Why the Buffalo Bills could get the #1 seed in the AFC

By: Noah Nichols

To finish the regular season of 2020 the Buffalo Bills stomped the Miami Dolphins 56-26. The Bills wrapped up the season as a 13-3 juggernaut, looking nearly unbeatable. This success came on the waves of Josh Allen’s massive improvement, both throwing the football and running it. If not for Aaron Rodgers having a hall of fame type year, Allen probably would have won MVP. The Bills locked up the number two seed in the AFC and enjoyed their week off.

To begin the playoffs the Bills would face the Indianapolis Colts, whom they beat 24-27 in a game that was not quite so close as the score indicated. The Bills would then face the Baltimore Ravens and beat them 17-3. The game was, again, not as close as the score might indicate. The Bills finally prepared to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was supposed to be “one for the ages.” The Bills lost 38-24. After the infamous decision to kick field goals twice, in the second and third quarters, Bills head coach Sean McDermott regretted the decision. “If I had to do it over again, I’d probably go for one of them,” said McDermott when asked about the field goals.

All of this is to say that the Bills season came to an unfortunate and abrupt close to finish the 2020 NFL season. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. While the Bills folded at the end, they showed promise. They have a very strong team and showed poise in the playoffs. And to be fair to the Bills and McDermott, they did not have a lot of playoff experience. It should actually be seen as a good sign that the Bills hung with the Chiefs for about half of the game. It was the first time since 1994 that the Bills made an appearance in the AFC Championship game. And Sean McDermott is not planning on missing the Championship game.

“We accomplished a lot,” McDermott said. “We won a division, won 13 games, hosted and won two playoff games. There’s one game after the game that we just played. Do we make it a goal to make it to the AFC Championship Game? No. The goal is to win the World Championship. So we came up short, disappointed in that but extremely grateful for what we were able to accomplish this season. Believe me, we’re going back to work. We’re already back at work to assess where we are and how we can move our team forward. I feel good about what we’ve done, not satisfied.”

So, what can be expected of the Bills following that disappointing end to an otherwise great season? The Bills should be able to build on their success in 2020 and bring all that momentum into 2021. They should be a strong contender for the number one seed in the AFC. And besides the Chiefs, the Bills probably have the best chance to take the number one seed in the AFC this season. But before I get into why the Bills can and, potentially should, win the first seed in the AFC, its important to note why the first seed is valuable.

After the NFL expanded the Playoff teams to seven in 2020, only one team received a bye week. That bye week is extremely helpful to teams that want to win the Super Bowl. The last team to win the Super Bowl without a bye week was the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. And it took a couple of miracle plays to make that happen. Every other team since that point that has won the Super Bowl has had a bye week. It’s that important. So if the Bills want to get to the Super Bowl, which they do, the best way to do that is to secure the number one seed and have a bye week.

The Bills are loaded with talent

The first real reason that the Bills could win the number one seed in 2021 is because of how much darn talent they have. Taking a look at the offense you have to start with Josh Allen. Allen threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also posed a threat on the ground, running for 421 yards and eight touchdowns. Allen was nearly unstoppable during the last six weeks of the season. He threw sixteen touchdowns compared to three interceptions. And on the year he only threw ten. During that same six week stretch to close out the regular season Allen ran for three more touchdowns and threw for almost two thousand yards. His strong finish put him strongly in contention for MVP, but Aaron Rodgers just outplayed him. If not for Rodgers, Allen probably would have received the award.

Not to be left out of the conversation, Stefon Diggs put up a career year. It might be the best Diggs will ever have. Diggs was arguably the best receiver in the league in 2020. He had 127 receptions, 1,535 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs already had the Bills’ franchise record for receptions and receiving yards in a season, and lead the league in both categories. He added the NFL mark for most receiving yards by a player in his first year with a new team. That’s called domination. Sean McDermott had this to say when asked about what he thought his All-Pro receiver brought to the team:

“Well overall, I think he’s brought experience to our receiving corps,” McDermott explained. “We’ve had experience before to some extent, but he’s brought legitimacy to that group, even more than we were before. He’s brought energy and a dog mentality to our offense and to our football team, quite frankly. I think the yards everyone can pull it up, look on a computer, and find the numbers, but I believe it goes beyond that. There’s a lot of intangibles in there as well that we as a team have benefited from.”

Clearly, McDermott was pleased with what Diggs brought and pleasantly surprised with the production that Diggs created on the field. But Diggs was also pleasantly surprised with what Allen brought to Diggs’ experience with the team. “Everybody knows Josh to be a jokester,” Diggs stated. “He’s definitely jokester, so spending that time with him on the field whether we’re playing around or running routes or whatever is intentional. I do everything like I mean it, so spending time with him and getting to know him, even as to recent events, I just have more love and more respect for him. He’s become more of a brother than anything at this point and he never made an excuse, not one time. He didn’t use that we didn’t have an offseason or that we didn’t have much time, he used the time that was allowed, and he made it work.”

That chemistry that is always important to quarterbacks and receivers is clearly evident here. And in a season where it was incredibly hard for players to spend time together off the field, the brotherhood the two have with each other is remarkable. The rest of the receiving room cannot be forgotten either. Cole Beasley had 82 receptions for 967 yards in what seemed like a career resurgence. Rookie Gabriel Davis had 35 receptions for 699 yards, averaging an impressive 17 yards per catch. John Brown had 33 receptions for 458 yards, not bad as the third receiver in a stacked offense.

The rushing game was not bad either. Devin Singletary led the way with 156 carries for 687 yards. Rookie Zach Moss had 112 carries for 481 yards, and four touchdowns. He was the Bills leading red zone running back threat. Allen of course led the team with 8 rushing touchdowns, but the Bills seem to be preparing to hand the ball off to Zach Moss more. Moss was the lead back in the red zone, and there is no way the Bills will risk Allen by having him continue to run.

All in all, the Bills will be bringing a stacked offense into 2021. They will only be looking to grow on the repour that was built in 2020 and look towards a more established running game led by Moss. The Bills ranked second in 2020 in total offense and actually led the league in points scored per game. That had a lot to do with new offensive coordinator Brain Daboll, who was the 2020 AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. But the defense was no slouch either. And all the main players that starred on the Bills defense last year will still be there entering the 2021 NFL season.

The Bills defense ranked 16th in the NFL last year. But the Bills added Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham in the first and second rounds of the 202 NFL draft. Rousseau will start at edge and Basham will start at defensive tackle. Both were drafted for one thing and one thing only: improve the Bills pass rush. Both will do that, Rosseau was arguably the best pass rusher available in the draft and Basham was no slouch either. Rosseau had 15.5 sacks in his junior season. Basham had 11. Clearly, the Bills had one goal here, and if the rookies play like they expect them to, the Bills pass rush will be much improved. The secondary is still fine, with Traedavious White leading the way as one of the best corners in the league.

The AFC East is not too tough

The Bills will be bringing a competitive team into 2021. The same cannot be said for the rest of their division. The New England Patriots will be starting either Cam Newton who showed his age last year or Mac Jones. The Patriots don’t exactly have anyone on offense that puts fear into opposing defenses. Neither do the New York Jets. While the Jets are young and have a new and potentially, star, quarterback, there is no way they can pose a real threat to the Bills in 2021.

The Miami Dolphins are the only real threat to the Bills next year. With a young and feisty defense, and an offense loaded with talent at receiver, the Bills will have a tough time sweeping the Dolphins. It really all revolves around what Tua Tagovailoa does next year. If Tua can take the step forward, the Dolphins offense could be deadly. And the Bills defense must play at its best to handle the speed that the Dolphins bring, with Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller.

If the Bills can develop their pass rush then they can present a most likely above average defense to the Dolphins. But those games will still be close and hard-fought. The Dolphins have a real secondary, and even the tandem of Allen to Diggs won’t have an easy time against the Dolphins secondary. Ignoring the final game of the year, when the Bills were on fire and the Dolphins…were not, the Dolphins gave the Bills a tough time. In the first game between the two teams, the Bills won by only 3 points in a 31-28 win.

Sean McDermott wont let success go to their heads either.

“If you sit here and say, ‘All we need to do is do this much more to make it to the Super Bowl,’ you’re wrong,” McDermott said. “You have to start over. Yes, we can carry a lot of things forward, but every year you have to start over. You have to rebuild the football team, you have to grow as an individual. You have to take it upon yourself, just because we had success, to ask yourself the hard questions.”

McDermott knows the Bills won’t have an easy time in the division or the rest of the AFC.”To think well we made it, we won 15 games and lost four, well we’re perfect. No, we’re not. And even if we were, you have to take the growth mindset approach. That’s what you do when you’re a winner. That’s what you do when you’re hungry to be the best and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

And if the AFC East is not to hard for the Bills to handle, that is one step closer to a number one seed.

The Bills can overcome any hurdles that come their way

The Bills beat anyone not name the Titans, Chiefs, or Cardinals last year. The Cardinals game was close, but if the Hail Murray does not happen, the Bills win. The Titans and Chiefs game were not quite that close. The Titans pretty much blew out the Bills. However, the Bills were playing on a weird week that benefited the Titans more than the Bills. That loss is not an accurate representation of the Bills. They can beat the Titans. They have the weapons and players to do so. The same goes for the Chiefs game.

And just because the Bills lost to the Chiefs does not mean that the Bills cannot beat them. Everyone loses to the Chiefs. But the Bills have everything that they need to beat the Chiefs, and everyone else. The Bills have everything that they could want if their rookies work out. And even if their rookies don’t work out, the Bills will still be bringing back largely the same group as last year. There is not much turnover, so there won’t be a dropoff in play. Though, there is some change.

“The reality of it is, it’s not the same team,” Daboll stated. “Do we have certain players that are the same? Absolutely. Cole and Stef and Josh, Mitch and Feliciano. There’s a lot of the same guys, but there’s also 15 new people, so when you put everybody together in a room, you don’t know how everybody’s going to react when things aren’t great, you don’t have a great practice, you miss a pass. You have to build those relationships because, at the end of the day, that’s the business we’re in, we’re in a relationship business, figuring out how guys work. Do they respond better to tougher criticism? Less? How they work together. You’ve got to gel as a team and this is the start of what we’re trying to do, just trying to gel as a group more than anything.”

The Bills will gel together. They will use their rookies as best as they can, but won’t put them into situations they cannot win. The rookies will be eased into playing in a way that helps both the team and the player. Sean McDermott and Brian Daboll know what they are doing. The team will be ready to go when the season begins.

The Bills have the offensive talent needed to win the number one seed in the AFC. The division is not strong enough that it will stall them out. And the challenges that they will face won’t be too much for them to overcome. Aside from injuries, the Bills have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. They have a great head coach. The only thing that might stop them is themselves. Otherwise, the Bills can beat anyone, on any given Sunday.

Quinnen Williams is the New York Jets X Factor for 2021

By: Noah Nichols

A good pass rush makes a great defense. A great pass rush makes an elite defense.

Yes, that argument is not one hundred percent true, because secondary players are important. Are they more important than the front seven? It’s debatable. However, every single great defense in the NFL always has a good to great pass rush. And the best defenses have a great pass rush. Always.

And arguably the best way to build a team is to begin in the trenches. Build a great defensive and offensive line and go from there. That’s what the New York Jets and Detriot Lions are trying to do. Both the Jets and Lions took offensive lineman with high picks, and Jets head coach Robert Saleh has clearly made the defensive line a priority by adding Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, and Vinny Curry.

And when your trenches have an “x-factor” player, then it’s that much easier for the defense to be great. Just take a look at the Los Angles Rams. If Aaron Donald played for some other team, there is no question that the defense would be much worse. Or look at T.J. Watt. If he were to be on some other team besides the Pittsburgh Steelers, would their pass rush even break 30 sacks? There is a good argument that it would not.

The Jets need an x-factor on the defense. After they traded Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks, the only player of note on the Jets defense is Marcus Maye. And while Maye is a fine safety, he is not a star player. And if the Jets want to build a great defense, which is a good bet considering head coach Robert Saleh’s background, then the Jets need start players. They need players that can “call game,” making a play when the defense, and team, need it most.

There is plenty of talent on the offense. Zach Wilson, Mekhi Becton, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter will give splash plays to an offense that badly needed them in 2020. The defense, however, will be picked on if it can’t pick up its own end. Without a star player on defense, it doesn’t matter how many points the offense scores. The Jets will lose anyways. At least, that’s what will happen if Quinnen Williams doesn’t play football in 2021. However, last time I checked, he will play football in 2021. A lot of it.

The former third-overall pick is the focal point on the Jet’s defense. He is their only star player. The pass rush and run defense start with him. Why? He has the most talent out of anyone else on the Jets defense. And because of the free-agent additions of Lawson, Rankins, and Curry, Williams is set up to succeed. The free-agent additions ensure that it won’t be just Williams and “everyone else” rushing the quarterback. And Williams is only getting better himself. He has not reached his ceiling yet, not by a long shot.

Williams almost doubled his rookie stats from 2019 to 2020. In thirteen games last season, Williams had 55 tackles, 10 for a loss of yards, seven sacks, 14 quarterback picks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles. And the players around Williams were not as talented as the new group of free-agent acquisitions. Instead of players like Nathan Shepard and Kyle Philips on the line, forcing attention to the way of Williams because he was so much more talented than everyone else, Williams now has help. Lawson and Rankins make sure that offenses cannot focus on Williams and only Williams, if they don’t pay attention to Lawson and Rankins and company, life could get hard, and quickly.

Saleh pointed that out in an interview. “That kid is special,” Saleh said during an appearance on “The Michael Kay Show” on WEPN-FM in New York. “He’s a game-wrecker. He’s somebody you have to game plan against to keep him at bay, and, obviously, it gives the other 10 guys an opportunity to excel just because of the focus that he’s going to garner.”

Saleh really likes what he sees in Williams. Really likes what he sees. “In regards to that young man,” Saleh told reporters about Quinnen Williams, “his mindset, his athleticism, his power, his love for football, really, really excited to see him in our system, especially up front and the way we design with that attack style.” So Saleh is going to give Williams chances and create opportunities for Williams to succeed.

The 2021 NFL season is the year for Williams to breakout. And he certainly has the opportunity to become one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL. His talent and surroundings make him the Jets x-factor. Williams can be a Chris Jones, Cam Heyward type player. He only played thirteen games last year. Add four more games to that and his stats have to go up. He probably gets double-digit sacks. The forced fumbles and fumble recoveries should go up as well, but those things are less certain and are more up to chance.

If Williams can take advantage of the talent that surrounds him.

That is really the biggest question. Williams has already proven that he has talent. 2020 proved that he knows how to get to the quarterback too. But can he be the guy on the Jets defensive line? The x-factor so to speak? What does that even mean, “be the x-factor?”

Jokes aside, the x-factor is someone that makes big plays in big moments. Someone who always comes up clutch when needed, cannot be ignored, and most importantly, cannot be stopped. Williams is most of the way there to be the Jets X-factor. Offenses will not ignore him. Not after the campaign that he put together in 2020. He has the opportunity to build on that again this year. The new free agent additions will put together one of the strongest defensive lines in the NFL. Williams should be able to take advantage of the problems that the line will cause to offenses. He has the best chance to, out of everyone else on the line. Why? He has the most talent.

And the way that the Jets have built their line, they certainly believe that Williams can become an elite defensive player. The free-agent additions were all compliments to Williams. Rankins improves the inside of the line, Lawson the pass rush, and Williams provides the interior pass rush. The biggest problem is a lack of prominent edge rushers, but there is not much that the Jets can do about it now. Aside from perhaps Justin Houston, no real effective edge-rushing threat remains on the free-agent market.

Williams will have to put in the work. He will need to become the vocal leader of the Jets defense. X-factors lead the defense, both by example and verbally. And he already has started stepping up as a vocal leader. Williams said this when talking about his defense.“The main thing I feel like we need as a defense is just a mentality, like a standard, a culture,” Williams said. “You could definitely see that culture coming with the young guys who we have now. That mentality with the young guys coming in, who’re getting their feet wet in the NFL, who stepped up big like Bryce Hall, Lamar Jackson, Ashtyn Davis, and just a few other guys, like (former St. Paul’s Episcopal standout) Bryce Huff, Jabari (Zuniga), like a lot of young guys, me, Foley.”

But that isn’t everything. Williams wants his defense, and himself to be known. He didn’t say it but perhaps he would even want his defense to be feared. “We’re all young, so the main thing I think next year that we got to establish as being third-year players and fourth-year players is just a defensive culture, man, because you got like the New York Sack Exchange, who had all these sacks and them guys were being known for their defense.” Clearly, Williams has a goal in mind. That culture is starting to improve. Starting with Williams.

But Williams will still need to step up, helping rookies learn a thing or two here or there, calling other players, and himself out, when mistakes are made. Staying up late to watch film, over and over again? Stay after practice to continue working on some small pass rush move that he doesn’t have done quite right?

Yeah, he will need to do that. And more, if he wants to become one of the players on the Jets. It’s a good thing, then, that hard work is not something new to Williams. The former Alabama star received glowing praise from legendary head coach, Nick Saban. “He has always played with a great attitude. Lots of tenacity. He’s a hard worker who tries to do everything right, and he’s a smart player as well.”

Williams has the work ethic. He has the talent. He has the opportunity. The only question left isn’t “can he do it” but “will he do it?” Let’s take a look at the Jets opponents for 2021 and see if we can find our answer there. As a disclaimer, when I say “such and such team had the “insert rank here” line in the NFL”, I am ranking it solely on sacks given up. NOT on how good the line was at running the ball. That statistic is much, much harder to account for because it relies just as much on the running back as the line.

vs. Buffalo

Buffalo has neither a particularly stout or weak offensive line. The Bills gave up 27 sacks in 2020, good for seventh-best in the NFL. Certainly, that is partly due to Josh Allen, who is hard to bring down. Williams certainly has a chance to notch a sack or two, and will certainly garner some pressures, but his biggest challenge is actually bringing down Allen.

vs. Miami

The Dolphins gave up 34 sacks last year, tying the Los Angles Chargers for fifteenth-best in the NFL last year. Williams has a much better chance here to dominate the game. A middle of the road offensive line partnered with Tua Tagovailoa who is not extremely mobile or tough to bring down, should not be a tough challenge for Williams. Williams should eat in this matchup.

vs. New England

The Patriots ranked 19th in the NFL last season in sacks allowed, with 37 sacks given up. And while the offensive line should be a little better than last season given some off-season upgrades through the draft and free agency, it won’t be a top ten unit. Williams will have no trouble with the quarterback either IF it’s Mac Jones, who is not very mobile. And even if Cam Newton is the quarterback, Newton is not what he used to be so Williams won’t have as much trouble bringing him down as perhaps Josh Allen.

vs. Jacksonville

This is a matchup that Williams should LOVE. The Jaguars gave up 44 sacks in 2020. They were tied for the sixth-worst offensive line in the NFL last year. And the Jaguars have not done a whole lot to upgrade that position through free agency or the draft. And even though Trevor Lawrence is a mobile quarterback, Williams should still be able to add a sack or three to his stat sheet during this game. He should dominate.

vs. Tennessee

It will almost be more interesting to see how Williams handles Derrick Henry than how he handles Ryan Tannehill. The Titans were tied for the sixth-best offensive line in the NFL last year, giving up only 25 sacks. So while Williams sure will be focused on sacking Tannehill my best guess is that he focuses more on stopping Henry. It will be a tough task for Williams, but he has the talent to make it happen. If he shines in this game, and the next one, then Williams will be recognized as a bona fide star.

vs. New Orleans

The only offensive line in the NFL that might be better than this one is the Cleveland Browns. And while the Saints gave up 29 sacks, good for 11th-best in 2020, they still have more talent on the o-line than anyone but the Browns. This game will be tough for Williams. It will be easier for him if Jameis Winston is quarterback over Taysom Hill, because Winston is a lot less mobile. If Williams can prove his mettle in this game and make a few splash plays, then he will be well on his way to earning a pro bowl, and potentially, All-Pro honors.

vs. Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay statistically the fourth-best offensive line in the NFL last year and gave up only 22 sacks. This game will be yet another strong test for Williams. He wont have any trouble with Tom Brady, who is not anywhere close to being a mobile quarterback. Williams will certainly be able to put up a sack or some tackles for loss, but that does depend on if the Jets are winning or losing. If the Jets are losing, by a lot, then Williams will probably get pulled from the game at some point to prevent injury, or he just will become a nonfactor. However, if the Jets want to have any chance at winning this game, it will start with Williams being disruptive and in Brady’s face all day.

vs. Cincinnati

Tied for the 5th-worst offensive line last year, the Bengals gave up 48 sacks. And while they do get Jonah Williams back from injury, and added some players in the draft, the line still won’t be great. Williams should have a field day with this line. A two-sack game is very plausible and would be the primary force in shutting down a potentially potent Cincinnati offense.

vs. Philadelphia

Quinnen Williams should have this game circled on his calendar. Next to the circle should be words that say something like; “If Line not healthy, set career sacks record.” The Eagles had the worst line in the NFL last year, by far. They have up 65 (yeah, you read that right, 65!) sacks in 2020. that beat the next closest team by 15 sacks. And while injuries were certainly a problem last year, the Eagles line will still be pretty bad. Jalen Hurts is a mobile quarterback, but Williams should have no real trouble logging a sack or two, and a good amount of tackles for loss.

at Houston

Speaking of teams that sucked at protecting the quarterback, the Texans gave up 50 sacks last year. That tied them with the New York Giants and Washington Football Team for the second-worst offensive line in the NFL in 2020. So, everything that I mentioned about Williams having a field day against the Eagles is the same here too. Oh, and Deshaun Watson probably won’t be the quarterback, so Williams doesn’t need to be worried about a mobile, dual-threat, quarterback.

at Indianapolis

The second-best offensive line in the NFL last year, the Colts will present a tough task for Williams. He will have his work cut out for him in the run game too, with Jonathan Taylor at running back. Williams certainly could have a sack in this game, but if there is any game in 2021 where he becomes a mostly nonfactor, it would be this game. If Williams were to show up big in this game though, the Jets would have a much better chance of winning. Williams could make it happen, but the chances are lower than any other game.

at Denver

the Broncos had a middle-of-the-road offensive line last year, giving up 32 sacks. That was good for 11th-best. Williams should be able to take advantage of talent disadvantage the he poses in this game. His main concern should be Javonte Williams, who led his college division in broken tackles last year. Quinnen Williams should have no problem leading the defense to some big plays in this game. However, if Williams does not play well in this game, the Jets have no realistic shot at winning.

at Atlanta

The Falcons had the tenth-worst offensive line in the NFL last year and gave up 44 sacks. Williams should eat in this matchup. There is no real threat at running back, Matt Ryan is largely a statue at quarterback, and does not shake off would-be tacklers at all. Williams should shine in this game against a weak Falcons o-line, and largely un-talented running back room.

at Carolina

The panthers had the definition of average at offensive line last year. They gave up 36 sacks, good for the 17th-best offensive line in the NFL last year. This game will primarily focus on Williams ability to defend the run, with Christian McCaffrey coming back from injury. If Williams can stop McCaffrey, then the defense should largely be able to handle business. McCaffrey is a big challenge, but it should not be something that Williams cannot win. And while Sam Darnold is a mobile quarterback, Williams knows how Darnold reacts to pressure and should be able to notch a sack.

Overall, throughout all these games, Williams is the key to the defense. As he goes, so does the rest of the defense. If he has a great game, then the rest of the defense will probably shine as well. If Williams is dominant in a game, then the Jets don’t have to worry so much about their secondary. Williams play not only helps the defense, but it will help the offense too. Nothing is better for an offense than a defense that makes timely plays. And Quinnen Williams is the best place to start when looking for someone to make that splash play on defense.

The Seahawks are the most logical fit for Julio Jones

By: Noah Nichols

Imagine Julio Jones, lined up next to D.K. Metcalf, with Tyler Lockett behind both of them. You can hear the announcer already…

Oh, the possibilities. The Seattle Seahawks would have the best receiver core in the NFL. And it might not be close. Jones is one of the best receivers to ever play in the NFL. He is closer to the end of his career than he is his prime, but he still commands tremendous respect from defenses.

An offense with Metcalf to take the top off the defense, and Locket the stud slot receiver is already pretty good. Throw Julio Jones in, and it becomes an abundance of riches.

But, how do the Seahawks make this happen? They certainly are not going to trade almost any player on their roster, unless it would be someone who doesn’t start. The Seahawks just don’t have enough talent to be able to afford that. The Atlanta Falcons are going to be looking for players, or a good number of picks.

Reportedly the Falcons are willing to take a second-round pick. If that is the case, then the Seahawks should pounce. They could make an offer like this: a 2022 second-round, fourth-round, and a sixth-round pick for Julio Jones, and a 2023 fifth-round pick. The Seahawks don’t have to trade a first-round pick, and they get Julio Jones. The Falcons in turn receive some valuable picks, and more importantly, more than two.

The Falcons want as many picks as they can get because they will soon be rebuilding. They can use those extra picks to draft a player, or to trade up and draft a quarterback that either sits behind Matt Ryan, or takes his place. Seattle will have to make some financial decisions though.

This is by far the Seahawks’ biggest hurdle when it comes to trading for Julio Jones. The Seahawks have about eleven million dollars in cap space right now. And that is not enough to take on Julio Jones’ contract. However, the Seahawks have almost $50 million in cap space in 2022. The Seahawks can restructure some players and move money into next year, opening up room for Julio Jones’ contract. Jones’ current contract is for $15 million, leaving the Seahawks $4 million over the cap.

On the schematic side of the ball, Julio Jones ensures that Russel Wilson will pretty much always have a mismatch. Perhaps four defenses can provide the cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers needed to cover the threats that Seattle would trot out. The passing game would be such a threat that the run game should open up, even if Seattle’s line does not play well. Why? No defense will stack the box when Julio Jones and D.K. Metcalf can burn anyone in your secondary. And the duo of Jones and Metcalf would immediately compete for the best receiver duo in Seahawks history.

The top four receiving duos in Seahawks history would look like this, though the order could arguably be changed. Golden Tate & Doug Baldwin at number one and Darrell Jackson & Bobby Engram at number two.
Steve Largent & Sam McCullum and Doug Baldwin & Tyler Lockett at three and four respectively. Julio Jones and D.K. Metcalf could be ranked in the top three immediately, and after a year or two of production, they could easily take the number one spot. Not to mention Tyler Lockett rounding out the group, which would be the best trio of receivers in Seahawks history.

So Seattle would have a loaded offense. They can restructure some contracts and will be able to afford Jones. And Russel Wilson will be happy. If Seattle is able to trade for Jones, there is no way that Wilson asks for a trade. In fact he would probably be willing to take less money in the future to keep the team, and the receiving core, together. If Seattle wants to add bring their offense up to the next level, and keep Wilson happy, they should trade for Julio Jones.

It makes sense for the Seahawks. And it makes sense for Julio. He does not have to be the number one receiver. That job is taken by Metcalf. He would still receive his money. And he would go from Matt Ryan, who probably won’t make the Hall of Fame, to Russel Wilson, who will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. And playing with the best deep-ball passer in the NFL would sound pretty good to Jones. Wilson ranked 1st in 2019 in deep-ball passing, and 8th in 2020 by PFF and Pro Football Reference. In 2020 Wilson threw more touchdowns on deep passes than twelve quarterbacks had in total. That’s pretty good.

And compared to other teams’ offers, Seattle makes the most sense. The Patriots have a rookie at quarterback. They don’t have a very talented offense, anywhere you look. And the all-work-no-play culture in New England is probably not what Jones is looking for. Tennessee seems like a fine fit at first. However, the Titans have only $3 million in cap space, compare to the Seahawks $11 million. That would require more extensions and/or cutting of players to fit Jones’ contract into the Titans cap space. And the Titans have a question mark on offense, with Arthur Smith’s departure the Titans have a new offensive coordinator. Jones would probably prefer to go to a team where he already knows what the offense looks like, instead of something brand new.

Will it happen? It seems like it has legs, as Seattle has been reportedly looking at trading for Jones. It just remains to be seen when it will happen. The Titans are reportedly strong contenders but again, they have much less cap space to afford Julio than do the Seahawks. It’s a better fit and win-win-win for all three parties if Jones were to be traded to Seattle. The Seahawks get a great receiver and keep their quarterback happy. The Falcons receive the draft picks they want, and the cap relief that they desperately need. Julio Jones will still get his money, he will have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL throwing to him, and he won’t have to worry about being the number one receiver. Everyone gets what they want.

three biggest question aside from Rodgers for Packers right now

Who is the WR2 for Green Bay?

By: Noah Nichols

The Green Bay Packers have a lot to worry about right now. Mostly it concerns the deteriorating relationship between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Those are not the only problems that face them as they prepare to begin training camp. Positional battles will take place in training camp to determine who exactly starts as the number two receiver. Or who the center is.

Another problem that the Packers seemingly have ignored is their run defense. While they were ranked at 13th, to 11th last year, those numbers do not tell the true story. The Packers run defense in 2020 was mostly a liability. The Titans – Packers game where Derrick Henry did not rush for 100 yards was an aberration. Packers fans heading into that game fully expected Henry to have his way with the Packers run defense.

So, what real problems face the Packers heading into training camp? There are three big ones, as I have already outlined. And while the Packers have drafted some players to potentially fill in those spots, that does not mean that these questions have been answered. Only that a potential solution exists. The 2021 NFL season will prove whether or not those solutions are effective.

Who is the number two receiver?

Davante Adams might be the best wide receiver in the NFL. He’s in the top 3 if he is not number one. However, the players that line up with him don’t exactly crack any “top 25 wide receivers” lists. For good reason. Adams had 149 targets last year. (149! Let that sink in how dependent Rodgers was on Adams. Or how good Adams is. Or both.)

The next closest receiver, Marques Valdes-Scantling, had 63 targets. Aaron Jones, the Packers running back had the same amount of targets. However, Valdes-Scantling only caught half of the footballs thrown his way, for 33 receptions. Jones had 43. Allen Lazard, who had 43 targets, had the same amount of receptions as well. Robert Tonyan actually was second on the team with 52 receptions. The problem here is that Tonyan is a tight end.

So, who is the number two receiver? Is it Lazard? Perhaps, but the lack of targets is concerning. Valdes-Scantling certainly underperformed, with 30 targets resulting in no receptions. If the quarterbacks best options are his two running backs, who combined for 78 receptions, or his tight end, then the quarterback is in trouble. Especially if that quarterback is not Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers seem to be hoping that third-round draft pick Amari Rodgers can be that number two receiver. Rodgers (the receiver) is a fast, quick ,sure handed receiver. Matt LaFleur will certainly take advantage of Rodgers speed on jet sweeps and screen passes. Training camp will certainly help the Packers figure out who is the number two receiver. Amari Rodgers shows a lot of potential, with his speed and talent. However, if he does not win the job, that does not bode well for the Packers wide receiver core.

Who replaces Corey Linsley?

This might seem like a dumb question. After all, the Packers drafted Josh Meyers in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. While Meyers will certainly have the inside track to start the season at center for the Packers, the level of play he gives will probably not be equal to what Corey Linsley gave. And there is no guarantee that Meyers picks up the job. He is a rookie and sometimes rookies underperform. Should he win the job? Yes. Will he? Probably, but he could not.

Being a rookie, his level of play will just not be as strong as Linsley’s was. Meyers might eventually reach that level of play, but not this season. He will be learning how to call out protections, read the defense to an extent, and how to play center at the NFL level. Even more concerning perhaps, is the depth behind Meyers. If Meyers falls, the level of play falls off a cliff. The only player behind Meyers on the Packers roster is Jake Hanson, who has never started an NFL game. Or played in one.

Can the run defense be fixed?

Out of the three questions facing the Packers as they enter into training camp, the run defense has the least amount of possible answers. The Packers ranked around 13th best rush defense in the NFL last year. However, they were 26th in yards per carry. The Packers did nothing in free agency to add a player to help their linebackers or defensive line. They added a 6th round pick at linebacker, and a 5th round pick at DL.

Those players will probably not start, and the 6th round pick, Isaiah McDuffie, may not even make the team. So the Packers will essentially be returning the same players, on one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Their scheme will probably be changing in some portion with Joe Barry being named the new defensive coordinator. But there is only so much a scheme change will do. In the end, it will come down to talent and skill, and the Packers simply lack that when defending the run. Can Barry fix it? Perhaps. But I would not bet on it.

3 reasons why DK Metcalf can be the next megatron

Metcalf is set up to dominate the NFL

By: Noah Nichols

D.K. Metcalf certainly has earned all the praise and comparisons that are made about him and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Both are physical freaks of nature. In a good way. Both are huge, fast, and nearly impossible to cover. Metcalf has been in the NFL for two years and received Johnson comparisons within his first ten weeks of playing in the NFL. Metcalf is a physical anomaly and plays like it. Metcalf will do freak athlete stuff, like chasing down Budda Baker and preventing a would-be pick-six.

Has Metcalf earned the hype? Is he the next Calvin Johnson, the next “Megatron” of the NFL? For beginners, their combine numbers are startling close. Johnson ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Metcalf ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. So Metcalf is actually faster in this regard. The difference is minimal, two-tenths of a second are not very noticeable, but it is still impressive to see Metcalf beat out Johnson.

Metcalf is 6″4. Johnson is 6″5. Both were better as straight-line, go-up-and-get-it type players. Because of their size, neither was the best route runner in the league. But as Johnson was arguably the best deep threat in the NFL during his time, so is Metcalf. Metcalf has also spoken out against the comparisons to Johnson.

“Stop comparing me to people. I’m me. Playing against me. Not anyone else. Calvin is Calvin. It’s a blessing to be compared to him. I take the compliment with a grain of salt. I’m trying to pave my own way.” Metcalf said this during an interview on the Rich Eisen show. Unfortunately for Metcalf, it’s not up to him whether he will stop being compared to Johnson.

The two are just way too similar to not be compared. So, will Metcalf be the next “Megatron” of the NFL? Here are three reasons why the answer to that is yes.

Similar Talent

Johnson was arguably the most freaky player in the NFL during his time. There was no other receiver, cornerback, or another type of player like him. Similar to Derrick Henry, Johnson was the only player of his position with a body type like he had. Metcalf is the same way. The only other receiver in the NFL who is similar in body type is Chase Claypool. Claypool is another freak athlete and should be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in 2021.

But Metcalf is faster than Claypool and is thicker and stronger than Claypool. Going back to the combine numbers from earlier, it is easy to see that athletically, Metcalf is similar to Johnson. The difference in height is minimal, one more inch on a receiver that is above 6″3 does not make a big difference. Talent-wise, both players are very similar. This is the main reason that Metcalf will be the next “Megatron,” but there are two more reasons to back up this claim.

His QB is Russell Wilson

Perhaps the greatest deep ball quarterback of all time, Russell Wilson greatly increases Metcalf’s skills and talents. The two are almost perfect for each other. Wilson helps showcase what Metcalf is so good at, running past, and jumping over defenders to catch the ball. Wilson’s ability to run around and extend plays does help too.

Metcalf is a huge target for Wilson, someone that he can trust whenever things are breaking down around him. Thus, Metcalf receives more targets. Metcalf had 129 targets in 2020, thirty more than 2019. Wilson knows he has a freaky athlete on his team, so he uses him. This only helps Metcalf’s stock rise as the next “Megatron” of the NFL. Imagine if Metcalf was stuck in Jacksonville or something. There is no way that he would be dubbed the next “Megatron.” His quarterbacks would not be able to get him the ball for that nickname to appear.

The NFL era benefits the receiver

Simply put, this era of the NFL is built to help the wide receiver succeed. Receivers are given the benefit of the doubt on iffy pass interference calls. Receivers can be more physical, and while the NFL has created rules to punish receivers for pushing off, it rarely gets called. (Just ask Saints fans- *cough* Kyle Rudolph *cough*)

But seriously, Metcalf takes full advantage of these rules. He uses his frame, and the rules, to his advantage. He will lock cornerbacks out from the ball with one arm while going up to catch it with the other. At the last second, he brings his other arm up to bring in the ball. Did he need his second arm? Maybe not. With nearly ten-inch hands, he could probably catch the football with one hand. In the end though, Metcalf benefits from a period in the NFL where the rules are even laxer than they were during the time of Calvin Johnson. He has every chance to take up the Mantle as the next “Megatron.” The only thing that stands in his way is himself. (And perhaps, Jalen Ramsey, but that is a diffrent story.)

Could Washington use Taylor Heinicke like Taysom Hill?

By: Noah Nichols

When the Washington Football Team played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs last season, nobody expected a close game.

Everyone predicted a blowout win for the Buccaneers. After all, the starting quarterback for Washington was a little-known player named Taylor Heinicke. Expectations were low for Washington as the game began and even lower for Heinicke.

Instead of a blowout loss, Washington was within eight points of tying up the game. Ultimately, they fell short, due to injuries and drops by receivers. However, the loss did not quite feel like a loss. Washington had seen a star rise that night.

Taylor Heinicke nearly led Washington to a victory against the heavily favored, more talented, Buccaneers that night. He threw for 306 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 46 yards, and one of the most spectacular rushing touchdowns ever seen.

Heinicke had to push through a separated left ACL joint, that he played with throughout the entire night. He also was not helped out by his receivers, who had five drops that night. Thus, the reason for the hope that rose that night in Washington. Heinicke showed real potential.

Whether he starts as the quarterback next season for Washington or not is uncertain. Heinicke flashed potential that night. Perhaps he won’t be the starter. But as Ron River said, “He (Heinicke) has created an opportunity for himself.” Even if Heinicke is not the Starter, perhaps he could be like another quarterback in his conference, Taysom Hill.

What exactly would Heinicke do similarly to Hill? Hill is the more athletic player of the two, but Heinicke showed that he was faster than his combine 40-time of 4.7. Heinicke is arguably the better passer, being the only quarterback of the two to throw for over 300 yards in a game. And he did it against one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Heinicke could come in for packages like Hill does and be a threat to run or pass the ball. Washington has upgraded their receiver core, and defenses would have to respect the passing game. And the thing is, Washington has no clear number one quarterback.

So not only could Heinicke be brought in for packages, he potentially could win the starting job. And even if he did not win the starting job, Heinicke would be a great backup for whoever won the starting job. Defenses could not prepare for him, because they would be focused on planning for the starting quarterback.

If he were the starter, then the question is, can Heinicke be good enough to win, week in and week out? Perhaps. Look at what the New Orleans Saints did with Taysom Hill as the starter last season. The Saints were 3-1 with Hill. Sure the Saints have a great offense and defense, but the teams are not as far apart as you might think.

Washington might have the best defense in the NFL. They have a young, exciting receiver group led by Terry Mclaurin. And Antonio Gibson is a growing star player at running back. So Washington has all that it needs to surround Heinicke with talent.

It really is up in the air how well Heinicke would play as the starter, or even as the Taysom Hill role player. Heinicke could come in for special packages, and provide splash plays that way. But he would have to do it more with his arm than his legs. He just is not as good a runner as Hill. So if Heinicke were to come in and run the ball himself, most likely he would not provide splash plays the way Hill does on the ground.

However, Heinicke the Buccaneers game provided a glimpse of potential as a runner. Heinicke did well against the best linebacker tandem in the league. The question is, can he do it for a season, even as just a package player. There is no way to know the answer to that question. We just have not seen enough of Heinicke to know.

But Heinicke could come in to pass the ball, while still providing a little bit of a threat to run. He has shown that he can do it. However, there is no reason to bring Heinicke in to pass the ball in special packages, unless he is a serious threat to run the ball.

Sean Peyton does not bring Hill in to pass the ball, he has Hill pass the ball on rare occasions because he takes advantage of defenses playing the run. Unless Heinicke can offer potential as a runner, there is no reason for Heinicke to come into the game to pass the ball. 

So, Washington could bring Heinicke in a game to be the “Taysom Hill” of the offense. But unless Heinicke has grown as a runner, that probably won’t happen. The only thing that helps Heinicke in this regard is how bad Washington’s quarterback room is. They do not have a clear starter. So Heinicke could win the starting job, as a passer, and still provide some sort of threat as a runner.

Will Heinicke be the next Taysom Hill? No. And the only way he starts for Washington is if he outplays all the other quarterbacks on the roster, which is certainly possible. But even Ron Rivera did not name Heinicke as the starter. Otherwise, Heinicke is most likely a capable backup. But he won’t come into the game as a “Taysom Hill” type player unless he can become a threat on the ground. Otherwise, Washington has no reason to put Heinicke into a game.

Three ways the Packers can heal the Rodgers strain

Could Rodgers still stay in Green Bay?

By: Noah Nichols

When the news broke that Aaron Rodgers no longer wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers, his only team for his entire career, it shocked a lot of people.

Others, not so much. Those people agreed with Rodgers, in a way. The Packers had just taken a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft a year before. Instead of helping their Hall of Fame quarterback to get over the NFC Championship hump, (that seems to plague the Packers), they literally did the only thing that would not help him whatsoever.

In the 2021 NFL draft, the Packers did add a speedy, playmaking wide receiver. They still have one of the best one-two punches at running back in the league. But Rodgers wants more than that. As he should. There are three things that the Packers can do to bring him back to play at Lambeau again. And they should do one, or more of these things if they want any shot at winning a Lombardi.

1: Extend Rodgers

There were reports that the Packers were working on a contract extension with Rodgers. He certainly deserves one. His contract extension ends in two years. If the Packers want to save money and help save their relationship with Rodgers, they should extend him.

Not only can they move money into the future, helping them enter a “win now” mode, but Rodgers gets what he feels he deserves. More money. And with the quarterback market being reset by Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, Rodgers would make a LOT of money. Would this contract be worth more than Mahomes or Watson?

Probably not. Both Mahomes and Watson are much younger than Rodgers. And for all his greatness, he has an injury history, and age does not make one any healthier. If Rodgers were to come to an agreement with the Packers on a contract extension, it would probably look a little like this. An additional three years, making him signed for the next five years, and another 90 million dollars added to his current contract.

With Rodgers due almost 40 million next year, the Packers would also be able to push some of that money into the future, maybe 15 million, bringing his cap hit down next year, while still giving him the money he wants. His new contract would be worth around 150 million dollars, and he would make on average 30 million per year. Not a market reset, but certainly reasonable for a 37-year-old quarterback, no matter his talent.

2: Bring Back Jake Kumerow

This might seem like a surprise, but it is a big deal to Rodgers. He was reportedly “furious” when the Packers released Kumerow. During an interview on Sirius XM, Rodgers said of Kumerow: “I think he’s a fantastic, steady player, who’s very heady on the field. He makes plays, he plays with a lot of coincidence, and he’s a guy who you love having on the squad.”

Clearly, Rodgers liked have Kumerow on the team. He was also frustrated that the Packers did not consult him before they released Kumerow. To Rodgers, Kumerow was someone that Rodgers could depend on. He was or is, probably good friends with Kumerow off the field. Rodgers probably felt like he lost a friend and a dependable player. Any quarterback wants those things out of a receiver, no matter how great they are. Look at Tom Brady with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, and Ben Roethlisberger with Heath Miller and Antonio Brown. Sure those players were better than Kumerow, but the idea is the same. Quarterbacks have someone they prefer to throw to. They typically don’t appreciate it when that player is released, especially without their knowledge.

Even if the Packers don’t bring back Kumerow, (which is probably unlikely, due to the receiver they drafted, Amari Rodgers), they can still learn from this mistake. The Packers can approach Rodgers, and let him know that from now on, he will have intimate knowledge, and say, in the Packers roster. But they should take a look at bringing Kumerow back, if for no other reason than to appease Rodgers.

3: Fire Brian Gutekunsk and have Rodgers take his place as GM

This final option is a half-truth, half-joke. Rodgers reportedly does want Gutekunst, the Packers General Manager, fired. But Rodgers would not take his place. Instead, Rodgers would have a heavy influence in two things. First, whoever became the next GM. And second, anything that the new GM did to the Packers roster.

That could be the release, signing, or restructuring of a player, anything to do with the roster. Rodgers might not care about the defense, but he would at least have a voice in the room that the GM would have to listen to. And if the GM chose not to listen to him, Rodgers could simply say that he won’t play again.

All three of these options could happen, independently, or altogether. If all three were to happen there is no doubt that Rodgers would have gotten what he wants. He would have his new contract, new GM, and a much larger influence on the construction of the Packers roster. If the Packers want Rodgers back, they need to do at least one of these three options, if not all of them.

What is the best and worst case scenario for Packers 2021 season if Rodgers leaves?

By: Noah Nichols

The Green Bay Packers are in a bit of a predicament as of right now. They don’t know if they will have they starting, Hall of Fame, all time great, quarterback for this season or not.

You know, nothing crazy.

The Packers have a lot to figure out before the 2021 NFL season begins. Who exactly, is their starting quarterback? Is Jordan Love ready to take the mantle? Is Rodgers willing to come back? Whatever happens, if the Packers are unable to bring back Rodgers, whether they trade him, or he retires, all is not lost.

The Packers still have a great one-two punch at running back. They have arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. And their defense, while it has been shaky at times, is not awful. Love gets more criticism than he deserves, not because he was the pick, but because the Packers spent a first round pick on him, instead of helping Rodgers by drafting a receiver. So, Love could potentially be the man. And after sitting behind one of the best to ever play, learning for a year, perhaps Love could even be a good player.

But then again, Love has never played a down in an NFL game. So he could flop as easily as he could succeed.

Worst Case

The worst case scenario for the Packers without Rodgers is pretty simple. Jordan Love looks like a rookie quarterback, because he has never played a down in the NFL. He struggles to read defenses, make simple throws, and fails when the team needs him most. The Packers defense proves itself unable to carry the team, and typically folds in the second half of games.

The Packers try to run the ball, but because everyone knows they are doing it, its largely ineffective. The Packers win five games, through some heroics by Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, but are mostly an easy opponent for competetive teams.

This scenario could also play out in a not-so-bleak sort of way. Love could show flashes, and make big plays, while also throwing crucial interceptions. An up-and-down season from Love is not unreasonable, seeing as he is untested. This is probably more realistic than the prior outcome.

In this case, the Packers win seven games, through some flashy plays by Love, and the aforementioned Adams and Jones. But they also lose games in a similarly spectacular fashion, as Love throws interceptions during crucial portions of games. He will also be confused by defenses that use schemes that he has never seen, and those games result in some blowout losses.

At worst, the Packers probably win no more than five games. They could win even less, but their winning culture and talented offense should help them win games that they might otherwise lose.

Best Case

Jordan Love is the next Justin Herbert. He proves the Packers right for trading up to get him. He shows off his big arm, consistently taking advantage of rookie Amari Rodgers ability to run past defenders. Davante Adams remains the number one on offense, but Love proves willing to share the load. Robert Tonyan leads the team in touchdowns, and Love himself scores over thirty through the air and ground.

Defenses are unsure of how to confuse the star quarterback who seems to recognize most everything. That year that he sat behind Rodgers proves more than valuable. Love throws for over four thousand yards and nearly wins offensive player of the year. The Packers win ten or eleven games and make the playoffs. unfortunately, they lose in the first round, but the future is more than bright with Love at the helm.

At best, the Packers can win eleven games without Rodgers. IF everything went well, no one major got hurt, and Love turned out to be a star. This scenario is less likely than the first one, but it could happen. Should you bet on it? Only if you are willing to throw away some money.

What if neither scenario happens?

It is also quite possible that the Packers don’t play horribly, but are not very competitive either. The most likely case is that they are simply mediocre. Love looks like a second year quarterback who is playing his first season. Flashes potential, but struggles to read defenses at times and makes some mistakes. The Packers struggle to run the ball consistently, feeling the loss of Corey Linsley.

But at the same time, Jones will have big games, just not many in a row. The Packers offense remains up-and-down throughout the season, and the defense makes plays one game and gives up plays the next week. A frustrating season for Packers fans, but not a truly disappointing one, considering the circumstances. They finish the season with around seven or eight wins.

This scenario seems most likely to happen. The Packers have too much talent to be truly awful, but they have too big of an unknown at quarterback to be a Super Bowl Contender. The other two scenarios are very much possible, just probably not as likely as this scenario. If Rodgers does not play for the Packers in 2021, this scenario is the most probable. Don’t be shocked, however, if either one of the other two happens instead though.

Ranking the reasons for Patrick Mahomes’s success

By: Noah Nichols

Patrick Mahomes has probably the most successful beginning to his career of any player in NFL history. He went to the AFC Championship where he was an offsides penalty away from going to the Super Bowl. He won the Super Bowl the following year. And the year after that Mahomes went to another Super Bowl.

Mahomes has known nothing but success in the NFL. He was the unanimous league MVP in his first year as a starter. He threw for over 50 touchdowns, set passing records, and became the face of the NFL. Mahomes will probably not achieve the same success as the best quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady. But Mahomes has the best chance out of anyone to reach that level of success.

How has Mahomes done it? Is it just pure talent that has rocketed him to these levels of achievements? Not entirely. A few other things have helped him. A Hall of Fame head coach, uber-talented weapons, and an era of the NFL that is designed to support the quarterback have all played a major hand in Mahomes victories. It is important to note that Mahomes elevates these factors around him as much as, if not more, than they elevate him. He is quite possibly the most talented quarterback ever to play the game.


You cant talk about Mahomes without mentioning some of his offensive weapons. Tyreek “Cheetah” Hill, the fastest player in the NFL, is the first that comes to mind. Hill forces defenses to fear the deep ball because Hill can blaze past any corner in an instant. This forces defenses to play cautiously, else they will soon find themselves watching Hill speed past them into the endzone. Hill also forces defenses to be wary of any motion that involves him, for fear of a handoff or a screen. Because Hill is so fast, opposing defenses cannot bite on screens. If they miss a tackle, Hill is fast enough to take it to the house. Hill essentially forces defenses to play slower, and react instead of attack. He is a game-changer and arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Of course, Hill is not the only superstar receiver that Mahomes has the option of throwing to. Travis Kelce, who is at worst the second-best tight end in the NFL, is Mahomes’ clutch receiver. Kelce is a huge mismatch for most linebackers, his height, speed, and wingspan ensure that he will almost always come out on top with the football. He is a good blocker and a great route runner. Kelce is almost always open if Hill isn’t, and is Mahomes favorite target. The All-Pro tight end ensures that defenses cannot focus on just Hill, if they do, Kelce will take advantage of the single coverage and shred the middle of the defense.

Andy Reid

Of course, the offensive mastermind that is Andy Reid cannot be left out of the discussion. Reid is probably the best coaching fit for Mahomes, except perhaps for Sean Peyton. Reid uses the offensive talent that he has surrounded Mahomes with to its full potential. His schemes are always evolving and he does not rely on his star players to win games.

An example of that is Damien Williams. In the Kansas City Chiefs win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Williams was instrumental. He had 133 yards from scrimmage and two 4th quarter touchdowns, including the game winning one. Williams otherwise has been mostly quite during his career, but his best games have come under Reid, who uses talent to its potential like no one else.

Without Reid, it’s doubtful that Mahomes would have anywhere close to the success that he has had. If Reid had not fallen in love with Mahomes so that the Chiefs would trade up to draft him, he would probably be on some rebuilding team. Reid and Mahomes are perfect for each other, Mahomes can do everything that Reid wants his quarterback to be able to, and thus use his schemes to their full potential.

This era of the NFL is perfect for Mahomes

Mahomes arrived in the NFL when it was best suited for him. New rules were made that protect the quarterback from being hit after he throws a pass, or when he is running. Receivers and running backs have been getting faster and faster, leading to the pass overtaking the run as the best play call.

New rules that punish defenders from interfering with receivers have opened up the passing game, and encourage throwing the football, even if the pass is not caught, a penalty flag might be thrown. Schemes have evolved as well, to utilize these new rules and influx of speed. Talented players are also more likely to choose to play on offense than defense in high school and college, so more offensive talent exists than defensive talent.

This era of the NFL is truly the best situation for Mahomes. He can run out of the pocket, make amazing throws without being too worried that a linebacker might crush him after he throws a pass. And if his pass might fall incomplete, a penalty flag could be thrown and the pass might as well have been caught. Mahomes by himself is super talented, a huge arm, crazy accuracy, smarts, and big play ability are things he has in heaps and then some. But without the surrounding cast and situation that he has around him, there is no doubt that he would not have reached the success that he has.

Why Jameis Winston is the most overhyped quarterback in the NFL

By: Noah Nichols

When taking a look at most NFL rankings list, one thing has stood out that has not really made a lot of sense. The New Orleans Saints have been consistently ranked in the top 12.

But they don’t have a starting quarterback.

Oh sure, they have Taysom Hill, the “Swiss Army Knife” of the NFL, and of Sean Peyton’s offense. But even Peyton said that Hill is not locked in to start at quarterback. That means Jameis Winston has a chance to be the Saints starter in week one.

Winston probably has the better chance to be the starter over Hill, Winston has years of experience at quarterback. Seventy-six games in total, compared to Hill who has four.

If Winston is the presumed starter of the Saints, which he seems to be, how are the Saints ranking so highly on power rankings? They don’t have a starting quarterback. Winston has not lived up to the hype that surrounds him year in and year out. As far as number one overall picks go, he is clearly a bust. Winston is arguably the most overhyped quarterback in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans called on the Steelers to sign him to be Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup, or even, start over him. The national media seemed to be surprised when Winston went unsigned for the longest time and called for the New England Patriots to sign Winston before they signed Cam Newton. Here are a few reasons why Winston is in fact, the most overhyped quarterback in the NFL, and should not be the reason the Saints are ranked so highly.

Interceptions Thrown

88. That is the number of interceptions that Winston has thrown in his career. And thirty of those came in one season. His touchdown to interception ratio is about 5-4. That means for every five touchdown passes that Winston has thrown, he has also thrown four interceptions.

That ratio is horrible. That number would be one of the lowest in the NFL if ranked against starting quarterbacks. The only other quarterbacks who come close are Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz.

Not exactly a group that you would want to be in.

The biggest takeaway (pun intended) from this statistic is that it will most likely never go away. Winston will always be turnover happy. Sean Peyton can draw some things up, and use his offensive minded genius to try and limit Winston’s mistakes.

But he can only do so much, and throwing interceptions seems to be in Winston’s nature. Unless the eye surgery that Winston received at the end of 2020 really fixes something, Winston will always be turnover happy.

If anything, this is the biggest thing that people gloss over when talking about Winston. They will hype him up, and talk about his talent, and what he can do in a new offense. But they ignore the fact that Winston turns the ball over more than any other quarterback in the NFL (save, perhaps, for Daniel Jones). If anything, Winston should be regarded as a backup, only, with no reason to see the field over a starter. He just makes too many detrimental plays for it to be otherwise.

Did not start last year

Another issue that is commonly ignored, Winston did not start last year. He should have been able to take the starting job from a player who had never started a game at quarterback. Instead, Taysom Hill won the job and Winston was his backup.

How does that happen? It doesn’t, if Winston was any good.

Now, Winston does have talent. He is not washed. But he is very risky to play, for the aforementioned reasons. But the fact that he did not start last year, in a very quarterback-friendly offense, is not a good sign for Winston. He would have been able to hand the ball off to an elite running back and had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL blocking for him.

Still, he did not start. That is a huge red flag and should bring down the hype surrounding him. Until Winston starts, he should be regarded as nothing more than a backup with lots of upside, and loads of risk.

He has never lived up to expectations

Winston was drafted with the number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL draft. He was supposed to be the savior of the Buccaneers franchise. Obviously, he has not lived up to those expectations.

And while those were heavy expectations, Winston did not come close to meeting them. In the new era of the NFL, where passing the football is king, Winston has clearly underperformed. He has passed for 25 touchdowns or more only twice in his career, once in 2016 and in 2019, for 28 and 33 touchdowns respectively.

He also threw 18 and 30 interceptions during those same years. Yes, he was not in the best situation and did not always have the help that he needed. But in the year where he had Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, two number one receivers, he threw thirty interceptions. Thirty. If anyone else in the NFL threw that many interceptions, they would be lambasted and laughed out of the league.

But somehow, someway, Winston is still regarded as a good quarterback. He simply is not worth the hype that he receives. If he takes the Saints to the playoffs, great. But he hasn’t even won the starting job yet, much less fixed his natural ability to throw interceptions like Derrick Henry throws defenders.

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