13) Buccaneers brought back all 22 starters from LY’s title team; will they be the NFL’s first repeat champs since 2004?
12) Ryan Fitzpatrick is Washington’s QB, the 9th NFL team he has started for. Fitzpatrick has been around so long, his first head coach was Mike Martz, back with the Rams in 2005.
11) For first time since 2005, Saints have a QB who isn’t Drew Brees; how will Sean Payton combine the talents of Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill? Hill was content to back up Brees, one of the all-time greats; Winston is not one of the all-time greats.
10) Urban Meyer as an NFL coach should be interesting; how will he handle losing? If he goes 9-7, they’ll throw him a parade in Jacksonville, but Meyer never went 9-7 in college. He will be playing a rookie QB, which makes things even more interesting.
9) Rams are 43-21 in four seasons under Sean McVay, but they blew things up this winter and traded for QB Matthew Stafford, who played 12 years in Detroit but never won a playoff game (0-3). The trade helped the Rams’ salary cap issues; lot of pressure on the coach/QB to maintain the success that Jared Goff had on the field.
8) Four years ago, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, with backup QB Nick Foles the star after starter Carson Wentz got hurt in Week 14. Now, Foles is in Chicago, Wentz plays for the Colts and Jaylen Hurts is the QB, coached by rookie HC Nick Sirianni.
Eagles went 9-7, 9-7, 4-11-1 the last three years; not sure why Doug Peterson got the boot after one bad season, but now they’re starting over.
7) Dallas Cowboys have 36 new players and a QB who has had major injury problems over the last year- they went 0-4 in preseason, which doesn’t necessarily mean much. They’ll need Dak Prescott to be healthy and productive.
6) Minnesota Vikings have their sixth offensive coordinator in six years; their OL coach got fired for refusing the COVID vaccine. This will be Kirk Cousins’ 4th year as starting QB; the team was 25-22-1 the last three years. More is expected this year.
5) Last four years, New Jersey Giants are 18-46; Daniel Jones is 8-18 as starting QB. They’re 10-21-1 ATS at home the last four years; will Jones protect the ball well enough (22 INTs in 26 starts) to help the Giants move up in the standings?
4) What will the Houston Texans do with Deshaun Watson? He is on the 53-man roster but Tyrod Taylor will start, and Watson won’t be active. Watson’s legal issues still lurk; will another team have the onions to trade for him, and if so, what will Houston get back in return?
3) Can the Buffalo Bills take over dominance in the AFC East? Lot of expectations for the Bills after they went 13-3 LY and lost in AFC title game.
2) New England will have a rookie QB starting for first time since Drew Bledsoe in 1993; they went 5-11 that year, when Bill Parcells was the coach. Mac Jones won a lot at Alabama, he knows the playbook, always a good thing, so he should be an upgrade over Cam Newton.
1) Sam Darnold has mononucleosis last summer, then came back and played and the Jets were a bad team, so they fired the coach and traded Darnold to Carolina- they play Carolina Sunday.
I’m thinking the Jets made a mistake trading Darnold; mono is a tough illness to bounce right back from. Now the Jets have a rookie QB, and rookie QB’s generally struggle. They also have a rookie head coach.