Past, Present & Future – Atlanta Falcons
Previously on the Atlanta Falcons…
7-10! That’s a better win total than most people had for the Atlanta Falcons as there was little hope for the season considering the lack of talent. First year Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had a solid rookie campaign with such a depleted roster. Finishing next to last in rushing yards offensively really hampered the Falcons offense. Atlanta was outmatched most nights, so getting 7 wins is massive for a program that was predicted to barely get 4. Matt Ryan handled his business well, throwing for almost 4,000 yards. He didn’t have the most time behind this weak offensive line and his targets weren’t the most elite, but he made the best of it through his final season with the team. Cordarrelle Patterson is a one-man backfield and it’s a shame how late we had to wait in this guy’s career for him to find this all-purpose backfield role. Kyle Pitts showed he’s the real deal at the tight end position, as he collected over 1,000 yards, but he sported a dismal one TD. This guy is a weapon for Atlanta, as it’s rare that a safety or linebacker can match up well against him.
Atlanta had a moderate pass defense and horrible rush defense. There were way too many gaps and not enough playmaking ability to keep this team competitive. Foyesade Oluokon had nearly 200 tackles for the Falcons defense alone, which is very admirable. Deion Jones is still a playmaker among a team of trash. Grady Jarrett is flashing signs of being a real gamechanger. Otherwise, there are few bright spots on this defense.
Currently on the Atlanta Falcons…
Marcus Mariota is now the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, at least until Desmond Ridder – the 1st round pick from Cincinnati – can develop and take over the reins. Matt Ryan took off to Indianapolis after spending his entire career with Atlanta. Russell Gage is with Tampa Bay now after a solid 3 seasons with the Falcons, and with Calivin Ridley still missing time due to suspension, this season is not boding well for the Falcons offense. Keanu Neal is gone and so is Foyesade. This team had so much turnover from last year that they are scrambling to fill in the holes with whoever they can get. Casey Heyward signed from the Raiders to hopefully slow down opposing wide receivers. I just don’t see how the Falcons can repeat or increase their performance from last year with this current roster that lacks some serious skill on both sides of the ball.
Upcoming on the Atlanta Falcons…
There is a lot of talent development in store for the Atlanta Falcons, as they do not roster a playoff caliber team currently. There is not enough skill and talent to really dominate the NFC or make them a competitive team game in and game out. Maybe Desmond Ridder takes over sooner than later and makes a splash with Kyle Pitts, and when Calvin Ridley returns from suspension, he can help catapult the team to a winning record. Their win total is 4.5 and an unlikely Super Bowl win would pay out at +25000.
Week 1 vs New Orleans – Home opener against a stout defense and Jameis Winston who takes over quarterback duties for the Saints. I highly doubt Atlanta poses a real threat unless Jameis hands them the ball a couple times.
Week 2 @ LA Rams – Facing the defending Super Bowl champions on the road is never a good mix for a visiting team. Falcons don’t have a chance.
Week 3 @ Seattle – Okay now we are talking about a real chance to win. Seattle has no big playmakers on either side of the ball as Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner found new homes.
Week 4 vs Cleveland – Although Deshaun Watson will still be suspended, the Browns have a formidable backfield in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. There is also Myles Garrett to deal with who will need to be triple teamed.
Week 5 @ Tampa Bay – The land of Tom Brady welcomes the Falcons as he tips off for 1 more chance at a Super Bowl in his Hall of Fame career. The Tampa defense have a tough linebacker group, so I expect Kyle Pitts to struggle for yards in this round 1 matchup.
Week 6 vs San Francisco – The 49ers are poised for a great season if Trey Lance can seamlessly take over this talented roster and provide some stellar quarterback play. Deebo Samuel got paid. Nick Bosa and Fred Warner on the defensive side of the ball are some of the best in the league, so good luck Falcons.
Week 7 @ Cincinnati – After playing the winners of the Super Bowl the Falcons travel to Cincinnati to take on the losing team. Joe Burrow and company are geared up for another crack at the trophy and Jamar Chase might score 3 TDs in this game with his blazing speed.
Week 8 vs Carolina – This should actually be a contentious game as rival Carolina struggles to complete plays with a new quarterback in Baker Mayfield and a lackluster defense. Round 1 with a divisional rival, but this could be an easy win for the Falcons at home.
Week 9 vs Chargers – Justin Herbert is a stud in the NFL and his defense just got a huge boost in JC Jackson and Khalil Mack. I highly doubt the Falcons can pull off an upset here.
Week 10 @ Carolina – Round 2 vs their divisional rival, and if they didn’t win before at home then they must win here on the road. Otherwise, it will surely be another losing-record season.
Week 11 vs Chicago – Justin Fields has another crack at quarterback for this struggling team and he’s saying all the right things in the media leading up to the season. However, I doubt this defense can keep up with this young offense, and home field advantage helps Atlanta win here.
Week 12 @ Washington – Carson Wentz is quarterback of this team, and he hopes he can link up with Terry McLaurin for a couple scores. Falcons should have their hands full on the defensive line if Chase Young is healthy.
Week 13 vs Pittsburgh – Although Pittsburgh doesn’t know if prodigal son Kenny Pickett – 1st round pick from Pittsburgh University – or Mitch Trubinsky will be quarterback for the team, they still have TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick who will cause so much chaos for whatever quarterback trots out there for the Falcons.
Week 14 BYE
Week 15 @ New Orleans – On the road to the Bayou as the Falcons can maybe trap-game a win from the tough Saints. This will be game 2, and towards the end of the season with playoff implications, this could get ugly for the Falcons.
Week 16 @ Baltimore – Lamar Jackson is playing to get massively paid this offseason, and I hope the Falcons can stay within 35 points as they travel to Baltimore. The Raven’s defense is still getting better from a bad season defensively last year, and will be chomping at the bit for a chance to look good against any NFL team.
Week 17 vs Arizona – Kyler Murray travels to Georgia with Deandre Hopkins. There should be a big chip on the Cardinals shoulders as they push for a Super Bowl appearance with this talented team.
Week 18 vs Tampa Bay – Falcons end the season at home vs Tom Brady, who might not even play in this round 2 matchup if the Buccaneers have a playoff berth already clinched. This should be a quality chance at a much-needed win by an Atlanta team who will want to send off their fans with a W.
Past, Present & Future – Carolina Panthers
Previously on the Carolina Panthers…
5-12, while losing 7 straight to end the season! Matt Rhule definitely tried his best and you have to feel for the guy as he tries to spur any kind of explosive plays from this bland roster. There wasn’t a lot of optimism going into the season but only getting 5 wins and getting blown out by a touchdown or more in most games is demoralizing. Sam Darnold did not last the full season. He repeated his storybook performance as he was a fan favorite but too many mistakes and blunders added to a bittersweet finale as Cam Newton circled his way back to starting duties. It’s become apparent that he cannot be counted on to take quarterback duties for the long term in Carolina. Sam is just one issue on this busted football team, who could use a healthy Christian McCaffrey to make an appearance. Everybody is cheering for this guy’s comeback because when he’s on, there’s nobody like him. Unfortunately, the comeback lasted 7 games last season. Chubba Hubbard proved to be a decent backup but nowhere near the game breaker Christian can be. DJ Moore racked in over 1,000 yards receiving with 4 TD’s, while Robby Anderson tucked home a team best 5 TD’s off 519 yards. The tight end position was nonexistent in the passing game and the offensive line held as best as they could but lacked the elite talent to control the line of scrimmage. There were only a couple standouts from the defense like Haason Reddick’s 11 sacks and Shaq Thompsons all around play. Otherwise, its seriously lacking some names to make a difference in the NFL.
Currently on the Carolina Panthers…
Baker Mayfield is now quarterback of the Carolina Panthers as he outperforms Sam Darnold. Sam also suffered a high ankle sprain to add insult to injury and you have to feel for the guy at this point in his career. Christian McCaffrey has said all the right things to the media about his comeback and the Panthers organization have their fingers crossed on his health. Matt Rhule is on the hot seat and I’m sure even if he’s canned, he will make his way back into the league somewhere. Matt had a tough task ahead of him when taking over this team, and injuries with disappointing play have made things spiral out of Rhule’s hands.
Upcoming on the Carolina Panthers…
With Baker at the helm, you can at least expect a consistent quarterback who has played solid through injury-filled seasons as he endured numerous years as a Cleveland Brown. Maybe the defense can find a spark to become a better unit, as they lack any names in the NFL. Their win total is 6.5 and a Super Bowl win pays out at +10000.
Week 1 vs Cleveland – Pretty crazy that Baker is facing his former team Week 1 and the quarterback who replaced Mayfield in Cleveland is suspended the first 11 games of the season. Although Jacoby Brissett will be quarterback until Watson is free, Cleveland has Myles Garrett and a formidable defense that should crush the Panthers.
Week 2 @ NY Giants – Daniel Jones is already out of a job as the Giants declined his fifth-year option and Saquon Barkley is playing for a roster spot as injuries have stacked up against the once incredible running back. This could be one of the few wins the Panthers get all season.
Week 3 vs New Orleans – If Jameis Winston can stay healthy then the defense has their hands filled, as Winston can sling the ball everywhere on the field. Hopefully McCaffrey can break a few runs as the Saints stout rush defense will cause numerous issues if left unchecked.
Week 4 vs Arizona – Kyler Murray, James Connor, and JJ Watt form a tough NFC team with playoff ambitions. No Deandre Hopkins in this matchup as he will be suspended until later in the season but the Cardinals shouldn’t need him to win here.
Week 5 vs San Francisco – The 49ers are led by Kyle Shanahan and a new QB in Trey Lance as he looks to kick off his young career. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel should make his life easier as they dominate for the offense year after year. Fred Warner and Nick Bosa on defense will be a tough matchup for the Panthers offense.
Week 6 @ Rams – The Panthers travel to the Super Bowl champions as they hope not to lose by more than 2 touchdowns in this possible beatdown.
Week 7 vs Tampa Bay – Tom Brady enters his final season in the NFL and wants to go out on top. The Buccaneers offensive line has suffered a lot of injuries, so hopefully the Panthers can capitalize on that and somehow score some points against this tough defense.
Week 8 @ Atlanta – Time to find out who’s the worst of the NFC South as the Carolina Panthers travel to Georgia in a round 1 matchup vs the Falcons. They are going through a massive rebuild and this is the kind of game the Panthers need to win.
Week 9 @ Cincinnati – Joe Burrow is on a war path to get back to the Super Bowl and the Panthers have no chance in stopping him, Ja’Marr Chase, and Joe Mixon when they get going. Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard will make Baker Mayfield’s life really tough during this game.
Week 10 vs Atlanta – Okay round 2 matchup vs the division rival and you kind of expect the Panthers to fight for 1 or both wins against this weak Falcons team.
Week 11 @ Baltimore – On the road to Baltimore as Lamar Jackson is playing for a massive pay day in the off season. The revamped Ravens defense shouldn’t be as bad as last year – meanwhile the Panthers look just as bad as last year.
Week 12 vs Denver – Russell Wilson takes over for the Broncos and he joins a stacked team offensively and defensively. I find it hard to believe that the Panthers will pose a real threat to this Super Bowl hopeful team.
Week 13 BYE
Week 14 @ Seattle – On the road to Seattle is never an easy game as their crowd is one of the best, but the team this year is one of the worst. The Seattle defense and offense are both lacking playmakers, so this could be a nice win for the Baker bunch.
Week 15 vs Pittsburgh – TJ Watt is never an easy matchup and Baker should be very familiar with that from his Cleveland days. Hopefully he can rekindle some of that magic and get an upset win here.
Week 16 vs Detroit – Dan Campbell has introduced GRIT and Jared Goff is playing lights out. This could be a tougher game than the Panthers want to admit as they struggle for wins this season.
Week 17 @ Tampa Bay – Round 2 matchup vs Tom and probably the same result as the first one – especially on the road in Tampa.
Week 18 @ New Orleans – Round 2 matchup vs Jameis and probably the same result as the first one on the road in New Orleans.
Past, Present & Future – New Orleans Saints
Previously on the New Orleans Saints…
9-8 and somehow sweeping the Buccaneers in their NFC South games! That’s pretty impressive with Jameis Winston splitting half the season with Trevor Siemian due to injury. Alvin Kamara had a letdown season due to inconsistent offensive line work and injuries. I mean this guy was so cold for most of the season. This team struggled mightily without his red zone presence. Taysom Hill proved that he cannot be relied on to throw the ball and isn’t a big enough playmaker to carry any other position. Demario Davis had another great season as leader of this defense while Cameron Jordan stacked up 12.5 sacks for the season. The two veterans have been rocks for this New Orleans team. Marshon Lattimore and Malcolm Jenkins formed a tough secondary duo as they established themselves as one of the best in the league.
Currently on the New Orleans Saints…
New head coach Dennis Allen! Former DC of the Saints gets a nice promotion and hopes to build off the strength of the team, which is their defense. Jameis Winston is healthy and ready to roll at quarterback! Jarvis Landry joins this team that is desperate for some consistency at the wide receiver position after Michael Thomas has been MIA. Michael Thomas is supposedly on his way back to the field. 1st round pick from Ohio State Chris Olave adds a much-needed boost to the wide receiver room that looks formidable now. The offensive line is stacked and ready to move on from Terron Armstead with 1st round pick Trevor Penning from Iowa. The defense is running it back with most of the same unit and that’s a huge win for the Saints as they rolled through last year. Marcus Davenport has been a lowkey MVP of this defense as his play at defensive tackle has been instrumental for the success of this group. How can I forget about the Honey Badger, who returns home to the great state of Louisiana as he wants to win a Super Bowl with his hometown team. He is an immediate boost because of his play and leadership to an already stout group.
Upcoming on the New Orleans Saints…
The pieces are there but it would take a lot of magic for the Saints to not only win the NFC South division but the Super Bowl as well. The defense is pretty stacked and can compete with the best in the league. It’s the offense behind Jameis Winston, as once again the season relies upon him, that is the question mark. The win total is 8.5 and a dark-horse Super Bowl win pays +4000.
Week 1 @ Atlanta – Easy win as the Saints go marching into Atlanta for this easy road game. The Falcons are depleted on both sides of the ball and their only hope for success is Kyle Pitts. This should be a comfortable win vs an NFC South rival.
Week 2 vs Tampa Bay – True battle of who’s the best in the NFC South, and Tom Brady is trying to get revenge from last year’s sweep. At home game 1 is a huge boost and a win here should solidify the Super Bowl dreams of the Saints.
Week 3 @ Carolina – Baker Mayfield welcomes the Saints to his new home in Carolina, but he doesn’t have too many items to really show off as they return much of the same team from last year. Carolina has a really soft defensive line so Kamara should have a field day here.
Week 4 vs Vikings – Kirk Cousins is poised to lead a contending NFC team with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as his targets. It helps that Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in league currently and will aim to build on his young career. This will be a tough challenge and entertaining game for the Saints.
Week 5 vs Seattle – This should be a comfortable home win for the Saints as Seattle travels all the way to New Orleans with the hopes that Drew Lock can pose a threat to this tough defense. DK Metcalf will test his luck vs Lattimore as they will battle it out on most snaps.
Week 6 vs Cincinnati – Joe Burrow is on a mission to win the Super Bowl and he will be tested against this defense. Winston will also feel the pressure from Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard who form an amazing duo on the defensive line.
Week 7 @ Arizona – On the road to Arizona who also have a solid NFC playoff-caliber team and you can guarantee Kyler Murray is ready to play well this season after an awkward offseason of press drama around his contract. This is a Winston game as he will need to play lights out for the Saints to win.
Week 8 vs Las Vegas – The raiders have a new head coach in Josh McDaniels and he will take over this offensively loaded roster. Derek Carr is thankful for this new addition as he tries to link up with Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller for some massive plays. This will be a great game to watch.
Week 9 vs Baltimore – Lamar Jackson is going to be lights out this season as the team reverts to their 2019 offense that saw Lamar win NFL MVP honors. He is also amid a contract dispute with the Ravens, and he is his own agent which can only add more fuel to the fire.
Week 10 @ Pittsburgh – This could prove to be a tricky game as they travel to the tough city of Pittsburgh to take on TJ Watt’s Steelers. Minkah Fitzpatrick is also healthy so this defense could pose a massive threat to Winston as he likes to throw interceptions.
Week 11 vs Rams – Defending Super Bowl champions return most of the team and Matthew Stafford is geared for a repeat, as well as Aaron Donald, who returns after considering retirement in the offseason. Allen Robinson and Bobby Wagner join the team as Von Miller and Robert Woods leave in free agency.
Week 12 @ San Francisco – 49ers may have a new QB in Trey Lance but George Kittle and Deebo Samuel are household names and some of the best in the NFL. The defense also has a stout combo of Nick Bosa and Fred Warner who are two young studs in this league and will terrorize Winston.
Week 13 @ Tampa Bay – Round 2 matchup as the Saints travel to Tampa to hopefully continue a sweep.
Week 14 BYE
Week 15 vs Atlanta – Easy win as the Saints stack up easy NFC South wins against inferior rivals.
Week 16 @ Cleveland – Deshaun Watsons suspension will be up by now and he will lead a somewhat dangerous offense as Amari Cooper joins the team from the Cowboys. The defense has Myles Garrett who is a menace to every offensive line in the league.
Week 17 @ Philadelphia – On the road to the hostile environment of a stacked NFC team is never a good thing late in the season but the Saints must be excited for this great game. Jalen Hurts is doing awesome things in Philly and AJ Brown joins the team from the Titans to form a powerful 1-2 with Devonta Smith.
Week 18 vs Carolina – Maybe the Saints rest their starters here against a weak NFC South rival in the round 2 matchup, otherwise the Saints would love to end the season with a win – and a big one to boot.
Past, Present & Future – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previously on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…
13-4 with a crushing defeat, 30-27, by the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Los Angeles Rams. Tom Brady gave it everything he had, and the team played well enough around him, it just wasn’t meant to be for Tom this year. Everything went well for the most part, even as injuries and losses popped up from time to time. Mike Evans exploded for 14 touchdowns while housing 1000+ yards receiving. Chris Godwin even tallied 4 TDs on 1000+ yards receiving, and he even dealt with a hand issue all season. Leonard Fournette was a wrecking ball as he was always consistent on positive yard runs with his physical running style. Ronald Jones often found himself the odd man out as he struggled to find consistent playing time behind Leonard. Rob Gronkowski did his job perfectly as he gave everything he could to help this team win from the tight end position. You can see the elite connection between Tom and Rob, but you can also easily see the wear and tear adding up on Rob. This season had so much promise and it was so close to becoming a Super Bowl reality again. If there’s anything to improve on, it was the shifty secondary that ranked towards last in pass yards allowed. Run defense was no issue at all as they were in the top 5 and always shutting down running lanes. Devin White, Levonte David, and Vita Vea are all hogs on this defense and showed why they are some of the best after another great season.
Currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…
Julio Jones joins the team from Tennessee as they hope he can form the almighty trinity with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tampa even acquired Russell Gage from Atlanta as he shores up one of the deepest wide receiver groups in the NFL. Tom Brady couldn’t be happier about coming out of retirement for one more crack with this stacked team. Unfortunately, the offensive line has been hit with crazy injuries as Pro Bowl center and team captain Ryan Jensen goes to the IR. Ronald Jones and OJ Howard have been cut from the team as the Bucs trim their roster, and Gronkowski has finally called it quits, for real this time, as he can’t endure another season for Tom. Keanu Neal fills in for Whitehead who left for the Jets on a nice contract. Otherwise, this group is ready to roll again with many of the same players. Jason Pierre-Paul is gone but Akiem Hicks adds much needed muscle and experience to a stout defensive line.
Upcoming on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…
Tom Brady came back to do one thing – and it’s to win a Super Bowl. The man has a broadcasting deal done and a gold jacket from the NFL Hall of Fame waiting for him after his career. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that he will have an easy journey here. I just don’t see how you don’t jump in on a Super Bowl future for Tampa Bay as Tom Brady is going out with a bang 100%. The win total is 11.5 and a very possible Super Bowl win pays +750.
Week 1 @ Dallas – On the road to open the season vs a tough NFC opponent. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot think it’s their year, but that defense is still lacking depth behind Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons. Tom should have a nice day unless his battered offensive line struggles.
Week 2 @ New Orleans – The Saints swept the Buccaneers last year and you know they are waiting for this round 1 matchup vs their NFC South rivals. Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara might struggle to find any offense going against Tampa’s solid defense.
Week 3 vs Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady is the type of football matchups that you couldn’t be happier to watch, both teams are Super Bowl hopefuls but while Tampa added veteran players, the Packers got rid of Davante Adams as he headed to Las Vegas. Home crowd will play a massive role in this epic collision.
Week 4 vs Kansas City – Rematch vs the AFC powerhouse, it should be an amazing game to follow up Green Bay. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are ready to roll again but they lose Tyreek Hill to Miami.
Week 5 vs Atlanta – The weakest of NFC South opponents that the Buccaneers have the good fortune of facing twice this season. Marcus Mariota or 1st round pick Desmond Ridder will be at the helm for the Falcons and if the Bucs can stop Kyle Pitts, then the Atlanta gang has no hope.
Week 6 @ Pittsburgh – This could blossom into a trap game if Tom Brady and the defense can’t handle their business. TJ Watt is never an easy matchup for any team and if the Pittsburgh defense can get going early, this could be a bad loss for Tampa.
Week 7 @ Carolina – Another NFC opponent that has the unfortunate luck of facing the sturdy Buccaneers twice a season. Baker Mayfield takes over this team and they did little to help upgrade the roster around him. I highly doubt the Panthers come within 2 touchdowns.
Week 8 vs Baltimore – The Tampa Bay defense will be tested mightily at home going against Lamar Jackson, as the Ravens revert back to their 2019 offense that got Lamar NFL MVP honors. Their defense is still lacking in talent, so Tampa enters this matchup with the overall roster advantage.
Week 9 vs Rams – Defending Super Bowl champs who look to repeat as Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald return to the team with more championship ambitions. Bobby Wagner joins the team as Von Miller goes to Buffalo. Tampa Bay is going to need every fan’s momentum to win this one comfortably at home.
Week 10 vs Seattle – This team is flat out bad as they lack playmakers on both sides of the ball. DK Metcalf seems to be the only primetime player left on this team and the Buccaneers should be able to lock him down as the rest of the team poses no threat.
Week 11 BYE
Week 12 @ Cleveland – Deshaun Watson is back from suspension and Myles Garrett should be causing havoc already in the league. Playing on the road is never good but if the retooled offensive line of the Bucs can hold Myles at bay, then Tom should be able to dissect the Browns.
Week 13 vs New Orleans – Round 2 matchup vs the Saints – and the Buccaneers need to win at least 1 against their NFC rivals.
Week 14 @ San Francisco – Trey Lance takes over this team as Kyle Shanahan is chomping at the bit to unleash his full offense with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. The defense is also stacked with young talent like Nick Bosa and Fred Warner. This game could go either way in this NFC heavyweight slam.
Week 15 vs Cincinnati – The Bengals are looking to get back to the Super Bowl and win this time. Joe Burrow leads a potent offense with Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon, as Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard lead a potent defensive line that terrorizes opposing offenses. Another tough test for the Buccaneers that could go either way on the scoreboard.
Week 16 @ Arizona – Kyle Murray and Deandre Hopkins could pose a threat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they can find their groove like last year. James Conner was a touchdown machine and Kingsbury led a great overall unit that lost in the playoffs. The defense could be exploited by Tom Brady easily as the Cardinals lack secondary help.
Week 17 vs Carolina – Round 2 matchup and the Buccaneers need this NFC South win at home. Need it.
Week 18 @ Atlanta – Round 2 matchup and they may not even be playing their starters because of already clinching a playoff berth. Otherwise, the Falcons are going to lose horribly as the Tampa Bay squad will need a resounding win to boost their playoff chances.