1. The Curious Case of Cam Newton:
The guy just can’t get a break. After grinding his way to a superbowl with Carolina (after a series of grueling seasons spent being slammed to the turf, in a way that would get any defender banned for life if they tried it with Brady) he finally got tired of The silver and Teal, taking his talents instead to Foxborough during the last off-season. The only problem is that the Patriots are still built for Tom Brady’s specific skillset… and after he left, the mass exodus of talent that followed, meant that the already-diminished team was thoroughly threadbare by the time Cam showed up. So what now? Bill Belichick didn’t seem particularly inspired this season and once again, Newton was thrown to the wolves, which leaves us thinking that if New England doesn’t get some massive upgrades at almost every key position in the draft (highly unlikely considering Belichick’s past track-record, barring Brady) and Free Agency (more likely, but the salary cap will still limit them), then chances are Cam ain’t finished moving around.
Our verdict: Rather than continue help the Pats rebuild and be stuck wearing Brady’s “old clothes”, Cam will be gone after 2 uneventful seasons, when Belichick gets tired of his inaccuracy and mood swings. Plus, he still won’t have a ring, and Bill has more than enough to already start eyeing retirement.
2. Falcon Failure to Launch:
The now-infamous 2016 Super Bowl disaster/meltdown against the Patriots, during Brady’s second Super Bowl run, won’t be lived down until Matt Ryan leaves. There we said it. There aren’t really many other ways to explain how, since that debacle, this sorry Atlanta squad has blown lead after lead after lead, p*ssing away any chance of post-season relevancy. The closest the Falcons have come to sniffing playoff success was during Philly’s magical year in 2017, and that all ended with a Julio Jones Slip in the endzone… so it’s not like they didn’t have at least one last try. And the worst part is, now you have to deal with Brady. Yeah… talk about wasted opportunities. These last few years, all Matty Ice had to deal with in the division were an aging Brees, a beat-up Cam and Interception-Winston. If he couldn’t get it done before, no way it’s happening with the GOAT in town.
Our verdict: Firesale. This upcoming season is gonna see the Atlanta Falcons implode in a way that would make Jerry Jones blush, and big name talent will be walking out the door to play elsewhere.
3. Cool Your Jets:
Does anyone seriously think that New York’s 3rd team (let’s be honest) is ever going to the big dance, anytime this decade? Cuz I’d love to meet them. Darnold is probably out, which means another rookie is going to have to helm a team that is devoid of blue-chip talent in key positions, on both sides of the ball. Not a very enticing proposition… And because Trevor Lawrence will be going to Jacksonville, do the next 4 QBs on the docket merit a first round selection? It feels like the Jets are in an eternal rebuilding process, with no clear end it sight. How long ago it seems that Favre was throwing grey-bearded passes for them and it felt like maybe, just maybe they could do something if note… And even longer still since -dare I say it- good old Mark Sanchez was in the building, for repeat AFC title appearances.
Our verdict: What this franchise needs is a signature moment in recent memory, and that means playing for something when December rolls around. Darnold is gonna stay and Management tries some daring draft-day magic to reverse their fledgling fortunes.
4. How ‘Bout them Cowboys?:
The sad saga of Dak continues, as the ownser has started playing media games to apparently suggest his injured QB is now less worthy of a long-overdue contract. In a terrible division, Prescott’s injury most probably cost Dallas a playoff berth, and came at the worst possible time for a passer in desperate need of a big statistical season (at the very least) to back up his gamble of not signing an extension the previous year, and betting on his performance to warrant higher pay. Zeke might need replacing too, and sooner rather than later… but with Jones having recently overpaid for his talents, the cap-hit drastically limits what the Cowboys can actually do to retain talent, beyond simply taking collegiate players this April, and hoping for the best.
Our Verdict: Dak should be good to go physically when the NFL season starts back up next fall, but it will take some time for him to regain his confidence and rhythm after being away from the sport for almost a year. The Cowboys might have some early-season, “feel good” success and lead their division for a bit while Dak gets his comeback praise, but they’ll fade late as always. At least The Boys will constantly be in the news,so Jerry can always hang his hat on that.
5. Jacksonville Jetlaguars:
What ever happened to the days when Jacksonville flew to London to play a “home” game over there, and you got to see these fleeting shots of half-empty arenas, where dudes had Mark McGuire jerseys, posters of Jordan, wrestling gear and any other random “America” stuff draped all over themselves? We miss those days of knee-jerk fandom and wanton capitalism, where the Jaguars (and their poor opponents hahaha) contractually had to fly across the atlantic ocean, to play in front of a bunch of confused soccer fans at Wembley stadium. What made it even funnier was that these people had probably won their tickets in a raffle or something, looked perplexed at the egg-shaped ball,and would clap when the refs threw penalty flags. There were barely any actual football fans, and why would there be? The Jags don’t have any american fans, so why would english people be interested in the worst franchise our league has to offer? Plus, the players hated it, but the NFL didn’t care and adamantly forced the issue. Seems like a lifetime ago…
Our verdict: The Jags appear trapped in a perpetual whirlwind of futile efforts, still drunk off the fumes of their AFC championship lead, when they had Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on the ropes. The state ain’t big enough for the Dolphins, the Jags and the Buccs to all be good, so the Jaguars keep sucking/letting Foles get sacked while tossing TDs.
Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived – UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil – and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey – a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.