1. The Miami Dolphins roll the dice, trade for Deshaun Watson.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. The Miami Dolphins are reportedly interested in Deshaun Watson, and he's interested in playing for Miami. Watson is a generational talent at quarterback, and he wants out of Houston. After botching the Justin Herbert vs Tua Tagovailoa decision, Miami brass makes a play on the superstar talent after his legal issues get addressed.
2. The Las Vegas Raiders implode, move off Derek Carr in offseason.
From my Las Vegas Raiders win total article:
"During Gruden's tenure, PFF has graded the Raiders as the worst coverage team in the NFL. So, the NFL's worst secondary - in an increasingly pass-happy league - is supposed to be bailed out by the immobile Derek Carr playing behind a subpar offensive line?"
The Raiders play arguably the hardest schedule in football, too. This team could unravel quickly.
3. The Houston Texans go winless.
From my NFL Season Prop You Should Bet Now article:
"They have the worst quarterback situation and probably the worst head coach in the NFL. The skill positions are weak, and the secondary is awful. The offensive line is a bottom-ten unit. All meaningful position groups grade well below league average. According to Sharp Football Analysis, the schedule is the third-hardest in the league, too [...] Look to bet anything at plus money on this team to be terrible."
If Houston doesn't knock off Jacksonville in Week 1, watch out.
4. The Denver Broncos win 11+ games.
From my Denver Broncos win total article:
"Denver plays a fourth place schedule this year, so they have matchups against Cincinnati, Jacksonville, and New York (Jets). They also receive the luxury of playing the NFC East, along with drawing Detroit in their AFC-NFC matchup. In addition to a soft schedule, the Broncos possess a loaded roster. It was ranked as the sixth-best in the league prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, according to Pro Football Focus. The defense is stacked. Star edge-rusher Von Miller returns from injury[...] The secondary [...] may be the NFL's best."
Denver is seriously a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The roster is that good. Hopefully, Teddy Bridgewater doesn't hold them back.
5. Javonte Williams finishes as a top 10 RB in fantasy football.
From my 2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers article:
"Williams, not Melvin Gordon, will dominate touches in the Denver backfield. He's a star in the making. He forced the most missed tackles in college football last year."
The Broncos targeted Williams in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft for a reason. He'll be the RB1 in Denver before long. Every year, a rookie running back explodes in fantasy football, and my bet is on Javonte Williams to be that guy. (Trey Sermon is a contender, too.)
6. The Carolina Panthers win 10+ games.
From my Carolina Panthers win total article:
"I have confidence in Joe Brady's offensive play-calling and Matt Rhule's rebuilding abilities as a head coach [...] In 2021, the Panthers also have one key advantage: rest. The Panthers have the NFL's best rest advantage this season. They will be far-more rested as a team than their opponents . Playing in a mostly rebuilding division doesn't hurt, either. I'm bullish on Carolina, and you should be, too. The Panthers should find success its first five games (Jets, Saints, @Texans, @Cowboys, Eagles) [...] If Sam Darnold lives up to his potential, this team could threaten to post double-digit wins."
7. The Pittsburgh Steelers finish last in division.
From Adam Schein's "Bold predictions for 2021 NFL season" article:
"The Steelers still have a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, but he's not Benjamin Button. Now 39 years old, Big Ben clearly hit a wall down the stretch last year. So did Pittsburgh. From 11-0 to first-round playoff exit. And I don't see the trend reversing for the better in 2021. While first-round pick Najee Harris is a stud runner, the offensive line remains problematic. The defense lost Bud Dupree (who'd become a fabulous edge-rushing complement to T.J. Watt) and Mike Hilton (the stud slot corner who just so happened to relocate to Cincy). And it sure doesn't help that the aging Steelers drew the NFL's toughest strength of schedule."
8. All 4 NFC West teams make the playoffs.
From my NFL Season Special Bets on Bovada article:
"Rams make it. Niners make it. You want to question Russell Wilson? [...] In order for all four teams to qualify for the postseason, there must be only one playoff team (the division winner) from the other three NFC divisions. Is it hard to fathom Chicago, Minnesota, and Detroit missing the playoffs? How about New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina? Could you see Washington, Philadelphia, and New York (Giants) putting together disappointing seasons?"
9. Justin Herbert wins MVP.
From my 2021 NFL MVP article:
"I think with improved health, better coaching, and an excellent draft haul, the Chargers will develop into a real dark horse threat in the AFC. Herbert was terrific last season [...] If Jackson and Mahomes could put together MVP-winning seasons in their sophomore campaigns, so can the former Oregon standout."
10. Brandon Staley wins Coach of the Year.
From my 2021 NFL COY Best Bets article:
"Ideally, you want to target first year coaches with projected wins between 7 and 9. These are below-average to borderline playoff teams. The elite head coaches don't win these awards. On DraftKings, Chargers are at 9 projected wins [...] Staley coordinated the #1 D last year, has a bonafide star at QB in Herbert, has a slew of star players (James and Bosa) coming back from injury, and is replacing the dreadful Anthony Lynn."
Considering Staley is currently the odds-on favorite to win this award, this may not be the hottest take in the world. It's more of a lukewarm take. Regardless, you can find odds as long as +1400 on Staley to win the NFL Coach of the Year award.
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