Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Would the Eagles be NFC East favorites with Deshaun Watson?

Will Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson to Philadelphia Eagles?

By: Jake Rajala

The Philadelphia Eagles are strongly considering acquiring Houston Texans star dusted, controversial Deshaun Watson. According to Howard Eskin, who is a sports reporter in Philadelphia, he believes there is a 90% chance Philly reels in the elite Texans QB. There is clearly an ascending belief around Eagles nation that the fit makes too much sense and a deal will most likely be put in place for Nick Sirianni to snag his targeted QB. 

In terms of Watson’s outlook, the QB who is under lots of uncertainty believes there is a “good chance” he suits up in 2021. If a deal is established between Eagles nation and Watson, then Watson proceeds to play in 2021, the question begs to ask: What would the Eagles team look like next season under the new signal-caller? 

The former Eagles team led by Doug Pederson finished dead last in the NFC East a year ago. If Watson is in the building with the new leader Nick Sirianni, it would be at least a three to five game winning difference in 2021. With a generational talent like himself, it is enjoyable and possible to imagine a deep playoff run, but it really would put themselves with a fine, noticeable, yet not an unearthly improvement.

They should boast an extraordinarily strong chance of claiming at least 7 to 9 wins with Watson under the helm. It may not be a superior juggernaut team in the NFC, but they would at least be able to compete for the East title down to the wire. The Washington Football Team under Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB appear as the clear favorites to capture NFC East prominence for the second year in a row, but Watson’s mobility against the fiery Washington pass rush rotation in a head-to-head matchup (Eagles play Washington Week 15 and Week 17) is sure to be a serious a clear x-factor.

The Eagles and Washington are clearly different teams, under new coaching staffs, with a new attitude, but the Eagles did put up a serious fight against Washington in Week 17 of last season. Even with the unpopular benching of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles lost to the WFT by a score of 20-14. The Eagles would have slightly different tweaks around the roster, but a sizable improvement at QB. Meanwhile, the Washington team will still have an average ranked QB in Fitzmagic with largely the same team.

Throughout the season, If the Eagles defense plays average at least, it should be enough for Watson to get enough victories with his utmost prominent playmaking ability himself. Some may question why Watson could carry the hopeful Eagles if he could not bring the Texans to playoff royalty with an MVP-like season, he flexed in 2020. Well, the Texans defense didn’t just do a poor job at complementing Watson, they did a flat-out horrific job. The Eagles total defense was 19th in the total YPG allowed, while the Texans defensive unit was 30th in the league. The Texans just gave up three fewer yards than the 32nd ranked Lions defense that played Aaron Rodgers twice a season.

It is also important to note that the Texans had two teams in their own division that made the playoffs: Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. The Texans flashed a combined 0-4 record against those opponents. In the East, there was not a true playoff-like talent, but rather a team that won the “least” NFL division with six wins. The rule that every division must send a team to the playoff dance is certainly questionable, especially during NFL seasons like last year.

On the horizon, Watson has been working relentlessly this offseason, as the former Clemson star has a massive chip on his shoulder. If he heads up north, he should have very strong weaponry to utilize. The Eagles currently possess the top TE duo in the league (Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert), a young talented wideout in Jalen Reagor, and all of this explosion will be taking place behind an offensive line led by the well reputable Lane Johnson, a unit that could be stout if it can stay healthy. Expect Watson to show another elite season of play with a more talented supporting cast, amid a weaker division.

Why Jalen Hurts can be the next great dual threat QB

Jalen Hurts is ready to take the next step in Philadelphia

By: Jeremy Trottier

The 2020 NFL Draft brought in quite a new scene of quarterbacks, such as Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, and many more.  However, only one of the quarterbacks taken outside the first round in this class so far has been given the reigns to start for his team, that being Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.  He is also probably the most intriguing quarterback from this class in terms of the situation he was put in as well as how he performed barring potentially Tua.  As of now the Philadelphia have not made any major moves at the position to replace him, bringing in Joe Flacco as a veteran backup and Nick Mullens as a backup plan likely.  

With this in mind, it seems that Hurts is set to start for now in Philly, and depending on his performance, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season.  In the 2020-2021 season he was able to accrue four starts, and really did not look to bad in them.  For reference, here are some of his major stats:

  • 77 completions on 148 attempts (52.0%)
  • 1061 passing yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and 4 interceptions
  • 63 rushes for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns

In this article, I will be going over three reasons as to why Hurts could become the next great/elite dual-threat quarterback in the league.

Offensive Weapons

One of the biggest reasons Hurts could have success at the NFL level is that Philadelphia is really trying to put weapons around him.  The most notable being first round WR Devonta Smith who they drafted at pick number ten.  A Heisman Trophy winner last season, and likely a top three receiver in this draft class, Devonta Smith is really a viable weapon for Hurts.  Phenomenal route running, solid speed, and very good hands highlight the strong points in Smith’s game, and if he proves to be the prospect Philly is banking on him being, he should easily be WR1 on the Eagles.

The Eagles also have a plethora of other weapons who are all varying levels of talent and at different points in their career.  For those who do not remember, the last time Zach Ertz played a full season, he put up an 1163-yard season and was widely considered a top five tight end in the league at the time.  If he can come back in 2021 and keep a clean bill of health while also returning to the number of targets he has had in the past, he could definitely still be viable.  The Eagles also have Dallas Goedert, the next potential full-time starter at the TE position, Jalen Reagor, who has a lot to prove but was not too bad last year, and Miles Sanders, an explosive young running back with a huge ceiling.  

New Coaching Staff

Looking at how the Eagles coaching staff has changed from last season to now, it is quite impressive how they have completely overhauled the biggest coaching positions.  Starting with head coach, going from Doug Peterson to Nick Sirianni, which I think is easily the biggest move of their staff overhaul.  Sirianni is a huge 12 personnel coach, he has used it all of his career, and with two big time tight ends in Ertz and Goedert, they can easily do this with no issues.  He also loves getting running backs involved in the passing game, which is great news for Miles Sanders as it will expand his opportunities while also giving him a chance to prove himself as a versatile player on the field.

The Eagles also brought in an actual offensive coordinator, rather than letting Doug Peterson do both HC and OC.  The new OC is Shane Steichen, who has really worked his way up the ranks in a span of ten years, and realistically is a great option at coordinator.  Spending last season as the OC of the Los Angeles Chargers, he really proved his worth in utilizing Justin Herbert correctly, so taking another QB from the 2020 class and igniting their career could be in store.  The Eagles also moved on from DC Jim Schwartz, bringing in another coach from the Indianapolis Colts coaching tree in Jonathan Gannon.  Spending 2018-2020 as the Colts cornerbacks coach, he may be able to really bring the best out of Darius Slay while developing other CBs on the roster such as rookie Zach McPhearson, Avonte Maddox, or K’Von Wallace.  

2020 Campaign

If anything is going to prove how good of a dual-threat player Hurts is, it was his first game starting in the NFL, against the New Orleans Saints.  Watching this game live as a Saints fan was absolutely wild to see and proved to me that Hurts is ready for the NFL level.  A Saints defensive front-seven that had not given up a 100-yard rusher for 55 games (November 19th, 2017) got torched by Hurts, when he rushed for 106 yards by himself in that game, while also allowing Miles Sanders to rush for 115.  This was quite the feat, as up to that point the Saints front-seven was a brick wall, and very rarely gave up big plays.  

Being able to rip apart a defense flat out such as the Saints’ on the ground shows some true skill, especially in your first ever NFL start.  Did the lack of film on Hurts at the NFL level give him the advantage of surprise?  Potentially.  But they had his college film to work with, and have faced mobile QBs such as Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and many others, but very rarely are they left scrambling to stop the run by a QB.  This at the very least shows to me his prowess as a rusher, and his passing that game was not horrible at all either.  17/30 passing (57% approximately) for 167 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions is reasonable in your rookie debut and was pretty impressive given he did not have a true WR1 yet.  Reagor was still developing, and is much better in a Z WR position, or even slot.  

Could Joe Flacco really start for the Eagles?

Is Flacco the answer for the Eagles QB position?

By: Pat Pitts

The Eagles decided to put all of their eggs in the Hurts basket by trading away Carson Wentz. The second-rounder takes the reigns leading this offense back to Super Bowl contention, or not?

Joe Flacco agreed to a one year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is understood that he will back up and mentor Jalen Hurts to close his career. However, the Eagles have been use to a QB carousel over the past few seasons. Is it possible we are graced by the presence of Joe “Elite” Flacco?

Allow me.

Can Joe Flacco replicate his 2012 playff performance this season?

In 2012, Joe Flacco entertained football fans with one of the greatest postseason performances in history. He threw 77 passes for 1140 yards and 11 touchdowns; he did not throw a single interception. Hoisting the Lombardi to conclude the dominance only seemed fitting. 

He signed an extension making him the highest player in the league a few months later. Joe Flacco became the talk of the sports realm. 

Flacco’s contract gave analysts a copious amount of time to compare him to guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and his holiness, Tom Brady. But his play was comparable to that of Sam Bradford and Brock Oswieler. 

Joe Flacco derailed the Baltimore train beginning in 2013 when he snapped the team’s playoff streak for the first time since 2007. It snowballed into more missed playoff appearances, the first time in consecutive seasons since 2004-05. He may be elite, but not clutch. 

Since his time in Baltimore, Flacco has bounced from the team hoping to have one last chance. It has not worked out so well. Things are different in Philadelphia. 

How possible is it for Flacco to start this season?

A hall of fame athlete once told the world anything is possible. Yes, even Flacco taking snaps. 

I believe in Jalen Hurts. I believe he can take over this offense, eventually leading the charge when battling in the playoffs. Hurts received some brotherly love from the front office when they selected him sixth overall in the draft. Miles Sanders saw an increase in total yards from a year prior. Things are looking up. 

The only scenario for Flacco to make an appearance of even start is Jalen being hurt. The coaching staff cannot be fickle about the decision. Dive in headfirst, Nick. 

Flacco’s impact will be off the field. Whether it is the film room or the sidelines, Flacco will be in the sophomore’s ear after every bad throw. He will sit with him on the bench to review the playbook. He will be the teacher; Hurts must take the role as the student. 

Joe Flacco has floated around the NFL for over a decade. He joins the crew of Newton, Rodgers and Stafford as the old-timers. The guys who have seen and done it all, but cannot hang it up. The hope for another shot dwindles down day by day.

Flacco does deserve one more chance for glory but Hurts deserves it a bit more.

Why The Eagles Should Give Jalen Hurts a Chance

Why the Eagles Should Give Jalen Hurts a Chance

Jacob Keppen

It seems quarterback controversy never leaves Philadelphia. Last week I took a look at the top five Eagles quarterbacks since 2000, and the consistent theme I noticed was quarterback controversy. Even with his success in Philadelphia, bringing the Eagles to multiple conference championships, there was still a bit of a contentious relationship with the fans and Donovan McNabb. There was almost a yearly quarterback controversy after McNabb too, Philadelphia loves a quarterback controversy.

We all hoped the madness would stop in 2016. The hope was that Carson Wentz would be the guy in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. Wentz would be the next McNabb, but with more of the fanbase behind him. Sadly this did not turn out to be the case, the fanbase almost divided in half on Carson Wentz by the end of his tenure in Philadelphia. 

Here we are about two months to the draft, slightly unsure of where to go as a franchise moving forward. I’m proposing an idea though. How about, we don’t have a quarterback controversy. For once, let’s throw all of our support as an organization and fanbase behind one guy. Let’s give Jalen Hurts a real chance to prove that he can be our next franchise quarterback.

Jalen Hurts is the perfect embodiment of Philadelphia. He is tough as nails. He does not back down from pressure, doesn’t cower from adversity. Hurts has seen his fair share of adversity, a lot more than the average quarterback prospect. 

In 2016, Jalen Hurts became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama since 1984. He led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship where they would lose to Deshaun Watson’s Clemson Tigers. The next year at the National Championship, Hurts would be benched at halftime. His spot as a starter at Alabama was no more. He didn’t create controversy, sticking with Alabama the next year before transferring to Oklahoma for the 2019 season. Given a chance to be a starter again, Hurts brought the Sooners to the college football playoffs and finished second in the Heisman race.

Jalen Hurts showed throughout college why he has the intangibles to be a star quarterback in the NFL. There’s much more to being a quarterback in the NFL than just straight up on field ability. You have to have the intangibles as well. You have to be able to rally your men and lead them to victory. Jalen Hurts the past year has been praised tremendously for his great leadership. Hurts has been praised by coaches, teammates, and nearly every media member who has come into contact with him.

Philadelphia is one of the hardest places to play in. As Jason Peters said, Philadelphia will eat you up if you don’t bring it. You need to be able to bring it every down, have the mental and physical toughness, leadership ability, and overall it-factor. Ultimately Jalen Hurts has proven over the years that he is bred to thrive in a place like Philadelphia.

Of course you need to be able to play the game of football. Just being a great guy and leader doesn’t make you a starting quarterback. You still have to show something on the field. I believe that given his small sample size, with the situation he was in, Jalen Hurts showed enough to warrant a shot at the job.

Despite not having the best of receivers, an injury ridden offensive line, and head coach that was on his way out of the door, Jalen Hurts still managed to have some magical moments in his 3 ½ games as the Eagles starter. In his first game as a starter, he willed the Eagles to a 24-21 win over the then 10-2 New Orleans Saints. He has over 100 yards  on the ground.

The next week he battled Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in a close loss. The next game against Dallas wasn’t his best, maybe calling only six rushing plays in the 2nd half wasn’t the best idea, but he still battled and threw for over 300 yards. It wasn’t all pretty but he was a young quarterback without a preseason, thrown into the fire without much help who showed a lot of grit and good play.

Is Jalen Hurts the future of the Philadelphia Eagles? Is he the next star franchise quarterback who’s going to lead the Eagles back to greatness? In all honesty, nobody knows yet. Nobody knows that he isn’t that possible franchise quarterback for the Eagles though. No player can be judged based on just four starts. Peyton Manning threw 11 interceptions in his first four games. Russell Wilson threw as many interceptions as touchdowns and did not eclipse 200 passing yards in any of his first four games. 

Maybe Jalen Hurts isn’t going to be as good those guys, but imagine if they were written off after just four games. Imagine if no quarterback was given time to grow and develop. Hurts has shown you a lot of bright things though a ton of uncertainty and he deserves the shot to prove himself next year.

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