The mailbag is back! Every week, Matt Drufke has questions about the NFL. Every week, Brandon Andreasen and a special guest answer guest, both of whom know much, much more about football than Matt, give their thoughts. This week, the guest is Brian Roman. Let’s dive in.
- Hey! We’re back! Even though I don’t watch any football live, I do enjoy asking you questions and holding you both to predictions. So, let’s start at the very top: Last season, the Super Bowl champions were the… (checks notes)… Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by quarterback Tom Brady, who is… (checks notes)… 76 years old. Brady is back under center for the Bucs, so let’s start with the only question that really matters: Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the favorite to win everything this year?
BRANDON- I spent all of last year predicting that Tom Brady was going to fall apart. So I’m not sure I should be doubting them. They are bringing back a nearly completely intact core, and more importantly, they play in a bad division. They should have plenty of time (half the season) to rest their starters for the playoffs. The main contenders are the Chiefs, whose offensive line is considered art by the same people who would consider GG Allin to be art, and the Bills, who are a Covid outbreak away from screwing this up.
BRIAN- Absolutely the bucs are the favorites to win it. Not only do they still the money dangerous and successful post season athlete of all time, Tom Brady, they also secured all of their starters. Easily the best team in the NFL.
2. Because we are all loyal Chicagoans, it’s time for us to spend a little time in Hell and talk about the Bears. The Mitchell Trubisky era is over, bringing about a QB challenge between Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. Brandon, you covered the Bears in your NFL preview, so some of this will be a repeat, but let’s knock out what all Bears fans want to know: Who should be the quarterback and how good are these Bears?
BRANDON- Justin Fields is the best quarterback now. He will be the best quarterback when he does finally start. It is genuinely disheartening to see the Jets, Jags, and Patriots all going with their rookie qbs from day one, especially since Fields is probably better than two of them.
The Bears probably won’t be good this year. There is nothing exciting about this team beyond their rookie quarterback. The defense is riding reputation at this point. The offensive line couldn’t stop a tumbleweed. The general manager and coach should both be fired for this mess.
BRIAN- Dalton should be the starter. I’ve never questioned it. You always let the veteran start so let him eventually struggle so the fans start clamoring for the rookie to come in and save the day. That’s how you build a young mans confidence and give the people what they want. Gotta let it build up. The Bears’ OL is also a factor too. Especially when you face Ramsey in the secondary and Donald up front. You let the quarterback no one cares about take the pressure and the hits. Then you face Ward and Garrett week 3. Repeat that same idea with Dalton. The Bears remind me a lot of the Niners. People think the Niners are gonna be very good, but no love for the Bears mainly because of the OL. I don’t like that. The Bears have more proven receivers. I like the three serviceable tight ends who can not only catch but act as extra OL to help the run game. Speaking of the run game, when Cohen is back I expect the bears to hopefully have a 3-headed attack like the Patriots always had. You combine the running attack with the tight ends helping the OL, toss in Mooney and AR and Goodwin, and you have a pretty under the radar offensive assault that I don’t think gets enough credit or attention. Dalton isn’t the worst option and is careful with the ball and isn’t afraid to take occasional shots downfield. The defense will be back to 2018 form I think, or at least much closer. Then add in Fields and it’s gonna be fun to watch. factor in the Lions being the Lions, Cousins is gonna finally shoe Vikings fans what most other NFL fans already know- he’s not that good. Even with those weapons. Factor in their crap defense and I think that opens the door for the Bears to be #2 in the division. The Bears will win 7-9 games.
3. Who is one team that didn’t make the playoffs who will this year? And who is one team who made the playoffs last year who will be watching the postseason from their home?
BRANDON- l’ll give you three that will miss the playoffs that were in last year: Bears, Saints, Colts. The Cowboys, Cardinals, and Chargers will be the teams that make it in this year.
BRIAN- The Cowboys will make the playoffs, and the Saints will miss it.
4. Rookies are always hard to figure out. Put your draft pick in too soon if he’s not ready and you could lose all that potential, put them in before their ready and you risk losing someone you spent all that money on. It’s hard to figure out when you need to try everything, as Shakira would talk about on her best song, “Try Everything”. Which rookie will have the greatest impact to their team in 2021?
BRANDON- And it begins…It’s got to be Mac Jones. Unlike the Jets and Jaguars situation, there are expectations for this Patriots team. He is inheriting a truly overrated team that is coasting on the fact that their coach spent two decades looking awesome with a quarterback that immediately won without him. People go out of their way to blow this team, and their fans are already insufferable about Jones at quarterback. High expectations, and I expect him to suck.
BRIAN- Justin Fields, babay!
5. My first question was about the Bucs and their chances to repeat. Let’s get to the bottom of the page: if not Tampa Bay, which team has the best chance to win the whole thing this year?
BRANDON- The Bills, but they have the whole “we know better than doctors” thing going with Covid so I hope they fail. The Titans are being slept on. I’m definitely investing money in a Tennessee bet. And, God help me, the Packers are probably the best team in the NFC.
BRIAN- Bills/Chiefs. I hope not the Chiefs.
6. Let’s do a philosophical question that I was thinking about this week: One of my biggest issues with the NFL is that it’s the only sport whose violence and damage to players isn’t a side effect of the game, it’s a selling point. No one would watch this game if it were two-hand touch, and the fact remains that any person joining the NFL as a player is basically signing a contract guaranteeing an earlier than natural death. How is a person able to enjoy the NFL while not turning a blind eye to the damage it does?
BRANDON- Gambling. Money rules everything. You are wrong that nobody would watch if it was two hand touch, because if I can bet money on it, I’m watching it.
BRIAN- You have to understand any professional contact sport is going to have…….contact. You have to enjoy the game for the love of the game: The scoring, the play calling, the players you love/hate. You have to understand injuries are not always going to happen but they do. I never wanna see anyone get hurt, even Aaron Rodgers when he ass-fucks the Bears twice a year. You have to respect these guys for what they do. I don’t like seeing players get hurt but just like taxes and death, you have to know it’s gonna happen and be able to accept it. Anytime a sport involves full speed running with dudes made of muscle, the laws of nature and physics only set you up for the inevitable.
7. Now that we’ve gotten all sad and bummed out, let’s talk week 1 predictions. Every week, I’m going to pick what I think are five of the most interesting games. We’ll do a running tally of who has a better record of picking the games. This week, we’ve got these matches: Dallas-Tampa Bay, Cleveland-Kansas City, Seattle-Indiapolis, Chicago-Los Angeles, and Baltimore-Los Vegas. Who do you got?
BRANDON- Dallas with the week one upset. Kansas City. Seattle. Los Angeles. Baltimore.
BRIAN- Tampa Bay, I’d love the Browns to win but it’ll probably be the stupid Chiefs, Seattle, Rams, again the Raiders would be funny to see win cuz I don’t like Lamar but it’s gonna be the Ravens.