The National Football League is back! I have been screaming this to anyone who will listen because I couldn’t be more excited! I love professional football, and the prospect of a canceled season this fall had me so sad during the entire off-season. I was so desperate for NFL content that I watched all three nights of the virtual draft, which I have detailed further in my piece in the opinion section from last year.
I couldn’t be happier to be back watching the Dallas Cowboys lose while I scream at them through my television screen each week, to the dismay of my roommates who have to listen to me. This season is obviously incredibly different than any other, as is anything in this current climate, but there are so many things to be excited about.
Changes to the rosters for each of the 32 teams offer so much room for growth and assure fans watching from home that this season still promises to be an exciting one that is worth following.
After keeping a watchful eye on these first two weeks of play, I have some predictions on how the 2020-2021 schedule is going to play out. I don’t want to paint myself as any kind of professional sports expert, but as someone who has watched my fair share of football, I think I have put in the time and research to articulate an informed opinion.
First off, the story that everyone is talking about is Tom Brady. The surreal experience of seeing him in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform was truly something else during week one, and his level of play was even more surreal. During the Bucs first game against the New Orleans Saints, led by another seasoned quarterback, Drew Brees, Brady looked nothing like the confident leader fans had come to know back in New England, when he was playing for the Patriots. He threw two interceptions and looked pretty unsure of himself overall. I think the problem lies in the fact that he simply doesn’t have the support of a phenomenal offense and defense, as he had in New England. There’s a lot more pressure on him, because he doesn’t have as much to rely on, such as his partnership with Julian Edelman. The Buccaneers ended up losing their first game 23-34; a pretty bad omen for Brady’s new team for the rest of the season. My prediction is that Brady fans are going to have to get ready to face a little adversary for once, because a Tom Brady not in New England is just never going to be as good.
Another quarterback that everyone is looking to is the most talked about draft pick of the year, Joe Burrows. After going from winning the Heisman Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding National Collegiate Athletic Association football player of the year, plus a national championship with Louisiana State University, to being the number one pick in the NFL draft, going to the Cincinnati Bengals, everyone couldn’t be more excited to see what Burrows is going to accomplish next. I do think that week one brought a rude awakening for Burrows, as he realized that he is no longer on the golden LSU team, and that the Bengals had the worst record in the NFL last year for a reason. I think that with time, Burrows is going to be a star in the league, but I don’t think that the Bengals are going to be the team to get him there.
Now, it is really easy to start making predictions for the season during weeks one and two, but this year there are a lot of mitigating factors to take into account. What if there is an outbreak on a team that puts them out of play for two weeks? How will the lack of an audience affect team morale? These questions are along with the usual ones about who will get hurt, be traded or any of the other hundreds of things that can change throughout the course of a season. All I know is that no matter how this season turns out, thank God that football is back. I will certainly be tuning in to as much of it as possible. Also, the most important thing, go Cowboys!