will sure be strange not to see that number nine in black and gold. Drew Brees has retired for good but the Saints still have a decision to make. Who will start at QB for them? Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill? (As of me writing this, they still don’t know).

Russell Wilson demanded that he be more protected and there is a new guy in town as Matthew Stafford commands the Los Angles Rams (can he pull a Tom Brady in his first year and lead the Rams to a Super Bowl in Los Angeles too?). Dak Prescott will probably make a slow return as his status is unclear to be ready for the season opener as he’s dealing with a shoulder injury. Oh, welcome back to the NFC Ryan Fitzpatrick who will command the Washington Football team.

AFC brings more excitement too

We could go on and on and the AFC has its fair share of issues. Deshaun Watson is still employed in the NFL and can play despite his legal battles. Oh hey Carson Wentz, who is welcomed to the AFC as a Colt however, an injury will set back his debut with the team. The Browns and Ravens hang around to compete for the conference that is strongly favored to win by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Did the Patriots draft amazingly well to the point Bill Billichek took offense to Tom’s 7th ring? The Jets are restarting over with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson. Speaking of Rookies, how can I speak on the number two overall pick and not mention the number one overall?

Trevor Lawrence hello! Urban Meyer is the head coach, Trevor has his Runningback from Clemson, Travis Etienne, and hold on TIM TEBOW? The Jacksonville Jaguars certainly are worth watching now. Did I mention that Julio Jones is now a Tennessee Titan?

Ah, football is BACK and for the next 18 weeks, 32 teams will battle for a chance to a trip to Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI.

2021 NFL Preseason changes

  • Each team will play only three preseason games starting on August 12, 2021 with the Washinton Football Team visiting the New England Patriots.
  • The last preseason games will be played on August 29, 2021
  • Season starts on September 9, 2021 with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Fans are BACK and they can get close however, you have to be vaccinated to get close to players (and no touching them allowed still). Per the NFL 2021 NFL Training Camp and Preseason protocols

Fast facts

  • 2020 NFL Season Champions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Tom Brady Super Bowl LV MVP)
  • 2020 NFL Award Winners
    MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
    Offensive player of year:Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
    Defensive player of year: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
    Offensive rookie of year: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers
    Defensive rookie of year: Chase Young, DE, Washington
    Coach of year: Kevin Stefanski, Browns
    Comeback player of year: Alex Smith, QB, Washington
  • 2021 NFL Season will feature 18 weeks as each team will play 17 games and have one bye week
  • The NFL has advised no games will be rescheduled or added to the end of season in case of COVID-19 outbreaks on teams. Basically, your team better stay healthy or its an L
  • Super Bowl LVI will be played in SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California scheduled for Feburary 13, 2022

Our staff picks will be coming to you weekly from our partners at More NFL coverage from Baseline Times

The July of Drafts – MLB, NBA, and NHL 2021 Draft day breakdown

Professional sports drafts consist of teams choosing athletes that they think are the best fit for their team. All drafts look different based upon the sports that are hosting them. The National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball conduct their drafts differently than others.

National Football League

The National Football league held its draft on April 29th and ended on May 1st, 2021. The selection of players is conducted by college athletes, players from other teams previously in the NFL, and free agents. The draft itself consists of seven rounds, the rounds are split between three days. The first day is only for the first-round draft picks, Friday is selected for second and third rounds and Saturday is for rounds four through seven.

 Each round has 32 picks and each round has a time limit for each team selecting players. On the first day, teams get ten minutes to pick their players, seven minutes in the second round, five minutes through rounds three through six, and four minutes for round seven. The order in which teams select players is based on the team’s success in the previous season. Whichever team did the worst in the season gets the first pick in every round and the Superbowl champions picks last. Slots 1-20 are assigned to teams how didn’t make the playoffs and the Superbowl champions have slot 32 and the last pick in each round.

Players coming out of high school are required to have completed three years and have used their college eligibility before the beginning of the upcoming college football season. Recent college graduates are eligible for the draft within the year of their last collegiate game.

For more information about the NFL Draft, click the link below to stay up to date with all news and schedules following the 2021 draft.

Major League Baseball

The Major League Baseball draft will be held on July 11th-13th 2021 in Denver, Colorado. This year’s draft will last 20 rounds as compared to the 2020 draft that was shortened due to COVID with five rounds. Recent high school graduates and or high school graduates who have completed one year of junior college are eligible for the draft. Athletes attending four-year colleges are eligible by their junior year or when they turn 21 years old.

The draft rounds are structured similarly to the NFL’s draft that being in reverse order by each team’s prior season standing. This year’s order will start with the Pittsburgh Pirates and will end with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the previous World Series Champions from the 2020 season. The Houston Astros were denied their first and second-round picks in 2020 and now in 2021 as punishment for sign stealing. The league also assigns value to each pick in the first ten rounds. The overall total of the salaries can’t go over the total amount for the slot values in the first 10 rounds.

Less than a week until the MLB 2021 draft and the top 100 prospects are being showcased.

The National Basketball Association

The NBA Draft 2021 takes place on July 29, 2021, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. There are two total rounds in the draft and within the 30 teams in the NBA each team gets a pick in each round, therefore 60 players get drafted each year. The NBA conducts the draft by having a Draft lottery, the purpose is so that the team that wins the lottery gets the first pick in the draft instead of the worst team choosing first. This means the first 14 picks are structured by the lottery and the remaining teams are picked similar to other professional sports leagues, by previous team standings in reverse order.

Teams can also trade draft picks before and during the draft process. Eligibility for the draft includes athletes being at least 19 years old and has been graduated from high school for at least one year. Player Eligibility is also guaranteed if the athlete has completed four years at a college/university. Teams have five minutes to choose their desired athlete in each round of the draft.

The top 14 picks for from the NBA draft lottery.

The National Hockey League

The National Hockey League’s 2021 draft begins July 23 and ends on July 24th and is set to be in Secaucus, New Jersey but the players will enter the draft through zoom. Since the draft will be held virtually, day one of the draft will only consist of round one, the following day will hold rounds two through seven. The NHL’s draft process is similar to other professional sports drafts by having draft picks based upon the lottery, previous season standings, and playoff results. Athletes entering the draft are considered if they are 18-20 years old when the draft begins.

The draft consists of 7 rounds and 31 picks are allowed throughout each round. In total players are coming from three different types of organizations to be considered for the draft which includes junior hockey leagues in the US and Canada, European junior and senior hockey leagues, and NCAA teams. Although the age requirements are between 18-20 years old, if players are over 20 years old they can join a team they choose as free agents. This year the draft will start with the Buffalo Sabres with the first pick and the second pick will go to the Seattle Kraken.

A quick guide that includes the top 2021 NHL Draft Prospects along with scouting reports and information about the upcoming draft.

Three Reasons Why Lamar Jackson Deserves Your Respect

The football’s media narrative of Lamar Jackson has been a rollercoaster as of late. Just one year ago, Jackson became the second unanimous MVP in NFL history after setting the single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. He was on the cover of Madden. Every kid on the playground wanted to juke out defenders just like him.

Now, Jackson has fallen out of the ‘elite’ category in many minds. This week, Pro Football Focus (PFF) generated headlines by omitting him from a list of the 50 best players in the league. Why the sudden drop-off? Jackson did fall short of expectations last year, but improving on his historic 2020 season was almost impossible. Don’t let recency bias obscure the fact that Jackson remains one of the most dangerous passers in football today.

1. Even Legends Have Down Years

The NFL media has a habit of declaring that players have lost their touch after a single disappointing season. Just one year ago, the sports world had decided that Aaron Rodgers was entering the decline of his career and had “lost his timing.” He responded by setting career-highs in touchdown passes and completion percentage in his 2020 MVP season. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady also both won Super Bowls after being written off by the media.

Obviously Lamar Jackson has not quite reached the status of those legendary players, but the point still stands. The 16-game NFL season is incredibly short — making generalizations about a player after one bad year is like denouncing a baseball player after a couple of bad weeks. Jackson should be judged based on what we know he is capable of, not only what we have seen recently.

2. Baltimore’s Receiving Corps Is Among The League’s Worst

Ravens position review: Wide receivers take small steps forward, but  there's still a big need - Baltimore Sun

Nearly every quarterback ranked above Jackson on PFF’s top 50 players list has one thing in common: an elite wide receiver to throw to. Patrick Mahomes has Tyreek Hill; Josh Allen has Stefon Diggs; and Lamar Jackson has … Marquise Brown?

It is unreasonable to judge Jackson’s passing stats without taking into account the lack of talent around him. Allen did not become a star player until Diggs joined his team. Yes, he did take great strides as a passer last year, but there’s no denying that Diggs was at least partially responsible for the turnaround.

Jackson, however, has had no such luck. Baltimore’s wide receivers earned a combined 68.5 pass-catching grade from PFF last year, fourth-worst in the league. None of them had over 800 yards. The Ravens used a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman to try and turn things around, but it is unlikely that the group will be much better next year.

Despite that lack of talent, Jackson had the seventh-highest QBR in the league last year. He is the only quarterback in the top 10 without a Pro-Bowl-caliber receiver.

3. His Arm Talent Is Real

Analysis: Bills took away explosive runs, shut down Lamar Jackson | Buffalo  Bills News | NFL |

Though Jackson’s passing ability is less impressive than his running, he is more than capable in the pocket.

Baltimore’s offense is built entirely around running the ball. They ranked first in the league in rushing yards last year and had 31 runs of over 20 yards. That explosiveness allows Jackson to focus more on short plays in the passing game, at which he is among the league’s best. He had a 73% completion percentage on short throws last year, one point behind Mahomes.

Even if Jackson never becomes an elite deep ball thrower, his accuracy and ability to move the chains will keep Baltimore in Super Bowl contention for years to come.

Demaryius Thomas: Career Retrospective

Demaryius Thomas announced his retirement from football after 10 seasons this Monday in a video statement released by the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos’ first-round pick in 2010, Thomas has the second-most receiving yards (9,055) and touchdown catches (60) in franchise history and was a key member of Denver’s 2016 Super Bowl roster. Let’s take a look back at his legendary career.

2010 NFL Draft

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Demaryius Thomas from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they hold up a Denver Broncos jersey after Thomas was drafted by the Broncos number 22 overall during the the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Demaryius Thomas;Roger Goodell Photo: Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images / 2010 Getty Images
Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images

The Broncos selected Thomas No. 22 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft as the first receiver off the board. Denver took a risk by passing on the more experienced Dez Bryant — Thomas was not a major part of the offense at Georgia Tech and never recorded more than 50 receptions in a season. It’s safe to say that risk paid off.

Early Career: 2010-2011

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas’ inexperience limited him early on and kept him from a starting role in his first two seasons. He had only 22 catches for 283 yards as a rookie. He got more playing time in 2011 but struggled with consistency: he was targeted 70 times but only caught 32 passes. The Broncos offense as a whole was stagnant with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow behind center, but that would soon change.

The Peyton Manning Years: 2012-2016

Denver Broncos news: Peyton Manning works out with Demaryius Thomas

When the Broncos signed Peyton Manning before the 2012 season, they formed one of the most productive quarterback-receiver duos in the league. Thomas put up 1,434 receiving yards in their first year together and made his first of three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl.

In 2013, their chemistry helped produce one of the most prolific offensive season in NFL history. The Broncos as a whole totaled 7,317 yards, the second-most ever. Manning broke the records for passing yards and touchdown passes in a single season, and Thomas led the team with 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. It all culminated in a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos came up short against Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ defense, but Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions.

Thomas cemented his status as one of the league’s top playmakers with a career-high 1,619 yards in 2014, a franchise record. Denver, though, did not return to the Super Bowl until the 2015 season. Though Thomas was largely a nonfactor in those playoffs, he earned his first and only championship ring in a 24-10 defeat of the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

End of Career: 2016-2020

Texans WR Demaryius Thomas wants to keep playing
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Thomas was never quite the same after Manning’s retirement. 2016 was his fifth consecutive and final 1,000-yard season, He was traded to the Houston Texans for a fourth-round pick at the 2018 trade deadline, ending his days as a No. 1 receiver. The Texans released him after that season. He then signed with the Patriots, who traded him to the Jets before the season even began for a sixth-round pick. He found some success in New York, starting 10 games, but was third on the depth chart. The Jets released him and he sat out 2020 as an unsigned free agent.

Top 100 NFL Players of 2021: 80-71

Throughout the offseason, Baseline Times will be ranking the top 100 NFL players for the 2021 season.

Every Thursday night, 10 players will be released with a short discussion about what separates them from the rest of the pack. Rankings are based on both past performance and projections for next year.

Previous Top 100 NFL players:

80. Harrison Smith, S, Vikings

No team has done a better job in the past decade of keeping their defense intact than the Vikings, and Smith is their longest-tenured player. Though he was never truly game-changing, few active players have played at a high level for as long. Last year was his first Pro Bowl snub in six years, but he was just as impressive as always and shows no signs of slipping off.

79. Roquan Smith, LB, Bears

A bruising linebacker very much in line with the Chicago tradition, Smith broke out as a do-it-all player in his third season. He led the league with 18 tackles for loss and ranked second with 98 solo tackles. He was also the first Bear to rank top 10 in the league in tackles since Brian Urlacher.

Chicago’s defense was merely average last year despite tons of talent, but Smith was not part of the problem. He should have been an All-Pro, and likely will be this season.

78. Danielle Hunter, DE, Vikings

Once the unquestioned leader of Minnesota’s pass rush, Hunter missed all of last season with a neck injury. He racked up 29 sacks in the two years before that, earning Pro Bowl honors both times, and will rank much higher on this list next year if he proves he can return to form.

77. Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

Amari Cooper has made four trips to the Pro Bowl in six NFL seasons. (Ron Jenkins/Associated Press)

It’s almost impossible for a wide receiver to live up to being the No. 4 overall pick, but Cooper has come pretty darn close. In two and a half seasons with Dallas he has scored 19 touchdowns and become Dak Prescott‘s favorite target.

His stats are not exactly eye-popping — he has yet to top 1,200 yards in a season — but he has the ability to make contested catches and make defenders miss in the open field.

76. Chandler Jones, DE, Cardinals

Chandler Jones has always been in someone else’s shadow. He never got the respect that contemporaries like J.J. Watt and Von Miller did, but statistically he is almost as impressive. Once those players saw a dip in production, his 19-sack 2019 season was obscured by Stephon Gilmore‘s Defensive Player of the Year Award.

But since entering the league in 2012, no one has more than Jones’ 97 sacks — even though he missed most of last year with an arm injury. He and Watt may not produce gaudy numbers together in Arizona, but it is going to be pleasure to watch them both try and cement their cases for the Hall of Fame.

75. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Ravens

Humphrey is one of only a few cornerbacks left who can truly match up with any receiver. Since 2018, he has earned a grade of 90.0 from Pro Football Focus in single coverage, second only to Stephon Gilmore.

His play took a small step back last year but his physical brand of coverage still helped him force eight fumbles, the second-most ever by a defensive back. As he enters his fifth year, he is only going to better.

74. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks

Metcalf was one of the hardest players to rank on this list. On the one hand, just look at him. His 229-pound frame instantly makes him one of the league’s best deep threats, as evidenced by his 10 touchdowns last year. On the other hand, he lacks the polish so far to get open against elite defenders — Jalen Ramsey held him to 87 yards combined in two games last year.

But he is still much more than just the freak athlete who chased down Arizona’s Budda Baker. He is already the best wideout Russell Wilson has ever played with. If he can improve his quickness and route-running, he has the potential to be the best in the NFL.

73. Demario Davis, LB, Saints

Demario Davis produced 119 tackles last year and remains one of the league’s most disruptive players. (Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press)

The 32-year-old Davis still possesses the physicality of a player five years younger and was on the field for nearly every defensive snap in New Orleans last year. Now entering his tenth season, Davis stands out even on a defense filled with veteran leaders. His energizing prescience will be invaluable as the franchise tries to find its footing without Drew Brees.

72. Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

It’s easy to dismiss Jones’ 25 touchdowns over the past two years as a product of playing on the Packers. Reaching the end zone is not too hard when Davante Adams can make a 50-yard play on a whim.

But Jones is the rare workhorse back who also makes every rush count. He averaged 5.5 yards per attempt last year, second best in the league and almost unprecedented for a fifth-round pick.

With excellent vision, Jones weaves through gaps with ease and patience. It appears that he lacks explosiveness, but avoiding sharp cuts helps him maintain his speed and always gives him a chance at a big play.

71. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

Is Keenan Allen the most underappreciated player in football? The sure-handed Chargers wideout made his fourth-straight Pro Bowl last year and was eight yards away from his fifth 1,000-yard season, but is rarely mentioned with the league’s best. He unsurprisingly emerged as Justin Herbert‘s favorite target and will be invaluable while Herbert grows more comfortable in the pocket.