NFL Predictions: AFC East

It’s part two of “Beast of the East” week, which means I’ll be breaking down the AFC East for your enjoyment! For the first time in two decades, the New England Patriots will be without future Hall of Fame QB, Tom Brady. This division is up for grabs, and should be a fun one to keep an eye on throughout the duration of the 2020 season. However, only one team can win the East, and whoever wins it, should be the only one that makes the playoffs out of these four teams.

As of right now, the Buffalo Bills have the strongest roster on paper. They played great last season, and aim to be even better this year. The New York Jets may be one of the most slept on teams in the league, even though they played rather well in 2019. Look for the Jets to be competitive next year. Bill Belichick is still the Head Coach in New England, and as long as Emperor Palpatine himself is in command, you can never truly count the Patriots out. The Dolphins have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, so despite the excitement around this squad, their inexperience will likely prevent them from playing at their full potential.

Beast of the East

Buffalo Bills

I have the Bills winning the Eastern division with relative ease, as I also view them as the 3rd best team in the AFC, only being behind the Ravens and the Chiefs. Vegas thinks differently, as they have the Bills winning 9 games in 2020. To me, that’s a bit underwhelming, as I envision Buffalo ending the regular season with a double digit win column.

Buffalo has 10 of 11 returning starters on offense, which is being led by QB Josh Allen. The guy can throw, and run the ball with the best of them, and has the talent to improve off his performance from a year ago (he reminds of a level headed version of Vince Young). The new starter on this offense is super star WR Stefon Diggs, who will be the Bills obvious WR1 on this team. The WR group played great last season with John Brown and Cole Beasley, but with Diggs in the picture, this Bills offense now has the weapons needed to be a legitimate threat through the air. Dawson Knox is also a young TE that could be a guy that emerges into the top TE conversation by the end of the season. Additionally, Buffalo’s run game should be tough stop, as Devin Singletary will likely garner a majority of the carries (finally). I like Singletary to be one of the top RBs in the NFL next season, which means this Bills offense should be capable of winning games through the air AND the ground. Buffalo’s offense is setup to run the table, and is easily the best offense in the AFC East.

This Bills defense is going to be for REAL this year. Ed Oliver and Mario Addison lead the way on the defensive line, and rookie AJ Epenesa will have opportunities this year to play too. Those 3 guys alone makes it hard to run on this defense, and the LB group will likely play at an above average level. Furthermore, the Bills secondary may be one of the best in the NFL this year, as Corner Tre’Davious White has been a lock down defender every year of his career. The front office also snagged Josh Norman, who looks to bounce back to full potential after having a down year in Washington. In addition to these guys, Micah Hyde is a fantastic Safety, and is still somehow under rated in this league. Buffalo has one of the most stacked defensive groups in the NFL, which will make it extremely difficult for opposing offenses to find success when facing the Bills.

The roster of this squad is stacked throughout, and they have a solid coaching staff to pair with it. The offense should put up the numbers, and the defense should be able to contain their opponents. I really like the Bill’s chances this season, as they have a great opportunity to make a deep playoff run.

New York Jets

I know what you might be thinking… “Really? The Jets in 2nd place? GTFOH”… or whatever acronym you want to come up with in the comments section. Vegas only has New York winning 7 games, but considering the state of the AFC East right now, and how surprising the Jets were in 2019, I like the Jet’s chances of being rather competitive next year. Although that may be the case, I still don’t think they have enough weapons to make it to the playoffs.

QB Sam Darnold leads the way as he enters his 3rd season of his career. Typically, a QBs 3rd season is when franchises (and fans especially) expect to see their young leader take the next step towards the top QB conversation. So far, Darnold hasn’t played all that bad, and he does have a chance to prove to New York that he can be the guy for years to come. The front office has done pretty well in building around their QB, especially this year after they drafted rookie LT Mekhi Becton in the first round. People also seem to be sleeping on RB Le’Veon Bell, who, despite not doing much the last two seasons, still has the juice to get back into the top RB discussions as well. In 2020, the Jets will likely be a run heavy offense, as New York has a rather weak WR group. Jamison Crowder and Breshaud Perriman will likely be their top 2 wideouts, and rookie Denzel Mims will have multiple opportunities to make some key plays for this offense. But right now, the Jet’s don’t have a true WR1 on the roster, which will make Darnold’s job a bit more difficult than Jets fans would like.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets actually look pretty stout, and should be the reason this team stays competitive throughout the year. Quinnen Williams was an exciting rookie prospect last year, and he’ll likely improve his game this season, which could mean the Jets have a dominant force on the D-line. The LB group should cause fits for opposing offenses, as CJ Mosely and Jordan Jenkins are great at stopping the run. During this offseason, the Jets front office stole CB Pierre Desir away from the Colts, as Desir aims for have his biggest season of his career. And you can’t talk about the Jets without mentioning Jamaal Adams. Despite trade rumors circulating the twitter feed, Adams is a premiere Safety in the NFL, and is poised for another spectacular performance. The Jets defense should surprise opponents next year, as they have the potential to finish as a top 10 defense in the league.

I’m expecting the Jets to run the ball a lot, and rely on their defense to contain their opponents. It seems this team is being slept on due to the fact that HC Adam Gase has a bad reputation of not getting the most out of his players (AKA being a shitty coach). I still don’t see New York making it to the post season this year, but this will be a team you won’t want to play against late in the regular season.

New England Patriots

Placing the Patriots in 3rd place just feels weird (and honestly, kind of great), as a majority of my life watching NFL football, this team has dominated the league nearly every season. It’s hard to imagine New England dropping off the face of the earth with Bill Belichick still working as the Head Coach, which means I still think they’ll be competitive. Vegas has New England winning 9-10 games in 2020, which feels generous for a team that has lost so much in the offseason.

The Patriot Way is technically in full effect, even though they’ll be without Tom Brady for the first time in 20 years. The strongest asset the Pats have going into the regular season is the coaching staff. This team is the San Antonio Spurs of the NFL, they play team ball, and however boring it may be, it’s been extremely successful for this franchise. However that may be the case, it’s going to be difficult for New England to put up the points like we’re used to seeing on a weekly basis. Jarrett Stidham is the listed starter (for now) on this offense, which will be his first time playing as a starting QB. Luckily for Stidham, the Patriots have a rather stout offensive line, which will allow him to read the defense, and make his throws. So, that part, I’m not too worried about… It’s the WR group that really should worry Patriots fans this year. Sure, Julian Edelman is still on the roster, and will likely be a steady target for Jarrett Stidham. But outside of that, the Patriots WR group is desperately thin. Harry K’Neal was underwhelming his rookie season, and there doesn’t seem to be much optimism building around him. Mohamed Sanu was traded to New England in the middle of the 2019 regular season (they gave up a 2020, 2nd round pick… ouch). Sanu is a seasoned vet, and doesn’t quite play at the level we’ve seen him play before. He’ll be the WR3 on this team, but if he played anywhere else, he’d be the WR4, or possibly the WR5. The Patriots Tight End position is nothing to be too excited about either. They were never going to have Gronk this year, and selected two rookie TEs in the draft, and neither of them seemed like great pass catchers during their college careers. In fact, it’s likely that Matt LaCosse wins the starting role, who is an extremely unknown player across the league. I’m fully expecting the Patriots to be a run heavy team, and will probably utilize everyone in the backfield. Sony Michel should be the main RB, but guys like James White, Brandon Bolden, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris will all be fighting for carries. None of these RBs really jump out at me as a top Back, but as a committee, they do have a chance to do some damage.

Now, the Patriots have lost a few players on defense this year, but it seems they do every season, and still find a way to play as a top defense in the league. I think this defensive unit is going to be NASTY next year, and will contend with Buffalo for top defense in the AFC East. Dont’a Hightower is the clear cut leader in the front seven, and he has some great talent around him. Lawrence Guy is probably the best D-lineman on the roster, and looks to prove he’s one of the top guys in the NFL. The secondary is no joke either, as Stephon Gilmore is still one of the top CBs. While he should continue to dominate the passing game, the Patriots also have the McCourty twins (Devin and Jason) who have played at an extremely high level throughout their careers. The front office has done a great job in adding depth to this unit, as they have exciting young players like Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, and Anernee Jennings, who are all guys who are more than capable of playing at a high level. New England’s defense is by far the strongest part of this team, and will keep New England’s offense in a lot of games.

The defense is strong, and the offense just looks lack luster. Typically teams built this way can’t keep up with their opponents, as the defense is on the field all the time. When your defense is on the field for a majority of the game like that, they tend to start loosening up and allowing opponents to score. This is a playoff worthy defense paired with possibly the worst offense in the league. Mathematically, playoffs don’t seem to add up, and the Patriots 2020 season looks a bit bleak.

Miami Dolphins

This offseason, the Miami Dolphins stayed busy, and made some huge acquisitions that should push this team towards the right direction. Although that may be the case, this team is young, and seriously needs to develop before they become a legit threat in the NFL. Vegas has them winning 6 games this year, which seems to make sense to me.

Miami had the most draft selections in this year’s draft, and will have a bunch more next year thanks to Texans HC/GM Bill O’Brien’s wheeling and dealing ability (heavy sarcasm). The Dolphins have a great chance to rebuild this team (again), and if the front office selected the right athletes, this could be a team that emerges as a playoff contender a few years from now. But, for 2020, Miami is going to go through a TON of growing pains, as they have a potential 5 rookie starters on the offense alone (along with 3 on defense). With a team so young and inexperienced, Miami is setup to have another long season ahead of them. Also include that a majority of the offensive rookies they selected are all guys that need development, this offense is going to struggle quite a bit next year. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Tua Tagovaila as much as the next guy, but his injury history in Alabama raises a red flag for this organization. Also factor in a mediocre O-line, with 4 rookies competing for reps, the Dolphins definitely chose the longest route possible in rebuilding this offense. I do like the signing of RB Jordan Howard, and he could be someone that gives the offense a little boost in the regular season. And DeVante Parker finally broke through his ceiling in 2019. I like Parker’s chances to repeat his performance, or even play better. Outside of that, I don’t have high hopes for this Dolphins offense.

The defense will be the strongest part of this franchise next year, especially after signing veteran players like OLB Kyle Van Noy, and CB Byron Jones. But the rest of the defense is just as young as the offense, which means the growing pains could dismantle this squad from the get go. In comparison with the rest of the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins, without a doubt, have the worst defense.

Despite being such a young team, I’m a huge fan of Head Coach Brian Flores. This guy has great potential to become a top HC one day, and he did a fantastic job with this team last year. The NFL is a “win now” league, and I really hope the Dolphins front office can be patient with the development of this team, and allow Flores to do his job these next few years. The Dolphins fanbase should be excited for the future of their team, but as for this coming season, fans shouldn’t be getting their hopes up too high.

NFL Predictions: NFC East

I hope everybody is staying safe while protesting for our human rights. We have a long journey ahead of us to turn the tides and eliminate racism all together. I truly believe more people are listening than ever before, and we can remove some of the ugliness in the world we live in.

After postponing Vitale Talks for a week to focus on helping to fight for human rights, it’s exciting to be back in business and create my content. I feel more motivated than ever before. With that, the first article after postponing is my predictions on the NFC East.

Right now, the NFC East is a wide open division, that could really go anywhere. Trying to imagine the outcome of this division was about as easy as guessing where the little metal ball will land when you play roulette. The NFC East is packed with tremendous young talent, and if these athletes fulfill their potential, this division could skyrocket into one of the strongest in the NFL. But for now, the NFC East is a toss up, and I only see one of these four teams making playoffs this year.

The Dallas Cowboys have a stacked roster, and on paper, they look like an early Super Bowl favorite. However, with Dak Prescott’s contract situation looming over the franchise, and having a new HC and DC, it’s really hard to see which direction this team goes in 2020. The Eagles had one of the more confusing drafts this year, but walked away with a nice looking roster. I’m hoping Carson Wentz can stay healthy for a full year to give this team a real chance at making some noise. The NY Giants have a ton of talent on the offense, but this roster is one of the younger lineups in the league. Washington will have a bunch of new starters on the depth chart this season, and has a defense that could be more dangerous than people think.

Beast of the East

Dallas Cowboys

After research and considering the state of the NFC East, I have the Cowboys winning this division this season, which means I believe they will be playoff bound. Currently, Vegas has “America’s Team” winning 10 games this year.

Offensively, what more could you want? Ezekiel Elliot is a top 5 RB in the NFL, who runs behind arguably the best O-line in the league. The WR group is deep, as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup proved to be a fantastic 1-2 punch through the air. This franchise added rookie WR CeeDee Lamb, after he somehow slipped to the ‘Boys at the 17th pick overall. With so much going right, why does it still feel like this organization isn’t ready to take the next step? The Cowboys haven’t really been all that great for quite some time now, and at the moment, Dallas has another contract looming over the franchise before the start of the season. QB Dak Prescott reportedly turned down an offer that would have made him the 2nd highest paid QB in the NFL. Considering that Dak is closer to the 10th best QB than the 1st, the contract offer seemed more than fair for Prescott. Also factor in COVID’s impact on the league, we’re not even sure if player’s will be getting big offers like this next season. Luckily for the Cowboys, they signed the Red Rocket, Andy Dalton as the backup QB. He’s not the best by any means, but if Prescott’s contract negotiations don’t go through, the Dallas offense should be operating at a high level anyway. With or without Dak Prescott, this offense SHOULD (we’ll see what happens in the season) be one of the best this year.

In addition to the strong offense, the Cowboys defense is nothing to over look. This is a stacked group across the field. Demarcus Lawrence and Gerald McCoy lead the way on the D-line, who are two athletes that give the Cowboys a dominant pass rush AND rush defense, which is something most teams wish they had. Dallas also has a great LB core, led by Leighton Vander Esch, who has emerged as a top LB in the NFL. Not many people know his name, but if you’re a Cowboys fan, you know he’s been dominant since his rookie season. Don’t forget about the Dallas secondary either. Sure, they lost Byron Jones in free agency, but the front office replaced him with exciting rookie CB Trevon Diggs (brother of WR Stefon Diggs). The Cowboys also have Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who, despite playing on a different team almost every year, is a tremendous talent in the secondary. Dallas will be playing the 2020 season with a new DC, which could cause some hiccups early on, but considering how talented this unit is, they should learn and adapt quickly enough to terrorize opposing offenses all season long.

Mark this down as yet another offseason where the Cowboys look like the best team in the league on paper. For whatever reason, Dallas hasn’t been able to get back to the Super Bowl since 1996. Jerry Jones is hoping the hiring of Mike McCarthy as the HC pushes this team over the edge to make their comeback. Based on this team’s history, I don’t see them taking over the league next year, but they should be able to win the NFC East this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made the playoffs in 2019, and were bounced out in the Wild Card round. Even though they’ve made some nice acquisitions, I’m not sure this squad has it in them to win out the NFC East for a playoff spot again. It’s going to be hard for them to make the playoffs in the Wild Card this year, as the NFC in general is stacked throughout the conference. They should be competitive though, as Vegas has Philly winning 9-10 games.

Philadelphia had one of the most confusing drafts this year. First, they selected WR Jalen Reagor in the first round, who is a guy that most teams had going in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft. The front office followed that up by selecting QB Jalen Hurtz in the second round. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really like Hurtz, and I think he has a bright future in the NFL, but considering the holes Philly needed to fill, it didn’t make a ton of sense for them to select a QB in the second round. The Eagle’s front office JUST gave QB Carson Wentz a fat contract, so you’d think the team would want to give their QB they view so highly of, more weapons on the offense to utilize. Instead, the front office decided to select a backup QB. Sure, it makes sense as Wentz has gone down with an injury almost every season, especially when it comes to the playoffs. But taking a high profile name in the 2nd round of the draft, kind of makes it looks like the organization doesn’t believe in their starting QB anymore. Hurtz poses a threat to Wentz’s starting spot on the roster, as Jalen Hurtz is very capable of learning quickly and taking over the starting role. Despite all that, Philly ended up having a pretty good looking offensive roster. The O-line is above average (could be better), and they have a plethora of WRs. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are still viable targets, and will be great veteran leaders for the rest of the WR group. Reagor does bring some serious speed to the table, and Marquise Goodwin is an under rated acquisition that bolsters up Philly’s passing game. I also really like RB Miles Sanders, as he looks to become the Eagles bell cow in 2020 after having a great rookie season. I’m predicting the Eagles score plenty of points, as they should finish in the top half of the league in scoring.

Image of Darrius Slay

On the defensive side of the ball, the front office made a fantastic decision in trading for standout CB Darrius Slay. This guy is one of the elite CBs in the league and should make an immediate impact for this secondary. I also like Nickell Roby-Coleman, who is one of the best Nickel CBs in the league. Match this strong secondary with the D-line, which includes super star Fletcher Cox, and new addition Javon Hargrave. Philly should be able to force some turnovers this year, and get to the QB, making them an under rated defense. Where their weakness lies however, is in the LB position. The LB core is rather thin, and you can expect opposing teams exposing that in 2020. When a RB is able to get through the D-line, it’s going to be difficult for Philly to prevent long runs.

Overall, the Eagles have a nice roster, and are aiming to make a repeat appearance in the playoffs. You can just as easily argue the Eagles win the East over the Cowboys, as Philly has a phenomenal coaching staff top to bottom. For 2020, I’m not sure they have enough fire power to take down the Cowboys this year, but Philadelphia will be very competitive throughout the season.

New York Giants

I have the G-Men finishing in 3rd place in the NFC East, and ultimately have them missing the playoffs this season. They have a nice young, talented roster, and a very dangerous looking offense, but this team is just not quite ready to take that next step just yet, especially when you factor in they have an entirely new coaching staff. The odds are against them, as Vegas only has the Giants winning 6-7 games.

This offense is likely the most under rated in the entire league, as the front office has done a great job in building around the QB position. 2nd year QB Daniel Jones will have the protection he needs to be successful, as New York has a great O-line, and is easily the most under appreciated group in the NFL. They made the O-line even stronger this offseason after drafting rookie RT Andrew Thomas in the first round. Saquan Barkley is a physical specimen who has the potential to finish as a top 3 RB next year, as he has the talent and the athleticism to do it all. I also love TE Even Engram, as he has emerged as one of the top talents at the TE position, and is a fantastic safe option for Daniel Jones. At the moment, NY doesn’t necessarily have a true WR1 on the roster, which is a weak spot on this offense. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are both great WRs, but neither player has ever been that standout WR teams across the league are looking for. However, this Giants offense has enough fire power to surprise opposing defenses next season.

The Giant’s defense is probably in the middle of the pack when compared to other teams across the league. Leonard Williams has never lived up to his full potential, but is still a very capable player on the D-line. He should have an easier job this season, as DT Dalvin Tomlinson is a guy who should make massive improvements from a year ago. The Giants should be a tough team to run the ball against this year, especially after the front office snagged ILB Blake Martinez out of free agency. Martinez has led the Packers in tackles the last 3 years in a row, and should be able to continue that performance now that he’s in NY. As for the secondary, it’s a real shame CB Deandre Baker allegedly committed robbery with Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar, as Baker has (or had) the potential to be a top contributor for this team. However, Safeties Jabrill Peppers and rookie Xavier McKinney should be a dominant duo in stopping the pass. So, although the G-Men took a hit in the CB position, this defense has the potential to be a surprise unit in 2020.

Giants fans should be through the roof with excitement for this squad, as the roster looks great throughout. However, this team is very young, and very inexperienced, and the coaching staff is completely new. New York should make some improvements, and have a better record than last year, but it likely won’t be enough for them to be fully competitive. This franchise has a bright future ahead of them though, and will demand more attention in 2021.

Washington Redskins

Washington should finish last in the NFC East, as they have the most blaring holes to fill than their division rivals. They’ve made some nice acquisitions this offseason (especially in the coaching department), and their defense should be a nice surprise for Redskins fans. However, they just don’t have enough talent yet to really make some noise this year. Vegas seems to agree with me, as they have Washington only winning 5 games next year, which is tied for 2nd worst in the league.

Like the Giants, the Redskins have an entirely new coaching staff as well. Long time HC Ron Rivera comes back after being fired from the Panthers, and hopes to get back on track with a new team. The offense has some nice talent, as Dwayne Haskins starts as the QB in his 2nd year of his career. I really liked Haskins in college, and I think he has the potential to be something special in the league. However, it’s going to take some time, as the Washington offense just isn’t ready to take it to the next level. WR Terry McLaurin was, and still is, the best part of this offensive unit. McLaurin was spectacular last year in his rookie season, and will likely improve his skill set. He’s a guy that is capable of becoming a true WR1 for this franchise, which is something Dwayne Haskins is going to need to be successful. Outside of these two, the Redskins offense doesn’t quite have that much going for them. The O-line will be very average (at best), and Washington’s run game is nothing to be all that excited about. Adrian Peterson is not the RB he used to be, and Derrius Guice hasn’t been able to stay healthy so far in his career. The offense will likely struggle throughout the season.

The defense is by far the strongest asset of this Redskins team, especially after they drafted Rookie Edge Rusher, Chase Young out of Ohio State. This dude is a freak athlete, and has the potential to become the best defensive player in the NFL one day. He’ll likely make an immediate impact for Washington, as the defense has a sturdy front seven built around him. Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan will both be coming off the edge attacking the QB, while Da’ron Payne and Jonathan Allen will fill up the middle to stop the run. With a D-line like this one, the weak LB group should be able to play better than expected, as these guys will make their jobs much easier. Also don’t forget about Landon Collins, who plays at an incredibly high level, and is one of the most under rated Safety’s in the league. Factor in CB Kendall Fuller, who is also an under rated CB, this defense may shock some opposing offenses next year.

Considering how good this defense might be, Washington could be competitive in more games than people think. However, the offense will be average at best, and will have a hard time scoring points. This team kind of reminds me of the Raiders when I was in high school, all defense and not much offense. It’ll be hard for Washington to win many games this season, as their offense just isn’t ready to be competitive in 2020.

NFL Predictions: AFC North

King of the North week continues as this article focuses on the AFC North. There is a TON of serious talent in this division, and it is possible 3 of these 4 teams make it to the playoffs. However that may be the case, I personally only see 2 teams making it to the postseason, as this is going to be a very close knit AFC conference this year. I’m predicting a plethora of different teams who have the potential to be in the hunt, and the difference between the 7th and 14th seeds in the AFC may only be a couple games apart.

As for the Northern division of the AFC conference, the Baltimore Ravens have reloaded themselves for another huge year after ending last season in disappointing fashion (depending on who you ask). The Steelers have Big Ben back, and if he can stay healthy this season, this can be a VERY dangerous squad this year. The Browns may have one of the most exciting rosters in the league, but they have an entirely new coaching staff, which could prevent them from reaching full potential. Lastly, the Cincinnati Bengals believe they have the key to their future with rookie QB Joe Burrow, they may not be the most successful team this season, but Cincy is set up for future success down the road.

AFC King of the North

Baltimore Ravens

There isn’t much I can say that you probably don’t already know. The Flock has an incredibly stacked roster, and look to repeat their high flying performance from a year ago. Hopefully for them, they can make it further in the playoffs next year, and with Lamar Jackson entering his 3rd season of his career, the added experience should only mold him into an even better player. Vegas has them winning 11-12 games, just like the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year, Lamar Jackson ended the season winning the MVP trophy, and aims to do it again in 2020. The Ravens also finished in the league as the most prolific offense in the regular season, and somehow, this squad got even better during the offseason. Baltimore has one of the better O-lines in the league, and possibly the most dangerous rushing attack in the NFL. Lamar Jackson had competing numbers with the top RBs in the league last year, and Mark Ingram played as an excellent side kick for Jackson. The front office stole rookie RB JK Dobbins in the draft, which means the Ravens have ANOTHER weapon to utilize in the run game. Between Jackson, Ingram, and Dobbins, these 3 amigos are going to cause absolute mayhem on opposing defenses. Having said that, don’t forget about the passing game. Jackson still has room to improve throwing in the pocket, and hopefully he gets better at that particular skill set. Hollywood Brown returns for his 2nd year in the league, and he’s matched up with Willie Snead and rookie WR Devin Duvernay. This offense is all about the speed, and the Ravens should be scoring touchdowns at a high pace again.

During this offseason, the front office traded for DE Calais Campbell, who is one of the best D-lineman in the league. The Ravens lost in the playoffs mainly because they had a tough time stopping the run, so the front office attacked that issue head on after signing veteran DE Derek Wolfe, who is a guy that vastly improves the run defense. Don’t forget about that secondary either. Earl Thomas is likely a future Hall of Famer at the Safety position, and Marcus Peters has been an extremely reliable CB since his arrival in the league in 2015. Baltimore will potentially have 2 rookies starting at ILB this year, as Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison will compete for starting spots on the roster. This is going to be a weak area on the Ravens defense that opponents will try to exploit. Luckily for them, this team has veteran leadership on the D-line and the secondary, which helps the young LB core as they play throughout the year.

On paper, the Baltimore Ravens look like they’re poised for a deep playoff run, and will be aiming for the coveted number 1 seed overall in the AFC for a 2nd year in a row. Ravens are my obvious favorite to win the AFC North, and I believe they have the talent necessary to earn the number 1 seed in the postseason this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers

I have the Steelers finishing in 2nd place in the AFC North, and they have the potential to actually be the 4th best team in the conference. Pittsburgh should be making playoffs this year as a 5 or 6 seed, as Vegas has them winning 9 games in 2020.

The Steelers offense was a mess last year, and HC Mike Tomlin still somehow kept them competitive. He had my vote for Coach of the Year last season, as Pittsburgh desperately needed better QB play, and still nearly made it to the postseason. Big Ben comes back, which should give this offense the boost they need to win more games. It’s important to keep an eye on Ben Roethlisberger though, as the veteran QB is 38 years old. He’s the same age as Philip Rivers, who we all watched him play his worst season of his career in 2019. Considering Big Ben is coming back from a serious elbow injury, and is getting up there in age, there’s a possibility we see a different version of Roethlisberger than we’re used to. Despite all that, I feel rather confident in saying that Big Ben will play at near full potential next season, as the roster around him is completely solid throughout. Juju Smith-Schuster should be making another step in the right direction, as the Steelers didn’t have that WR1 they needed. If Juju can become that WR1, the Steelers offense will be back to normal before the Antonio Brown blow up. This O-line is stout throughout, and include James Connor and Jaylen Samuels rotating in and out of the lineup, this Pittsburgh offense is ready to make some noise.

Most of the attention of the Steelers is on the offense and the return of Big Ben, but this defense should be gaining more attention than it is. This unit was the main reason this team was even competitive last year, as TJ Watt went on an absolute tear. Pittsburgh also stole Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick away from the Dolphins, who is an absolute beast. Factor in Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Devin Bush Jr., Bud Dupree, and Joe Haden… This Steelers defense almost looks like the Steel Curtain of the 1970s.

Although this team looks incredibly strong in every aspect, they still don’t have the fire power to take down the Ravens in the AFC North. The Steelers should finish 2nd in their division, but will be a very strong 5 seed I would not want to face during Wild Card Weekend.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have been the laughing stock of the league for what seems like a century. But hope is on the horizon for this organization, as the roster has phenomenal talent throughout. There’s one thing missing though, and that’s familiarity, as the Browns have a new GM, HC, OC, and DC heading into the 2020 season. No matter how good a roster looks on paper, it’s hard to win games when your front office plays musical chairs with the coaching staff. Despite that fact, the Browns have the talent to take over the league, but they likely won’t do that this year. The Browns have brighter days ahead of them, but this season Vegas has them winning 8 games.

Cleveland has one of the best WR groups in the game. Odell Beckham Jr., is a premiere aerial threat, as even on his down year in 2020, he still put up over 1000 yards receiving. He’s a guy that almost always has to be double teamed, otherwise, he’s going to torch you all day long. They also have WR Jarvis Landry, and Rishard Higgins, who are both capable of running short and deep routes with the best in the league. Not to mention, the front office signed free agent TE Austin Hooper, who emerged as a reliable top 10 TE last year in Atlanta. Additionally, Nick Chubb is one of the best RBs in the league, and Kareem Hunt is available to play this year after serving a suspension. I mean, this team even got better on the O-line, which should help them improve too. There are SO many viable options for this Browns offense to score, but it all relies on the play of QB Baker Mayfield. The former number 1 overall pick is entering his 3rd season in the league, and Browns fans are hopeful this is the year he starts putting the pieces together. The odds are against him though, as QBs who face multiple changes in the coaching staff tend to struggle throughout their careers until they find some familiarity. I love the way this offense looks on paper, but will another coaching staff change prevent this squad from hitting their full potential?

The Browns got better on the defensive side of the ball too, as rookie prospects Jacob Phillips and Grant Delpit look to make an impact as soon as possible. Despite what people say about Myles Garrett, the guy is an absolute beast on the D-line, and gives the Browns a chance to win games any time he’s on the field. Cleveland has a pretty deep defense this season, as they also have guys like Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson, who have been phenomenal options for this defensive roster. However, this defense is in the same position as the offense, as the Browns hired a new Defensive Coordinator during the offseason.

Typically, when there are brand new changes to the coaching staff, it takes some time for the roster to adjust (Philly is the team that comes to mind where that wasn’t the case). Also factor in how tough Baltimore and Pittsburgh are likely going to be, it’s hard to imagine the Browns beating out either one of those franchises for a playoff spot. I don’t have Cleveland making the postseason this year, but they’ll be a tough team to play against, and will likely be in the playoff hunt.

Cincinnati Bengals

2020 is likely not going to be the year of the Bengals, but Cincinnati fans have plenty to be excited about for the future. There’s some great young talent that has potential to turn into something special, but due to how young this squad is, we should be seeing a lot of growing pains through the span of next season. Additionally, Vegas has the Bengals only winning 5-6 games this year, which is tied with the Panthers for 3rd worst in the NFL.

The Bengals drafted rookie QB Joe Burrow with the 1st overall pick of the 2020 draft. This kid was electric to say the least last year at LSU, after winning the Heisman trophy, and the National Championship. Burrow has phenomenal potential, and was the most NFL ready QB prospect in the draft this year. He has future NFL superstar written all over him. However, he’s only in his rookie year, which means he’ll be making rookie mistakes, just like we’ve seen all the greats do as well. My expectations are not high for this season, as Burrow’s rookie year is going to be more focused on developing him into that future superstar than anything else. Joe Burrow is an early Rookie of the Year candidate, as he has a nice group of WRs at his reach. Even though he’s faced injuries the last few years, WR, AJ Green is still a top wideout when he’s on the field. Tyler Boyd has shown to be a fantastic WR2, and the Bengals front office drafted rookie WR Tee Higgins. This is a WR group a handful of teams in the league wish they had, and Burrow is going to be just fine slinging it through the air this season. This offense also has Joe Mixon, who has been a rather reliable RB in the league throughout his young career for this franchise. The offense may not be stacked, but it’s good enough for Bengals fans to enjoy to watch on Sundays next season.

The defense is a completely different story, as the Bengals may have the worst defense in the NFL. The D-line is going to be nice though, as Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and new addition DJ Reader, should do a great job for Cincinnati on the D-line. But outside of those three, the rest of the defense is mediocre at best. I predict Cincy allowing a TON of yards through the air this year, and if RBs can make it to the 2nd level, there’s not much the LBs and secondary groups are going to do to stop the run. Opposing offenses should have field days when facing the Bengals, which means it’s likely going to be a long 17 weeks for Cincinnati fans.

Overall, this team has good talent on offense that will make some exciting plays, and the defense has their D-line set up, which is the first step of a rebuild. Considering they’re in a stacked division, Cincinnati has almost no chance of making the playoffs this year. But be patient Bengals fans, the future of your franchise is in the hands of Joe Burrow, and you should feel confident in his abilities to help turn this franchise around.

NFL Predictions: NFC North

The NFC in general is going to be a tight race, but the NFC North is going to be close between 3 of the 4 teams. Even so, I see 2 NFC North teams making it to the playoffs this year, while one will be on the bubble. With the new playoff format this year, it’s going to be even more crucial for teams across the league to win as many games as possible, as only the number 1 seed overall will receive a bye week in the post season.

The Vikings traded away superstar WR, Stefon Diggs, but the front office did a great job maintaining the strengths of this franchise. The Packers likely are weaker from a year ago, but you can never count them out when Aaron Rodgers is under Center. Chicago (Da Bears) has a solid team throughout, however, their QB situation is questionable at best. Meanwhile in Detroit, the Lions made some nice acquisitions this offseason, but is it enough for them to make a playoff push?

King of the North

Minnesota Vikings

For the 2020 season, I have the Minnesota Vikings winning the NFC North (SKOL). Most people still have Green Bay as the team to beat, which they are. But considering what these team’s rosters looks like on paper, the Vikings are my favorite to win the North. Vegas has Minnesota winning 9 games this coming season.

Minnesota will be one of the best rushing offenses next year, as Dalvin Cook should continue his high level of play. Also add in Alexander Mattison who should be gaining some attention as well, which gives the Vikings a solid duo in the backfield. The Vikings may be a bit run heavy this year after trading away Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, however, the front office drafted rookie WR Justin Jefferson, who should be a great compliment to Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins is not a top premiere QB in the league, but he’s talented enough, and has proven himself worthy of the role he’s in. They also have an underrated offensive line, which will help the Vikings surprise numerous teams next year. This may not be the most potent offense in the league, but they’re disciplined and hungry to take the crown away from Green Bay.

The Vikings Defense is really where the strength lies with this organization. It’s a tough defense with a ton of talent throughout. Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith lead the way, as both players offer veteran leadership that every team is looking for. The front office let CB Xavier Rhodes go during the free agency period, but they replaced him with Jeff Gladney in the 1st round. This kid has a ton of talent, and has potential to make an immediate impact for this squad. Minnesota has a lot of young players in the secondary this year, which means they may give up more passing yards than they’d like, but overall, this defense is very capable of getting after the QB and stopping the run. All I can say, is good luck when you face the Vikings, you’re going to need it.

Although I have the Vikings winning the NFC North, I don’t think they’ll be winning that ultra important 1 seed in the playoffs. They have a legitimate chance to win the 3 seed, which would give them home field advantage during Wild Card Weekend.

Green Bay Packers

I have the Pack-Attack finishing 2nd place in the NFC North for 1 simple reason… Aaron Rodgers. Vegas has Green Bay also winning 9 games like the Vikings, so there’s a chance they win the North. However, when it comes down to it, the Vikings have a better roster, while the Packers success rests on Aaron Rodgers shoulders.

The offense may struggle out of the gate as they lost long time Tackle, Bryan Bulaga in free agency. The front office also didn’t do much to acquire new talent at the WR position (not like that’s ever stopped Rodgers before). The front office signed WR Devin Funchess, who is a big bodied receiver who has played under his potential since joining the league in 2015. Rodgers still has Devante Adams to throw to, and should be a top WR in the league again as long as he remains healthy. Aaron Rodgers recently was asked about the Packers’ WR group, and he mentioned Allen Lazard (Insert Snoop Dogg GIF “WHO!?” here) as a potential guy to step up big for Green Bay. Despite the woes of the O-line and WR group, Aaron Jones is still the RB, and is poised to have another big year. The team also drafted rookie RB AJ Dillion, who will provide strength in the red zone and short down conversions. So, despite the lack of talent on the offensive roster, Aaron Rodgers will likely keep his team competitive throughout the season.

The Packers lost their star ILB, Blake Martinez in the free agent market, and really… that was it defensively. Losing Martinez is going to hurt, as the guy led this team in tackles the last 3 years, and has been a huge run stopper for this squad. I was really hoping the front office was going to try and acquire some big DTs to add to the D-line, but they didn’t do that. So between losing Martinez, and still having a small D-line, it’s going to be difficult for the Packers to stop the run game next year. The secondary is without a doubt the strongest part of this defense though. The secondary unit is led by CBs Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, who both balled out last year and look to continue that dominance. They also have a great Safety group in Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. This Packers defense is going to be tough to beat if you decide to throw the ball on them, and may finish the season as one of the top secondaries in the league.

Overall, the Green Bay Packers regressed, but thankfully it’s not by much. They only have a potential 3 new starters on the roster this year, and they also had no significant changes to the coaching staff. With all of the drama concerning the QB situation, Aaron Rodgers is still the face of the franchise. So put the Jordan Love talks to rest (at least for this year) as I see the Packers making the post season as a 7 seed.

Chicago Bears

DAAAAAAA Bears have an incredibly talented team as they head into 2020, and will likely be slept on due to their under performance from last year. Chicago will make improvements from 2019, but I don’t think it will be enough for them to make the playoffs. However, Vegas has the Bears winning 8 games this season, which goes to show you how potentially close this NFC North division is going to be.

The offense has its strengths and weaknesses, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link. First, I really love their 1-2 punch at the RB position. Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery have the potential to be a fantastic dual threat combo that will be tough to stop. Additionally, they have an above average WR group that’s led by Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, and don’t forget about Cordarrelle Patterson and Ted Ginn Jr. who bring some serious speed and veteran presence to this young WR group. However, with the good, comes the bad. This roster has like 100 Tight Ends on the team, and none of them really pose a serious threat in the passing game. Most of these TEs are better at blocking than anything else, which will be huge for the run game. Lastly, this QB situation in Chicago is weighing this team down, as both Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles are very questionable options. Trubisky has shown in spurts that he is capable of leading a team to victory, but it hasn’t happened enough times for anybody to feel comfortable with him under Center. Nick Foles is a QB the Bears acquired via a trade during this offseason, and is similar to Trubisky. Foles helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl win, but since then, he’s basically been asleep at the wheel. Dealing with injuries, and being outplayed by a guy who wears jean shorts (Gardner Minshew, Mr. Mustache himself). Considering the lack of talent at the TE and QB positions, and the very average O-line, I just don’t see the Bears scoring a whole lot next year. But who knows? Maybe one of these QBs figures it out, which would make the Bears a scary opponent for any team in the league.

The defense is a completely different story. Khalil Mack is one of the best pass rushers in the league, and is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. He’s one of the few players I’ve seen literally win games by himself, which is extremely rare in football. This defense is loaded with top talent. On the D-line, DT Akiem Hicks, and OLBs Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn will look to stop the run and rush the QB consistently. The LB group shouldn’t be ignored either, as ILBs Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith are extremely good at their jobs. Also throw in Eddie Jackson and Kyle fuller into their secondary… The Bears defense will make some noise this year, roaring at their opponents throughout the season… You know, like a real bear.

The defense is going to keep the Bears in most of their games, but I don’t see the offense being capable enough to win those tight games. This team should show a ton of improvements from last year, but it’s not going to be enough for them to make it to the post season. They have potential to be one of those “in the hunt” teams this year.

Detroit Lions

I almost feel bad for Lions fans across the nation, as this team’s front office just always seems to miss out on making the right decisions. I have this team finishing 4th in the NFC North and ultimatly missing the playoffs. Vegas agrees, as the betting odds say Detroit only wins 6-7 games next year, which is one of the worst in the league.

Offense is the strongest point of the Lions team, as Matt Stafford retains his starting position for another year. He’s a top 10 QB in the league, despite whatever opinions you have of him, and he has great players to throw to. Kenny Golladay emerged last year as one of the top WRs in the league, and looks to improve even more. He’s paired up with Marvin Jones, who has been a solid WR2 on this Detroit offense. Additionally, TJ Hockenson finished 2020 with a little hot streak at the TE position. Detroit made a great draft selection this year after taking RB D’Andre Swift to pair up with Kerryon Johnson. I really like both RBs, but doesn’t it always seem like Lions RBs under perform? Kerryon Johnson was given the ball a bunch in 2019, and just never did anything with it. D’Andre Swift has a legit chance to become the starter for this team, but the offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL. So despite having some nice talent on the offense, this piss-poor O-line will knock the Lions down quite a few notches.

The Lions defense is mediocre at best. Truthfully, they have the worst D-line in the entire league, especially after letting Damon “Snacks” Harrison go. The LB group is nothing to really write home about either, which means opponents should be gashing the Lions defense through the run game. Detroit has some hope though, as they signed CB Desmond Trufant and drafted rookie CB Jeff Okudah. These two CBs should play rather well, and make some nice plays for this team overall. But don’t get your hopes up too high, Lions fans, as these 2 guys won’t be enough to make this team competitive.

Overall, the Lions will likely finish 2020 with one of the worst records in the league. I was really excited for this team when they signed Matt Patricia as the Head Coach, but since his arrival, the team has somehow gotten worse, and Patricia is clearly on the hot seat. The Lions are in rebuild mode, and depending on if Matt Patricia is fired or not, this franchise may stay in rebuild mode longer than fans are hoping for.

NFL Predictions: AFC West

As we inch closer and closer to football season, the AFC looks like it’s going to be a close knit conference. In my opinion, the NFC has 6-7 obvious teams pegged to make the playoffs, while the AFC only has 3. However, There are a ton of teams this year in the AFC that have a legitimate shot at making it to the post season, and making some noise in the playoffs. After spending some time observing rosters, coaching staffs, etc. I’ve come up with a decision on who I think makes the playoffs this year. For the AFC, we’ll be diving into the Western division first, as you can expect each and every division to receive their own articles.

There is one clear cut franchise in this group that I think makes the playoffs, and that is the Super Bowl defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. They essentially have the same roster as last year, and look to repeat their performance in 2020. The Raiders will officially play in Las Vegas next year, and just like the bright lights of Vegas, the Raiders offense should light up the league next year too. The Denver Broncos have a sturdy defense heading into the new season, which should keep them competitive. And the LA Chargers have a new QB under Center for the first time since 2004.

Kansas City Chiefs

It’s probably not a shock to you that I have the Chiefs winning the AFC West, as their team won the Super Bowl last year, and look to do it again. Vegas has the Chiefs as the early favorite to win the championship, and has them winning 11-12 games during the regular season, which is the most in the entire league.

The Chiefs are led by superstar QB, Patrick Mahomes, and his trustful companions. Kansas City has some serious speed that’s hard to chase down, as Tyreek Hill is one of the fastest men in the NFL. They also have Mecole Hardman, who looks to improve off his rookie season, and veteran Sammy Watkins, who finally found his perfect match in Kansas City. Don’t forget they also have one of the best TEs in the league in Travis Kelce. When he’s not on his own dating show, he’s out there on the gridiron racking up the touchdowns. The Chiefs have 10 of 11 starters returning to the team, as their newest addition is rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Some scouts viewed this kid as the top RB in the draft this year, as his speed alone (as if the Kansas City needs more of it) made him a top prospect. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the rest of the Kansas City offense is poised for a huge year.

The defense last year was slightly above average, but really turned it on during the playoffs. Specifically in the 2nd half of each game, where they locked up their opponents to allow Mahomes to work his magic. Just like the offense, this defense has 10 of 11 starters returning, while also adding a plethora of young talent to their core. With a tight group of players and the same coaching staff, I expect to see this defense improve from last year, and play as one of the top defenses in the league.

All around, the Chiefs are built to win games, and will be tough to stop next season. They’re one of the fastest teams in the NFL, and should run away from the competition during the regular season. They’re going to win the AFC West, and have a legitimate chance to finish the year with the best record in the league.

Las Vegas Raiders

I see the Silver and Black taking 2nd place in the AFC West this year. Their offense made some nice improvements during the offseason, and it doesn’t hurt they have Jon Gruden as their HC. Vegas has them winning 7-8 games, as their defense is rather questionable.

Last year, we all witnessed the fiasco of the Raiders training camp as they dealt with Antonio Brown’s antics. There was so much negative attention on them at the start of the year, a lot of people (including myself) didn’t think the Raiders had a chance. But they came out and played well, and damn near made the playoffs. The offense has a majority of their roster returning, and has potential to play better than last year. RB Josh Jacobs is a serious threat, and should improve off his rookie season. I actually like this kid to finish in the top 10 in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns next year, and be one of the better RB options in 2020. They also improved their WR group after drafting rookie WR Henry Ruggs III, who brings the speed the Raiders were missing last season. He’ll be matched up with Tyrell Williams and Hunter Refrow, who both look to be great compliments to Ruggs. And don’t forget about that TE group either. Darren Waller was a hidden gem last year and looks to improve, and the Raiders snagged future Hall of Famer, Jason Witten. Derek Carr is a good QB, not great, and has shown some nice abilities when given the right tools around him. They also brought in ex-Titan Marcus Mariota, who will challenge Carr to play better. This offense is loaded, and will keep opposing defenses up at night.

Defensively, the Raiders will potentially have 7 new starters, and may be slow out of the gate at the start of the season. The front office hopes each acquisition will improve the defense, but it’s going to be the D that prevents this team from playing as well as they could. The Raiders will have to rely heavily on their offense throughout next season, but if the defense can get it together sooner, rather than later, Las Vegas suddenly becomes a dangerous team to everyone in the league.

The 2nd place spot is up for grabs in the AFC West, as you can just as easily place the Broncos here too. I give the Raiders the slight edge though, as I think Las Vegas’ roster is slightly better than Denver’s (for the time being). The playoffs are going to be a tight race, but whoever takes 2nd in the AFC West has a great chance at making the playoffs as a 7 seed.

Denver Broncos

Vegas has the Broncos winning 7-8 games this year, which will make them extremely competitive with other teams in the league. However, it’ll be difficult for them to make playoffs this year, as they basically have an entirely new offense this season. Despite that fact, Broncos fans should be ecstatic about the future of this franchise, as John Elway has yet again set this team up for massive future success.

A season ago, the Broncos offense was mediocre at best, as they started the year with Joe Flacco under Center. They had a weak O-line, and only 1 solid WR. During this offseason though, the front office made the decision to go all in on 2nd year QB Drew Lock and built around him, giving Lock the weapons he’ll need to be successful. The Broncos offense has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL, especially after they drafted rookie WRs Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler, who will be fantastic teammates for Courtland Sutton. They also have Noah Fant, who a lot of experts think he could have a breakout year in 2020. The run game isn’t something to ignore either, as the Broncos will be powered by Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay. These guys give Denver that 1-2 punch they were missing last year, and will provide Drew Lock with a solid foundation throughout the course of this season. Pair all of these acquisitions up with a bulked up O-line, the Broncos pose a serious threat to their opponents. However, with all of the new faces, and the fact Denver hired a new OC, this team may be sloppy to start the season. Considering how tight the AFC is going to be as a whole, this slow start could prove to be detrimental to the team’s success.

The defensive unit is led by veteran OLB Von Miller, who is still playing as one of the best pass rushers in the league. They also acquired Jurrell Casey, who will play a major factor in stopping the run, and replaced Chris Harris Jr. with AJ Bouye. The Broncos D is going to be tough to score on, and will be the reason this team stays in the playoff race. If Denver’s offense can put it together sooner than expected, this is a Broncos team that no one will want to face late in the season.

The Broncos have a ton of potential to take over the league, but 2020 likely won’t be their time to shine. They have a serious chance to beat out the Raiders and still make playoffs, but due to the fact their offense is so new and so young, I just don’t see that happening this year. Despite that, the Denver Broncos have a VERY bright future ahead of them.

Los Angeles Chargers

I have the Chargers in last place in the AFC West, but don’t think they won’t be competitive. It’s easy for people to write this team off as they stank it up last year, and will be without Philip Rivers for the first time in 16 years. Vegas actually has them winning 7-8 games, the same as the Raiders, and Broncos, which means the AFC West may be one of the closest divisions in the conference.

The Chargers QB will either be Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert. Expect to see Taylor earn starting reps in the beginning of the season, as he has a history of playing well (just look at his highlights in Buffalo). The ideal situation for the Chargers, would be to not play Justin Herbert at all in 2020, and let him take his time learning and adjusting to the NFL. However, I don’t see things going out accordingly, Taylor will have a short leash while he’s the starter. Outside of the QB position, this Chargers offense is stacked. Keenan Allen is still one of the best WRs in the league, and Mike Williams has been a solid WR2 throughout his career. They also have Hunter Henry in the TE position, and looks to continue his high level of play for LA. The biggest weakness on the offense last year (outside of Rivers’ struggles due to his aging) was the O-line. The front office made a trade for pro-bowl Guard, Trai Turner, and signed long time veteran Tackle, Mike Bulaga. These guys have the ability to make an immediate improvement for this offense, which will be crucial to the development of their rookie QB, Justin Herbert. Austin Ekeler signed an extension to stay on the team for another 4 years, which will only help improve the QB play, as Ekeler is arguably the best receiving RB in the NFL. The Bolt’s offense has a great chance to regain their electric play, but will struggle to start this year due to their QB position. Who knows if Tyrod’s still got it, and Herbert is a rookie who still needs to make some improvements. Either way, LA has a bright future ahead of them.

The Chargers defense is going to be slept on this year, as I see this unit as a potential top defense in the NFL in 2020. Joey Bosa is a premiere pass rusher in the league, and Melvin Ingram is right there with him. LA has a deep secondary group who is led by James Derwin. He’s shown he’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and will continue his dominant play. The team also has CBs Casey Hayward and Chris Harris Jr., who have both shown the ability to be lockdown corners (especially Harris). Just like the Broncos, the Chargers defense is going to keep them in games, and the Bolts will have many opportunities to walk away with a win.

Despite how good this team looks on paper, I don’t see them beating out any of their division rivals. They should be in a lot of close games this year, but due to their questionable QB situation, the Chargers will likely find themselves losing those down to the wire games. But this is a team that (all 2) Chargers fans should be excited about.

NFL Predictions: NFC West

Football season is quickly approaching, and the future is looking brighter with more and more states opening up. We now have multiple states who have announced that professional sports will be allowed to resume play by early June, which means the chances of football starting on time, college and professional, are only going higher. With that, comes the hype and confidence fans have about their favorite teams, and the way too early predictions start taking place. I’ll be dissecting each NFL division these next four weeks, which will give you a nice outlook of what to possibly expect in the 2020 NFL season.

This year, the NFL has made a change to the playoff rule. Instead of having six teams from each conference make the playoffs, the NFL has passed a rule to allow a seventh team for both conferences. This means, that seeds 2-7 will play on wildcard weekend, while the 1 seeds are the only teams with a bye week. The race for first place will be even more competitive than ever before, and teams on the bubble will have another chance of making the playoffs.

During my NFL predictions, I will not offer my opinion on what a team’s record will be, as it’s nearly impossible to be THAT accurate, and besides, I don’t want to find myself looking like Adam Rank did a year ago when he predicted the 49ers to go 3-13. So, I’m going to leave the ridiculous guessing to Vegas, and the “experts”. So, let’s get started, first division up is the NFC West.

The NFC West

The division looks rather strong right now, especially considering that each of the four teams have some serious talent, and some of the best coaches in the league. The 49ers did a great job this offseason, as they’ve reloaded for another deep playoff run. The Seahawks have been a dangerous team since Russell Wilson became their starting QB, and they’re rumored to regain Marshawn Lynch again before the start of the season. Arizona acquired tremendous talent to build around their young star QB, and the Rams still have some serious super star talent that will keep them be competitive. However, with only 7 playoff spots available, I only see two of these four teams making it into the post-season this year.

San Fransisco 49ers

I predict the 49ers to win the NFC West this year, and they have a serious chance to take home the best record in the NFC during the regular season. Currently, Las Vegas has them winning 10-11 games this year, which is one of the highest across the NFL. San Fran fans should feel confident heading into the 2020 season, as their team is an early favorite to win the NFC Conference Championship.

The 49er offense is going to be tough to stop next year, as they have one of the best offensive lines in the league after trading for super star Left Tackle, Trent Williams. This front line is beefed up even more than last year, and look to continue their dominance in 2020. San Fransisco will pick up where they left off, as they will keep their RB committee strategy that helped them out so much a season ago. Between Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jerick McKinnon, the 49ers run game will look to be one of the best next year, as their O-line will do nothing but open up running lanes all year long. Furthermore, Porn Star Jimmy has an incredible arsenal of talent to throw to as well. George Kittle is arguably the best Tight End in the NFL, and Garoppolo will have Deebo Samuel, and Kendrick Bourne to throw to. The front office drafted a rookie WR Brandon Aiyk, who the team views very highly of, and has the talent to be a nice WR3 from the get go. Look for the 49er’s run heavy offense to dominate their opponents again.

This defense is incredibly strong, even after trading away Deforest Buckner. They still have Nick Bosa, and Arik Armstead as their starting Defensive Ends. They also have Solomon Thomas and drafted rookie Javon Kinlaw, who should be earning reps in his first year while he develops over his career. I also love their secondary, which will be led by Richard Sherman. Say what you want about Sherman, but the man can play at a high level, and showed everyone last year the benefits of betting on yourself.

Overall, this 49ers offense is incredibly dangerous and is backed up by a tremendous defense that can bully opponents across the league. This is going to be a difficult team to play against in 2020, and they will be the team to beat in the NFC, as the 49ers look to return to the Super Bowl this year, and leave with a different outcome.

Seattle Seahawks

The NFC is stacked this year, and because of the 49ers strong presence, Seattle is going to have to make due with a wild card spot (even though they’ll be one of the better teams next year). It’l be interesting to watch the Seahawks next year, as they’ll be without their 12th man throughout the season (REALLY hoping fans are allowed back in games. We’ll see though). Despite that, Vegas has the Seahawks winning 9 games this year. I think they have a great chance to win more than 9, considering their coaching staff is one of the best in the NFL, and luckily for them, Seattle didn’t make any major changes to the coaching staff. This means Seattle will have a ton of team chemistry at the start of the season.

During the offseason, Seattle acquired some new talent on their O-line to help better protect their franchise QB. Because of how many new faces are on that O-line though, don’t be shocked to see Russell Wilson using his legs a bit more often at the start of the season. But once that unit gets better playing together, the Seahawks should soar through the rest of their schedule. They have a top 5 QB in Russell Wilson, who has a great WR group to throw to. DK Metcalf looks to to improve off his already impressive rookie year, and Tyler Lockett is one of the most underrated WRs in the league. They also signed Greg Olsen to pair him up with Will Dissley, which gives Wilson two reliable targets at the TE position. Additionally, Chris Carson had a great season last year, and will look to do the same in 2020.

Considering how good that offense looks on paper, it’s easy to neglect the defense. Having said that, I’m telling you right now, DON”T SLEEP ON THEM. The defense is led by arguably the best MLB in the NFL, Bobby Wagner, and the front office did a great job acquiring young talent to help improve the defense. Rookie LB Jordyn Brooks will have an opportunity to play alongside Wagner, which will only develop him into a much better player as time goes on.

I love the Seahawks roster from top to bottom, and I think they have potential to win the NFC West over their rivals in San Fransisco. This division is going to be a fun one to watch, but right now, my choice for the Seahawks is to finish 2nd place in the NFC West, and make the playoffs.

Arizona Cardinals

This might come as a little shock to you, as most people have the Rams over the Cardinals this year. Vegas thinks so too, as they have Arizona winning 7-8 games in 2020. There are a few key factors as to why the Cardinals could finish higher than the Rams, and it’s all due to the acquisitions made by the Cardinal’s front office.

First, the Arizona Cardinals went and stole DeAndre Hopkins away from the Texans… No, seriously, they stole him. I’m pretty sure they held a gun to Bill O’Brien’s head and forced the trade to happen, as Arizona didn’t lose much after gaining possibly the best WR in football. This is huge for their young QB, who just won rookie of the year. As he starts his 2nd season of his career, he has the privlage of throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk. The team also retained RB Kenyon Drake, who emerged as an RB1 after being traded to Arizona from the Dolphins. Match these athletes with Kliff Kingsburry’s electric offensive scheme, the Cardinals could be generating a ton of electricity next year.

The Cardinals have some exciting rookie prospects in Foku Leki on the D-line, and all-around freak athlete Isaiah Simmons in their linebacking core. Simmons was one of the best defensive talents in the draft this year, and has the potential to make an immediate impact on week one. They also have veteran DE Chandler Jones, who has been a monster throughout his entire career. Patrick Peterson isn’t the CB he used to be, but the guy can still play. This is an improved defense, however, they may not be improved enough to become an applicable unit.

I have Arizona finishing third place in the NFC West, as they’re still such a young team. They’ve made great decisions during the offseason this year, and Cardinals fans should be ecstatic about the future of this franchise. I don’t see the Cardinals making playoffs this year, but if the front office’s decisions pay off, this could be a team to pay attention to in 2021.

Los Angels Rams

The LA Rams finishing 4th place feels a bit weird. Considering they were just in the Super Bowl in February 2019. This Rams front office has made some questionable decisions, as they’ve tried to make additions for a “win now” situation. Those commitments didn’t seem to pay off last year, and now the team is facing the consequences. They’ll still be competitive this season, as Vegas has them winning 8-9 games. Despite that fact, I’m just not confident in the Rams abilities this year.

LA’s offense still has some serious talent, as Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods lead the way in the WR group. They also drafted Van Jefferson, who is a kid a ton of scouts are fired up about, and has a real chance at being a great WR3 early on in his career. They also drafted rookie RB Cam Akers, who will be competing for reps with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. The Ram’s best bet is to run a committee like the 49ers this year, as all 3 of those guys have good potential.

Defensively, the Rams have a projected 7 new starters, one of which is rookie OLB Terrell Lewis. Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey will be the faces of that defense, and could be enough superstar prowess to keep opposing OC’s busy. But will they be enough for the Rams defense to thrive?

At the end of the day, the Rams also hired a new OC and DC. The offense is easily the best part of this roster, and should keep them in most games. But having 7 new potential starters on defense, along with a new Defensive Coordinator, it’s going to be tough for the Rams to keep up with opposing offenses. Also factor in the strength of this NFC West division, it’s possible the Rams start the season off to a slow start, and never recover.

COVID and Football: Potential Slow and Fast Starters to Begin the New Season

The NFL season is slowly approaching, and there is still a real chance of it not happening, or possibly being delayed. However, all 32 teams are preparing for the new year as best they can with the epidemic going on across the world. Due to COVID-19, NFL and College football teams will undergo a limited version of training camp this year. Typically for the NFL, training camp kicks off in July, then preseason starts in August. With the possibility of missing out on training camp, every team across the league will be dealing with the same disadvantages, and won’t be able to properly prepare for the 2020 season. Training camp is usually how rookies are introduced to their teammates. New players acquired through free agency usually have a great opportunity to start building relationships with their coaches and teammates during this time as well. With the NFL training camps and preseason at risk, teams are going to have limited opportunities to build chemistry amongst each other, which plays a huge part in a team’s success. Communication for the offense needs to be on point so everyone knows what their job is for that certain play. QBs need to throw the ball to their WRs, while learning and building a chemistry with each other in order to play better together on game day. Same can be said for the defense, where communication and camaraderie is the key to having an elite defense in football. Additionally, if rookies don’t have access to training camp or preseason games, their introduction to the league could be a rough one, as it could take them longer to get used to the speed and high level of play at the professional level (which they’ve never played before).

Due to COVID-19, every team across the NFL will struggle in some way, shape, or form. Limited training camp opportunities will mean all teams will struggle out of the gate, and we could be watching some sloppy football play during the first four games of the season. Now, don’t get me wrong, these athletes play in the NFL for a reason. They’re professionals, and some of them have been playing football their entire lives. They’ve done a fantastic job of learning playbooks, building rapport with teammates, and playing at a high level year in, and year out. But, COVID-19 is taking away a very important aspect that athletes hold dearly, which is routine and familiarity. There’s a ton of interviews and articles you can find online of different athletes at all levels and different sports, who say the same things about routine. When their routine is altered, their play is altered. I’m sure most of these guys will figure it out, but due to the coronavirus, it will just take a little longer for players to get back into the groove of things.

For that reason, there will be some teams in the NFL that fare better than others, and vice versa. Every offseason, usually the teams that finish last (or near it) make the most roster and coaching staff changes in preparation for the next year, while teams who finish at the top try to maintain their roster, and reload for another great season. There’s also those teams that were in the middle of the pack, and if they just had a better offense or a better defense, then maybe they would’ve finished at the top. Either way, some NFL teams make a ton of roster moves, while others don’t, and it all depends on what the front office feels is necessary to try and improve the team. There are a few key factors that separate the good teams from the bad ones, and we’ll be able to possibly get a glimpse of which teams will struggle (at least) in the first quarter of the season, as well as teams who could jump ahead from week 1.

Good Team Chemistry Leads to Success

This can be said for all sports. A team is only as good as it’s weakest link, and it all starts in the locker room. Teammates need to work together in order to achieve the goal, and win games. If players don’t mesh well together, all hell can break loose. Leadership plays a huge factor too, as players need that guidance and assistance to make the team stronger. Look at the 2019 Cleveland Browns for example. During that offseason, you couldn’t go a day on ESPN without hearing about how great the Browns were gonna be. Multiple “experts” predicted them going to the Super Bowl, and Browns fans everywhere became unbearable to be around. But there were so many new faces, different egos, and personalities that clashed together, that the Browns ship sank before it could even leave the port. They had a lack of leadership, which ultimately led to their star player Myles Garrett committing assault on live television, Baker Mayfield dressing like a defeated man, and the firing of their GM, HC, OC, and DC. Even Odell Beckham Jr. struggled on his new team, which brought rumors of him leading his teammates and asking other coaching staffs of other teams to take them away from Cleveland (YIKES). The worst part about that, is the Browns had the time to prepare for the season, and still weren’t able to build the chemistry needed in order to garner success.

Success Doesn’t Happen Over Night

The Browns aren’t the only team to gather a new roster in an offseason, get hyped up by the media, then shit the bed once the season starts. In fact, it happens every single year. Remember in 2017, when the Jacksonville Jaguars won the AFC South, then stunned the entire world and made it to the AFC Conference Championship? Now, they ultimately lost that game, which then led Jacksonville’s front office to make adjustments to the roster in the hopes of acquiring players to help put the team over the edge. The Jaguars acquired 9 new starters on the team during that offseason (5 on offense, 4 on defense). At the time, it looked like fantastic decision making, as Jacksonville addressed every hole that needed filled. On paper, they made their team stronger in preparation for the 2018 season. Instead, the Jaguars fell flat on their face and finished the year 5-11, and have been in rebuild mode ever since.

The front office spent a ton of money during the free agency period acquiring a bunch of new talent. In fact, the “experts” said a lot of similar things they were saying about the 2019 Browns. The fact of the matter is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Had the Jaguars kept their roster intact, and instead utilized free agency and the draft to acquire supplemental players and future stars to the team, there’s a possibility the Jaguars would have maintained dominance since 2017. Having only one offseason to build team chemistry simply isn’t enough time, and we see it happen every single year, EVEN when teams have the time to prepare, unlike this season.

Consistency in Coaching is Important Too

Not only is team chemistry salient, but familiarity with the coaching staff is incredibly important to the success of a football franchise as well. Just look at the Patriots the last 20 years. They’ve had very minimal changes in the coaching staff, they also seem to always promote from within, rather than go after an outside hire. They’ve consistently kept the same system in place for two decades, which has equated to six Super Bowl rings. So familiarity goes a long way too. During this offseason, 14 teams have made substantial changes to their coaching staff. Four of which have hit the trifecta (new HC, OC, and DC), being the Browns (who also hired a new GM), Giants, Panthers, and the Redskins. These four teams are entering a limited training camp, and won’t have full access to the players. That means, the players will be expected to learn the new playbook on their own. They won’t have as many opportunities to learn the plays together and build that familiarity with a new coaching staff, which is so critical for a team to succeed.

Who Has the Most New Faces?

After conducting research on all 32 NFL franchises, i’ve found that this offseason, on average, each team has gained between 6-7 potentially new starters (3 on offense, 3-4 on defense) in comparison to last year’s starting lineups. As it turns out, if your favorite team acquired less than 6-7 new starters, then they will have the team chemistry advantage over teams who have over 6-7 new starters. There were four teams that obtained 10 new starters, which was the highest number amongst the league. Those four teams are, the LA Rams, the Washington Redskins, the Carolina Panthers, and the Miami Dolphins. The team that has the most new starters on offense are the Denver Broncos, who gained six new starters through free agency and the draft (they also have a new OC as well). There were two teams that acquired seven new defensive starters, which was the most in the league. Those two teams are the LA Rams, and the Las Vegas Raiders.

Here are the list of teams that are over the average (8+): Seattle Seahawks(9), LA Rams(10), Detroit Lions(8), Philadelphia Eagles(9), Washington Redskins(10), Carolina Panthers(10), Denver Broncos(9), Las Vegas Raiders(9), Miami Dolphins(10), Jacksonville Jaguars(9).

Who Has the Most Familiarity?

According to my research (thank you Google), there are 12 teams that picked up less than six potentially new starters. These 12 franchises will have a majority of their starters returning, which could give them that competitive advantage out of the gate. The defending Super Bowl Champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, have the lowest number of new starters with only two. For the most part, the Chiefs will be starting the 2020 season with the same roster that just won them the title. On offense, there were only four teams that obtained only one new potential starter on offense, which are the Chiefs, the Ravens, the Bills, and the Titans. On defense, there were three teams that only acquired one new potential defensive starter, those teams being the Chiefs (again), the Packers, and the Steelers.

Here are the list of teams that acquired less than the average (5-): Green Bay Packers(3), Minnesota Vikings(4), New York Giants(5), Atlanta Falcons(5), New Orleans Saints(5), Kansas City Chiefs(2), Baltimore Ravens(5), Cleveland Browns(5), Pittsburgh Steelers(4), Buffalo Bills(5), New England Patriots(4), Tennessee Titans(4).

It’s important to point out, that 8 of the 11 teams that are on this list made the playoffs last year. And the Browns and the Giants are the only two teams who have made critical changes to the coaching staff. So, although Cleveland and NY did a great job of keeping their player acquisitions low, their new coaching staffs could prevent them from having a fast start this season.

Struggle Bus VS Hot Out of the Gate

So, finally, after hours of research and analysis, I’ve created a list of teams who I think could start the season on the rocks, and a separate list of teams who have the potential to start the season on fire. I’ve taken everything into consideration from new potential starters, the strength of the roster, new changes to the coaching staff, and strength of schedule. Keep in mind as you go through this list, that these teams are not guaranteed to have winning or losing seasons. In fact, a lot of these franchises will either right the ship, or will have a long season. As for the teams who will be hot out of the gate, there’s a possibility of them falling off the top of the mountain and never climbing back up. So, take this list with a grain of salt.

12 Teams who could struggle the first half of the season due to COVID-19: LA Rams (Defense won’t be able to keep up with opposing offenses), Washington Redskins (New coaching staff and 10 new starters), Carolina Panthers (Same as the Redskins), Miami Dolphins (10 new starters, and a bunch of rookies), Las Vegas Raiders (Offense should be fine, but defense may struggle hard), Denver Broncos (Defense will keep them competitive, but the offense is basically brand new), Jacksonville Jaguars (9 new starters, with a potential 2-4 more as they still haven’t traded Yannick Ngakoue), Philadelphia Eagles (9 new starters, and who knows what’s going on with Carson Wentz), LA Chargers (Extremely questionable at the QB position, along with 7 new starters), Cleveland Browns (Love their roster, but the new coaching staff could be the downfall of the team to start the year), New York Giants (Great, young, exciting talent on the roster, but the new coaching staff could really slow them down).

9 teams who could start the year hot out of the gate, as they maintained a ton of familiarity in the roster and the coaching staff: Green Bay Packers (Lost in the draft, but you can never count out Aaron Rogers), Minnesota Vikings (Have a majority of the team coming back), New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, the defense is good too), Kansas City Chiefs (20 of 22 returning starters who just won the Super Bowl), Baltimore Ravens (made only 1 new potential starter on offense. Lamar is poised for another MVP run), Pittsburgh Steelers (Big Ben is back and the defense is solid), Buffalo Bills (They were dangerous last year, expect more of the same in 2020), New England Patriots (That defense is nasty, and you can never count out Bill Belichick), Tennessee Titans (18 returning starters, and Derrick Henry seems to be a man on a mission).

COVID-19: Life Going Back to Normal

It’s the month of May, and all of us are still slumbered away in our homes practicing social distancing. The coronavirus began in China, which gradually spread across the globe, forcing businesses of all sorts to close their doors. The virus disrupted life as we know it, as we have been unable to go to restaurants, bars, schools, social gatherings, and sporting events. In fact, because of the spread of the coronavirus, we didn’t have the opportunity to see opening day of MLB, NBA Playoffs, or the XFL’s first season… And that’s just in America! Soccer, tennis, hockey, golf (we love sports and we don’t care who knows)… You name it, it’s been closed down until things start clearing up again. We had to watch an “at home” NFL Draft this year, which was successful, but it just didn’t feel the same. On top of that, the American economy has dropped significantly, and there are more people who have applied for unemployment than ever before in the US.

Even though COVID-19 has altered our normal, social lives, sports leagues around the world are looking to open back up as soon as possible. Same with restaurants, places of work, etc. Summer of 2020 is only a month away, but football season doesn’t start until the fall. And although the NFL is releasing the 2020 schedule this Thursday, there is still some speculation of football starting on time this year. However, there are a few different things happening right now that offer some optimism to a dread filled 2020 year. Here are a few reasons why life will be back to normal sooner, rather than later. Which means football should be starting on time without skipping a beat.

Other Sports are Coming Back

At the moment, there are hardly any sports going on across the globe, however, in South Korea, they’ve re-started their baseball league. ESPN is airing Korean baseball everyday, allowing sports fans everywhere to watch something sports related! It’s not the most popular league in the world, and fans are not attending the games, but it’s a huge sign of positivity as football season is only about four months away. Furthermore, this should be an even better sign that MLB comes back soon as well. There isn’t a set date yet, but the league has been discussing of starting the season this summer, shortening it down to 100 games, and still wrapping up the World Series in October. The MLB can use Korean baseball as a nice example to follow, as fans probably wont be able to attend games until the world has a better grasp on the virus.

This Saturday, ESPN will be airing live UFC fights in Jacksonville, Florida. They will be PPV, but the fact we have live sports in America being broadcasted is another huge step towards normalcy. This weekend is filled with a stacked card, as heavyweights Francis Ngannou fights Jairzinho Rozenstruik (rooting for Ngannou). We also have a bantamweight matchup between Dominick Cruz and champion Henry Cejudo (go Cruz). Lastly, the main event consists of Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje (my money is on El Cucuy). There is no other (popular) sport in the world that consists of more contact than MMA. Fighters are constantly mixing it up in training, as they go over boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, muay thai, and everything else in between. Considering these fighters are in constant contact with each other during training, and will be competing against opponents this weekend, only proves the world is ready to start opening back up, little by little. It would be wise for the MLB, NBA, and NFL to follow suit, which would also allow college sports to open up and play too.

School’s Back in Session

Multiple colleges across the US have announced they are opening their classrooms again this coming fall. Some of them being big time football schools, like Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas A&M. This is a controversial topic, as many people are accusing the schools of being greedy businesses that only care about gaining a dollar (they were like that BEFORE the virus, but that’s a different conversation for another time). The truth of the matter is, that colleges wouldn’t open their campuses back up if they felt it wasn’t safe enough. There are many precautionary acts the schools are taking, and are asking the students to do the same. Additionally, the virus is only dangerous to those who are old, and/or they have an under lying health issue. Considering that most college students are between the ages of 18-24, they should feel rather safe going to class. This is also a fantastic sign that college football will be starting this fall, albeit, there will probably be no fans present at any games. But the fact schools are comfortable enough to open their doors again this fall is a giant leap in the right direction towards normalcy.

Get Back to Work

So it looks like sports, and schools are coming back soon, which means workplaces are next. Already, we have entire states re-opening, meaning people will be able to go back to work. Most employers are taking necessary steps to keep their workers safe, as some places are asking their employees to come back to work on an every other week basis. They’re also making sure to continue practicing social distancing in the work place, having people work in every other desk, or office (coming back to work is completely optional as well). Already in states like Florida and South Carolina, restaurants are opening up their doors for regular dining. This is HUGE for society, as the sooner workplaces can function normally, the sooner people will be able to get hired again. This would drop the unemployment numbers drastically, raising the economy back up, and allowing life to get back to normal even sooner than we previously thought. It’s more than likely everything won’t be fully back to normal until a vaccine is created, but the fact we can work again will only help the country as a whole.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Now, this is probably the most political I’ll get on Vitale Talks, as the entire country wants the world back to the way it was. However, the US is divided on WHEN. To me, Republicans want it back too soon, while Democrats are being way to hesitant. In fact, it’s getting to the point where both parties are using the virus for political advantages. Republicans boast about Trump’s orders, claiming he’s made the right decision every time and that you should vote for him to continue his success (he has and he hasn’t, very in the middle), while Democrats are using fear of the virus to turn people away from re-voting for Trump, and instead vote for Joe Biden (just a pathetic attempt really). But before we start ranting about political views, let’s just take a look at what the numbers say (all information can be found at worldometers.info).

Image found at Worldometers.info as of 5/6/2020

Based on what we’ve seen so far, the US has the most contracted people in the world (if you believe China’s numbers), as well as the most deaths. Even though this is true, the death rate in America, and across the world, is incredibly miniscule. The world population is roughly 7.7 billion people. Currently, there are only about 3.7 million people who have contracted the virus in the world. Of those 3.7 million, only 285,295 have actually died from the virus, while just over 1.2 million of them have fully recovered. Now I get it, that 285,295 death count will go up as time passes (which will be higher once I post this article), and is already a large number considering we’re only in the beginning of May. However, there have been more deaths in other diseases and acts across the world than the coronavirus. For example, more people in 2020 have died from HIV/AIDS (579,650+), cancer (2.8 million+), malaria (338,221+), smoking (1.7 million+), alcohol (862,414+), suicides (369,762+), traffic accidents (465,466+), and drowning (290,373+). Despite whatever your political beliefs are, these are the numbers. These are the facts. You might be thinking, “But the numbers are skewed because of social distancing.” And that’s true. Because of the social distancing the entire world has enforced, it has slowed the spread of the virus. However, according to worldometers.info, the current death rate of the virus is only about 3.4%. But we’re only able to use the numbers of people who have contracted the virus and who have shown symptoms. When you take into consideration the amount of people that have unknowingly contracted the virus and didn’t have any symptoms, the death rate drops even lower. These are the numbers to observe, as the world has done a better job than I thought we would at containing the virus.

Because the actual number of contracted people is unknown, we can’t put an actual number to the death rate. We can only speculate, and educated guessing brings it to less than 1%. But there has been an incredible amount of reports of people who have contracted the virus, only to have it go away, leaving zero symptoms or problems for those people. This is both good and bad news. The good news is, the coronavirus is even less deadly than experts previously imagined. This means that people who are in their mid-30s and younger should feel safe going back into public again, as people who have underlying health issues, and people who are old (60+) should continue being safe. The bad news, is that you can contract the virus, then give it to someone else without knowing it. This is what makes the virus so dangerous, and THIS is the reason why we are all social distancing until a vaccine is found. At this point, we know the virus death rate is extremely low. So low, that we can start opening businesses back up, but we need to continue being cautionary so we don’t infect any high risk individuals.

Conclusion

So, after stating all of this, I want you to keep in mind that we need to continue practicing social distancing. We need to continue to be cautious when going out into public. If you fit the demographic and are a high risk individual, please stay home and stay safe. I’m NOT saying that because things are clearing up that it’s time for us to let loose again. The point of this article is to smooth over any confusion, cease any fear of the virus, and offer optimism to the world. According to the numbers, it’s time we start opening everything back up. Sports coming back into play will be the first real step of normalcy, which should be the goal and aspirations of every person across the globe.

Losers of the 2020 NFL Draft

Cue the classic Smashmouth song… If you’re reading this article, it’s either because you love to hate one of the three teams I’m writing about, or, you’re a fan of one of these teams and you’re ready to defend them ’till the end. Either way, I’m glad you’ve stumbled across my page as I’m going to trash talk each of these franchises. Before I start though, I want you to keep in mind that just because a team stunk it up in the Draft, doesn’t guarantee they’ll be terrible next season. In fact, we’ve seen a handful of teams receive a poor Draft grade afterwards, then those players actually turn into something special for that franchise. We never know what’s a good or bad decision in sports until we’ve given them some time to play out. Who knows, in a few years from now, we may look back and view these as legendary draft selections… But for now, I’m going to rip the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and the Houston Texans apart. So sit back and enjoy the ride (unless you’re a fan of these teams).

Green Bay Packers

First and foremost, the Green Bay Packers is one of the oldest/historic franchises in the history of football. They’re the only team that’s literally owned by the residents of the city, and they’ve done a VERY good job of almost always staying relevant in the always changing NFL. Last year, the Pack-Attack made it all the way to the NFC Championship game before being blown out by the 49ers. The Packers had a fantastic season, in which we saw Aaron Rogers do Aaron Rogers things, Aaron Jones was finally let loose, and the Green Bay defense came to play. Despite everything that went right, they still had some weaknesses, as Green Bay had a mediocre WR group (which didn’t seem to bother Rogers all that much) and their defensive line was small. Game in and game out we watched their opponents bully the Packers D-line, which made it hard for them to stop the run. So heading into the Draft, the clear holes that needed to be filled were D-line, and weapons for Rogers to throw the ball to.

By the time the Packers made their first pick, there were a TON of Packers’ fans out there upset with the selection. With the 26th pick overall, the Green Bay Packers took QB Jordan Love out of Utah State. I did not like this selection… I LOVED it. It makes complete sense why Green Bay took a QB in the first round. Rogers is 36, which means he’s nearing the end of his career. Green Bay did the same thing in 2005 when they selected Aaron Rogers to eventually replace Brett Favre. If Jordan Love is developed correctly and given proper coaching, this is a draft pick that will pay off for Green Bay for at least the next decade. People seem to forget that the Draft is for future success, and get caught up in the team succeeding now.

This article is about the losers of the Draft, so let’s get to it. After taking Jordan Love, Green Bay still (desperately) needs pass catching help. I’ve said it time and time again, this year’s WR class was the deepest we’ve seen in a long time, and the Packers need help at WR. This was a perfect opportunity to find high end talent for Aaron Rogers to throw the ball to in order for the team to maintain success while he’s still on the roster. So Green Bay went into the Draft and did not select a single WR. In fact, they selected only one pass catcher, TE Josiah Deguara in the 3rd round (I didn’t know who he was until he was drafted). There’s still some free agents left for the packers to sign so they could still find some cheap WR depth before the start of training camp. But considering how close the team was to going to the Super Bowl, and the main complaint Rogers had was he didn’t have enough guys to throw to? You’d think Green Bay would want to give the Franchise QB as many weapons as possible.

On the defensive side of the ball, Green Bay needed to bulk up in size, and there were a couple big guys available to help the defense. The Packers didn’t select a single D-lineman until the 7th round, where they took DE Jonathan Garvin out of Miami. He’s a big guy, standing at 6’4″ and weighing 263 lbs, but the Packers selected a guy that rushes off the edge, rather than a guy to push back against opposing offensive lines. The Packers needed to get big, bully type players on the d-line, and they didn’t add that to the roster. Plus they lost Blake Martinez in free agency, so expect the Packers to have a rough time stopping the run in 2020.

As for Green Bay’s outlook for next year, I’d still say they’re the favorites to win the NFC North. The Bears have a nice roster, but who knows what’s going on with that QB situation? And the Lions had a nice Draft, but they’re clearly rebuilding and their HC is on the hot seat. The only team I see giving Green Bay fits are the Minnesota Vikings. The Purple People Eaters have had a very nice offseason, and they’re re-loading to make the playoffs again. It’s going to be a tight race between the two franchises for the NFC North, but Green Bay should still be viewed as the favorite to win that division.

New England Patriots

Before I start, I just want to say, it feels a little weird placing the Patriots onto a losers list, as they haven’t done much losing in the past 20 years. But if I’m being completely honest, it feels pretty good seeing New England on a list like this one, especially since the Patriots typically crush every draft they’ve conducted. But there was something different about the 2020 Draft that I felt was rather odd for the Patriots to do. Offense is clearly the weakest part of the team right now, and Bill Belichick and company didn’t acquire all that much offensive talent.

Looking at the Patriots roster before the Draft started, it’s important to note that they already have a good offensive line set up, as well as a good RB group. What they lack is pass catchers, and the QB position. So it’s not like the Patriots are far off from having a strong roster. Also factor in they had one of the top defenses last year, and look to repeat dominance again, which helps set New England up for success in 2020. So considering the small amount of needs the Patriots had going into the Draft, I felt they were going to address their two biggest needs, which were WRs and a new QB.

The Pats entered the Draft with a ton of QB rumors swirling around them. People thought they’d trade up for one of the top prospects, while others thought they’d wait and draft someone in the 2nd-4th rounds. Instead, the Pats didn’t select a single QB. Afterwards, Belichick was interviewed and stated that not drafting a QB “wasn’t by design.” Even if that’s true, I still don’t know what the benefit is of telling everybody that not taking a QB in the Draft was an accident. It doesn’t make Belichick look smart, or cunning. If anything, it made Belichick and the Patriots front office look like they didn’t really have a game plan heading into the Draft, which is something we’re just not used to witnessing.

New England’s BIGGEST need was WR, as last year, many argued that the reason for Brady’s struggles was the lack of talent around him. It’s true, the Patriots didn’t have the strongest pass catchers in the league, as the Patriots had the 5th most dropped passes last year with 24. Right now they have Jarrett Stidham under Center, and they didn’t even draft him new weapons to throw the ball to. Instead the Pats took two TEs in the 3rd round. I mean, I get it, TE is also a big need for the Pats offense, but the two guys they selected are mediocre in the pass game, and it’s likely Dalton Keene will mainly pla as a FB.

The Patriot’s Draft was confusing at best, as this was an opportunity for them to build a nice offense for Stidham, or any QB in the future for that matter, as we still don’t know what Stidham is capable of. They added depth to their already stacked defense, depth to their already good o-line, some questionable TE’s, and a Kicker in the 5th round. In turn, they ignored the QB situation, and didn’t add any help to a very week WR group.

At the moment, there are still some nice talent left in the free agency pool, and who knows, maybe the Patriots have a trick up their sleeves to do some ridiculous trade that immediately improves the offense. Andy Dalton and Cam Newton are both available options at QB, and could be nice destinations for both veteran players. But going into the 2020 season, it’s going to be difficult for the 6-time Super Bowl Champs to make the playoffs. The Buffalo Bills are a stacked team right now, and they had an amazing draft that could help them go over the top. Considering how good Buffalo looks right now, along with the other great acquisitions made from other teams in the AFC, I don’t see the Patriots making the playoffs next year. But with Bill Belichick still as the HC, you can never count them out.

Houston Texans

As a die hard Tennessee Titans fan, it gives me so much pleasure to place one of our rivals on this list. I hope Bill O’Brien is the GM/HC for Houston for the next 20 years, as he has done nothing but diminish their draft stock in exchange for lesser players. The Texans only had 5 total picks out of the 7 rounds of the Draft. This is just terrible for a franchise that is only a few key pieces away from being lethal. All of this started right before the start of the 2019 season, when O’Brien traded away Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. Clowney is one of the most prolific dominant forces on defense in the entire league. A guy who HAS to be double teamed on every down because of his freakish athletic abilities. After trading away Clowney, the Texans received a 2020 3rd round pick, Barkevious Mingo (who now plays for the Bears), and Jacob Martin (WHO??)… That was it. That’s all they got in that deal. Additionally, around the same time, the Texans traded for LT Laremy Tusnil from Miami. Bill O’Brien GAVE the Dolphins their first round picks (yeah, plural) in 2020 AND 2021, a second round pick in 2021, and two low level players. The Texans essentially gave Miami two years worth of future selections, which the Dolphins have already taken advantage of in the 2020 Draft.

All of that trading happened at the beginning of the 2019 season, and you’d think that the Texans would have tried to make a move to gain more 1st round picks in the years to come. What happened instead, was Houston reached an agreement with the Arizona Cardinals before the start of this years Draft. Bill O’Brien dished away Superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, receiving a 2020 2nd round selection, RB David Johnson (an aging RB), and a 4th round pick in 2021… THAT WAS IT!! The Texans couldn’t even get back a 1st round selection after trading away arguably the best WR in football. That’s three trades in a row that looked like Bill O’Brien was held at gun point and forced into accepting, but the sad part is, he instigated these trades on his own.

So now we’re at the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Texans have some blaring holes to fill. Last year, the Texans gave up 49 sacks, 8th most in the league last season. So obviously the o-line should have been addressed. Additionally, they allowed the 4th most passing yards, and the 8th most rushing yards. Even though the Texans won the AFC South and made the playoffs last year, they had one of the worst offensive lines in the league, coupled with one of the worst defenses in the league.

With their first pick of the Draft, the Texans selected Ross Blacklock, a Defensive Tackle that I actually think was a good pick, especially with when they drafted him. He’ll be adding some much needed depth to their d-line. However, after the 2nd round, Bill O’Brien made some questionable decisions through the rest of the Draft. None of the guys they selected were on any “top lists” or even any “sleeper lists” that I could see anywhere. They failed to add help to their weak offensive line AND they took away his favorite target. Deshaun Watson is a phenomenal QB, and is capable of putting the team on his back. He still has massive potential to be even better than we’ve seen him play so far. But by making his weapons around him weaker, and with no added help to the o-line, it’s likely going to be another year of the young QB getting repeatedly sacked.

Now, despite losing Clowney, and Hopkins, and having little to no Draft picks next offseason, the Texans still have a decent roster for next year. They have a lot of speed at the WR position, and you’re always going to have a chance to win when you have JJ Watt in your starting lineup. However, the AFC South has been getting stronger every year, as the Colts had a fantastic Draft and think they now have the right QB to do some damage, while the Tennessee Titans are coming from a season going all the way to the AFC Championship, and have done a great job reloading for next year too. It’s going to be a tight race between these 3 teams again, but I have the Texans as the 3rd best team in the AFC South.

I’m Just Confused is All

Now there was one team that made some interesting decisions, and I was going to put them in this article at first, however, by the time the Draft ended, they actually fared pretty well considering how awful their 1st two selections were. I’m of course talking about, the Philadelphia Eagles.

CLEARLY the Eagles needed help in the WR department, and they took advantage of the WR class available this year. However, they decided to Draft Jalen Reagor. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s a good WR, and brings a lot to the table for Philly. But the fact he was selected in the 1st round was a reach by the Eagles. When they selected him, there were a handful of other WRs I felt were better selections, as Reagor was projected everywhere as a 2nd round talent. In fact, I felt the Eagles could have addressed a different need, then take Reagor in the 2nd round… Which brings me to their 2nd selection of the Draft.

Now, I love Jalen Hurts, so don’t think I’m trashing him. He’s the one player I was looking forward to see where/when he would be selected, as there has been so many positive and negative things said about him. I actually think he’s a great player with high potential. But the Eagles had just paid Carson Wentz a fat contract of $128 million over 4 years. After paying that much to a player, you’d think it would make more sense to build around him, and give him what he needs to be successful. But taking a QB that high after paying your QB that much just does nothing but raise questions. Like, “why did you pay Wentz that much money just to pick up another QB?” or, “is Wentz on the hot seat?” and others like,”are you planning to use Hurts as an utility guy like Taysom Hill? Do you plan to use Hurts as a trading tool?” There’s so many other questions to ask, but the fact is, we won’t be getting any answers from the Eagles front office about it any time soon.

Winners of the 2020 NFL Draft

The Draft ended on Sunday, and now teams are scurrying to acquire more free agents before the start of the season. The Draft is one of my favorite sporting events we have in America, as it brings an emotional spectacle for young athletes to fulfill their dreams. This year’s Draft was different, as we witnessed everyone participating in their homes, which brought a unique twist. As it turns out, Kliff Kingsburry, Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals, lives in the sickest bachelor’s pad in the state. We also got to see the evil genius, Bill Belichick’s humble home where his dog conducted most of the draft for him.

But I’m not here to recap the Draft (that would just be brutal for both of us), but instead, I’m going to focus on who I think were the top 3 winners of the Draft. We see it every year. Some team’s enter the Draft with a game plan and they see it through, while others seem like they have no idea what they’re doing. Now, I want you to keep in mind, just because I deem these teams as winners of the Draft, that doesn’t guarantee they’re going to the Super Bowl next year. This is strictly from an “on paper” view point, as there is no way of knowing how good (or bad) these draft selections are until we see them play a year or two. With that being said, the 3 teams that stood out to me were the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos, and the Carolina Panthers.

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens finished the 2019 season with the best record at 14-2. They had the highest scoring offense, a fierce defense, and the electric MVP Quarterback, Lamar Jackson. After the season ended, the Ravens went and stole Calais Campbell away from the Jaguars for just a 5th round pick, and they also signed Derek Wolfe. Both players look to add toughness and strength to an already stout defense. Additionally, the Ravens did a great job in keeping a majority of their players that helped them with their success in 2019, which brings a sense of familiarity to an already elite club. So before the Draft even started, the Baltimore Ravens had set themselves up for another playoff run.

Once the Draft began, the Ravens had the 28th overall pick in the Draft, and most of their selections were later in each round. So the Ravens had to make the best with what they had, and holy shit… They hit the nail on the head. They made 10 total picks through the seven round draft, and each guy they chose added depth to an already strong roster. HC John Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta did a fantastic job of mixing it up on both offense and defense throughout the draft, as they took 5 guys on offense, and 5 guys on defense, then probably celebrated by ordering some 5 Guys Burgers and Fries.

Their first four picks stood out to me the most. First, they selected Patrick Queen, who I thought was one of the top Inside Linebackers in the draft. He’s constantly reminded how undersized he is, and he consistently proves those people wrong with the way he plays. Also factor in that ILB was a positional need for the Ravens, so Queen could be that guy they needed on defense to give them that extra push. In the second round, Baltimore took JK Dobbins, one of the top Running Back prospects in the Draft. He comes into a team that was second in the league in rushing yards last year between Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. With Dobbins, the Ravens can call any style of plays they want, as opposing defenses will have a VERY difficult time figuring out which one will run the ball. In the third round, they took Justin Madubuike, who in my opinion, was in the top three Defensive Tackles in the Draft… and they took him in the third round! He now has the privilege to rotate in behind Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell his rookie year, which should help him develop faster than anticipated. Lastly, the Baltimore Ravens snagged a Wide Receiver in the deep WR class that was available. They took Devin Duvernay, who brings some serious speed to an already speedy offense. He’s going to be a nice target for Lamar Jackson next season as Duvernay could earn a spot opposite Hollywood Brown.

As the Ravens had already looked like a Super Bowl caliber team BEFORE the Draft, they sure as hell increased their chances afterwards. Considering how unstoppable this Baltimore team seemed to be (until the playoffs), this new rookie class could be what gives them that extra boost they need to make a Super Bowl appearance next year. Watch out for the high flying Ravens next season. That team is coming at everyone like Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds.

Denver Broncos

Last year, the Denver Broncos had quite the roller coaster of a season. Their offense seemed mediocre at best, which didn’t do the defense any favors. In 2019, the Broncos had a below average Offensive line, an aging Joe Flacco under Center, and one of the worst WR groups in the league. Eventually, they subbed Drew Lock in for Flacco, where Lock helped lead the Broncos to win 4 of their last 5 games.

Clearly, John Elway had some holes to fill this offseason on both sides of the ball. Before the Draft even started, he addressed the O-line immediately, signing OL Graham Glasgow, a player that should be a step up from Ron Leary who played RG last year. Elway also signed Melvin Gordon after holding out last year in LA. Gordon still has the ability to take over a game, and gives the Broncos a much needed boost in the run game. Their offense now has a nice 1-2 punch in Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay as their main RBs. Defensively, the Broncos made two brilliant trades without giving up too much. Star Cornerback, Chris Harris Jr. entered Free Agency, so in response, Denver traded for star Cornerback AJ Bouye from Houston, only giving up a 4th round selection. Additionally, Denver lost Derek Wolfe in FA too. Elway found his replacement after trading just a 7th round pick for Titans Pro-Bowler Jurrell Casey. They still have superstar Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Justin Simmons returning, as well as a good chunk of players from last years strong defense.

As Denver entered the 2020 NFL Draft, they still had a few slots to fill. They still needed some WR help, O-line depth, and another CB to play on the opposite of Bouye. By the end of the draft, it was as clear as day light that John Elway and Broncos are going all in on Drew Lock, as they secured Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler with their 1st two picks. In a matter of 48 hours, the Broncos went from having a weak WR group to a very promising core. Drew Lock now has Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Noah Fant to throw the ball to. He also has Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay to carry the ball, which will help take pressure of the 2nd year QB. I know Jeudy and Hamler are excited to be drafted, but Drew Lock HAS to be on cloud nine right now, as Elway basically just gave him the keys to a brand new Ferrari. But Denver didn’t stop there, as the Broncos had two 3rd round picks. First they took advantage of the deep CB class by selecting Michael Ojemudia, then followed that up by taking Center Lloyd Cushenberry. Ojemudia and Cushenberry will have opportunities to earn starting spots as both guys have incredible potential (Cushenberry was in my top 3 Centers of the Draft).

Before the start of the 2020 season, Elway addressed every need the team had a year ago. The WR group looks dangerous, the O-line is improved, the defense maintained stability, and they’re starting Drew Lock week one. Denver has a lot going for them, but it will be tough, as they have the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs playing in their division. The Raiders also made some nice acquisitions, and the Chargers aren’t too far behind either in their re-build. Having said that, I don’t know if the Broncos have enough to win the division, but they definitely have the talent to make the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers

Boy has Carolina had it rough the past few years now. First, Cam Newton receives a shoulder injury in 2018 and the Panthers staff didn’t give him the necessary time to let it heal. This led to Newton’s poor start in 2019, which ended early due to a completely separate injury in his ankle. By week 12, long time Head Coach Ron Rivera was fired, leaving the franchise in a dark and confused state. The day after the Super Bowl, the Panthers cut their star Tight End Greg Olsen, and after hiring their new Head Coach, Matt Rhule, the franchise decided to part ways with Cam Newton as well. Newton struck social media, pleading he never wanted to leave the team, even though the Panthers claimed both parties agreed mutually. This led to Greg Olsen voicing his similar experience, as well as Panther’s great, WR Steve Smith. Soon, a few more players started chirping away at the unprofessionalism of the team, which put daunting eyes on the franchise as a whole.

During this catastrophe, the Panther’s traded their Pro-Bowl Guard, Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for long time OT Russell Okung. The trade was a head scratcher, as Trai Turner is easily one of the best Guards in the league, and Okung is nearing the end of his career. The long tenured OT suffered from blood clots in his lungs during the 2019 offseason, which led to him only playing 6 games. After all of this, it’s no wonder Panther fans have been quiet the past couple years.

But there’s hope. A glimmer of light shining through the darkness, giving Panther’s fans something to be happy about. GM Marty Hurney and HC Matt Rhule put on a show during the NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers are in a rebuild and the front office did exactly what an organization should do when in this position; build the defense first. Carolina had seven total picks, and took a defensive player with every single one. They hit home runs especially with their first 4 selections. They took DT Derrick Brown in the first round, who is one of the top players overall in the draft. The guy is a game changer and should help the Panthers improve their rush defense. They also took Yetur Gross-Matos to rush the QB on the edge. Carolina put their main attention on the defensive line, which it’s commonly known that football is a game won in the trenches. They also upgraded their secondary by taking Safety Jeremy Chinn and Cornerback Troy Pride Jr. Both guys will have a chance to earn some serious playing time. Chinn has massive potential and could be the next big thing in the NFL, while Pride Jr. will add much needed depth to the Panther’s pass coverage.

As Carolina makes their way into the next NFL season, it’s going to be difficult for the team to thrive in a tough NFC South division. The Saints are completely loaded, and the new look Buccaneers are an early favorite to win the NFC Conference. Like I mentioned, the Panther’s are in a rebuilding process with multiple new players on the team and luckily have a franchise Running Back they can build around. Panther’s are probably not going to make the playoffs next year, but if their defense focused draft picks work into their full potential, Carolina could find themselves back in the playoff race sooner rather than later.

Honorable Mentions

Dallas Cowboys: Stole WR CeeDee Lamb to pair him up with Amari Cooper, took CB Trevon Diggs to replace Byron Jones, and selected arguabley the best Center in the Draft Tyler Biadasz. The offense is stacked, the defense looks better, they’re in a weak NFC East division, and they have a new HC. Let’s see if Dallas can finally put it together this year.

Tennessee Titans: Filled all needs through the draft. Isaiah Wilson will compete for the starting RT spot, they drafted Kristian Fulton who many had as the CB3 in the Draft, and found a solid RB2 in Darrynton Evans to help make the offense more explosive. Right now the team is rumored to possibly sign Jadeveon Clowney and/or Damon “Snacks” Harrison. They have 10-11 returning starters on offense, and new acquisitions for the defense to put them over the edge. There were limited changes to the coaching staff made as well, which means the Titans are re-loading up for another possible deep playoff run.