Reasons for Optimism
2020 was a crappy year, let’s be positive! Enter 2021’s reasons for optimism, this is why you should be excited about your favourite NFL team! (Scott Taetsch, Getty Images)

Reasons For Optimism: Why Your Favourite NFL Team Will Be Great

There’s so much negativity in the world, let’s try and be more positive! In this article, I’m going over every NFL team and telling you why your favorite team will be great in 2021! Or at least why they won’t absolutely suck, where applicable. Here are your reasons for optimism this NFL season.

Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray & Veteran Changes

The Arizona Cardinals had quite the offseason. They signed JJ Watt and traded for Rodney Hudson. Watt will look to help an underrated defense. The Cardinals ranked 13th in yards, 12th in points, and 5th in sacks in 2020. They barely missed the playoffs in 2020 as they went 8-8. The story of the Cardinals’ 2020 season was a ridiculous last-second victory against the Buffalo Bills, and a 2-5 collapse that followed. Hopefully the veteran additions can help prevent another collapse, and give Kyler Murray some much-needed protection.

Speaking of Kyler Murray, he’s the true key to success for the Cardinals. However, he can’t do much if he’s constantly getting the crap beat out of him. Murray was fighting injuries during the 2020 year. While his legs are a deadly weapon and two great reasons for optimism, it would do him good to avoid taking unnecessary hits. That will not only prolong his career but will also keep him fresh and playing his best football.

Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts, Matt Ryan Is Still Good

The Atlanta Falcons seem like they’re caught in the middle of rebuilding and trying to be relevant. If we’re being completely honest, it’s messy to look at and watch. They’re fighting desperately to try and stay relevant while shipping off Julio Jones for a second-round pick. Even with all of that in mind, Kyle Pitts is an absolute stud. He could lineup on the outside or in the slot as a receiver and have some solid success. He’s too big for defensive backs, and he’s too athletic for linebackers (and some defensive backs too). He’s a mismatch weapon and overall offensive weapon. He’s the only reason to be happy as a Falcons fan, but Justin Fields would’ve been even better.

Baltimore Ravens: Philip Wheeler

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Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen

The Buffalo Bills have been an organization that has been starved of great quarterback play for years. Now they have ELITE quarterback play, or at least a great quarterback who is capable of elite play. Buffalo was patient with Josh Allen, they gave him the time he needed and they’ve received a great payout. They now have an MVP caliber signal-caller who has an absolute rocket of an arm. When Allen got paired with Stefon Diggs, we all saw the fireworks. This offensive duo is why the Buffalo Bills are Super Bowl contenders.

Carolina Panthers: An Offense With Potential & Stars On Defense

The Carolina Panthers are a team that I have some high hopes for. I see them making the playoffs this season and coming second in the NFC South. Sam Darnold has major potential, and the Panthers have a nice display of weapons. The only major question I have for their offense is their offensive line. As for their defense, they have some nice pieces. Brian Burns is emerging as a star, and Jeremy Chinn played very well last season. Derrick Brown has potential and the Panthers are a young team.

Chicago Bears: Justin Fields & Defensive Front

Justin Fields is the only real hope that Chicago has on offense. Teven Jenkins was a great pick but he’s hurt, that offensive line is shaky again and Ryan Pace just pisses me off. There should be no rush to start Justin Fields, and Andy Dalton is the confirmed Week One starter. As for the defense, Khalil Mack is still dominant on the edge, and their interior line group of Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Bilal Nichols will put pressure on almost every offensive line in the league.

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow & Ja’Marr Chase

These two are the only reasons for optimism that the Bengals have, and I’m not even that confident. I’m not going to overreact to Chase having a few drops in a preseason game because they weren’t good throws, and I don’t want my first-round wide receiver going for hospital balls in a game that doesn’t mean a thing. As for Burrow, the reports that he has been struggling are concerning and they make sense. The man tore half of the major ligaments in his knee, who wouldn’t be scared and lose confidence? This combo is the only reason that Bengals fans should be optimistic, but even then I wouldn’t be too happy.

Cleveland Browns: That Roster Is Stacked & They Have The Coach

There is a great case that the Cleveland Browns have the best roster in the NFL, at the very least they have a top-five roster. They have all the talent in the world, and were close to knocking off Kansas City in the playoffs. Here’s something I never thought I’d say for the Browns, they have the head coach. Kevin Stefanski knows what he’s doing, he’s got control and I loved the hire and still love it now for the Browns. The team believes in him and I imagine the players do as well. Cleveland will make the playoffs this year.

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Is Back

Dak Prescott was airing the ball out at a historic level before getting injured. Reports indicate that his shoulder injury won’t keep him sidelined for much longer, and poor quarterback play along with a poor defense spelled a year of misery for Dallas in 2020. Now with Dak back, and significantly richer, the only team stopping the Dallas Cowboys from contending are themselves.

Denver Broncos: Defense

As the quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock continues, the Denver Broncos have been building a fantastic defensive unit and I don’t hear nearly enough people talk about it. The group of Kyle Fuller, Patrick Surtain, Bryce Callahan, and Ronald Darby is a group to fear. They have a great safety duo as well, with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Then we get to the edge duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, that’s something to fear. If nothing else, this defense will keep the team afloat.

Detroit Lions: Dan Campbell Is A Football Guy & Draft Picks

Yeah, I’ve got nothing here. Dan Campbell is an absolute football guy and meathead, his press conferences are fun to watch. At least they have a boatload of draft picks and a starting-caliber quarterback in Jared Goff. That’s it for reasons for optimism. Just, reach out to your friends that are Lions fans and ask them if they’re okay. Try to get them out of this toxic relationship. (Luke I’m looking at you buddy)

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers Has Returned

Packers fans, thank your lucky stars that Aaron Rodgers decided to return. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be Super Bowl contenders like you are now.

Houston Texans: N/A

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Indianapolis Colts: Injury Luck, Carson Wentz

So apparently Carson Wentz and Quinton Nelson are on track to potentially play in Week One. With a timeline of five-twelve weeks, who would’ve thought that they’d be close to five? That’s something to be incredibly optimistic about. Then you have Carson Wentz, one hell of a redemption story just a few months removed from being one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. The hope is that Frank Reich can recapture some of the glory from Wentz’s 2017 season. Or at the very least hoping he can bring back 2019 Carson Wentz.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Bright Future

The Jaguars don’t have any hopes of a deep playoff run this year. The organization, and fans, can look ahead to a bright future.

Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr, Darren Waller

These two players are the only reasons for optimism on a Las Vegas Raiders team that has continued to be mediocre and continues to trap their fans in a toxic relationship of optimism and then sucking. However, their quarterback gets far too much hate. Derek Carr is easily in the top half of quarterbacks in the NFL. The team around him just sucks. As for Darren Waller, he’s a top-three tight end in the NFL and a great weapon for Derek Carr.

Los Angeles Chargers: New Coach With New Hopes

Anthony Lynn is gone, that’s reason enough to be optimistic and hopeful for the Chargers. I think Brandon Staley is a great coach, he led a fantastic defense with the Rams and he has the personnel to do the same thing with the Chargers. It seems like the Chargers had an offense that was fun to watch in spite of Anthony Lynn, now he’s gone. The Chargers have the roster on paper to be Super Bowl contenders, now it’s simply a matter of if the coach can get it done.

Los Angeles Rams: Starpower

The Rams have been building a very top-heavy team. They also spent a fortune to acquire Matthew Stafford in a trade, which is a major improvement over Jared Goff. The Rams found themselves competing for a Super Bowl a few seasons ago, a majority of that was due to Sean McVay making things easy. Matthew Stafford has incredible talent, and now McVay has a chance to tap into it.

Miami Dolphins: Young Core

The Miami Dolphins narrowly missed the playoffs last year, which is one hell of a jump when they were picking in the top-five in the 2020 NFL Draft. They’re still working on refilling a roster that was stripped down to begin a rebuild that seems to be ahead of schedule. Give this young group some time to develop, that’s what they really need.

Minnesota Vikings: Offense

Despite having a defensive coach, the Minnesota Vikings will have to rely on their offense to be a good team in 2021. Kirk Cousins is a middle-of-the-pack quarterback, which is what the Vikings needed back in 2017 when they went to the NFC Championship game. Now, they need more than that but they’re stuck with Captain Kirk. However, Kirk can get the ball to his two receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Dalvin Cook is a force with the ball in his hands. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill make up a fine tackle duo, but the rest of the offensive line leaves a lot to be desired. On defense, there are about three guys that are worth mentioning. Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, and Danielle Hunter. Outside of them, there are not many reasons to be optimistic.

New England Patriots: Mac Jones, Bill Belichick

Mac Jones has looked very good in the preseason, and while he may not be the starting quarterback for the Patriots this season, he will be the quarterback of the future for the team. As for Bill Belichick, everyone and their mother knows that he’s a great coach. Terrible GM, great coach. Half the time I feel like he gives himself crappy rosters just to challenge himself, but that’s just a fun theory to think about.

New Orleans Saints: Loaded Roster, Jameis Winston

First things first, the Saints keep finding ways to do hilarious salary cap gymnastics. Their roster is still loaded, they’re truly a team that’s a quarterback away. Jameis Winston just might be that quarterback! He was phenomenal in the preseason, and Taysom Hill’s massive extension literally doesn’t exist. Serious shut up about that, it was Monopoly money. Both quarterbacks are on one-year deals, and Jameis Winston was the better quarterback throughout the preseason. Let’s hope he can continue this strong play in the regular season.

New York Giants: Joe Judge, Defense

The New York Giants were close to making the playoffs in 2020. To be fair their record sucked, but they were close! While Joe Judge may have interesting methods to his madness, he’s a no-nonsense guy and that’s respectable in a head coach. Joe Judge may have won me over with his refusal to put up with crap. The Giants also have a defense that will be able to win a couple of games on their own.

New York Jets: Young Core

The Jets may be the Jets, but they are putting something nice together. They took Zach Wilson in the draft, he was my QB3 but still I like the pick. They’ve also started to invest in protecting their young quarterback, so it looks like they’ve learned from the mess they made of the Sam Darnold era. Giving this core time to develop will give the Jets a bright future as the combination of Zach Wilson and a young left side of the offensive line are reasons for optimism, but they’ll probably mess it up because… JETS!

Philadelphia Eagles: Weak Division

A weak division is really the only hope for the Eagles to be good in 2021, and even then this division isn’t a total pushover anymore. This team is in a position to rebuild but their roster is so old that they can’t really commit to rebuilding without tearing everything to pieces. DeVonta Smith was a great pick in the first round, even if it potentially involved punting on the final game of the 2020 season. Their offensive line is getting older, their best players on defense are aging, it’s just not a good look for a rebuild.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Defense

Alright, here we go. First things first, this team will be competitive. They’ve shown evolution in their playcalling and play design, and their offensive line is just simply meh. They can easily protect that offensive line by using quick passes, play-action, motion, and different kinds of misdirection. However, this team is known historically for defense and in the past two years, they’ve been known for their defense because it’s nasty. Melvin Ingram doesn’t only mitigate the loss of Bud Dupree, I’d consider him an upgrade at the position. The only real concern is the secondary, outside of that this defense is ready to continue its dominance.

San Francisco 49ers: They Can’t Be That Unlucky Again

The 49ers simply can’t be as unlucky as they were with injuries again. In 2020, they weren’t the 49ers. They were the 49IRs. They’re a fantastic roster, they just got ridiculously unlucky last season with injuries. There’s no chance that happens again, no chance.

Seattle Seahawks: Offensive Weapons

The Seahawks are somehow always relevant despite the fact that there a multiple holes on their roster. One of those holes is the offensive line, which Russell Wilson keeps working around. Wilson does invite a lot of pressure and sacks through the way he plays, but he makes so many amazing plays with the same style that I’ve learned to just live with it. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson is a trio that instills fear in any defense, and are three great reasons for optimism. I’d comfortably say that it’s the best offensive trio in the entire NFC West!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Going For Two

The Buccaneers brought back their entire starting lineup, that’s 22 reasons for optimism right there. Oh and Tom Brady won’t be playing on a torn MCL this season, that’s number 23. This team is simply loaded, and should easily be favourites to repeat, barring mass injury. If age is going to hit Tom Brady, it’s going to be him suffering a catastrophic injury.

Tennessee Titans: Offense

The Tennessee Titans have one thing to be excited about and it’s their offense. The wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and A.J. Brown is something that will force defenses to play differently. Then there’s Derrick Henry, that speaks for itself. Ryan Tannehill can move the ball around and is a very good quarterback in the NFL, it’s amazing what leaving Adam Gase can do for a player.

Washington No Namers: Defense, Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Unpredictable

This defense is no joke, it’s amazing and there are five reasons for optimism on their defensive line alone! Their front is something compares to the Pittsburgh Steelers in that they can’t double everybody, so great players will have one-on-one matchups which is great for Washington and a nightmare for anyone playing against them. Now for the fun part, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sometimes he’s Fitzmagic, sometimes he’s Fitztragic, and it’s tough to know which one you’ll get. That type of unpredictability is what might be able to propel Washington to true playoff contenders (Over .500). There’s going to be one or two games where Fitzpatrick goes nuts and Washington wins a game that they have no business winning. Then there will be one or two games where Fitzpatrick throws it away and Washington loses. That’s the double edge sword with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and it’s just a hell of a ride.

That concludes the reasons for optimism for every NFL team (where applicable). Just be reasonable with your expectations this year, we don’t need everyone saying “This is our year!” You’re just annoying at that point.

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