What to Look At For the Rest of the NFL Season
The 2020 NFL season has been a massive success, all things considered. With dozens of college football games being canceled every week due to the 2020 pandemic, the NFL has done a much better job of managing such a unique challenge.
As we approach the end of the NFL season, the playoff picture has started to become more clear. This means that more questions are starting to appear, too, which is why this time of year is so exciting for NFL fans.
Which NFL teams are going to make the playoffs this season? What NFL star is going to win the MVP award? And can anybody stop the Kansas City Chiefs from winning another Super Bowl trophy?
In this article, we’ll break down all of those questions, attempting to find some answers in the process. We’ll also talk about a few other burning questions, that way you can know what’s going on in the NFL as we approach the month of December.
How Will COVID-19 Effect the Rest of the Season?
You can’t talk about any level of football in 2020 without mentioning the worldwide pandemic that is going on at the moment. Unlike the NBA, the NFL is operating without a bubble, which means there have been COVID-related issues all year for every team.
Like most things in sports, timing is the key here. Some teams, like the Raiders, are getting tons of players back at the right time of year, giving them a much-needed boost in November. Other teams are losing players daily, at the wrong time of year, hurting their chances of making the postseason.
Also, we still don’t know if the NFL will follow in the MLB’s footsteps and create a bubble for the playoff. It seems like, for the sake of everyone involved, that would be a good idea. Only time will tell if the NFL decides to make that move or not.
Can Anybody Slow Down the Chiefs?
The reigning Super Bowl Champions have, at times, looked even better in 2020. Led by the NFL’s biggest star, Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs are still very much the favorite to win the Super Bowl again this season.
With that in mind, you can forget stopping the Chiefs. The better question to ask is, can anybody slow them down?
The Chiefs are averaging a league-high 32 points per game and have played stout defense all year. With Mahomes being the best big-game player the league has to offer, it’s highly unlikely that anyone comes close to knocking the Chiefs back this season, especially in December, when the games matter the most.
Which Team Sneaks Into the Postseason?
Every season, things start to get interesting around late November. More specifically, the playoff picture starts to become more clear, albeit for one or two teams.
Figuring out which teams are going to sneak into the postseason this year is, as per usual, is quite tricky. Our best guess? The Cleveland Browns, who have been improving each week and are playing their best ball as we approach the end of the month.
Our friends at Doc’s Sports agree with us, too, as they’ve been big on the Browns lately. And if not the Browns, look out for the Raiders, who are getting tons of guys back from both COVID and injury-related issues this week.
Which Team Just Misses Making the Postseason?
Speaking of the Raiders, they’re our pick to be the team who just misses out on making the postseason in 2020. Thanks to both injuries and COVID, the Raiders have been shorthanded all season, which has hurt them greatly.
Despite that, they’ve got a win over the Cheifs, as well as a close loss, showing that they’re much more talented than their record indicates.
If Derek Carr heats up, and rookie receiver Bryan Edwards get healthy, the Raiders could sneak into the playoffs and have a shot to make the Super Bowl. But with the way that other teams in their division are playing right now, and the questions that the Raiders have, that doesn’t seem like the safe bet as of this moment.
How Will Tua Tagovailoa Continue to Develop?
When Tua Tagovailoa was drafted, many experts thought he would “redshirt” in 2020 and let his injuries from college heal. That would give him time to not only get healthy but also learn the playbook, setting him up nicely for 2021.
While Tagovailoa playing in 2020 isn’t a huge shocker, the Dolphins at 6-4 very much is. With Tagovailoa playing better each week, and a young Dolphins team continuing to improve, watching the quarterback continue to develop this year should be a ton of fun.
Which Team Plays the Spoiler Role?
Every year there is at least one team who, despite not having any chance to make it, greatly affects the overall look and feel of the playoffs. The role of that “spoiler” team is still up for auditions, but there are a few likely candidates that could fill the spot nicely.
If you’re looking for a spoiler team, turn your attention to Jacksonville and the struggling Jaguars. They’re still scheduled to meet both the Browns and the Bears, two teams who are the bubble and are far from playoff locks. If the Jaguars beat one or both of those teams, the entire landscape of the playoff in 2020 could shift drastically.
Will Antonio Brown Be a Difference Maker?
The talented-yet-controversial Antonio Brown finally made his debut for the Buccaneers this past week. Although his stats weren’t anything to brag about, the Bucs are a legit Super Bowl contender this year, and Brown should help their cause.
Of course, every wide receiver can benefit from catching passes from Tom Brady. But Brown will have a ton of help around him, which means all he needs to be is serviceable to create an impact.
And, of course, if Brown can play as he has in the past, the Bucs are almost a lock to make the big game at the end of the season.
Who Wins the MVP Race?
While football is the ultimate team game, individual accolades are always fun to talk about. When it comes to the NFL, no one-man award is greater than the MVP trophy.
Lamar Jackson, last year’s winner, doesn’t appear to be headed for a repeat victory this season. Patrick Mahomes is a name to watch, as is Aaron Rodgers, who is still somehow playing at a high level after all these years.
Also, don’t forget about Russell Wilson. He’s long overdue for an MVP award, and with his high play in 2020, this could be his year.
Will Any Coaches Be Fired at the End of the Year?
If there was ever a year where coaches would be given an extra year, despite their team’s poor performance, it’s 2020. After all, COVID has made winning games in the NFL, an already difficult job, that much harder.
With that being said, with so many promising candidates out there, somebody is going to make a move. As of this moment, there are three likely candidates, all of which are easy to guess, but we’ll break them down anyway.
The Jets, the Jaguars, and the Lions are all struggling this season, which means their fanbases want to see a change. The Jets, who are 0-10 so far this season, should look to make a change. That, combined with their future number one draft pick, would get Jets fans excited for the first time in years.
Which Two Teams Make It to the Super Bowl?
We’ve already touched on this, but the Chiefs seem like a lock to make it to the Super Bowl this year. Where things get interesting is on the other side of the bracket, as there are a few teams that could possibly be on the other sideline on February 7th, 2021.
As of right now, the Buccaneers seem like the most likely candidate. Seeing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, but not wearing a Patriots jersey, would be interesting. Also, the Super Bowl is in Tampa this year, which means the Bucs could be the first team ever to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
If it’s not the Bucs, the Steelers and the Seahawks make a ton of sense. Patrick Mahomes versus Tom Brady seems like the biggest possible attraction the NFL could have, although Mahomes versus Russell Wilson isn’t bad on paper, either.
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How Will the 2020 NFL Season End?
As we approach the month of December, there are even more questions about how the NFL season will end than normal. With teams steadily improving, and COVID being the wildcard, to call the 2020 season unpredictable would be a massive understatement.
Looking for more information about the NFL? Want to read more about your favorite teams and players? Check back with our blog often!
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