56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season

SPIN Football preview

Only a few things are certain in this world: death, taxes and the NFL dominating the fall (and winter). Last year’s weird season ended in the familiar fashion of Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl. Snore. This year, with fans returning to full capacity stadiums, it *should* feel like the NFL of recent memory for fans, players and coaches alike.

Just like we have for the past two seasons, we’ve asked our expert panel of musicians how they think the season will unfold for their favorite teams. On top of the usual crew, we’ve added a bunch more who aren’t afraid to hit the mat in support of their favorite team. The one wrinkle that threw off a lot of those 8-8 predictions? The 17 game season. It will lead to more strange things and having an extra game to cheer or jeer will make the rest of the year more eventful.

As usual, everyone is excited about what’s to come once things kick off tonight in Tampa Bay and the rest of Week 1. But enough from me, here’s what everyone had to say.

 

Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
Seattle Seahawks

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Michael Fabiano

 

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? What do you think is this group’s window and can they capitalize on it?
I’m glad to see that we locked up Jamal Adams. That bodes well for the defense. Anytime you have Russell Wilson at QB, you have a chance. I’d like to see them get Duane Brown handled for Russ. Ultimately, the window is as long as we have Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and John Schneider together.

Being that this is the greatest run in team history, (2012-present) do you think Carroll has many more years left? What about those Wilson trade rumors? Bad or good for morale?
Pete has been a coach for a long time. If you go by his enthusiasm he’s like a 21-year-old. I’m happy to have Pete for as long he wants to coach, and we’ve had our best run under his tenure. He’s the best Seahawks coach in their history. I don’t know how many more years he has left, but I’m going to enjoy every one of them. As for Wilson, the NFL is a business, so you can’t fault someone for looking to maximize his opportunities in the league. I think players understand that.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Seahawks? What’s their ceiling/floor?
A playoff appearance and around 10-11 wins if the team can stay healthy.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Seahawks?
DK Metcalf is taking big leaps every year, and I think he’ll take another one forward. The guy is a beast on the football field. His route running has improved every season, and I think he’s seeing the field well and where he needs to be, and the rapport between he and Russell strengthens every year.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Baltimore and Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay wins.

 

Patrick Carney, The Black Keys
Cleveland Browns

 

Patrick Carney Josh Brasted/Getty Images

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Is this the year the Browns finally are back?
I think that they’re definitely finally back and watching the preseason games and stuff, it’s the first time since I was a kid that I’m confident that they are actually have a really good team. I think it sucks that they have such hard competition in their division. This may be the toughest in all football, but just having to play against the Steelers. If Mayfield can deliver the goods you know, we’re gonna have an insane year. I have faith in him.

Thoughts on the OBJ trade? He has helped or hurt or even worse, done nothing for the team?
If he can stay healthy, I think Beckham can be a big contributor this year. I think anytime a player of that stature comes to a team like Cleveland that was rebuilding and kind of in the fucking gutter is a booster of morale. At this time I think he’s actually got to live up to some of the other players on the team. There’s a good kind of chemistry going on with the team right now and the defense is on fire.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Browns? What’s their ceiling/floor?
I’d like to see them go 11-6. There’s no way they’re gonna be less than .500 and if they are, I’m going to stop watching football.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Browns?
I think when you talk about the Browns and you talk about the team that has had something like 26 quarterbacks, it’s always going to be on what Baker can do.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I’d like to see Aaron Rodgers with the Packers in there. Of course, you need to see the Browns in there. But I think if I had to really take a bet I would put money down on Rodgers. He’s got a point to prove. Outside of the Titans or Browns, that’s the only team I’d be happy to see win.

 

Butch Vig, Garbage
Green Bay Packers

 

Butch Vig Courtesy of Butch Vig

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? What happens with Rodgers this year?
Everyone is assuming this will be Aaron Rodgers last year in Green Bay, so I feel there is a legitimate “Super Bowl or Bust” attitude among the players and organization. As usual, the fans are quite anxious, but so far in camp, Rodgers has been very relaxed. That’s a good sign. “Relax.”

Do you think the team can get over the NFC championship loss? Does the team have enough to get back there?
The Packers were a couple plays away from going to a Super Bowl the last 2 years. While it’s tough to suffer stinging defeat, I think this year’s squad has the experience and mental toughness to be back in the hunt.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Packers? What’s their ceiling/floor?
The Packers need to win the NFC North, that is their first goal, as that gets them a playoff bid. I don’t expect much from Goff and the Lions, but both the Bears and Vikings could be in the hunt for the NFC North crown.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Packers?
I think Darnell Savage will have another great year at safety and make the Pro Bowl. And I have high hopes for rookies Amari Rogers at slot receiver and Eric Stokes at cornerback.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
The Packers will win the NFC North with an 11-6 record.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
It’s hard to not pick the Bucs as they return all 22 starters from last year’s championship squad, but with a chip on his shoulder and a little mojo I’m taking Rodgers and the Packers to defeat the Bucs in the NFC Championship Game and then take down the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl 31-27.

 

Alice Cooper
Detroit Lions

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Jenny Risher

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you going to miss Stafford? Excited about Goff?
Well, I’m gonna miss Stafford because since he joined the Lions, he was always a great quarterback. I’m even going to watch and see what he does with the Rams because I’ll be a Stafford fan. Getting Goff was a very good trade. A lot of people are iffy on this, but I’ve got a feeling that Goff is a big tall young guy that can see over the line and he’ll be throwing to Perriman, which I think is a very, very good deal. [Editor’s note: we spoke to Alice prior to Perriman being cut.]

Thoughts on the new coach/management (again)?
I understand that the coach and management are very controversial, which I like. I think Detroit needs controversial management.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Lions? What’s their ceiling/floor?
If the Lions finish .500 or better, I’m always happy. That doesn’t mean they can’t finish better than that. Every team is in a state of rebuilding just about almost every season somebody leaves and somebody comes in and you have to rebuild everything.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Yeah, they could make the playoffs. I think they would they could go you know, they could win nine or 10 games.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I know this sounds absolutely crazy. But I can’t see Kansas City or Buffalo, and the Buccaneers again. I don’t think you can bet against Brady. I just think that he brings the idea that we can win no matter what. I would love to see a couple of teams that have never been in the Super Bowl. I’d love to see you know the Lions and somebody else, but I’ve got a feeling that you’re going to see a repeat of last year. And who knows, Kansas City might even show up this year. I would say this time Kansas City wins it

 

Joey Santiago, Pixies
New York Jets

 

Joey Santiago Pixies Courtesy of Joey Santiago

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
They will continue being the Jets. The best at being the worst.

Have the Jets hit rock bottom?
Yes. Several times. They hit rock bottom last year when they upset the Rams. Yes, they gave winning a bad name. The Jets have developed special pads to make the sharp edges at Rockbottom bearable. They’re switching their name to The New York Jets of Rockbottom.

Is Zach Wilson the quarterback of the future?
Yes. Just for the mere fact that time moves forward.

Do you think Darnold got a raw deal?
No. He’ll be fine. Zach got the raw deal.

Are you confident in the management?
Yes. Management will get them to the bottom.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Jets?
They will suck. They are spelunkers in the constant quest for rock bottom.

What’s their ceiling/floor?
Picture a beautiful dollhouse. Now stomp on it several times until the ceiling and floor are one.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Jets?
The benchwarmer for he is safe.

Do they make the playoffs?
False.

What’s their record?
South of rock bottom.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Any team but the Jets vs I couldn’t care less.

J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets! Even that chant is awful. Four syllables followed by three. C’mon! Even Jets’ fans can’t bare to say Jets one more time.

 

David Lovering, Pixies
New England Patriots

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Courtesy of David Lovering

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
This new Patriots variant is hard to tell at this moment. Fingers crossed they will proliferate in wins this season.

Is this Belichick’s last hurrah?
I’m guessing that three times is the charm no matter what, so I’d give him one more season then to retire.

Do you miss Brady?
I don’t that much. I still follow him with the Bucs and was happy with their win. And for what he’s given N.E. all those years, I feel fulfilled and to be without.

Is Mac Jones the future?
Possibly. He’s proven himself prior. I’m hoping for a surprise.

Can the Pats rebound after an un-Pats year and signing all those free agents?
I think they can prevail. Given a new outlook and prospects, any team, especially the Patriots can capitalize.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Pats?
Reasonable is not in my vocabulary for hoping with the Pats. I straight-up want my team to win.

What’s their floor/ceiling?
13-4.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Pats?
Sony Michel as usual for me. He’s awesome. [Editor’s note: Michel got traded to the Rams days after this response.]

Do they make the playoffs?
That would be my dream fulfilled for the umpteenth time. Hope so.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Bucs vs. Pats and still a Brady fan.

 

Benny Horowitz, Mercy Union / The Gaslight Anthem

 

Benny Horowitz Courtesy of Benny Horowitz

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Can the defense carry the Giants?
I don’t think we’re back to the days of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew, but, I’m eager to see this defense in action.  This unit has the potential to be a top 10, and a true nuisance in the secondary.  The other side of the ball is what will keep us from being a winning squad.

What do you think of all the talent they’ve brought in to rebuild the offense?
I’m not happy with the rebuild because it included very little for the offensive line. With the youth and accident-prone players on that side of the ball, the mix could be ugly again. I appreciate taking some swings on targets for Jones, but giving him some time to throw to them is significantly more important.

Is Judge the answer to the Giants’ problems?
Judge seems good and has it moving in the right direction, I’m close to becoming a believer…but, the jury is still out. Zing.

Who’s the QB of the future for the Giants?
Jones, 100%. The decision on his future will come within the first half of the season, but does it matter? The Giants have not addressed that position in the draft and will have to start from zero. It’s not in sync with the timeline of the defense. That falls on Gettleman, so if they have to tear down the QB position, it would be reasonable to think he goes down with it.

What’s your realistic hope for the season? What’s their ceiling/floor?
My hope for this season is simply marked improvement and a clearer road ahead. It’s been a rough decade, and I just want to see a solid foundation built again. The ceiling is competing for a Wild Card game… and the floor is the bottom of the league.

Who’s the player to watch on the Giants?
Xavier McKinney is exciting, and I think he could break out with a larger role this season. On the offensive side of the ball, can Engram put it all together?  A few games a season you see the talent and potential, and it’s followed with a bombed game of drops and sloppy routes.  Very big for the offense if he can keep it together.

Do the Giants make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Even with an average division, it’s hard to see a playoff season.  But, historically, the most pre-season pessimism usually leads to the best results. Any season I’ve been optimistic is met with failure. It’s the Giants way. 8-9 if all things break right.

What’s your Super Bowl prediction?
Chiefs/Packers in the Super Bowl. Neither QB will be stopped, one with sheer talent and one with talent and a huge shoulder chip to polish. Chiefs are the NFL champions.

 

Bret Michaels, Poison
Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Bret Michaels Pittsburgh Steelers Courtesy of Bret Michaels

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Is this it for Tomlin and Roethlisberger?
My prognosis for the Pittsburgh Steelers will remain, as always – I truly believe we are going to the Super Bowl. You have to believe to receive, and I believe in black and gold. As far as Ben Roethlisberger, he is an incredible Hall of Fame quarterback. He looks, as always, like he is coming back into the season with that unbroken fighting spirit to win. Mike Tomlin and I are brothers of the same birthday – March 15th.

The Ides Of March. Mike is an incredible, unbelievable coach and I hope that we never lose him. He’s a great leader, as well as a players’ coach, and has the heart of a lion.

For the first time in a very long time, the future looks murky for the Steelers, what do you think happens with their existing core?
The answer is simple: you cannot look at any season as murky, you look at everything with the way to fix it, improve it. Most importantly, believe in the players, the staff and the personnel that the Steelers have and then use the energy of the fans like me to bring that Steeler Nation power to be the 12th man on the team.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Steelers? What’s their ceiling/floor?
When you’re a Steeler fan, you are not reasonable. We’re going into every game, wanting to win every battle and then you’ve won the war. I cannot say my hopes are reasonable – my hopes are that they go to the Super Bowl! They’ve got great players and a great team and the slate is clean. It’s a fresh start, they’ve got the skills, they’ve got the thrills, what they’ve got to focus on is the willpower to push through all the gameday adversity on & off the field. My reasonable hope is they win every game.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Steelers?
When you’re a team, every single player matters – from all offense, defense, special teams – you’re only as good as your weakest link, you bring everyone up & all ships rise. But we have incredible talent on this team and although there are amazing marquee names, it will take every member of the team to give 1000% to get to the Super Bowl as this year we are going up against not only incredible opposing teams but ones that you can never underestimate their willpower to want to win no matter what their record is.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record? What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I feel the Steelers will meet the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is driven to win again this year. They kept their team together and will be tough to beat. My prediction is a badass Super Bowl with me playing halftime – the biggest party ever! And the Steelers pulling out a close victory. As I have lots of great friends in Tampa, I know their spirit to win as I was there for the Lightning’s Stanley Cup win. It’s going to be a tough city to beat, but I love the challenge.

 

Tom Wisniewski, MxPx
Seattle Seahawks

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Jered Scott

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
Overall, I think we have a solid team that will compete in one of the hardest divisions in all of the NFL. I think the Seahawks have a window of opportunity early in the season on offense with a new offensive coordinator joining the team. The lack of film on THIS offense will make game planning for us harder this year, at least in the first half of the season.

What do you think is this group’s window?
Our window is open as long as Russell Wilson is our QB. He is an elite competitor. When given time, he can pick a defense apart. DK Metcalf is going into his third season which is when wide receivers usually really “get” the NFL game.

Being that this is the greatest run in team history, do you think Carroll has many more years left?
Pete is younger at heart than most of the head coaches in the NFL. He just signed an extension, which was a formality, and he will coach in Seattle until he retires. I think he has 6-8 years left coaching.

What about those Wilson trade rumors? Bad or good?
The trade rumors were purely off-season “slow news day” stuff and posturing for Russell’s next contract negotiation. He was never going anywhere.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Seahawks? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Ceiling = Super Bowl champions! Floor = 8-9 barring Russell getting hurt for a significant time.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Seahawks?
D’Wayne Eskridge – WR. He is basically Percy Harvin on a team with a firmly entrenched WR1 and WR2 in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The opposing team’s CBs will be too busy dealing with them and D’Wayne will be one-on-one in the WR3 spot.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
I absolutely think the Seahawks will make the playoffs. Our division is really tough, so while I want it to be as a division champion, we may end up a wild card. 12-5 is my prediction.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Everyone should be picking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to repeat their Super Bowl matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, not teams are far too good to argue against. My feeling is that parity is what makes the NFL great and that it is INCREDIBLY HARD to repeat a Super Bowl run.

The fan in me wants to pick the Seahawks for the NFC, but Aaron Rodgers is pissed off right now, and he is a force even when he’s just plodding along through another season. When he’s pissed though, he’s damn near impossible to stop, so I have to pick Green Bay to represent the NFC.

For the AFC, I’m going with the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen is on his third season and should really see the game slow down for him this year. They looked destined to represent the AFC by midseason last year and I think they find a way to get back to the Super Bowl this year and avenge Jim Kelly and the ’90s Bills.

As for the winner: Bills 31 – Packers 28.

 

Dave Hause
Philadelphia Eagles

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Blood Harmony Records

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
My prognosis for the team is probably more optimistic than most, but I’m friends with the king of the Philadelphia Eagles, Reuben Frank, and he’s taught me to stay positive, against all odds. Also, my brother, Tim, is where I go to get most of my takes on sports (he could be a sportscaster). I’m thinking an 8-9 record is where they end up. Their defense has been maligned for some time, especially in the secondary, but they made some key signings and brought in a DC that people in the know seem stoked on. I think the defense can keep games close. A record like that might actually contend for the division title seeing how weak it’s been in recent years.

Are you happy with this rebuild?
I have to hand it to Howie Roseman. I thought he should have been the first to go before Wentz, and certainly before Pederson given his track record with draft picks. However, flipping Wentz for potentially a first rounder and getting them in position to have three first round picks in next year’s draft was impressive. What he does with those picks is another story. The rebuild is really too early to make a determination on. After next year’s draft, we will have a much better sense of where things are heading. We are in the post-Super Bowl, post-Wentz/Pederson debacle fallout period.

Was getting rid of Wentz/Pedersen the answer? Do you believe in Hurts and upper management?
Yeah, getting rid of Wentz was a must. He’s a bum. I was at the LA game where he went out with the big injury and played like a champion, but I’ve always felt there was something not quite right about Wentz since then, which is why I loved Foles and his glorious run to the Super Bowl. Anyhow, it was time for both sides to move on. The jury is still out on the Pederson front. Probably safe to bet he wouldn’t have won a second Super Bowl in Philadelphia, though, so who knows. Maybe it’s for the best? Start anew with someone else? He seemed to lose his spark.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Eagles? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Their floor is finishing with three or four wins this season. Their ceiling is probably around 10 wins. Sneaking into the playoffs is about the best we could hope for with the current roster.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Eagles?
DeVonta Smith, without a doubt. He is a guy that was so much fun to watch and he’s got the right mindset. The fact that he’s a smaller guy is also right up Philadelphia’s alley. He’s a quintessential Philly guy. Smaller and undersized but works harder than everyone else and is dedicated to his craft. Definitely a guy that’s easy to get behind.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
I think they probably miss out on the postseason by a couple of games. I’m thinking they end up at 8-9.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Can’t really bet against Brady getting back to the Super Bowl. Probably an even safer bet that the Chiefs make it back in with that Pat Mahomes. He’s incredible. I’m taking the Chiefs in the Super Bowl rematch.

 

Murs
Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Murs Aaron Kremen

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
We will definitely win more games than we did last year

Can you deal with another rebuild?
The short answer is yes, the long answer is last year I tried being an L.A. Chargers fan because I live down the street from the stadium. I enjoyed watching the Jaguars go 1-15 more than I enjoyed watching the Chargers actually win games. I’m in this for life.

Do you believe in the hiring of Urban Meyer and do you think Trevor Lawrence is the real deal?
As a Florida Gators fan, I most definitely believe in the hiring of Urban Meyer. It’s fun and nostalgic but can he get it done at the pro level? Who knows? I wanted them to draft Trey Lance but we’ll see how Trevor Lawrence plays out somewhere in my head I think he’s the next Blaine Gabbert maybe it’s the hair but I’m hoping he proves me wrong.

Is the team finally headed in the right direction?
There’s only up to go from last season.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Jaguars?
Better than last season.

What’s their ceiling/floor?
2-15 is the floor. First round win in the playoffs ceiling.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Jaguars?
Jay Tufele/James Robinson.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Yeah. 9-8.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Green Bay Packers vs Bills.

 

Jacoby Shaddix, Papa Roach
San Francisco 49ers

 

Jacoby Shaddix Brixton Shaddix

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you expecting a big bounce-back?
If the team stays healthy this year we will be a contender to take it all. We have so many amazing players on both offense and defense its ridiculous.

Is Jimmy G or Trey the answer?
Honestly, the combination of having both Jimmy and Trey at QB is the answer. Trey is gonna push Jimmy to be his best and if he isn’t killing it Trey can step in and lead the team. Nice to have depth at the QB position.

Does the D go even harder and bigger than the Super Bowl year?
Defense wins games! That’s my belief. Our defense is off the chain. Nuff said.

What are your reasonable hopes for the 49ers? What’s their ceiling/floor?
We definitely have the ability to take the NFC West if not the NFC conference altogether. Like I said earlier if we stay healthy and play our best we have a shot to take it all. Yeah, there’s some great teams out there but the Niners are stacked this year and hungry as fuck!!!

Who is your player to watch this year on the 49ers?
Like I said earlier I believe Defense wins games and now that Nick Bosa is back and healthy I can’t wait to watch him destroy it this year. He’s just an exciting football player to watch!

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Oh hell yeah, we make the playoffs as far as The regular season goes there will actually be 17 regular season games this year. So I think they will go 14 wins 3 loses. I believe it I’m putting it out in the cosmos! Like E-40 says “bang bang Niner gang!”

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I would love to go to the Super Bowl against the Chiefs and beat them. But we will take anybody!!!! Let’s go NINERS!!!!!

 

Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides
Cincinnati Bengals

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Courtesy of Andy Biersack

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Can Burrow rebound from the ACL injury and will he be the franchise QB he’s expected to be?
That remains to be seen. I think that he certainly seems confident in his ability to do it. I think a lot of it just comes down to whether he’s comfortable in the pocket and we’ll that in Week 1.

A lot of people have talked about the offensive line and there’s a narrative that they’ve done nothing. But the entire line is essentially a different starting line than what we had last year. I’m optimistic that there’ll be at least some change, and then things will get a little bit better.

Is this Taylor’s last stand? Can you expect moderately good things from the coaching this year?
At the end of the day, we had Marvin Lewis for 16 years. I don’t know that any other coach will come in and have that same kind of tenure. If he doesn’t produce, I could definitely see a situation where he’s not around. I think that they’ve given them the requisite number of years to try to figure it out and going from a basement-dwelling team to a team that hopefully can be in contention for winning the division.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Bengals? What’s their ceiling/floor?
I think that this offense has a chance to be really explosive. They could be a 10 win team, but they can also be a four-win team. I’d like to say six wins as a floor just because I’d like to see some improvement over last year.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Bengals?
Let’s see what the hell happens with your Ja’Marr Chase who has obviously has struggled in the preseason. It would be hard-pressed to say anybody other than on the offensive side to see if he ends up being the star that we need him to be the AJ Green replacement that we need him to be, but we’ve got a pretty good receiving corps with a lot of weapons. But seeing what Ja’Marr Chase turns into will be the most interesting thing.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Let’s say 10-7 we’ll go with that because there’s another game in the season.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I’ll say the same thing that I’ve been saying every year when I do this. Kansas City versus Green Bay Green Bay with Rodgers last stand.

Justin Foley, Killswitch Engage
New York Giants

 

(Credit: Courtesy of Justin Foley)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you happy with this rebuild? Is Judge the answer?
First of all, I’m glad that I was so wrong last year, and that the team was competing for a division title! What an exciting year it was, losing every week and then celebrating when all the other stupid teams in the division lost too. Honestly though, when Saquon went down Week 2, I was expecting a two or three-win season, so I have to give Judge credit for the team competing. I think he could stick around for a while. They really should be better this year, they definitely spent the money trying.

Is this Gettleman and Jones’ last stand? Do you believe in the roster and does Saquon bounce back?
I do think this is a make-or-break year for Jones. He needs to prove that he can beat someone besides the Football Team. They got him, Golladay, so he doesn’t have any more excuses. Well, unless he is pressured every drop back. The offensive line is still pretty suspect. But if Saquon is himself, which I expect him to be, that will at least give them a running game and balance things somewhat. As for Gettleman, can last year be his last year?

What are your reasonable hopes for the Giants? What’s their ceiling/floor?
After a surprising 6-10 year, OK, a shocking 6-10, I have to at the very least hope for 9-8, right? I mean, all the other stupid teams in the division are stupid and a bunch of losers, and I’m not scared of any of them, so they should sweep the division and split the rest for an 11-6 season. But they’ll probably go 6-10-1 or something. Anything worse and the franchise should just call it a day.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Giants?
It has to be Jones. He needs to show that he is the guy. There’s nothing worse than a franchise insisting that they have a franchise QB and then being awful year after year. If Jones doesn’t step up big time this year they need to pull the plug on it.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
I think they will make the playoffs, but in a similar fashion to how they almost made it last year, aided by the ineptitude of the NFC East. 9-8. Then they’ll lose at home to a 12-5 wild card team.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
They’re gonna have that Super Bowl thing again this year, huh? Ok. Aaron Rodgers goes nuts and carries the Packers there, but they lose to the Browns. Or the Bills. Or any team that can end years and years of fanbase suffering. But I’ll say Browns.

 

David Cook
Kansas City Chiefs

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Bill Althaus/The Examiner

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you confident in the team or do you think they’ve peaked?
I’m of the mind that the AFC road to the Super Bowl still runs through Arrowhead, assuming health doesn’t become too much of a season-long issue. I don’t think anything happened this off-season that would have changed that.

After getting punched in the face during the Super Bowl, do you think Mahomes and co have what it takes to get up and dominate again?
I do. Our revamped O-line should allow our offense to have some different wrinkles this season. And as long as the defense can be a top 10 or 15 squad, I think KC will be a tough out.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Chiefs? What’s their ceiling/floor?
It seems like the vibe is Super Bowl or bust. And I’m all for that.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Chiefs?
There are quite a few answers here. The new guys on the offensive line. Chris Jones’ move to Defensive end. But I’ll go with Mecole Hardman. With Sammy Watkins leaving, can Hardman fill the role of the No. 2 guy behind Tyreek Hill, or will Demarcus Robinson or Cornell Powell step up and take that spot? Or another WR on the preseason roster?

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Yes, they make the playoffs. Only substantial injuries keep that from happening. For the record, I’ll go with 14-3, and another Super Bowl appearance.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I’ll go with a KC-TB rematch, with KC avenging last year’s loss.

 

Soup, Jurassic 5/ Fullee Love Collective
Dallas Cowboys

 

Soup J5 Courtesy of Soup

 

I didn’t even wanna do this, but my guy Daniel wouldn’t let up! In some sick way, I think he enjoys the fact that I’m a Cowboys fan and ain’t seen prosperity in 26 years. You would think that when I friend see another in an abusive relationship, they would call for help! (not this guy).

Predictions: Cowboys, 8-9
Playoffs: Maaaaan, don’t be asking me bout no playoffs!

But seriously all jokes aside, this season for me is up in the air. I do however like the fact that Jerry finally stopped being petty with Jimmy Johnson and will put him in the ring of honor, which has been more than long overdue. Maybe this will help wash away some of that curse that has followed us since he left (or fired, however, you see fit).

The hiring of Dan Quinn should help, with defense, it’s still our biggest hole in the boat to fill, but at least I feel we won’t sink to the bottom like last year. The offense is always the priority, so there’s no worries there, let’s just hope Zeke can hold on to the ball more than not!

 

Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, KK’s Priest
Cleveland Browns

 

(Courtesy of Tim “Ripper” Owens)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
Everything looks like it should be good, but this is the Browns and when everything looks good it never works out. Haha! But really it should be good and I think they have it together

Is this the year the Browns finally are back?
They were back last year because they finally made the playoffs. Let’s see if they can keep that momentum.

Thoughts on the OBJ trade? He has helped or hurt or even worse, done nothing for the team?
I think he could be traded, but his attitude has been great with the Browns and he seems to want to be there! I think they will figure out the best way to use him…

What are your reasonable hopes for the Browns? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Well, it would be nice to have them in the playoffs again, but every time they get people excited and Cleveland is on board the ship sinks! I think they have too good of a team and staff to sink now and should make the playoffs. We will see what happens from there

Who is your player to watch this year on the Browns?
I guess Nick Chubb. If he has a full healthy year he could put up huge numbers

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
It would surely be nice. I’m VERY cautiously optimistic. I’m thinking maybe 10-7 or 11-6.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Maybe KC vs GB.

 

Serengeti
Chicago Bears

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Courtesy of Serengeti

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Excited about Fields? Are you gonna miss Mitch?
Bears can fly under the radar this year. Not too many expectations and the focus of the NFC North will be on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Super excited for Justin Fields. Endless potential. Also wearing #1 will help disgraced double doink kicker Cody Parkey, who last wore that number, move on with this life. Justin can build upon his redeemer gimmick and given that he’s signed with Adidas they can begin his “Fields of Dreams” campaign. Shunned Chicago notables emerge from the cornfield, first Rex Grossman, then Steve Bartman, and finally Kanye West. Cut the check Adidas.

Miss Mitch? The only thing I will miss is people in Chicago constantly mispronouncing his last name. Either Tribitski or Trubinski, every version of Mitch wasn’t good at quarterback.

Is this Nagy’s last stand? Can Mack lead the D to their 2018 heights?
Make or break year for Matt Nagy. He needs to commit more to the run and ditch the visor for a new look. I’d recommend the Ivan Lendl sun hat or a vest with a defined goatee look like Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The star of the defense this year will be new coordinator Sean Desai. As the first person of Indian descent to be named an NFL coordinator, Sean will revitalize an already talented defense with a focus on takeaways.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Bears? What’s their ceiling/floor?
The ceiling is a Super Bowl. The floor is an 8-9 season with Andy Dalton playing all 17 games like Andy Dalton.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Bears?
WR Darnell Mooney is going to have an All-Pro year.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Yes. At least 10 wins. Berenger at tight end.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Bears vs Buffalo, the Great Lakes Bowl. Chicago wins by default when half of the Bills team contracts the Delta variant at an unmasked Super Bowl pre-party hosted by Griselda.

 

Brent Rambler, August Burns Red
Philadelphia Eagles

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Courtesy of Brent Rambler

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you happy with this rebuild?
I think the Eagles will end up in a similar spot as last year record-wise. I think they will be an exciting team to watch, but I think they will have a lot of mistakes on the offensive side of the ball that make the games frustrating. I’m not generally stoked on the rebuild as I think the Eagles constantly waste time at the running back position. We have an excellent running back in Miles Sanders and the Eagles win games when he touches the ball a lot, however, the Eagles constantly pick up and let go of running backs. I’m sure it’s annoying for Miles Sanders because it doesn’t show that the team has confidence in him.

Was getting rid of Wentz/Pedersen the answer? Do you believe in Hurts and upper management?
I don’t know that getting rid of Doug was necessary, but I think letting go of Carson was a great choice. He can’t stay healthy and seems to have a hero complex that makes him feel the need to carry the team at all times versus just making the right play. I think Jalen Hurts is a winner and I like that. As long as he makes good decisions he will be a good quarterback. I think that it’s time for upper management to be shuffled around a bit. I think Devonta Smith was a dice roll of a draft pick due to his size. He’s already injured and I’m pretty sure that will be a common theme moving forward.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Eagles? What’s their ceiling/floor?
My reasonable hopes are that we get some fun games to watch, but I think they have a really low floor. I could see them losing a lot of games.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Eagles?
Miles Sanders if he gets the damn ball.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
NO! 6-11.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
My Super Bowl matchup is the Packers vs Chiefs. Chiefs win.

 

Spike Slawson, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Pittsburgh Steelers

 

(Credit: Audra Morse)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Is this it for Tomlin and Roethlisberger?
At the risk of showing my age, I must admit I’m more of a Knoll/Bradshaw adherent, although I bet you could cut glass with Bill Cowher’s facial profile. At least with a weakened Steelers, the bar will be sufficiently lowered for the Browns to limp over once in a while.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Steelers? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Their floor should be to pool their money and save the Original Hot Dog on Forbes Ave. Mark Cuban was supposedly gonna save the day, but no dice. Best fries on the planet, and on the weekends the “dining room” was like 10 fistfights waiting to happen. Ceiling schmeiling.

For the first time in a very long time, the future looks murky for the Steelers, what do you think happens with their existing core?
Though he was talking about baseball, I think Earl Weaver’s quote is appropriate here: “If you know how to cheat, start now.” (See also: Weaver’s musings on “team speed.”)

Who is your player to watch this year on the Steelers?
Watch out for their new running back Najee Harris. He is originally from the Bay (where I currently reside) and was just drafted by the Steelers. He may wind up putting a positive spin on any concerns about Roethlisberger’s age and/or Tomlin’s post-season chops.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I foresee a Steelers vs. Cowboys Super Bowl where the former decisively rout the latter, and take their rightful place as America’s Team, and therefore Pittsburgh as America’s City (Imagine Snoop Dogg wearing a Cowboys jersey!). Win or lose, though, as a gesture of loyalty and goodwill to the team and city, I am definitely setting a car on fire that night. It’s the right thing to do.

 

White Dave
San Francisco 49ers

 

(Credit: Anshil Popli)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you expecting a big bounce-back?
The 49ers are in store for a big year with a healthy supporting cast and a new exciting prospect at the quarterback. I think the 49ers are in a position to compete for the Super Bowl.

Is Jimmy G or Trey the answer? Does the D go even harder and bigger than the Super Bowl year?
I have full faith in Jimmy G but the best ability is availability and if he can’t stay healthy, then it’s Trey Lance’s time. The defense must step up and be better than they were last year no matter who the starting quarterback is. Defense still wins championships.

What are your reasonable hopes for the 49ers? What’s their ceiling/floor?
The 49ers should compete for a playoff spot, but it’s very easy to fall behind early in the season. They must start off hot and finish games with authority and not let teams linger around.

Who is your player to watch this year on the 49ers?
Fred Warner is my favorite player to watch because he’s the captain of the defense and as far as he goes, the team goes. We have exciting prospects on offense, but the game is won on the defensive side of the ball.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
The 49ers make the playoffs with a 10-7 record easily.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
My predictions for the Super Bowl are a Tampa Bay-Kansas City rematch. I believe both teams have gotten better and no one else has made significant enough moves to displace them in the rankings.

 

Luke McNeill, The Copyrights
Denver Broncos

 

(Courtesy of Luke McNeill)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year?
I think (like all delusional fans) that the Broncos are gonna overachieve! The best defense in football is back and healthy, but it’s still the Chiefs’ division. I predict 10-7 and a Wild Card.

Are the Broncos ever going to solve their QB issues?
Yes, because I have a suspicion Aaron Rodgers will get traded there midseason. If that’s the case, SB champs!

In recent years, seems like the Broncos are always on the edge of being good or bad, do you see that trend stabilizing this year one way or another?
I think they were on the edge of bad last year because of injuries, especially losing the best LB in football in Von Miller. This year if they stay relatively healthy I think they’ll have a winning record no matter the QB situation. Drew Lock can only get better.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Broncos? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Reasonable hopes are that they get a wild card, maybe win a playoff game, but I don’t see them getting past KC or Buffalo. The ceilings obviously much higher if they get Rodgers, and I honestly think if they do and get into the playoffs, they’re a super bowl threat.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Broncos?
I think either Jerry Jeudy is gonna be a star wide receiver, or Noah Fant is gonna be a star tight end. Hopefully both!

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
10-7, make the playoffs via a Wild Card.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Kansas City beats the L.A. Rams.

 

Tony Esposito, White Reaper
New York Giants

 

56 Musicians Predict the 2021 NFL Season Grace Lillash

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Are you happy with this rebuild? Is Judge the answer?
I would have loved to have seen them address the offensive line in the draft, so it’s disappointing to be going into this season with a similar O-line unit from last year. But maybe with the new guys like Kenny G and Kadarius Toney, we’ll have some people open before the pocket disintegrates. Probably not though. I like Joe Judge a lot, and I’d love to see him lead the Giants to success over the next few decades or so.

Is this Gettleman and Jones’ last stand? Do you believe in the roster and does Saquon bounce back?
I do think this is Daniel Jones’ last stand, but I think Gettleman somehow escapes unscathed regardless of this season’s outcome. Honestly, I hope they go easy on Saquon and let him reintegrate slowly so he doesn’t get killed immediately upon his return to the field. Let him warm up until we have a halfway decent line to clear a path for him.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Giants? What’s their ceiling/floor?
I think the Giants ceiling is somewhere around .500 give or take. Maybe we get lucky and sneak into the Wild Card round if the division is as bad as it was last year, but I’m not holding my breath.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Giants?
I’m excited to see Kenny Golladay in a Giants uniform. He’s who I’m looking forward to seeing the most from this team.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
I think the Chiefs make it back to the super bowl to take on Aaron Rodgers in his (final?) year as a Packer. I think the Chiefs win.

 

Chad Williams, Western Addiction
Green Bay Packers

 

(Courtesy of Chad Williams)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? What happens with Rodgers this year?
Prognosis: Super Bowl and/or bust. This is almost certainly Aaron Rodgers’ last season with Green Bay. His grievances with the organization are real and completely understandable. They blew it. But he wants to win one more Super Bowl before leaving, and this year is the last chance, last dance.

Do you think the team can get over the NFC championship loss? Does the team have enough to get back there?
Last year’s NFC Championship loss was devastating for a team that has been so close, so many times. They could have and should have won that game were it not for inexplicable play calls to end each half, gifting the Bucs a TD and failing to get one themselves. Note to coaches: when you need one play to win it, fuck strategy. Give the ball to Michael Jordan, duh. Or in this case: Aaron Rodgers, duh.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Packers?
This year, they did draft a promising young receiver in Amari Rodgers, and he is definitely the one to watch. And at Aaron’s insistence, they brought back his buddy and super reliable slot receiver Randall Cobb to complement superstar Davante Adams.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
Barring catastrophic injury, they make the playoffs with a 13-4 record and the NFC Championship Game. They’ve lost so many heartbreaking NFC title games over the last decade (four, if you’re counting) that we Packers fans are reticent to predict a Super Bowl appearance, but I AM optimistic.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Thus, with hope prevailing, the NFL world will get what it wants: Rodgers vs. Mahomes in a Packers/Chiefs Super Bowl, not just a State Farm commercial.

 

Mark Holcomb, Periphery
Chicago Bears

 

(Credit: Randy Edwards)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Excited about Fields? Are you gonna miss Mitch?
The prognosis is a little unclear for Bears fans as of now, as so much of our expectations are pinned on one man: Justin Fields. Drafting him was the biggest shot in the arm for the franchise since trading for Mack, and while Matt Nagy has been unclear about when Fields is taking over QB1 from Andy Dalton, I think the fanbase and franchise is just itching to see him in there as soon as possible. Even if the Bears aren’t world beaters but he can get start getting into games earlier in the season and give everyone a taste of his potential, there’s gonna be a ton of excitement in Chicago. So yes, I’m hyped for Fields. I won’t miss Trubisky. He always seemed like a nice enough, humble guy – but it was no fun having to hold your breath every time he overthrew a deep ball or forced a tight-window throw into traffic. He had more than enough opportunities to capitalize on something in Chicago, all while we had a world-class defense to support him, and it didn’t pan out. I wish him luck in Buffalo.

Is this Nagy’s last stand? Can Mack lead the D to their 2018 heights?
In a word, yes. Ryan Pace and Nagy justifiably took a huge swing on trading up for Fields – and the excitement alone it garnered perhaps made their seats a little cooler, but if this team bottoms out, Fields underwhelms, or they inexplicably stick with Dalton for too long, this could be Nagy’s and Pace’s last gasp. This isn’t the same defense we saw under Vic Fangio in 2018, but if we can start getting back more of the playmaking we saw that year, particularly from Mack, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson, they can make some noise. Mack, Hicks and Trevathan are only getting older – but Roquan Smith’s emergence is promising. Our cornerback situation, however, is dire.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Bears? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Before Aaron Rodgers kissed and made up with Green Bay, a ceiling would’ve been a divisional title and a short playoff run. With him in the mix, it’s a wild card appearance. Green Bay is too strong. The floor could be pretty damn scary if Fields doesn’t show promise in Year 1, the offense sputters or the defense regresses. All I’m hoping this year for is flashes of promise from the QB position and for the D to regain some of its lost glory.

Who is your player to watch this year on the Bears?
Fields is the easy answer, but after that, I’d say David Montgomery. Our running game improved steadily last year, to the point where you could call him the most reliable player in the offense. He’s not a home run guy, but he’s consistent and has only gotten better since he was drafted. Tarik Cohen coming back healthy should be a boon, as well.

Do they make the playoffs? What’s their record?
No. 8-9.

What’s your Super Bowl matchup and who wins?
Chiefs over Bucs.

 

Crowder
Dallas Cowboys

 

Crowder
(Credit: Randy Edwards)

 

What’s the prognosis for the team this year? Is this going to be a bounce-back or another year of disappointment?
This is the YEAR!! For Cowboys fans, it’s already magic — Jerry and Jimmy are back (!); Jimmy Johnson gets a Hall of Fame statue; Jerry declares Ring of Honor inclusion for Jimmy. Behold – the curse is lifted! Zeke has never looked so clear-eyed. Dak is paid up and smiling…The Boys are back!

Are you happy that the Dak issue is settled? Is McCarthy the right coach?
Dak is the deal. Now, he got a deal. So, let’s go play some football!! The second year of McCarthyism already looks and feels more comfortable. He has great proportionality of stoicism and cheese. I think that’s perfect for the field and front office. I’m hoping Dan Quinn brings the juice.

What are your reasonable hopes for the Cowboys? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Super Bowl champions of the world!! That is a Cowb