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  • Brandon Brown

10 Questions For This Upcoming NFL season

- By Brandon Brown

With the Hall of Fame game recently taking place and the start of pre-season just around the corner, I couldn’t help but share 10 questions I have for this NFL season that have me either intrigued or excited! Let’s get right into it!

What will the Mac Jones-Bill Belichick combo become?

Mac Jones turned in the most positive rookie season of all the rookie QBs last season, even nabbing a Pro Bowl nod for his efforts, so I’ll be intrigued to see if he can continue this success into his sophomore year. I know Belichick and co. made the playoffs last year, but ever since famous QB Tom Brady left for Tampa, a lot of NFL fans (admittedly even myself) have been questioning whether it was Belichick who made the train roll or Brady (who won a Super Bowl his first year in Tampa). Can Belichick prove it was his superior coaching prowess that garnered the New England Patriots their six Lombardi trophies by elevating Mac Jones to a possible All-Pro status? There’s been nothing but glowing reviews on Jones’ physicality and ability all offseason, so only time will tell with this one.

Will Davis Mills prove himself a QB1?

A lot of people (including myself, a Texans fan) bought into the hype of Davis Mills when he started having good games against playoff teams, and it helped that last season’s rookie QBs left a lot of ugly play on the field to compare to. But, now that Mills has a full season of play under his belt and has had an additional offseason to prepare, will he prove good enough to potentially keep the starting quarterback job in H-Town? John Metchie III just revealed he will be out for potentially the entire season, and aside from drafting Metchie III early in the second round of the draft, the Texans management did little to help boost the offensive talent around Mills. It’ll be interesting to see if he rises to the challenge, or crumbles like many Texans QBs before him.

How will the traded Wideouts fare in their new homes?

It’s easy to say that a wideout’s skill set travels with them to a new team, but the fact of the matter is, a wideout is often only as good as the passer who’s throwing to them. How will All-Pros Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill fare with notbaly less talented quarterbacks throwing the pigskin their way (or in some cases missing them entirely)? How will Allen Robinson, a primary WR1 for the majority of his career, perform while behind Cooper Kupp and potentially Van Jefferson on the depth chart? How is Amari Cooper going to play with Jacoby Brisset guaranteed to start the first half of the season? It’s something only the start of the season can answer as we see budding chemistries either form or fail for these new QB-WR combos.

What is going to be the Packers WR depth order?

For the life of me, I could not force myself to write a “Packers WR1?” section because I’ve seen other articles try to answer that question all off-season. Instead, I’m going to write out the depth order in which I think the Packers wideout core will be:

  1. Randall Cobb

  2. Christian Watson

  3. Allen Lazard

  4. Amari Rodgers

  5. The rest of ‘em

Rodgers loves his former wideouts—it’s what inspired the trade to grab Cobb back from the Texans when Rodgers was expressing his unhappy feelings with the Packers organization. With that in mind, it’s hard to imagine anyone BUT Cobb at least starting out the season as WR1. I mean, he knows the system and clearly has a rapport with Rodgers already. The Packers spent the 34th overall pick to nab Watson, so I imagine Matt LeFluer and co. are eager to see him take the field. Allen Lazard has more or less stepped up when asked to, and like Cobb, already has a rapport with Rodgers. I’ve always liked Amari Rodgers' skill set and thought he had a great chance to showcase that last season. Perhaps this season he’ll have that chance. The rest of the Packers wideout corps leaves a lot to be desired, but if there’s anybody who can whip some of those guys into shape, it’s the four time MVP who’s been the best player in football the past two seasons.

Will Jacksonville take the leap?

A lot of folks thought that Jacksonville was finally going to turn it around with Lawrence at the helm. In reality, they ended up finishing as the worst team in football, but were able to nab experimental prospect Travon Walker with the first overall pick. Now that the Jaguars free agent spending spree (Evan Engram, Christian Kirk, Brandon Scherff, etc.) has concluded and the monster known as Urban Meyer is away and gone, will Jacksonville finally be able to do some damage against higher profile teams? After all, the division they play in is one of the weaker ones at the moment. The Titans best seasons are likely behind them, the Colts still have a few offensive questions, and the Texans are primed to potentially be the worst performing team in football, so the challenge isn’t exactly what I’d call extreme. However, Jacksonville has dealt with a bevy of issues these past few seasons, and are still a notable ways away from being playoff competitive.

Will the Cowboys lack of offseason moves cost them a playoff spot?

I’m attending the University of North Texas at the moment, which means I’m legally obligated to include a section about the Dallas Cowboys. I’m kidding, of course! But, luckily, the Cowboys offseason genuinely confused me enough to include them in this list. How in the world do they expect to compete when they let star players walk while doing virtually nothing to replace them. They nearly had Randy Gregory re-signed before he defected to the Broncos, and they traded star wideout Amari Cooper for essentially a bag of chips and a cup of gas station coffee. They already compete in a division where nobody is really THAT good (at least on paper), and with the moves that the Eagles and Commanders made this offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas finishes with a 9-8 record and just barely misses the playoffs.

Can the Cincinnati Bengals reach the Super Bowl again?

I’ve seen a lot of people buy into the Bengals hype as a certified playoff team in 2022. I’m here to say I don’t think they’ll have an easy ride back. For one, they play in perhaps the toughest division in football, facing the Baltimore Ravens (who are more often than not a perennial playoff team), the Pittsburgh Steelers (who haven’t once had a losing record since head coach Mike Tomlin has been around), and the Cleveland Browns (who, despite the ugly business with infamous QB Deshaun Watson, have arguably one of the best rosters in the NFL, at least on paper.) With the Bengals defense still lacking, and the offensive line still in need of some upgrading, I can’t imagine the Bengals have as successful a campaign as they did last season. Plus, just take a look at past Bengals teams that found their franchise QB and made it to the Super Bowl!

Ken Anderson: made it to the Super Bowl once, lost to a California team

Boomer Esiason: made it to the Super Bowl once, lost to a California team

Joe Burrow: made it to the Super Bowl once, lost to a California team.

Will Mike Tomlin’s “no-losing season” streak continue?

The Steelers watched as their aging franchise icon, who won two Super Bowls over the last two decades, finally retired. To cope with this, the Steelers picked up a former Pro Bowler in Mitch Trubisky and drafted arguably the best QB prospect in Kenny Pickett. The defense is loaded and remains looking scary on paper, but will head coach Mike Tomlin be able to transform, or at least make do with, Trubisky or Pickett, or will the first year without Ben Roethlisberger prove too much to handle?

Will the Las Vegas Raiders be able to compete in a loaded AFC West?

It’s almost ridiculous for me to say this, considering the team did just make the playoffs last year, but coming into this season, it feels like the Raiders are the AFC West’s least likely playoff candidate. The Broncos just traded for future HOF quarterback Russel Willson, the Chargers added some much needed depth to their defense, and the Chiefs… well, they’re the Chiefs! But don’t write off Las Vegas just yet; the Raiders did add 2x All Pro Chandler Jones to the defensive line while trading for perhaps the best receiver in football right now in Davante Adams. With Pro Bowlers Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, newly-acquired WR1 Adams, 3x Pro Bowler Derek Carr, and a two headed backfield monster in Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake to take the pressure off the passing game, this offense looks scary and might be able to knock the Chiefs or Chargers down a few notches to snag a playoff spot!

Is Jalen Hurts “the guy” in Philadelphia?

I’ve always loved Jalen Hurts. Coming out of college, I thought he had all the tools to become an above average QB in this league, and while I’m not talking All-Pro or MVP or anything like that, I’ve always had a feeling this guy could be a top 10 QB, maybe make a Pro Bowl or two along the way. Philly just traded for Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown to give Hurts more support, and that offensive line looks as stout and ready to play as ever. With the Cowboys acting like they’re trying to forfeit a playoff spot, this could be Hurts’ year to prove to Eagles management that they should stick with the third-year quarterback for seasons to come.

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