1. The continued emphasis on young quarterbacks. The NFL has never been more willing to play young quarterbacks, and that will especially be the case this year. This season will join 2012, when five rookie quarterbacks started Week 1, as the only seasons in the Super Bowl era that three rookies started in Week 1. The AFC East will start four quarterbacks – including Zach Wilson of the Jets – under the age of 25 for the first time since 1985. Incredible.
2. The Browns to be legitimately good for a second straight year. The Browns’ fan base has been disappointed so often since the team was re-established in Cleveland in 1999, so let them get to the playoffs a second straight year. In fact, let them make a meaningful postseason run to help even the scales of karma.
3. A change to the touchback rule on fumbles out of the end zone. This has been a topic of debate for years, and let’s hope the powers that be give serious consideration to allowing the team that fumbles in the end zone to at least retain possession, instead of awarding it to the defensive team at their own 20.
4. No forfeits. The NFL is threatening forfeits to teams that have a COVID-19 outbreak so significant that they’re unable to field an adequate roster, especially when there’s an outbreak among clubs with multiple unvaccinated players. The NFL managed to get through last season in its entirety even before vaccines were available. Here’s hoping for a repeat this season.
5. Dak Prescott wins comeback player of the year. It was a horrific ankle injury against the Giants that ended the Dallas quarterback’s 2020. What a great story to see him get back to his old self and give the Cowboys a legitimate shot at a playoff berth.
6. Aaron Rodgers enjoys a fairy tale season. He wasn’t sure if he’d retire or not after the Packers selected heir apparent Jordan Love. But how great would it be to see Rodgers follow up on his MVP season with a Super Bowl run.
7. Patrick Mahomes continues to be the most electrifying player of our time. This guy’s joie de vivre on a football field is the best thing about the NFL right now. May he play at this level for another decade or more.
8. Daniel Jones turns into the quarterback the Giants need him to be. The stakes couldn’t be higher for Jones and the Giants. If he rises to the moment and shows he can be this team’s franchise quarterback, they’ve got a chance. If not, then they must face the unfortunate possibility of having to start over.
9. The Jets show real signs of sustainable progress. The Robert Saleh-Zach Wilson-Joe Douglas partnership sure seems right.
10. The Rams become as good as we think they can. This team defines the go-for-it-all mentality after trading for Matthew Stafford. May the former Lions quarterback thrive in Sean McVay’s offense and electrify the Los Angeles market.