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NFL 2020: Best and Worst Teams

From major trades and movement in the offseason with players like Cam Newton and DeAndre Hopkins, to games being played during a worldwide pandemic, this NFL season has been one of the most interesting in recent years.

Best Teams of 2020:

The Kansas City Chiefs are the clear number one team. They have a lot of continuity from their championship winning team last year and although they have had injuries to some of their starters, that hasn’t slowed down their production. Patrick Mahomes is proving that the $503 million contract was a smart investment by the Chiefs. What solidified their status as the best team in the NFL right now was their dominating performance against the Baltimore Ravens last Monday night. Mahomes had a four touchdown game and was 31 for 42 pass attempts for 385 yards.

When asked who was the best NFL team, Drake University first-year Jacob Vins said the Kansas City Chiefs.

“They have an outstanding quarterback that can throw, the fastest player in the NFL, and Tyreek Hill is outstanding and can handle double man coverage,” Vins said.

Many football analysts thought that the Green Bay Packers would regress this season from a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship. During the draft they controversially moved up and picked Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round when many thought they would pick a wide receiver. However, this decision has seemed to not have affected the team negatively and may have caused a spark in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is playing some of the best football in the last few years. 

The Packers beat the New Orleans Saints, albeit missing Michael Thomas, who is one of the league’s best receivers, which have been one of the top teams in the league over the years. There were concerns that there was not enough depth at the receiver position for the Packers, but after a quiet first two games Iowan Allen Lazard has started to cement the no. 2 receiver spot. Lazard had six catches on eight targets for 149 yards and a touchdown. Although there are some things that can be desired from their defense, specifically against the run, when injured star linemen Kenny Clark comes back into the lineup their defense should improve.

Other teams that are definitely in the top 10 include the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The Seahawks have quarterback Russell Wilson playing like the MVP to compensate for terrible defense and a litany of injuries. It should be interesting to see if the defense will tighten up and give Wilson the support he deserves. 

Ironically everyone thought that the Bills’ defense would lead them to the playoffs, but instead it is quarterback Josh Allen who is playing very well. Allen has had to come up with some heroics and has given hope back to the Bills’ fans that they have the real deal reminiscent of Jim Kelly. 

The Ravens are still good even though they lost a disappointing game against the Chiefs. Last season’s MVP Lamar Jackson struggled throwing the ball against the Chiefs going 15 for 28 with only 97 yards and a touchdown. However the Ravens will play an easy game against the bad Washington Football Team which should restore confidence in Jackson.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had a slow start in the first few weeks, but that is understandable after suffering a season-ending elbow injury. The defense is still good, shutting out Deshaun Watson and the Texans in the second half of their game and finishing with five sacks. Also the running game has been good with James Connor and Anthony McFarland Jr. running a combined 151 yards on just 24 carriers.

The Chicago Bears are miraculously 3-0 even though they still haven’t fully figured out who is going to be their starting quarterback. With Nick Foles under center they have a chance of being a better team and making it further in the postseason than what most people expected. Honestly I wouldn’t even mention the Bears if it weren’t for the wishful thinking from the fans and “hype” around them. They really should have been 1-2 as Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift dropped the game-winning pass in the endzone and the Atlanta Falcons had an impressively spectacular collapse in the 4th quarter in their week 3 game. I think the Bears aren’t good and are a middle of the pack team even if their record beguiles better.

Worst Teams of 2020:

The New York Giants aren’t the worst team in New York which I guess is an accomplishment. Unfortunately for New York football fans, the Giants and Jets are both atrocious and painful to watch. 

The only saving grace the Giants had was star running back Saquon Barkley who unfortunately tore his ACL in a week two game against the Bears. The Giants built their offense around Barkley so they really don’t have anything left and quarterback Daniel Jones is giving up turnovers every game increasing the scrutiny against him.

The Jets on the other hand might as well start the interviewing process for a new head coach as Adam Gase’s time has run out. Gase is unimaginative and doesn’t seem respected by his own players. Sam Darnold is playing badly and his career is being ruined by an injury-riddled team which lacks talent.

If the Washington Football Team thought by changing their name this season they would improve they were incredibly mistaken. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins who played decent and showed some promise at the end of last season has had one too many mistakes this season. Coach Ron Rivera is understandably frustrated with Haskins as he has had four turnovers just against the Cleveland Browns in week three. Rivera should bench Haskins and look towards Kyle Allen who he has familiarity with when he was in Carolina. One positive development is with defensive end Chase Young, who although has a groin injury and will miss week four’s game against the Ravens, already has 2.5 sacks in three games.

“I think [the] Chiefs will win the superbowl and [the] Bears will at least make it to the second round [of the playoffs] and the MVP will be Travis Kelce,” said Drake first-year Vince Carioti.

Traveis Kelce being this year’s MVP is a bold prediction because a tight end has never been awarded the MVP and the last non-quarterback mvp was running back Adrian Peterson in 2012. But this is a very unusual season as it is happening in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic so you never know what might happen.

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in everyone’s plans and people have learned how to adapt to this new normal. Many people thought professional sports weren’t going to be able to run, however the NFL has figured out a way to play safely with many precautions. 

Carioti has not found these precautions to have affected the game.

“The enjoyment has not decreased since I always just watch at home with the boys,” Carioti said.

Some precautions include daily testing, players or team personnel being fined for engaging in conduct detrimental to the team like going to parties, limited to no fans in the stands and masks being required for everyone to wear.

Although 13 players and team personnel on the Tennessee Titans have tested positive for COVID-19 that doesn’t seem to be stopping future games.

Carioti thinks the “NFL will be okay” while Vins said he is “worried about it”.

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