What to know about the NFL ahead of its comeback

More than most countries around the world, America has been badly affected by Covid-19. As one might expect, having the most cases and fatalities has put a stop to any professional sport taking place. Baseball felt it early on with MLB being among the first organisations to cancel the 2020 season; Basketball is only resuming next week; and the NFL is also preparing for a return – yet it’s anything but straightforward. Forget about fans having to wear masks in the stand, most teams are unsure of resuming training with no proper safety guidelines in place. On July 10th, 75 players tested positive for Covid; that’s about 2.5 percent of the total NFL playing staff. A small percentage in terms of figures but plenty to be worried about.

Normally, the season would start at the beginning of September, with friendly games taking place now. But this is not a normal season or year, so the projected start is loosely set for late October – and even that is a best-case-scenario date. There is talk of making it a reduced season of 14 games, instead of the usual 16, just like the 2011 Lockout season.

Covid-19 aside, the NFL has gone through changes in the fallout from George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Washington Redskins have been forced to drop their name for obvious reasons. At this moment, a new name has not emerged. Further reverberations are expected in the coming months with calls for reform getting louder. The Colin Kaeperneck incident of 2016 is really coming home to roost for the NFL management and bosses. Finally, they’re all okay with players taking a knee but the former 49ers QB still does not have a team. That story continues to develop. Let’s look at on-the-pitch matters.

Last year’s Super Bowl winners Kansas City Chiefs remain the bookies’ favourites and star player Patrick Mahomes, with a brand new $500 million contract in his pocket, will surely only go from strength to strength. They will face fierce competition from conference rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Their quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is another one of the league’s emerging forces. He even beat Mahomes to the season’s coveted MVP trophy. However, the Ravens surprisingly lost to Tennessee in the play-offs and many expect better from them this season. The perennial AFC favourites New England Patriots are facing their first season without Tom Brady at QB in 12 years, so this could be a transition season for them. A possible outsider bet for those that like a punt on big-priced teams are the LA Chargers but Kansas City Chiefs remain top dogs.

In the NFL, the Super Bowl runners up, San Francisco 49ers, will be in the mix again. Last season, the New Orleans Saints were fancied before they messed up in the play-offs. They’ve strengthened their team and we reckon they can clinch the Championship this time around with decent odds attached to their name. An interesting contender could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have acquired the aforementioned Brady as their starting QB. While Brady is a living legend, he’s also now 42-years-old, an age at which one wouldn’t expect him to make the difference. The Dallas Cowboys could have a good season; mind you, it’s been a long while since they had one and this is reflected in the price available on them. Another outsider to consider are the Arizona Cardinals. Yet we expect the New Orleans Saints to beat them all to the NFC crown and meet KCC in the Super Bowl. The favourites against the outside bet.

Then, perhaps, in a high-scoring shootout between Mahomes and NO veteran QB Drew Brees, KCC could become the first team to retain the Super Bowl in 16 years. It’s not the most daring preview selection you are going to read but KCC are strong and seem like a safe bet. Not that playing it safe always works out. Fortune often favours the bold. Whatever outcome you see in your crystal ball, you can use Wincomparator to access the best welcome betting site offers for 2020 . Take advantage of the best greetings that bookies have to give.

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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