Tick tock says the clock. It is almost that time already. The 2021 NFL Training Camps are about to kick off in just a matter of weeks and while some fans may be content watching the NHL or NBA playoffs, many are just dying for football to return!
Training camp brings with it new hope. A new season full of “what could be”. New players, or players that have returned from injury, that are like shiny new toys to be excited about and loved. I decided it was time to check in with the fan forum, or at least those who weren’t on vacation, and see what players they were most excited to watch during training camp. A rookie with potential? A free agent vet who completes their team? So many things to look forward to, so let’s jump right in.
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. And again, and again. The NFC West is the toughest division in football. This isn’t to disparage other divisions, as there are many fantastic divisions. However, over the last 7-10 years when you look at the records, how many times the winner of the NFC West has changed, how many times the division has represented the NFC in the Super Bowl… it’s hard to argue against my point.
In my article yesterday, I mentioned how the “rich got richer” when talking about the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFC West. For the NFC West, the entire division got even more competitive… which is saying a lot. Let’s take a look at how each team drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.
There is seriously tough competition in the AFC West. It is home to the AFC Champion from the last two seasons.
In a division that has one of, if not the, strongest teams in the league, how did the other 3 franchises look to add to their rosters in order to compete with the Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid machine in Kansas City? Pretty well according to many in the business.
Let’s take a look at each team in the division and their draft picks.
Las Vegas Raiders
With the Raiders splitting the season at 8-8 last season, they knew they didn’t need a complete overhaul in order to get better. However, the grades given to this year’s Raiders draft were mostly B’s and C’s, with one D coming in from Vinny Iver from Sporting News.
Every few weeks during the regular season, and every month or so during the offseason, I chat with a group of fans from all around the NFL to ask them a question. This month’s edition focused on free agency as that is the hot topic of the month.
Fans often have a very different perspective regarding moves their team makes than the general media does. Fans look at their team with emotion and heart. The media, or more cynical fans, tend to focus more on statistics and grades given by random websites.
We’ve heard about it all season. The 2021 NFL Cap was going down. Way down. Teams who were going to be in cap trouble are now in REAL cap trouble, and teams who thought they had the room to go get every free agent they wanted are now having to reevaluate.
I went straight to the source to try to help us figure out how teams were going to manage this difficult cap year. Miguel Benzan, also known as @PatsCap on Twitter, is one of the most respected NFL cap space minds out there. While he mostly focuses on the New England Patriots cap, he is extremely well versed in intricate details of the NFL cap. Go follow him. Now. I’ll wait. Continue reading “The impact of the 2021 NFL Cap”→
For two weeks we heard nothing but Mahomes vs Brady. New kid vs GOAT. New legacies vs old legacies. But what we soon discovered, and were not all that surprised by, is that it was more than just the quarterbacks who made an impact on the field. In the crazy world of Super Bowl mania, no matter how the media spins it, it’s still a team sport.
It’s not like I don’t understand the reason for the hype. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is, almost without question, the greatest QB to play the game versus Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the fantastically talented, young superstar of the league. A possible changing of the guard right before our eyes.
It was dubbed the “Old Man Battle”. Two quarterbacks, both over 40, both first-ballot Hall of Famers. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the New Orleans Saints game was about more than just aging QBs, it was about two teams with something to prove. A chip on their shoulders. Two teams that had been written off and came back swinging.
I’m not going to go over these men’s careers. As I said, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees are first-ballot Hall of Famers, we all know the impact they have made on the league. However this was more about the impact they could make in this particular game, and Brady came out on top.
During the regular season, it was New Orleans that had the upper hand in this matchup, winning 34-23 and 38-3. However, that was prior to Brees breaking 11 ribs and puncturing his lung. While his return to the field was miraculous and insanely fast, Sunday’s game showed that he wasn’t at full strength. He seemed to struggle during the game, definitely not the Brees we have gotten used to seeing.
The NFL playoffs have begun! With the expanded playoff field, there were two full days of football, with three games on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday featured two games for the NFC, bringing together two heated division rivals, a goat, and a hungry 7-9 team.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the expanded playoffs. I believe that the top two teams in each conference deserved a bye week. However, the expansion does let some of those fantastic teams who would just miss out on the playoffs in the old system, fight for the Lombardi. Let’s take a look at Saturday’s NFC battles.
The 2020 NFL season is winding down and every game is starting to have a massive impact on the playoffs. Teams are locking in their seeding, while others are fighting just to get in. For the AFC West, it is all wrapped up. The Kansas City Chiefs have the top seed, while the other teams are all out. But in the NFC West, there is still some wiggle room surrounding the playoffs.
The Chiefs, once again, dominated their division. While their only loss so far this year was in division, to the Las Vegas Raiders, they were never really in danger of not winning the division. Kansas City wrapped up the AFC West title last week, and this week did the same for the number 1 seed in the entire AFC. They will have a bye week to start the playoffs, and home-field advantage throughout.
The Chiefs are going to be dominant in this league for years.
With just three games remaining in the season, there are already a handful of divisions that have been claimed. However with the NFC West, much like it has the last few seasons, it will come down to those last few games before a winner can be claimed. For the most competitive division in football, it could be a photo finish at the end.
We all know that there could be 3 NFC West teams that make the playoffs, but claiming the division could be a harder chore. With the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both sitting at 9-4, the Rams hold the first place spot due to their 23-16 win over the Seahawks in Week 10. These teams will meet again in week 15. This game could, and most likely will end up deciding the division.