The 2020 NFL season has brought with it some truly interesting storylines, both on and off the field. I’ve chosen to take this time to deliver my own view on what I see as the biggest, most pivotal pieces to the puzzle that is playing football in this bizarre year.
Brady’s outlook with the Bucs? Bad vibes.
Tom Brady doesn’t look like the gunslinger the Bucs offense needs him to be, and I doubt he’ll be able to keep the talented slew of receivers and tight ends properly fed all year. Brady is still likely a top-16 quarterback for the rest of the season, and this team will likely improve and push for a wild-card spot. Sadly for TB12 however, the ceiling of a Super Bowl feels nonexistent.
His replacement in New England? Good vibes.
Cam Newton is back to being Super-cam. He’s slinging the ball and making lower-end receivers look like ballers, and his running hasn’t seemed to miss a beat. The Patriots system and Cam have evolved symbiotically to form a deadly offense, despite lacking true playmakers outside of Julian Edelman and Cam himself.
The NFC East race? Bad vibes.
For the second year in the row, the NFC East race is shaping up to be ugly. I like the ceiling of the Cowboys the best, especially with all those offensive weapons that stole an insane win over Atlanta in Week 2, but their defense could easily lose them games to Philly or even Washington. I only expect one team here to make the playoffs, and a deep run from that representative is tough to envision.
The NFC West race? Good vibes.
This is the polar opposite of the NFC East. All four teams look ready for a divisional battle royale. Every team is great at something a little different, with the Seahawks and the 49ers still bearing Super Bowl-caliber upsides. Every division matchup from here on out will be a popcorn-crunching affair. Three teams here could easily make the playoffs.
Player health? Bad vibes.
This is not necessarily related to COVID-19, though it’s only a matter of time before we get an infection or even an outbreak given the NFL’s non-bubble situation. This is more related to the devastating slew of injuries we’ve experienced leading up to and during the season so far. It could be based on the shorter offseason, it could just be bad luck. But the point is it happened, and we need to push on this season without some truly incredible players on the field.
The health of the season as a whole? Mixed vibes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This season, for better or for worse, is happening. Football, as a larger-than-life entity and source of escapism for so many, has a way of pushing on and ignoring what’s happening in and around it. Even if COVID-19 derails the season, the NFL will find a way to get things back on track, once again for better or for worse. Sorting through my emotions as both a fan of the game and a wary watcher of the dire climate we live in will be a process for the entire season. I only ask that you as the reader remain reflective, thoughtful and intentional as you watch the NFL and the rest of sports alongside me this season.
Let’s end on a high note: Gardner Minshew holding onto the Jags starting job? Great vibes.
Minshew Mania is real and I have a bad case of it. This man’s mustache could move mountains and shape the world. I love Minshew’s chances to be a fixture in this league for years to come after his start to the season. Keep on carving up those defenses, my mustachioed hero.