NFL Season Recap and What to Look for Going Forward
Well, 2020 was a strange year for everyone, and to their credit the NFL dealt with the worldwide pandemic as well as could be expected, getting through all 269 games was one heck of an achievement.
So What Stands Out From the 2020-21 Season?
The two teams who met in the Super Bowl came from the top 5 in the betting with the Chiefs pre-season favorites and the Bucs taking heavy money with Brady going off as the 5th most likely according the Super Bowl odds from last preseason. The Chiefs suffered from offensive line issues and that cost them dearly in the final as the Bucs defense was schemed perfectly to contain Hill and Kelce while getting pressure on Mahomes at QB.
Tom Brady did enough on offense to win his 7th Super Bowl ring in his 10th appearance in the big game and it was two of the players who signed because he was there who got the scores from him, Rob Gronkowski with 2 and Antonio Brown with the other receiving score as the Bucs ran out 31-9 winners at a canter.
That’s the end of the season summed up, but there were a few other things to note – The Jaguars won the first game of the season against the Colts, before going on to lose the remaining 15 games and secure the #1 pick in the up-coming draft and it seems highly likely their new QB in Trevor Lawrence. – The Jets looked like they’d be the ones in position for Lawrence to replace Sam Darnold but a win in Week 15 against the Rams put them at the #2 pick and they tied that up by beating the Browns a week later.
The Steelers were the final unbeaten team in the league starting the season with 11 straight wins before luck caught up with them and they lost 4 of their last 5 games to stumble into the playoffs where they gave the Cleveland Browns their first playoff win since 1994.
For only the third time in NFL history there was a playoff with a losing record as the Washington Football Team took the NFC East title with 7 wins, in the process Alex Smith won Comeback player of the year after nearly dying after surgery from his leg break a couple of seasons earlier, on the other side of the ball for them Chase Young won DPOY.
Aaron Rodgers won regular season MVP after leading the league in TD passes, least INTs and QBR as the Packers went 13-3 for the second season in a row, while the OROY award went to Justin Herbert after an impressive season stepping in for the injured Tyrod Taylor and never looking back at the Chargers.
So that’s a very quick wrap up of the season that was. What can we expect for next season?
Super Bowl Odds for 2021-22
Unsurprisingly at this early stage the Chiefs and the Bucs lead the way in the betting with the Chiefs installed as the most likely to take back their crown according to the best bookmakers. I struggle to think of anyone on the AFC side who will challenge Mahomes and Reid, they strolled through the season and won 14 games without breaking sweat, at bigger odds the Bills should go close again, the Colts could be interesting depending who they get at QB after Philip Rivers retired.
The NFC side is a little tougher. The Rams have strengthened and look like they’re all-in with after trading away Goff and picking up Matthew Stafford. The Packers will be strong again with Rodgers, the 49ers suffered badly through injury, as did the Dallas Cowboys who should be better in their second season with their defensive co-ordinator. The Cowboys actually have the easiest schedule in 2021/22 when judged by their opponents wins from last season, it’s always stupid to buy-in on the Cowboys… but I probably will again anyway.
I don’t like the Saints for next year, Drew Brees retired and they’re WAY over the cap so cuts will have to be made, they’re well-coached but I think it will be too much. I wouldn’t bet on Seattle, it’s a tough division and Mr. Wilson doesn’t seem too happy at the moment.
There’s change coming in Pittsburgh with Big Ben. I don’t think they’ll make the postseason next year with or without Ben. I think the Dolphins are still a season or two away despite having draft capital and great coaching, there’s still a lot to do there. The Ravens need to step forward, they always beat up the poor teams and struggle against the better ones, that pattern needs to change for me to take them seriously as contenders.
So Who’s Winning Super Bowl 2022?
Short price; AFC – Chiefs, NFC – Rams
Longer prices; AFC – Colts, NFC – Cowboys