Way-Too-Early NFL Season Breakdown
This, my friends, is what we've all been waiting for. With the only sports content over the last couple weeks consisting of 20+ year old highlights of Jordan dominating mailmen and late-night Korean baseball (which has been low-key electric), the people have grown restless. And, as of 7PM CST on May 7th, 2020, our prayers have been answered: the NFL has released the schedule for the upcoming season (which may or may not occur).
If it does happen, this season's for sure going to have a different feel to it. From the COVID-19 pandemic, Tom Brady and Gronk taking their talents to Tampa, and the Cowboys finally having a head coach that isn't a Muppet (but still won't win their division), its shaping up to be a wild one. I'm here to provide you some guidance and borderline controversial takes on what it might look like.
Game of the Year: Chiefs at Ravens, Week 3 MNF
In a rematch of one of the most entertaining games from last year, the reigning champion Chiefs take an early season trip to Charm City to take on MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in what should be another great showing for both teams. Both teams see the Texans and a lesser divisional opponent in the first two weeks, so there's a good chance both come into the primetime game 2-0. Both teams had solid first round picks out of LSU in this years draft with the Chiefs getting the best receiving back in the draft in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Ravens getting what could be one of the steals of the draft in MLB Patrick Queen. Expect this to be another barn-burner with the champs coming out on top in another close one.
Worst Game of the Year: Dolphins at Jaguars, Week 3 TNF
In the same week as our game of the year, we also have the toilet bowl. Both of these teams had top 10 picks in the draft this year, and will probably be in the same place next year after finishing last in their respective divisions. Tua may eventually be what the Dolphins think he can be, but it won't be week 3 this year. The Jaguars are in much worse shape. Without a potential franchise QB (unless Gardner Minshew can channel his inner Uncle Rico) and their best player in DE Yannick Ngakoue wanting nothing to do with the team. Their only hope for any success this year is on the shoulders of RB Leonard Fournette. The only way this game is if we get a healthy dose of some #FitzMagic. Dolphins probably take this one in a snoozefest.
Upstart Team of the Year: Buffalo Bills
With Tommy Boy moving down to Tampa Bay, the AFC East just became ripe for the taking (unless Belichick has some more black magic up his sleeve), and there's no better team to fill that void than the Bills. After years of not quite getting there, the lovable former-losers now have by far the best roster and QB in future All-Pro Josh Allen (like I said, controversial takes). The team also had a solid draft in getting what I see as steals in DE A.J. Epenesa from Iowa and RB Zach Moss from Utah. 10+ wins, a division title, and the first playoff win in 20+ years are well within reach for the Bills, and frankly, the Mafia deserves it.
Disappointment of the Year: Dallas Cowboys
There are but a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and the Cowboys choking when it matters most while their delusional fans obsess over the 90's and scream "wE 'dEm bOyS". Now, I know what you're thinking: they just got one of the best receivers in the draft in Ceedee Lamb and a coach that is capable of more than clapping. Their offense is better, so they've gotta take the next step, right? Wrong. Their ancient owner can't come to terms with their QB and the team's Achilles heel secondary got worse. A lot worse. Losing Byron Jones is a big hit to an already bad defense, and their two most talented D-linemen in Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith can't STAY OFF THE WEED!
Hypothetically, maybe the team got better. But so did the rest of the division. The Eagles got another playmaker, the Redskins got a new, proven coach and probably the best player in the draft (yea, I said it), and the Giants still have the best back in football with an upgraded OL. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. Their obnoxious fans start every season claiming a division title and Super Bowl win, and anything less is a failure just like every year since the 90's. Well, Dallas fans, get ready for another steaming plate of failure in 2020.
Tailgate of the Year: Bills at Raiders, Week 4
This one's just common sense. Bills Mafia, the best fans in the NFL, invading Las Vegas. I don't care if fans won't be allowed in the stadium. Rules never stopped the Mafia before. They're still coming, and no table is safe. I'm talking blackout-drunk Western New Yorkers jumping through blackjack tables in casinos, destroying hotel front desks, and consuming all the liquor in sight. The amount of sheer degeneracy that could potentially culminate that weekend is the stuff of legend. You don't want to miss it. Hands down best tailgate of the year (unless 10k Takes does another Game Morning).
Best Playoff Race: Vikings vs. Packers
In what has been one of the more heated rivalries in the NFL the last few years, both teams seem to be gearing up for another playoff run this year. From what their schedules look like, both teams should be close in the standings as the end of the year comes up, with the race likely depending on the results of divisional rivalries the last week of the season. With how the NFC is shaped up, wildcard spots will be at a premium, and it's entirely possible one of these teams misses out on the playoffs by just 1 game. Despite losing Stefon Diggs and an inevitable clutch pick or two from Cousins, the Vikings seem to be the favorites coming in. Aaron Rogers is getting older, they still won't draft him any weapons, and the defense will likely be suspect again. Vikings likely seal the deal with a Week 17 win at Detroit.
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Things just keep getting better for the 2018 MVP. He just won his first Super Bowl in his second year as a full-time starter, his team just drafted yet another guy for him to throw bombs to, and the scary part is he's just 24 years old. If he and his weapons stay healthy, there's no reason to think he won't tear the league apart again. The fact that he's still growing and getting even better is hard to believe. The best thing to do at this point is sit back and watch greatness as it unfolds.
Rookie of the Year: Jerry Jeudy
As the next (possibly) great receiver to come out of Alabama, Jeudy has all the tools to succeed. A young QB with loads of potential, other young, complimentary weapons in Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, and Noah Fant, and a team with nothing to lose. One of the biggest steals of the draft, he's got the potential to be Drew Lock's primary target this season and put the rest of the league on notice.
Super Bowl: Chiefs vs. Seahawks
MVP Patrick Mahomes leads the reigning champs back to defend their title against a Seattle team that likely got there through a combination of Russel Wilson magic, controversy, and some other shenanigans that always seem to happen in the playoffs. Both teams sport imposing passing attacks and capable defenses. After a great game, the Chiefs' offense ends up being too much, leading to the second consecutive ring for Reid and co.
Now, at this point, all of these predictions are entirely speculation. There's a solid possibility none of these things happen, and that would honestly make the season even more fun. Parity is something the NFL has lacked a bit recently, so more of it would absolutely be welcomed.
If you've have any thoughts on our predictions or some of your own, hit us up on twitter @Coleman10kTakes and @10000TakesMN, and be sure to follow us on Instagram @10000Takes.