New Orleans Saints:
With Drew Brees retiring, the great debate now centers upon who between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston will prove to be best equipped to lead New Orleans’ squad. This confusion might actually work in their favor at the beginning of the season, when their adversaries will be knocking rust off, while the Saints will have focused on basics all during training camp, in order to be able to digest their “2 QB” style.
Expect a big upset early, which will bring out the superlatives from all the talking heads... but in the long run, I think Brees was patching up a lot more holes in this team than we realize, through his experience and skill. We’ll see if Sean Payton can prove me wrong, but my gut tells me that with Matt Ryan and Tom Brady in the division, there isn’t enough success to go around. Especially if you have an clearly unsettled quarterback room. Hill worked best with as a complement to an efficient passer... Can that be Winston?
A best case scenario of 9-8 says no, and a worst case scenario of 6-11 confirms it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
If you ever doubted that Tom Brady has the NFL’s favor, look no further than the 2021 schedule they’ve gifted his Buccaneers with. As if it’s not enough that he gets to play two divisional games against the Drew Brees-less Saints, the inept Panthers and secretly-rebuilding Falcons, Tampa Bay will also play against the NFC East, which was the worst division in football last season.
Top it off, he gets to cruise back through his old stomping grounds and return as the defending champ to the AFC east, where only Belichick’s Patriots (due to Bill’s knowledge of Brady’s weaknesses, from coaching him for two decades) and the Buffalo Bills have a shot at stopping what is soon to be the biggest draw in professional sports: Tom Brady’s run at “Perfection 2.0”.
People who think Miami have a shot at an upset don’t understand - this is Tom Brady’s world, we’re just living in it.
The league is going to want to recapture the magic that happened in 2007, when he almost ran the table with Randy Moss and crew, and has massaged things in the favor of the 40+ year old quarterback. I’d say 17-0 is impossible in today’s NFL, but after seeing the refs sit on the Chiefs for an entire quarter in the Superbowl and then hand Tom his 7th Lombardi Trophy last season, I truly don’t know.
Best case scenario becomes 17-0, worst case scenario is 15-2
Can Sam Darnold finally put it all together? The Carolina brass certainly thought so, because he’ll be suiting up in silver and teal this season. The league’s schedule masters also apparently took notice, and have put his former team, the New York Jets, as the Panthers first adversary.
While it’s undeniable that Carolina boasts a more complete and quarterback-friendly offense than the Jets (thank you Christian McCaffrey), the trajectories of both franchises will hang in the balance come September (especially considering how the squads have recently drafted).
But forgive me for burying the lead: the schedule is not friendly for Carolina at all. For a team still struggling to find it’s footing, the Bills, Cardinals and Patriots figure to be rough. Forget Kyler or even Josh Allen... Just think how desperately Cam wants to prove himself!
The best case scenario figures to be about 8-9, but thankfully the floor isn’t too low with a worst case scenario of 6-11.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Doesn’t it seem like their epic Superbowl collapse against Brady, all those years ago, still haunts this city, with the wind whispering nastily in their ear during every 3rd down “you bleeeeeeewwww it...”?
Well, now they got Kyle Pitts, kept Julio Jones (so far) and still have the ever-dynamic Calvin Ridley, which means they’ll at least be able to put up about 30 every other week. The schedule gods kind of gave them a middle finger with games against the 49ers and the Bills late-ish in the season (I also think that the Patriots will tar and feather them, which is a different story), but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll be above .500 come December.
Brady will probably come close to splitting with them... only to sweep the leg at the last second. You know, maybe I’m biased (or maybe the Falcons really do have a stink to them), but from where I’m standing, even their bad AFC opponents look strong on paper.
Best case scenario actually has them at 10-7, but that will take some ref help. Worst case scenario 5-12.
Dan Bernardini wasn't always the camouflage-clad shadow he is today. No, once upon a time he had it all. Six-figure hedgefund gig, designer suits, luxury car... And boy did he love his Sundays by the pool, splashing around with the wife and kids. It was a great life, until the illuminati took it all away. When the financial crisis hit, Dan was suddenly left holding the bag. "Could have happened to anyone" the lawyers lamented, as the feds seized it all...