The new NFL season starts late Thursday, with the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.
This will be a difficult season to predict, with the Covid pandemic depriving all the teams of any form of preseason practice to cement formations and plays.
With this in mind, we’re going to side with the teams that have less to change in the limited training time, given their success last season.
The Super Bowl in early 2020 saw the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers. We expect the 49ers have had their taste for the big time whetted by this defeat, and look for them to win the NFC.
The AFC is a little more tricky, but we essentially think it boils down to two teams. The Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens.
These are two talented teams with stars at the pivotal quarterback position, and we’re finding it hard to separate. However, we’re going to side with the Chiefs given their additional experience. Thus, Chiefs vs 49ers in a repeat of last year’s final.
Our second selection is in the market of the offensive rookie of the year. The favourite for this title is Joe Burrow, the Heisman-winning quarterback newly drafted into the Cincinnati Bengals.
As talented as Burrow is, and he is, the quarterback role is tricky, particularly in a weak team and with little practice time.
Instead we’re going to pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the running back for the Chiefs. He slots into the best offense in football in a position where rookies traditionally prosper and where the incumbent (Damien Williams) has taken a Covid year off.
Chiefs/49ers to make Super Bowl final, 1 pt, at 18/1, Paddy Power
Clyde Edwards-Helaire to win offensive rookie, 1 pt, at 4/1, SkyBet