It's never too early to start thinking about what's ahead on the NFL radar. After a season we've never experienced before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL fans are hoping for a return to normalcy (and to the stands) in 2021. This article features my 3 bold predictions for 2021. Let's take a look!
BOLD PREDICTION #1: The Seattle Seahawks will miss the 2021 postseason
The Seattle Seahawks were poised for another Super Bowl run in 2020. After starting a blazing 5-0, Seattle lost in overtime in a back-and-forth affair to the Arizona Cardinals in week 6. From there, Seattle would finish the season 7-4. Russell Wilson was a leading candidate for league MVP for the early majority of the season but would eventually lose his candidacy to Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers.
A glaring concern for Seattle was their defense in 2020, but optimism in the front office believes they can shore up that side of the ball before next season. Things seem to be moving in the right direction for Seattle, or so most of us thought. It wasn't until recently that reports out of Seattle suggested there was growing concern in Russell Wilson's camp he was concerned Seattle's ability protect him in the pocket. If there is a concern about Russell Wilson's happiness, things could drastically change should he decide he doesn't want to be there anymore. But let's assume Russell Wilson stays. I believe Seattle's chances at the postseason next year will be harder to come by than it was this season due to the competitiveness at the quarterback position in the NFC West division.
The Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford and have become serious contenders to come out of the NFC. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had a good 2020 season even though they finished 8-8. Many analyses believe Murray should be in the league MVP conversation in the upcoming seasons if his stellar play continues. For San Francisco, injuries plagued their season, but when George Kittle returns and the 49ers solidify their quarterback position, I believe they will pose their challenges to other teams. For these reasons, I predict Seattle will miss the postseason next year.
BOLD PREDICTION #2: Baker Mayfield will win NFL MVP
For the Cleveland Browns, the 2020 season couldn't have gone better. After a lack-luster 2019, the Browns hired former Minnesota Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski who brought in a new regime and a new mindset which had them very close to upsetting AFC juggernaut Kansas City in this years playoffs. A bolstered defensive line and a two-headed running attack made the Browns serious threats in the AFC.
Baker Mayfield made significant improvements in his decision-making and posted career bests in many statistical categories. Because of this upward trend in Mayfield's game, I see him leveling up once again and winning league MVP. While there was trepidation in Mayfield's abilities, the former Oklahoma Sooner showed maturity both on and off the field. I think Cleveland has finally found their franchise quarterback.
BOLD PREDICTION #3: Trevor Lawrence will NOT win RYOY
While it might be a foregone conclusion former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will go number one overall in this years draft, in my opinion it's not certain he will go on to win rookie of the year. I believe the award will be won by Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith.
Lawrence is projected to go to Jacksonville, which has been a franchise in disarray. The Jags went out and hired former Florida and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. The combination of a new head coach and a new quarterback will be a lot to digest for a team trying to put together more than one win. Jacksonville will have more than one win in 2021, but not a Rookie of the Year winner.