Why 2021 May Be The Best NFL Season Ever
A few weeks since teams have finished minicamp and players went to their summer vacations, we fans have nothing else to do besides getting on the hype train. There is more than a month until someone throws a football at the Hall of Fame game and two until the season opener, but let’s get on board.
First of all, what makes a season great? The answer will change depending on who you ask. The most common answers probably are great games, some Cinderella story, drama, and tough battles for the divisions and playoff spots. So let’s take a look at what the 2021 NFL season has to offer.
High-Quality Division Battles
Looking at how each division is stacked, we’ll probably see most of them going down to the wire. On the AFC West, the Chargers seem good enough to challenge the Chiefs if they stay healthy. The AFC East may have a triple battle between the Bills, Dolphins, and Patriots. Although the South has two of the worst rosters in the league in Jaguars and Texans, the dispute between Colts and Titans should be a good one. And the almost always entertaining North has the Browns better than ever, the Ravens with a WR core, the Bengals with a healthy Joe Burrow, and the Steelers with a healthier defense.
The NFC also has its shares of Super Bowl hopefuls. The NFC West has four teams that can play in January (if the 49ers injury plague is over). The East was embarrassing last year, but the Cowboys get Prescott back, WFT has one of the best defenses in the league, and the Giants improved their offense. The South is probably the only division that isn’t expected a fight, with the Falcons and Panthers still one or two years away from contention and the Saints without a QB. If it wasn’t enough, the Bucs managed to bring back the 22 starters from the Super Bowl. On the North, even if Aaron Rodgers plays for the Packers, the Vikings, with a defense again, and the Bears with a QB can challenge the defending champions.
Since 2011, there were two times when six divisions were decided by two or fewer games. In 2021 we can have up to SEVEN. Of course, all of this is in a perfect world in which everyone is healthy, but it will be hard to do it with a seventeenth hame. This also brings the next topic:
Since the NFL only has 272 games, and the season is short, the expectations are high every single week. Since the Rams-Chiefs MNF in 2017, we expect another game like that. Although it’s highly unlikely that two teams will surpass 50 points in a game again, it’s ok for us to dream about it.
The gods of football were kind enough to give us a chance to see Mahomes vs Rodgers, but the latter is threatening to not play. This may be the last chance we get to see this match-up (unless Rodgers goes to the Broncos – please someone do this). We also have two payback games, with the Bills going to Kansas City and the Packers facing the 49ers, who destroyed them in the NFC championship a couple of years ago.
The most difficult position of American sports is always the one everyone wants to see. In 2021, we have some good teams that improved at the position. The Rams paid a lot to get Matt Stafford, and Sean McVay is already impressed. Although Jimmy G helped the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in 2019, the team went all-in to move up and draft Trey Lance. Even Jaguars and Jets will get some attention due to Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, respectively.
This may be Brazil in me, but I love some good gossip. And actually is during this time of the year that we have some good ones. The hottest one right now is who will be the long snapper for… Oh, who am I kidding, of course is the Aaron Rodgers one. After complaining – again – about the organization, no one knows if he will play for the Packers again. Some reports say he won’t, while others that he and the team are close to an agreement.
But Aaron Rodgers isn’t the only complaining. Before 22 women accusing him of sexual misconduct, Deshaun Watson was in the off-season spotlight. The 25-year-old signal-caller was pissed with the Texans and demanded a trade. It’s not hard to know why with the roster being a joke at basically every position and the betrayal (his opinion) of Cal McNair during the GM and HC search.
And, of course, we have to put in the COVID-VaccineGate (yes, I gave that name) After the NFL and NFLPA announced the 2021 protocols, some players got a little mad (some not just a little). The first one on the list is Cole Beasley, who got in a Twitter argument about him not getting and it made some headlines. In case you forgot, the protocols make life much harder for a player that won’t take the vaccine (duh).
With the promise of great games, divisions decided on the last plays, and fans back to the stadiums, 2021 looks very interesting. The only thing left for us is to wait this couple of months and enjoy. And we will see some classic helmets, and that’s always nice.