The 2021 NFL season got started on Thursday night in Tampa.
Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers hosted Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. It was the perfect way to welcome fans back to the stadiums.
The Bucs won a thriller, 31-29. Tom Terrific took the Bucs on a last minute drive in typical Brady fashion and handed the ball to the kicker to crush Dallas’ hopes with a last second field goal.
Prescott also looked remarkable coming off last season’s injury, but he was left on the sidelines stunned and unable to do anything but watch the GOAT work with about 1:25 left in the game.
Dak Prescott and Tom Brady put on a show, throwing for a combined 782 yards and seven touchdowns. pic.twitter.com/VoPk4DnTNp
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2021
Going Forward, Dallas will need a healthy Dak playing at the level he was prior to being lost with that gruesome ankle injury in Week 5.
Thursday night’s game was a great start for him.
Dak Prescott’s tonight performance proves that the Cowboys will win the NFC East.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 10, 2021
Here are 5 bold predicitions for the 2021 NFL Season
1. Kliff Kingsbury Will Be The First Coach Fired In 2021
The Arizona Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury after he posted a 35-40 career record during his six-year collegiate run at Texas Tech.
There was much fanfare surrounding his arrival in the “Valley of the Sun” in 2019.
Once thought to be an innovative offensive mind, he’s entering his third season with a 13-18-1 record as head coach.
It appeared the sky was the limit in the desert once Klingsbury got to handpick his quarterback in Kyle Murray. The excitement is there, but the wins haven’t come in abundance.
Opening the season with games against the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, before facing the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns in consecutive weeks doesn’t bode well for a coach on the hot seat.
Kingsbury, 42, can’t afford a slow start.
A question from Albert Breer’s Mailbag:
Can AJ Green and JJ Watt help Kliff Kingsbury save his job in Arizona? 🤔
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 9, 2021
2. Deshaun Watson Dealt Before NFL Trade Deadline
Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson has been hot in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The reigning NFL passing yards leader requested a trade early in the offseason.
Since then he’s been accused of sexual assault and/or misconduct by over 20 women.
The Texans seem willing to oblige his trade request now that he’s a marked man, but it’s highly unlikely any team will trade for him until his legal situation is resolved. This doesn’t change the fact that he’s an incredible game-changing player
#NFL QBs with the best passer rating in the last 5 seasons. #NFLUpdate #Saints Drew Brees – 113.0#Chiefs Patrick Mahomes – 109.3#Seahawks Russell Wilson – 107.2#Titans Ryan Tannehill – 105.9#Texans Deshaun Watson – 104.7 pic.twitter.com/p2Q9dvBBYw
— NFL Update (@nflupdate247) September 6, 2021
Watson will likely be dealt by the end of the NFL Trade Deadline in October. The Eagles seem like an intriguing spot for the bewildered signal caller. A trade package with Philly could include quarterback Jalen Hurts and picks going to to “HTown.”
3. Derrick Henry Breaks Eric Dickerson’s Single-Season Rushing Mark
Eric Dickerson boasts the NFL single-season rushing record with 2,105 rushing yards. The goggle-wearing wonder accomplished that feat 37 years ago. Adrian Peterson (2,097 yards) came close to eclipsing the mark in 2012.
With passing totally dominating the NFL game these days, and running backs being devalued, the rushing record seems pretty safe.
There is one ball-toting beast, however, that might have a shot due to the increased amount of games this season (17).
DERRICK HENRY JOINS THE 2K CLUB 👑
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 4, 2021
The Mac Truck known as Derrick Henry is coming off his first 2,000-yard season. He has the best chance to break the mark. “King Henry” is the only human being to rush for 2,000 yards in high school, college and pro football.
Henry would have to average 124 yards per game over 17 games. He averaged 126.7 yards per game last season, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
The arrival of future Hall of Famer Julio Jones to compliment AJ Brown at receiver will make it harder for teams to load the box to stop the run.
4. Justin Fields Will Be The Bears Starting QB By October
The Chicago Bears who mistakenly moved up in the 2017 NFL Draft to take Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, somehow have had the football gods smile upon them once again.
This time they had Justin Fields fall right into their lap with the No.11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields has shown that he’s ready to play with his preseason performances.
But head coach Matt Nagy is going with journeyman Andy Dalton over the promising dual-threat from Ohio State.
Many of the veterans on the Bears believe in Fields and aren’t happy with Nagy’s decision. Fields’ arm, athleticism and pure talent gives them a better chance to win, despite his inexperience.
5. Surprise Winner For NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is usually won by one of the new, hot shot quarterbacks.
Names like Mac Jones (Pats), Zach Wilson (Jets), and Trevor Lawrence (Jags) are all slated to start Week 1. They wil get a chance to post some huge numbers.
Guys such as Fields (Bears) and Trey Lance (Niners) aren’t far behind.
The sleeper pick for this award is rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. The generational tight end prospect will be an immediate impact star.
He’ll be catching passes thrown by Matt Ryan, a very capable former MVP. New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is an offensive guru, whose strength is creating mismatches amongst his offensive groupings.
Look for Pitts to amass 1,000 yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns.
Buccaneers Flirt With Perfection
The Buccaneers’ Super Bowl title last February was in no way a fluke. It proved that Tom Brady was the missing piece for Bruce Arians and company. Tampa Bay is well-positioned to repeat having returned all 22 starters (unheard of in the free agency era).
Tampa Bay’s chance to go undefeated depends on one key factor.
Will Tom Brady’s 44-year-old body finally give out?
Brady has some experience flirting with perfection. He went 16-0 in the 2007 regular season only to come up one defensive stop short of 19-0.
The Patriots lost a heartbreaker to the Giants in Super Bowl 42. No team has finished undefeated since the Don Shula, Mercury Morris, Bob Griese and Larry Csonka led the 1972 Miami Dolphins to perfection.
Get ready for an action-packed and unpredictable 2021 season.