On Thursday, the sport that has benefited from the COVID 19 lockdown more than any other, (the NFL), returns when the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs play the Houston Texans to begin the 2020 season. As the delayed NBA and NHL seasons are reaching their conclusions and the MLB is rapidly heading towards its 16-team playoff format, the sport that dominates the American consciousness returns when the people of this country need it the most. The next couple of paragraphs will be my evaluation of both conferences, my predictions (Which mean absolutely nothing) and a review of my Los Angeles Rams. Here we go!
For the handful of people who read my blog, this prediction is probably going to upset a few people. As my friends know, I despise the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles…sorry…Oakland…sorry…Las Vegas Raiders. I am a believer in the Patriots’ system. Whether Belichick has achieved his six Super Bowl titles through legal means is a topic for another day. But I passionately believe that Tom Brady has regressed over the past three seasons. It was most evident in the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Rams where if Jared Goff or Sean McVay could have come up with five successful plays, they would have won that Super Bowl. It became more evident last year as the Patriots ruined their great start and flamed out in the first round of the playoffs against Tennessee. The free agent signing of Cam Newton is “Huge” for New England. They will be better this season despite the massive number of players that opted out of the season. Cam had an offensive line problem in Carolina. Even during his best seasons, he always appeared to be running for his life. If the Patriots line can protect him just a little bit, I expect to see the elite Cam from four to five years ago rematerialize. Kansas City and Baltimore are still the favorites in the conference. But there are a few surprises that could make themselves known this season. I expect Tennessee to be anywhere between an 8-8 to 10-6 team again but find it unlikely that they will make the AFC Championship game again. Pittsburgh is likely to be much improved. With the playoffs now including 7 teams, I believe that Cleveland ends their playoff drought and 11 teams in the AFC will likely still be alive in Week 17. I apologize to Chiefs fans for my prediction in advance. I do believe that the Chiefs are set up to win multiple Super Bowls. But I feel that this season will end in an early playoff exit. So here we go with my AFC predictions!
Finally, I have to review my Los Angeles Rams. Coming off a horrible performance in Super Bowl LIII against the Patriots, the Rams were a missed field goal away against Seattle from being a wild card team during a step back 9-7 season. If the expanded 14 team playoff field existed in 2019, they would have been the final seed and played Green Bay in the first round (A very winnable game). Now that the team is over the Super Bowl hangover, a new defensive coordinator has an exceptional defensive line and a lockdown corner ready to go. Based on the effectiveness of his system, the Rams defense could be taking the step up that has been predicted for years or possibly a step back if the system does not coalesce with the talent around it. The linebackers continue to be the weakness of the team and why many teams have no problems running the ball against them. The offense is an interesting dilemma. McVay is going with a three running back rotation and is going to use the running game more to free up Goff for the timing throws and play action which he excels under. The offense may not reach the elite status that it did during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but it will not be as bad as 2019. The main concern revolves around the offensive line. With a bunch of starters that regressed last year along with a spate of injuries, it will be interesting to see if they can coalesce into an effective group and give Goff the time he needs and the running backs the space they require to control the clock.
EXPERT OF SOME