Sports

Mid-Season Checkpoint

We’re at the halfway point of the NFL season this year, and its certainly been filled with headlines.

Many people thought this season was in jeopardy due to COVID concerns and opt-outs, but it’s been moving along at a fast pace with the playoffs right around the corner in January. You’d be remiss if you’re mentioning this season without bringing up the record number of injuries in the early stages of the season.

Pro Bowlers like Saquan Barkley, Dak Prescott, and Odell Beckham Jr. were lost for the season.

Some of the more noteworthy storylines ahead of the season were how the Patriots would fare after the Belichick Brady divorce. New England is imploding and Tom Brady is currently in the MVP conversation in Tampa Bay.

For the first time in 20 seasons, the Patriots don’t have a winning record. This was supposed to be a “comeback story” for Cam Newton but his play hasn’t reflected that. He was out of the league for a year and no other team wanted him except for the Patriots.

He knew that he had huge shoes to fill, but with him continuing to turn the ball over, he may not stay in New England for long. They’re third in the division and its looking like they’ll miss the playoffs for the first time in forever.

Without Brady, New England’s offense ranks 28th and they haven’t scored a passing touchdown since week 3. Meanwhile, the Buccaneer’s offense is averaging just over 30 points through eight games.

Atop the AFC are the defending Super Bowl champs the Kansas City Chiefs and an undefeated Steelers team. Rallying behind one of the best defenses in the league, the Steelers are emerging as the front runners to challenge the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. It helps that their offense has been fueled by the likes of rookie receiver Chase Claypool.

In the NFC, the playoff race is very close. The Packers, Seahawks, Saints, and Bucanneers are all fighting for that No.1 seed atop the conference. Each conference is represented in that race except for the NFC East.

That’s because the East doesn’t have a team with a winning record. The best record in that division is 3-4 and that belongs to the Eagles.

The aforementioned Seahawks are setting records on both sides of the ball. Second year wideout D.K. Metcalf finds his way onto highlight reels every week with his explosive playmaking. He’s second in the league in receiving yards with 788.

However, defensively Seattle is on pace to become the worst defense in NFL history. They’re primed to shatter the previous record by 1,000 yards. That means by the end of the season they would have surrendered 5,794 yards to opposing offenses.

The future of the league is in good hands with rookie quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert. They show unlimited potential at their position with their good decision making.

This season has also seen the return of two Pro Bowl wideouts in Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. Bryant was activated from the Ravens practice squad and he should provide a much needed to boost to their young receiving core. On and off the field the former Cowboy should be making an impact.

He only blocked in his first game, but a veteran receiver who won’t drop the ball is someone that Lamar Jackson can use to elevate his already stellar game to another level.

Brown on the other hand joined an already talented wide receiver core in Tampa Bay. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s ok with not being the number one target there because Brady has so many other weapons.

The league also considered adding an extra team to the playoffs this year if the season gets cuts short. This means there will be eight teams from each conference and only the No.1 seed will get a bye. This will also bring the total to 14 teams.

With plenty of season left , it’ll be fun to see which teams make a playoff push.

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