Throughout the offseason, I keep a record of takes that I have that I like, but I have never actually kept a hard-log of them for me to reference at year’s end. Well, instead of just letting these thoughts wither away in my brain, here I am to put them in writing so everyone who reads this can tell me how wrong I am at the end of the season.

As we approach the first kickoff of the NFL season tonight, here are all of my takes for the 2021 season and a quick (and somewhat illiterate) synopsis of why I believe those takes to be true.

Here goes nothing:

Matthew Stafford wins MVP

  • Genius OC can finally be a more aggressive play caller. Stafford is insanely talented. Great receiving corps. Team will be a top-3 seed in the NFC. Stafford with 45+ TDs and 4800+ pass yards.

Panthers OC Joe Brady becomes the next Bengals head coach

  • Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase. He is a very impressive play-caller, Zac Taylor is bad.

Bills OC Brian Daboll becomes the next Cardinals head coach

  • Kingsbury is going to be fired mid-season and Daboll is ready to be a head coach. Daboll’s turn-around with Josh Allen in 2020 is enough for the Cardinals to hand him the keys with Kyler Murray.

Saints make the playoffs

  • Still a very good defense. Sean Payton is still a great head coach and play caller. Winston is not nearly as bad as he gets credit for. Running game will be stout enough to carry them.

Bears are picking in the top 10 in next years draft

  • Awful offensive line derails whoever is playing QB/run game. Nagy is a terrible play caller. Defense has taken steps back every year since 2019, this year is their breaking point. 

Washington Football Team wins the NFC East

  • Unreal defense. Solid run game. Good coaching. Fitzpatrick being a more aggressive QB makes that offense more dangerous and explosive, not great overall but enough to push them over the top while being able to rely on that defense.

Buccaneers finish the season with the most wins in the NFL (14+)

  • Last year they had growing pains but figured it out towards the end of season. Returned all starters. Full year with AB as WR3!!! Gio Bernard gives that offense another element too catching balls out of the backfield.

Dalvin Cook leads the league in rushing yards

  • Was on pace for 2k yards second half of season when defense played better. Better O-line and better defense = more rush attempts and even higher efficiency.

Calvin Ridley leads the league in receiving yards

  • On pace for 1800+ receiving yards in games without Julio Jones last year. Should be a better offense with Arthur Smith calling shows. Creates a lot of open deep routes with PA-style pass game. 

Jets finish the year with more wins than the Dolphins

  • Jets are sneakily quite good in the trenches. Will have a much better rushing attack than expected with Mike LaFleur calling plays and additions of Vera-Tucker+Morgan Moses. Zach Wilson will have a solid rookie season. Back-end of the defense stinks, but that D-Line is good enough to mask some of their deficiencies (losing Carl Lawson HURTS though).
  • Dolphins O-Line is awful, their defense lost a lot more pieces up front then the media is giving credit for, not sure that Tua is “the guy” unless things are great around him. He will be better for sure, but without great pass protection and a solid run game, it doesn’t matter how good their receivers are.

Kliff Kingsbury is the first coach fired

  • Year three as head coach and has nothing to show for it so far. Cardinals must believe that Kyler Murray is worth the second contract but haven’t seen enough growth to be 100% positive. Need to see it happen with a capable OC turned HC (and plenty should be available after the season). Kingsbury’s college-style offense hasn’t translated to the NFL, Cardinals give him short leash to begin the season and a bumpy start gets him out of there sooner rather than later.

Patriots win AFC East, also go 2-0 vs Bills

  • The Bills are good and games will be close, but I sneaky think the Colts built the gameplan to give the Bills offense fits when they played in the playoffs last year. To be honest, the Colts should have won that game. The Patriots will be able to rush the passer, cover their receivers (if Gilmore is there/healthy) and run the ball all over that defense (that is talented, but definitely has its weaknesses). Right side of the Bills O line is suspect and I don’t think they did much to improve. The offense was unsustainably good on third down – are due for some regression. They still probably won’t be able to run the ball that well and will rely heavily on Allen to dig them out of holes, which plays right into the Patriots’ hands. Call me crazy, I like the matchup for New England. 
  • *I will say it is worth noting that I wrote this up while Cam Newton was still the quarterback. I am a little less confident in this take now that he’s gone, but I’m sticking to my guns here regardless.

Elijah Moore will be considered the best rookie receiver in this class by the end of the season

  • Explanation: He’s simply that good. 

Davis Mills will start an NFL Game before Trey Lance and Justin Fields do

  • The Texans will likely have a high draft pick in 2021, and will need to see what they have in Mills before they go about selecting a QB in the draft. I think they’ll realize pretty early on (week 5 or so) that they need to give Mills a shot over Tyrod Taylor. Fields is Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace’s only trump card to keeping their jobs. They will stash him until later in the season when they’re out of the hunt and then roll him out there late in the season. If he shows flashes, they will keep both guys to keep developing the foundation they laid. Shanahan is Belichick-style in that he demands command of his offense. Lance is going to be good, but he has some things he needs to clear up before Shanahan feels comfortable trotting him out there. That team will be very good, they won’t feel the need to replace Jimmy G early on, if at all this season.

AFC Division Winners

  • Chiefs
  • Titans
  • Patriots
  • Ravens

AFC Wild Card

  • Chargers
  • Browns
  • Bills

NFC Division Winners

  • Buccaneers
  • Packers
  • Rams
  • Football Team

NFC Wild Card

  • Vikings
  • Seahawks
  • Saints

I can’t wait for all of these to be right! Regardless, I am more than ready for the NFL season to start, glad to have you along for the ride.