The 2021 NFL season is upon us! This season will be a historic season for several reasons. One of these reasons is, of course, this will mark the first time fans will be in attendance in almost 20 months. The 2020 season was an unprecedented season that will be remembered forever, but it is time to flip the page and start a new chapter. Here are three storylines to follow in the 2021 NFL season.
Three Storylines To Follow In The 2021 NFL Season
Justin Herbert’s Dominance Continues
Justin Herbert’s rookie campaign may have been the greatest rookie season ever. The six-foot-six-inch Oregon alum broke the NFL passing touchdown rookie record with 31 touchdowns and most completions by a rookie with 396. On top of that, Herbert went toe-to-toe with the reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes, in his first NFL game. That alone should have opened eyes around the league.
Realizing they have an elite quarterback, the Los Angeles Chargers made significant moves in the offseason to help Herbert avoid a sophomore slump. The biggest of these moves was the revamped offensive line. Last year’s line gave up 34 sacks, which ranked 15th in the NFL, but this new and improved offensive line will protect Herbert even more.
The revamped line consists of All-Pro center, Corey Linsley, right guard Oday Aboushi, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, left guard Matt Feiler, and top left tackle prospect, Rashawn Slater. The Chargers stole Linsley from the Green Bay Packers, and Aboushi from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both players helped their former teams rank in the top three in sacks allowed. In addition to that loaded offensive line, Herbert will be able to throw to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, one of the best one-two punches in the league. The Chargers are destined for greatness in the 2021 NFL season and will make some noise in the postseason.
The New England Patriots Return to The Playoffs
To say the New England Patriots had an unorthodox off-season, would be an understatement. After a disappointing 2020 campaign, Robert Kraft opened his wallet and spent, a record-setting, $163 million in guaranteed contracts. The additions to the Patriots roster will help Bill Belichick increase the team’s win total in the 2021 NFL season, but as great as an off-season the Patriots had, there are still numerous questions that remain unanswered for this team. The biggest question being, how will the Patriots compete with a rookie quarterback at the helm of the ship?
Although I did not want Mac Jones to touch the field in his first four weeks (which I still stand by), I am excited to see how he performs at the NFL level. Before the draft, many mock drafts had Jones ranked as a top-three quarterback, ahead of Trey Lance and Justin Fields. So, when he slipped through the cracks and landed in the Patriots’ lap at 15, it seemed like the obvious pick to make. Multiple reports also touted Jones as “the most NFL-ready quarterback” in the draft. If those reports are true, Jones should light up the 2021 NFL season and help bring playoff football back to Foxborough.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Will Struggle
The situation Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers went through took a toll on both sides. A situation like that isn’t resolved in a couple of months or even years. Everyone is expecting that Rodgers will return and lead the Packers in a deep playoff run, but I don’t see that happening. Rodgers is a great talent, but a situation like that changes people. Also, it seems Rodgers is running the show down there.
After Rodgers voiced his frustration with the Packers for letting certain players go, the Packers went out reacquired some of those players. A quarterback, not named Tom Brady, running the team is never a good sign. The 2021 NFL season may be the last season the two parties stay together, and an ugly divorce could be sooner than many think. The last time a legendary quarterback had a fallout with his original team, their season did not end well.
If someone asked me to describe the relationship between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, I would tell them it reminds me of a middle school relationship. Both sides took a “break” from each other over the summer but rekindled their relationship right around the time school started.
The 2021 NFL season has so many interesting storylines and will be one of the better seasons in recent memory. There are arguments for several teams to win a Super Bowl and the player storylines are second to none. If you aren’t excited for the 2021 NFL season, then you do not like NFL football.