By Logan Lepiscopo
The 2021 Unpredictability of the NFL Season
Who would have thought that in 2021 it would cost a team 15 yards for having their player point at another, or even spike the ball too aggressive. Or that the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos were going to be the last two undefeated teams in the AFC, not to mention what has been a nightmare within the Raiders organization. Not to even mention the fact that the NFL has been full of upsets week after week, teams going on big win streaks and then big losing streaks. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the Detroit Lions being one of the worst teams in the NFL…
The league was shaken up from the start with the Saints dominating the Green Bay Packers 38-3, and everybody thought this was the end for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Well let’s just say that since week 1 the Packers won 7 straight and their 8th win of the season being a 17-0 win over the Seahawks… which is the first shutout loss the Seahawks have had since Russell Wilson took over as the starting quarterback in 2012. But the unpredictability did not stop there, week 2 was rather normal but week 3 the Bengals beat the Steelers. Now this may not seem out of the blue but what everyone was expecting to be a sendoff year for Ben Roethlisberger has turned into nothing but a train-wreck. Beating the Bills week 1 was huge for the Steelers and everyone was already talking a deep playoff run. The next weeks they followed that win with a loss to the Raiders, Bengals, and Packers. Then they got back on track with four straight wins against the Broncos, Seahawks, Browns, and Bears. But just when you thought there was no sign of slowing the Steelers down… week 10 they TIED with the winless Detroit Lions 16-16.
Enough about the Steelers, let’s mention some more oddities that have happened in this 2021 NFL season. Week 4 the Jets beat the Titans, and the Giants beat the Saints. Week 6 the Jaguars won their first game in over a year, and in week 7 the Bengals success continued with a 41-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. In week 8 the Jets do it again, led by quarterback Mike White they pull off an upset win over the Bengals. Week 9 things get wild, the Falcons beat the Saints, the Jaguars beat the Bills 9-6, the Giants beat the Raiders, the Broncos beat the Cowboys, and the Dolphins won their first game since week 1. The craziness of week 9 carried over into week 10, the Dolphins beat the Ravens on Thursday night football, as mentioned earlier the Lions and Steelers tied, the Washington Football Team beat the Buccaneers, the Patriots obliterated the Browns, the Panthers pull off a huge upset over the Cardinals, the Vikings beat the red-hot Chargers, and the 49ers closed out the week beating the Los Angeles Rams.
The number of upsets from this 2021 NFL season has made it so much more enjoyable as a fan to watch. Obviously, there are going to be those matchups you see every year for your team and you chalk up a W because you think “no way my team is going to lose to them.” But in this 2021 year I don’t truly think there has been many games that could have been put as an “easy lock” to win every week. Injuries have also been another factor in what has made this 2021 NFL season so unpredictable, some teams constantly rotating in starting quarterbacks, others having to place the stars of their team on the IR (injury reserve). For example the Cardinals have been without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins for the last 3 weeks now and the team still holds the best record in the NFL. It is a lot better as an NFL fan to not have those teams that are guaranteed to win week after week, it keeps it more competitive between the teams each week, fans are more engaged, also each and every week the playoff picture and draft order is moving.