How time flies, right? 9 weeks of NFL has surpassed us, and we’ve now reached the midpoint of the 2021 season.
When we (NFL fans) are consistently complaining about the lack of football during the offseason, we often forget to bask in the moment during its heavy schedule. And before we know it, the Super Bowl will be creeping up, so make the most of it.
The midway point has delivered some surprising outcomes, and we’re going to dissect some of the expected and unexpected moments so far – including a bold prediction for the Super Bowl LVI.
Chiefs – Demoted to an Officer
Well, well, last year’s Super Bowl finalists were in no way tipped as potential favorites heading into the 2021 season. Still, nobody could’ve predicted the dramatic decline the Kansas City Chiefs offense has undergone during their season start.
A team once known for their high-scoring outfit are now struggling to produce 20-points-per-game. I guess the anticipation that Patrick Mahomes would be the greatest QB in the league is nothing more than that – an anticipated let down. Harsh words, I know, and let’s cut the Chief some slack because an overhauled offensive line isn’t going to become world-beaters overnight; however, it’s been bizarre to see how poorly their scoring rate has been.
Last season, bettors making NFL picks would flock to the over when Kansas City was playing, but this approach is a thing of the past. This season, the Chiefs haven’t delivered the usual high scoring numbers the gambling community are used too. Scoring less than 30 points in 50% of their scheduled games thus far, including a final score of 20 or less on four occasions.
What's going on with the Kansas City Chiefs?!?
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 27, 2021
Kansas City Chiefs Notable Regular Season Statistics
3rd DOWN CONVERSIONS: 55/105
4TH DOWN CONVERSIONS: 4/8
Critics and analysts will forever dive into a team’s current issues, and with seven games remaining and a 5-4 record, the Chiefs cannot be counted out just yet with multiple rookies learning the ropes. Although, when taking a closer peek into their statistics, there’s an evident problem with their rushing game in conjunction with a low percentage on 3rd and 4th down conversions.
A 50% turnaround on 3rd and 4th down conversions combined with a lacklustre rushing game could be putting the pressure on Mahomes passing game; if he’s the only option for a takedown, one must assume this offense is suggestive of a one-man team.
Bengals – Rise Up
The Cincinnati Bengals and Zak Taylor, owning a 5-4 record halfway into the season. If you’d have told me pre-season, throughout nine games, the Bengals would have a better record than the Eagles, Seahawks,49ers, Vikings, and the Colts – I would’ve chuckled – and more fool me.
The draft decision to decide on Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell didn’t seem wise, and now, Joe Burrows efficiency is exceeding that of Patrick Mahomes in the AFC – who knew? Back to Chase, who could steal the offensive rookie of the year title and the offensive player of the year for a brief period. Of course, the Bengals have stumbled into old habits, but overall, this team has evolved into a different group than we’ve witnessed in years prior.
Outside of their offensive line, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is coming into his own after being the third choice for Taylor. You can see the progression, but still, there’s much work to be done.
NFL Stat Leaders 2021
Matthew Stafford – 2,771 yards (LA Rams)
Tom Brady – 2,650 yards (Bucs)
Derek Carr – 2,565 yards (Raiders)
Patrick Mahomes – 2,543 yards (Chiefs)
Matthew Stafford – 2,497 yards (Bengals)
Derrick Henry – 937 yards (Titans)
Jonathon Taylor – 821 yards (Colts)
Nick Chubb – 721 yards (Browns)
Lamar Jackson – 639 yards (Ravens)
Joe Mixon – 636 yards (Bengals)
Cooper Kupp – 1,019 yards (LA Rams)
Deebo Samuel – 882 yards (49ers)
Ja’Marr Chase – 835 yards (Bengals)
Davante Adams – 786 yards (Packers)
Tyreek Hill – 772 yards (Chiefs)
Bobby Wagner – 93 (Seahawks)
Roquan Smith – 93 (Bears)
Denzel Perryman – 91 (Raiders)
Eric Kendricks – 84 (Vikings)
Alex Singleton – 83 (Eagles)
Myles Garrett – 12.0 (Browns)
T.J. Watt – 11.5 (Steelers)
Markus Golden – 9.0 (Cardinals)
Harold Landry III – 9.0 (Titans)
Matthew Judon – 9.0 (Patriots)
Trevon Diggs – 7 (Cowboys)
Kyle Byard – 5 (Titans)
J.C. Jackson – 5 (Patriots)
Logan Wilson – 4 (Bengals)
Xavier McKinney – 4 (Giants)
TREVON DIGGS IS AN INTERCEPTION MACHINE. #DallasCowboys
— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
Super Bowl LVI Prediction
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Baltimore Ravens 27
Though it might be the obvious choice for some, backing Tom Brady to lead Tampa Bay into their second consecutive Super Bowl game isn’t an unlikely outcome when looking at the offensive power he’s supported by. Yes, Tampa Bays defense is still under scrutiny, but I believe they have enough to keep teams away from preventing back-to-back success.
Lamar Jackson edges closer to a Super Bowl game every year, and despite a rising number of critics, he’s forcing them all to revaluate his downfall. Numerous comebacks from double-digit deficits are proof that this Baltimore squad have the integrity to exceed expectations.