2021 NFL Season: A look at the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers & Denver Broncos–will Aaron Rodgers play?
We are currently in the NFL offseason, and many teams are a long way away from finalizing their rosters and getting ready for Week 1. Nevertheless, the bulk of free agency and the NFL draft is not of concern anymore as the teams' foundations are mostly set.
Furthermore, unlike the last offseason, the teams are holding team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, so you can be sure they know a bit more about their capabilities than they did at this point last year.
In the upcoming sections, you will learn a few predictions about three teams as they head into the summer. In addition, the sections will cover everything from the latest reports on the draft, roster information, free agency, NFL picks, and other essential offseason issues.
How are rookies advancing? Which position battles will take center stage in training camps? Who is more likely to face a bounce-back season?
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
The Teams to Look Out For
Though a few teams have put forward excellent performance, it is still early to predict who will take the Super Bowl home. So naturally, the first ones who rush to our minds are the current champions — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Their impressive win last season has given them enough confidence to retain the trophy. Nevertheless, we can’t overlook the Kansas City Chiefs through whose fingers slipped the same trophy. After all, this might be their chance to go all the way.
Obviously, these aren’t the only two teams playing. From what we know, the upcoming months will be filled with a lot of action. All you have to do is get ready to enjoy some first-class football.
Now, here are three teams and our predictions for them this NFL season.
● Arizona Cardinals – J.J. Watt Can Offer a Defensive Boost
In 2020, DeAndre Hopkins, Kyler Murray, and the offense headlined the Arizona Cardinals. Hopkins and Murray proved to be a nearly unstoppable combination, helping the team finish sixth in total offense. Nonetheless, Arizona’s defense was pretty intense. They finished 12th in scoring and 13th in yards allowed.
This year, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt, will give a boost to the Arizona Cardinals' already powerful defense. According to Coach Kliff Kingsbury, Watt is a team guy with incredible work ethic and leadership skills. This can be throughout his career.
Watt is a 10-year veteran with 101 career sacks on his resume. With those facts, it is easy to see how Watt can add some extra punch to the Cardinals pass rush. Similarly, he can teach younger defenders like Isaiah Simmons and rookie Zaven Collins by example.
● Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers Might Leave
When the news about Aaron Rodgers leaving Green Bay Packers broke out, it was quickly dismissed as a way to bag contract leverage. Nevertheless, Rodgers really seems unhappy with the organization though he is signed through 2023.
A few news reports suggest that people close to Rodgers are adamant that he is stuck in and won’t play for the Packers this season. While the player hasn’t revealed the exact reason behind why he is unhappy with his current team, the reality is that Green Bay might not have Aaron Rodgers under center in NFL 2021—perhaps due to trade or his denial to play.
This will leave the packers with the Blake Bortles-Jordan Love combo at quarterback. Though it is hard to imagine a reigning MVP walking away from football, the Packers should be well-prepared for Rodgers to walk away from Green Bay.
● Denver Broncos – Teddy Bridgewater Might Have an Early Edge in QB Competition
Before this offseason, the Denver Broncos traded Teddy Bridgewater for the Panthers. They brought in the Louisville product to fight head-to-head with third-year man Drew Lock in a competition that will probably last through training camp. All these early signs point to Bridgewater being ahead early in the competition.
Bridgewater is quite familiar with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s system from their time together with the Minnesota Vikings. But that isn’t enough to help him have the edge over Lock, who led Shurmur’s offense back in 2020. It appears that Bridgewater is just outperforming Lock in the early offseason.
Lock will also be blessed with an opportunity to make up ground in camp and the preseason, of course. However, if Bridgewater already manages to bag the inside track initially, Denver might have a new Week 1 starter for the fifth time in five years.