Against all odds, we’ve reached the 2020 NFL midseason. Coaches have had to deal with accelerated training camps, disjointed practices and players missing time with COVID-19 concerns. The NFL has dealt with postponed games but thankfully, none have been cancelled. Despite a few scares in Tennessee and New England this NFL season should be considered a success at its midpoint. Most teams have played 7 or 8 games so we can safely assume most teams “are who we thought they were!” (Word to Dennis Green). That being said, let’s have some fun and answer a few questions and do some rankings for this 2020 NFL Midseason.
Which team has been the biggest surprise?
The Cardinals play in one of the best divisions in football yet here they are at 5-2. Despite being a doormat in the NFC West for years, the Cards now have wins against the defending NFC champion 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. They’re riding a 3 game winning streak into a clash with Miami this Sunday and they have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. It seems like Kyler Murray is beginning to figure it out and he’s only getting more comfortable as the season goes with DeAndre Hopkins. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at where the Cardinals are but I did not expect them to be in playoff contention this soon. In fact, I figured Arizona would be the 4th best team in their division. Through half the season though, they’ve proven me wrong.
Honorable Mentions: Miami Dolphins (aka the Brian Flores football team); Chicago Bears
While we’re talking about the NFC West, let’s do a quick ranking…
- NFC West Quarterback Rankings:
- 4. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers: I hate to do this to you Niner fans (especially after the latest injury news) but Jimmy G would have been in this spot regardless.
- 3. Jared Goff, Rams: Goff goes from looking slightly above average to below average every other game. He might not even be the best QB in his own city anymore (shout out to Justin Herbert!)
- 2. Kyler Murray, Cardinals: Give me all the Kyler Murray stock.
- 1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: The best fantasy QB not named Patrick Mahomes. (Shout out to me for drafting him in two leagues this year)
Which team has been the biggest disappointment this season?
New England Patriots
This is a sad situation for my favorite squad. You can point to the personnel losses on the defensive side of the ball or the midseason COVID-19 outbreak but New England has never suffered excuses. Simply put, this team isn’t good enough. They can’t move the ball through the air and the’ve committed 12 turnovers in the last 4 games (all losses). The Pats looked good against Seattle earlier in the year and they played a good game against Kansas City. Since then though, the wheels have fallen off. Maybe my own confidence in Bill Belichick and Cam Newton blinded me to what should have been apparent but I really didn’t think they would be this bad. Good NFL teams don’t lose back to back games and right now the Patriots have lost 4 in a row. This line of thinking brings me to an unfortunate segue….
Which player on a new team has performed the best?
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, a 66% completion rate and a 6-2 record for the Tompa Bay Buccaneers. Brady is doing what he always does but seeing him do it a Tampa Bay uniform is devastating. The Bucs have scored 25+ points in all their wins and aside from one bad loss against Chicago, they look like Super Bowl contenders. At 43 years old Brady has a good defense behind him, weapons at his disposal (including the newly acquired Antonio Brown) and a very good chance at securing his 7th Super Bowl.
Honorable Mentions: DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals; Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
This is about the halfway point of the article so let’s do a quick power ranking….
Coaching Hot Seat Power Ranking:
- Slightly Warm Seat: Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
- Should have just started Justin Herbert from the get-go
- Simmering Stove Seat: Every NFC East coach not named Ron Rivera
- How can one division be this bad?
- BBQ Set to High Hot Seat: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
- Maybe it’s not the QB?
- Raging Inferno Around a Moat of Lava Hot Seat: Adam Gase, New York Jets
- Why does this man still have a job?
Who is the 2020 NFL Midseason MVP?
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
#LetRusscook has been the motto for the Seahawks all season and Russell Wilson has been happy to oblige. At the moment, he’s sitting on 26 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, a 71.5% completion rate and a career high 83.4 QBR. His chemistry with Tyler Lockett has never been better and DK Metcalf is emerging as yet another ingredient for Chef Russ to play with. The Seahawks defense has been horrible all year and this has forced Wilson to air it out more frequently than he’s ever had to in his previous 8 seasons. If he continues at this pace, Wilson should be a lock for a top 3 MVP finish. Today though, he’s my 2020 NFL midseason MVP.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
The Bucs have done a terrific job of surrounding Tom Brady with weapons this season. Tampa Bay is averaging 30.9 points per game. Brady has thrown a touchdown to 8 different receivers and they just added Antonio Brown. Gronk is starting to look like he’s shook the cobwebs off from his quasi-retirement and the running game with Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette has amassed a combined 754 yards. Despite questionable performances against the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, the Bucs look ready to make a deep playoff run.
4. Seattle Seahawks (6-1)
As I detailed in the MVP section, #letrusscook is Seattle’s entire offense but it seems to be working out. The run game has been a nice supplement and it’s still effective despite the stylistic shift to the air. The reason I don’t have Seattle ranked higher at this 2020 NFL midseason however is because of their defense. They acquired Carlos Dunlap at the trade deadline which should help with the pass rush and you’ve also got to figure that a Pete Carroll coached team will eventually improve on that side of the ball. Until they prove they can get stops though, this is where I’m keeping the Seahawks in my rankings.
3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The Ravens haven’t looked themselves but their only losses have been to the two teams ahead of them in my rankings. Baltimore can finish 13-3 and be a wildcard team (that’s how good Pittsburgh has been). However, last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson is still getting warmed up and Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL. The playoffs are where the Ravens will have to prove it though. They will likely have to go through either Kansas City or Pittsburgh to get to the Super Bowl (perhaps both). It doesn’t seem fair but Jackson is already getting a reputation for shrinking in the big moments. As we look towards the second half of the season, the rematch with Pittsburgh looms large in terms of playoff seeding. If the Ravens can secure a win, it would go a long way for their confidence heading into the playoffs.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
The 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers have been the hottest team in the league this year and it doesn’t look like they will be cooling anytime soon. With games against Dallas, Cincinnati and Jacksonville coming up it’s not crazy to think the Steelers will be 10-0 heading into their second matchup with Baltimore. Their defense is stifling, Big Ben has a crop of good young receivers and the running game has been solid. It looks like Big Ben and Mike Tomlin have one more run in them but the questions remain: Is their defense good enough to stymie Kansas City ? Can they continue to hold back the Ravens? So far, so good with Baltimore but securing a number 1 seed and home field advantage has to be the priority for this second half of the season with an eye on the Chiefs.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
The champs are doing what the champs do. They’re taking each team’s best shot and they’re rolling right through it. Aside from a loss to the Raiders, the Chiefs have hung 30+ points in 5 of their 8 games. Mahomes is playing as expected, the running game has been great and they’ve added Le’veon Bell to the mix. Despite injuries, the receiving corps is among the best in the league and Travis Kelce is on pace for his 5th straight 1,000 yard season. The Steelers may be undefeated but I still think the Chiefs are the best team at this 2020 NFL midseason. The road to the Super Bowl still runs through Kansas City.
Bonus Question: Who’s winning the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes?
New York Jets
The Giants don’t look great, the Falcons can’t hold a lead and the Cowboys are falling apart (prayers up for Dak!). Respectfully though, this award belongs to the New York Jets. The Jets are 0-8 and looking ahead at their schedule, they have a good shot to go 0-16. They’ve got New England twice, the Chargers, Dolphins, Raiders, Seahawks, Rams and the Browns. Each of those teams is capable of blowing out the Jets and even though the Pats have been disappointing; I find it hard to believe that they could sink so low as losing to the Jets (please God let me be right about that). Even if they manage to win a game or two, a 2-14 record should be more than enough to secure Trevor Lawrence’s services for next season. Maybe that’s why Adam Gase is still around….
Super Bowl LV Prediction
Chiefs over Seahawks
Who wouldn’t love to see a Mahomes/Wilson shootout in the Super Bowl? If the Seahawks get their defense together, they’ll beat Tompa Bay in the NFC championship game. Mahomes and co. have earned the right to assume they’ll triumph over Pittsburgh in the AFC. After that it’ll be back to back Super Bowls for Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Written by Sean Curley