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I originally wrote this "blog" as more of a script for a video before the C's game. I was actually pretty proud of myself to bang out it between video therapy and the opening tip because normally I find a way to self-doubt myself into an extra two hours on a blog without blinking an eye. Mind you, this was after my first day inside a school since Covid officially went mainstream; so today had already been phenomenal. hashtag sarcasm. It's ironic how on my first day back in a school since C, this not so shocking news comes out!
My intentions were to make an NFL preview video on IG/Youtube after the C's game using ripped screen-recorded clips and google images, but between a double-OT defeat that was obviously impacted by officiating and trying to balance risking my life doing a job that I'm literally not qualified for (teaching out of my content area) and working up the mental/emotional energy to make content for the doz-ens (just decided I'm calling my supporters that). I've decided to stick with what I do best; the written word. I slept around three and a half hours last night so I apologize for the lack of depth. Here is a 22 personal, no bells and whistles DOL 2020 NFL Preview/Predictions Blog.
The 2020 NFL season kicks off tomorrow (tonight) with the defending Super Bowl Champion, Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium to no more than 16,000 fans. Despite a worldwide Pandemic, Kansas City is one of seven teams that have already announced plans to let some fans into the stadium; with the Bengals, Browns, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins and Jaguars rounding out the list. Insert hacky, but factual “but the Jags don’t have fans" joke here.
Speaking of 7 teams; for the first time since 1990 the NFL playoffs have expanded. Now 7 teams in each conference will make the playoffs; changing (in total) from 12 to 14 like Chris Godwin. This means only the #1 seed in each conference earns that coveted first-round-bye and theoretically makes it possible for an entire division to make the postseason. (NFC West or South being the most likely to accomplish that feat).
This change is good news for the Saints, as this means we’ll likely see more 13 win teams lose in the Wild Card Round over-time. The Chiefs and Texans last met in the Divisional Round of the playoffs where the Chiefs famously erased a 24-0 deficit in less than 10 minutes of gametime; scoring six straight touchdowns before humiliating the Texans 51-31 in what ended up being the final game of the DeAndre Hopkins era in Houston.
The 2020 season will feature many high-profile changes (insert photo of drug testing changes) for the NFL, as D-Hop is hardly the only big name to relocate. Stefon Diggs is in Buffalo. Calais Campbell is now a Raven. Gronk is back, but in Tampa (gross) with Tom Brady who left New England for Tampa like a retired lawyer; setting off a QB domino effect with Jameis Winston going from Tampa to New Orleans, Teddy Bridgewater from New Orleans to Carolina and Cam Newton from Carolina to New England. The Oakland Raiders now call Las Vegas home and the Washington Redskins finally changed their name to the less racist, but more lazy Washington Football Team.
A record eight teams changed their uniforms for the new season/decade ranging from returning to a previous look (Browns, Bucs) to complete makeovers (Rams, Falcons). Of all the “new” uniforms, the Chargers are the most aesthetically pleasing bringing back the Powder Blues. Sadly, football fans won’t get to see Phil Rivers don the Powder Blues as he’s now wearing a different shade of blue in Indy.
Kent State located just the next state over (Ohio) and is where now officially retired Chargers TE Antonio Gates played college basketball...wait, that can’t be right? You’re telling me Antonio Gates played college basketball? That must’ve been tough to balance with football...wait...WHAT!?
Every year in the NFL there are almost three guarantees when it comes to predictions thanks to the parity in the league. The first is the "surprise" team that literally everybody is picking to make the playoffs, that usually ends up missing the playoffs. In 2019 it was the Browns, in 2018 it was the 49ers. This years team is the Arizona Cardinals.
The second is a worst to first team. Since realignment in 2002 when the Texans joined the NFL there has been a "worst to first" team every year except 2014 and 2019. This year's most likely candidate is the Detroit Lions just because the NFC North is such a clusterfuck, even though I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions and Bears still stink. Chargers could do it too if Tyrod is given a fair shake.
Lastly, one of the NFL's Final Four; a team who played during Conference Championship Weekend won't even make the playoffs. While expanded playoffs may change that trend this year, I would not be shocked to see the Packers or Titans miss the playoffs entirely. Sure, Aaron Rodgers has a chip on his shoulder because the Packers drafted a QB in the first round, but there’s like a 40% that chip breaks his shoulder and he misses 12 weeks. Trust Tree: Do we really expect Ryan Tannehill to replicate his Bob Griese run to the AFCCG? That Titans defense lost some key pieces in Logan Ryan and Jurrell Casey; although Clowney is a great add.
When the playoffs begin these are the teams you'll be watching.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers. I hate, but respect the shit out of this organization. I think if not so Big Ben stays healthy this team with a fantastic defense and solid running game should compete for not just a playoff berth, but possibly the division; 10-6.
6. Buffalo Bills. Even though Josh Allen has less touch on his balls than a neutered puppy, I love the Stefon Diggs addition to this offense. This is going to be a fun team to watch in 2020 although they might hurt from the lack of fans more than any other team in the league which low key makes me regret this pic; 9-7.
7.Las Vegas Raiders. 7-9 last year, new Stadium...time to put up or shut up for Gruden and Carr. They’re my surprise playoff pick in the AFC. Wouldn’t be shocked to see the Titans back in the mix if Derrick Henry can dominate like he did in the second half of the season; 9-7.
5. 49ers. They probably should’ve won the Super Bowl and are bringing back a lot of the same team, but the NFC West may be the best division in football, is Jimmy G the guy? Will Shanahan bound back? Probably, but I see the 9ers closer to 10-6 than 13-3 and that's why I'm picking 10-6.
6. Buccaneers. As much as I’d love to see the Bucs fail miserably, I don’t see it happening. Even with Jameis putting up 30 INT last year this team was 7-9. I do think Brady showed some signs of age last year, but even if he throws 20 INT that’s still 33.3% fewer turnovers. Too many weapons and a somewhat sneaky great D to miss the playoffs. Hard to dislike Bruce Arians too;9-7.
7. This is a complete crapshoot, but I think the Eagles sneak in. I’ve seen them in the top 10 in a lot of power rankings and just don’t get it like Local H, but Doug Pederson is a great coach and will find a way to sneak into the playoffs after a 3-5 or 4-6 start; 9-7.
AFC Championship: Chiefs over Ravens
NFC Championship: Seahawks over 49ers
Super Bowl: Seahawks over Chiefs.
Super Bowl MVP: Russell Wilson
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick (I think leading the Opt-out-riots to the playoffs without Tom Brady will change up the usual narrative of a coach with low expectation making the playoffs winning).
OPTY: Christian McCaffery
DPTY: Devin White (take away credit from Brady and Gronk lolz)
MVP: Russell Wilson
OROY: Joe Burrow
DROY: Chase Young
P.S. Sucks Von Miller got hurt. Love him even though he cost me $660 in the 2015 AFC Championship. Best 5-8 in the biz.