It would be an understatement to say that the 2020 NFL season is normal. From no offseason to devastating injuries to “Tuesday Night Football”, the NFL season is just getting started. Here are 10 things you may have missed during a chaotic first month of the NFL:
1. The NFL is dominating the sports world (again).
The NFL took a lot of criticism over the offseason for not addressing racial injustice problems. They also had to find a way to deal with he COVID-19 pandemic and no fans. With no offseason and preseason they was sure to be less action and more sloppy football. There was also many cases where they had to compete with the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, and the return of all sports. Besides it being a scheduling nightmare, these leagues were in a full force postseason, while the NFL was just starting its regular season. All things considered, the NFL average viewership was almost double the NBA Finals. Not to mention the NY Jets VS Denver Broncos (combined 1 win) game got more views than the MLB and NBA that night and any other show on TV that night. The NFL is dominating the sports world again, and it’s not even close.
2. No preseason will become the new normal.
We got a glimpse of what no offseason and no preseason looks like this year. It is safe to say that a lot of players were not equipped to play (per all the injuries). But in a normal year, there will always an offseason to get in shape. Adding a week to the season (for a total of 18 weeks) next year, the NFL will most likely cut a preseason game. But all things considered, it takes the best coaches to gather their teams to be ready for Week 1 with no preseason. It has been exciting to see some teams find success early in the season, and it may be just exciting enough for the NFL to get rid of preseason for good.
3. This could be the best WR class EVER.
We already knew this coming in, but it still seems like every team found a WR in this year’s draft that could have major roles in their future offenses. Receivers like CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, and Jerry Judy are already playing at a WR1 level; while we wait for Jalen Reagor, Henry Ruggs III, Michael Pittman JR, and others to get healthy and showcase their talent. Oh an let’s not forget about Chase Claypool, Brandon Aiyuk, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Tee Higgins. We also can’t forget about Denzel Mims and KJ Hamler. You get the point.
4. This is Brees’ last year, while Rivers, Brady, Rodgers, and Roethlisberger are making a last push in their careers.
It’s clear that Drew Brees is slowing down. The Saints unfortunately seemed to have wasted his good years with early playoff exits. The Saints will have to rely on their improved defense to help Drew Brees make on last run. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers made headline moves by going to new teams. So far, that has seemed to work. But, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger proved that they can still produce offense at a high level with their long time teams. These QBs only have a couple years left before they turn it over to the next generation of mobile QBs, but it seems increasing likely that one of these QBs will capture one last title.
5. Patrick Mahomes life’s got better (if that’s even possible).
Pat Mahomes…ohh wait I’m sorry, PATRICK Mahomes has accomplished what many consider a successful NFL career in just a few years with the Chiefs. Mahomes is probably the only person that has had a good 2020. Is that even possible? Yes. The numbers, however, do not tell the entire story, but some of the throws he is making have never even been imagined. It is almost a lock that the Chiefs will make the playoffs and Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs on another deep playoff run. Oh and by the way, this process will repeat for the next 10 years, while Mahomes gets half a billion dollars. With a baby and wedding on the way, Patrick Mahomes is living the high life.
6. The AFC North is the best division in football.
In a division where the Ravens were supposed to cruise to a title, this is perhaps the most surprising division in football. A lot of people thought the NFC West would be the hardest division (and it is still a tough division), but the AFC North has a three tie atop the division at 4-1. The Ravens are still the favorite (with their regular season success), but the Steelers and Browns are making a case early in the season. It is almost guaranteed that at least two of these teams will make the expanded playoffs, but could there be three?
7. The Colts, Bears, and Browns are back!
These three teams are using the same formula to 4-1 records: hard, aggressive defense with a mediocre offense. Each lead by their respective QBs (Rivers, Foles, and Mayfield), the teams have playmakers on the offensive end. These teams will rely on their QBs to make the clutch plays on offense to get by with a close, hard fought, low scoring game. So far, they’ve found success, but will it work against high flying offenses like the Ravens and Seahawks? We will have to find out.
8. Defenses are pointless.
We’ve seen teams like the Colts and Bears win with strong defenses. But, we’ve also seen teams like the Seahawks and the Cowboys win shootouts. With no offseason and preseason, defenses took a hit and are having to adjust on the fly. Not to mention the numerous injuries, but defenses are struggling. With no fans, it is hard for the defenses to get energy on third down and get off the field. The most successful teams have high flying offenses with mediocre defenses that can step up to make a play when necessary. Now I’m not saying defenses are totally useless (well, the Falcons may think so), but it helps to have an offense that can consistently put up 30 points per game.
9. Bill Belichick is the best coach of all time.
Most of us knew this coming into this year, but this is his first year without Tom Brady under center. Instead, Belichick has the opposite with Cam Newton. After half of his defense opted-out of the season, the Patriots are expecting to make the playoffs and make a deep run. Their offense has been completely flopped to fit Newton, but Bill has proved so far this year that he can make a bunch of guys off the streets winners.
10. DK Metcalf will be the best receiver in the NFL in the next 5 years.
The second year WR seems to have found a fit in Seattle, after falling to the 3rd round of the draft last year. DK Metcalf is 2nd in TDs, second in receiving yards, and is 1st yards per catch. With an elite quarterback under center, it would be shocking if he slowed down production. It is almost impossible to cover him in the middle of the field with his size and strength. Oh, and don’t forget he ran a 4.33 40 yard dash.