The new season is fast approaching and Liz Bhandari is here to give you the rundown in her NFL season preview.
When it comes to the NFL, it really is ‘Any Given Sunday’. When news first broke last season that Brady had joined Tampa Bay, people laughed. No way were they making it to the Super Bowl… Well, we all know how that one ended!
So with the new season due to kick off we look ahead at the teams and players who’ll lead the way on the road to Super Bowl LVI.
The NFL is bound to have a ton of talented teams this year, but who will be able to end the regular season with the best record? I would roll with the Kansas City Chiefs (4/1) here. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and an upgraded offensive line are going to be near impossible to stop. Their defense could also take a massive leap and take them to another level.
Which QB is likely to lead in passing yards?
Deshaun Watson narrowly won this category last season, barely beating Mahomes who played a game less. With Watson’s off-field issues, it’s likely a new king will be crowned. Mahomes (11/4) would be the obvious bet, but I wouldn’t sleep on Buffalo’s Josh Allen (8/1).
DERRICK HENRY JOINS THE 2K CLUB 👑
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 4, 2021
Derrick Henry (4/1) ran away with the rushing title in 2020 breaking the 2,000-yard mark, proving unstoppable throughout. I can imagine that he will be right up at the top of this list, though this time with some company. Dalvin Cook (6/1) is likely the second best back in the league after a strong, injury free 2020.
Tight Ends normally don’t win the award...Liz Bhandari
Who will win the receiving yards crown?
Stefon Diggs (7/1) and his first year with the Buffalo Bills ended up getting him this title last season. This should be the most competitive race in the league this upcoming year and for good reason. I see Diggs having a second consecutive strong year, but it is very difficult to win back-to-back titles.
Players to watch include Davante Adams (14/1) or Travis Kelce (9/1). Tight ends normally don’t win the award, but Kelce was third last season and still a preferred target for Mahomes.
Who will reign in the endzone and haul in the most touchdowns?
There is a lot of great options out there but again I am rolling with Davante Adams (9/1).
He was a machine in the red zone last season, and the type of chemistry that he has with Rodgers in Green Bay isn’t easy to match. Adams should be a beast in the red zone once more and kill opponents with his insane route running ability.
Now for the all-important MVP.
Aaron Rodgers (9/1) took home this award last season – can he go back-to-back?
Mahomes (9/2) will be in the conversation as always due to his phenomenal playmaking ability as well but could face voter fatigue. A similar problem faces Tom Brady (14/1) and the Buccaneers.
A big dark horse candidate for the MVP award may be Matthew Stafford (18/1). It is his first year with the LA Rams and he has shown his talents as a leader with the Detroit Lions. Now he has Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and a strong offensive line to throw the football behind. Defensive stars Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald may well aid him into the Super Bowl mix.
“I hope I’m getting better in this offense for…10 years” 🙌
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 24, 2021
Moving on to the playoffs, there are a ton of teams that are going to be contenders. I see the Chiefs (1/3) and Buccaneers (8/15) each reclaiming their postseason position by defending their divisional crowns, after both making Super Bowl appearances last year.
The Packers (8/13) are likely going to make it back as well after Aaron Rodgers returned to the organisation in the offseason. The Bills (8/13) and the Rams (19/10) too are looking good to win their division.
Looking at the Conference Championships, in the AFC it’s difficult to imagine anyone other than the Chiefs (5/2) lifting the trophy. There is just too much talent, especially having a generational quarterback leading the charge. If we had to throw in another contender, then without a doubt the Buffalo Bills (11/2).
For the NFC, the Buccaneers (10/3) might be the favourites, but I personally believe the Rams (6/1) could shock us all. That said, it’s all down to how Stafford performs and if he can stay healthy.