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Football On Tap: 2021 NFL Predictions

Two members of the Bears On Tap crew make their 2021 NFL predictions ahead of the Bucs-Cowboys season opener.

NFL overtime rule playoffs
Photo: AP Photo/Matt Patterson

We are just a few hours away from the official start of the 2021 NFL Season. The reigning champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host, America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.

As we wait for the hours, minutes, and seconds to tick away and the pregame festivities to wrap up and lead us into the best time of the year, the Bears On Tap team has you covered with our predictions for the upcoming season.

Alongside me in predicting the 2021 NFL season is analytics wizard, Quinten Kryzsko. You all might know him as @ButkusStats on Twitter.

Here’s how this will work: we’ll run through each division and predict every team’s record and provide the playoff teams from each conference. In addition, we’ll provide the respective conference’s championship game and the Super Bowl matchup and winner. Next, both of us will give predictions for each award winner and which head coach will lose their job first.

NFC East

Oct 11, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs on the field before the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.
Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys (11-6)Dallas Cowboys (9-8)
Washington Football Team (10-7)Washington Football Team (8-9)
New York Giants (6-11)Philadelphia Eagles (7-10)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-12)New York Giants (7-10)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Cowboys (Division), Football Team (Wild Card)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Cowboys (Division)

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (28) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in New Orleans.
Photo: AP Photo/Butch Dill
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-7)
Carolina Panthers (8-9)New Orleans Saints (10-7)
Atlanta Falcons (7-10)Carolina Panthers (6-11)
New Orleans Saints (6-11)Atlanta Falcons (5-12)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Buccaneers (Division)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Buccaneers (Division), Saints (Wild Card)

NFC North

Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) celebrates a touchdown with his teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Chicago.
Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Green Bay Packers (12-5)Green Bay Packers (11-6)
Minnesota Vikings (8-9)Chicago Bears (9-8)
Chicago Bears (7-10)Minnesota Vikings (8-9)
Detroit Lions (5-12)Detroit Lions (6-11)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Packers (Division)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Packers (Division), Bears (Wild Card)

NFC West

Fantasy Football Week 8 Starts and Sits
Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is currently the starting quarterback in San Francisco. How long will it be until rookie Trey Lance takes over?
Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Los Angeles Rams (12-5)San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
Seattle Seahawks (10-7)Seattle Seahawks (10-7)
San Francisco 49ers (9-8)Los Angeles Rams (8-9)
Arizona Cardinals (7-10)Arizona Cardinals (8-9)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Rams (Division), Seahawks (Wild Card), 49ers (Wild Card)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: 49ers (Division), Seahawks (Wild Card)

AFC East

NFL DFS AFC Championship
Josh Allen (17) made waves last season in Buffalo. This season, some experts believe he could be the league’s MVP.
Photo: Adrian Kraus/Associated Press
Buffalo Bills (12-5)Buffalo Bills (11-6)
New England Patriots (9-8)New England Patriots (10-7)
Miami Dolphins (7-10)Miami Dolphins (10-7)
New York Jets (6-11)New York Jets (5-12)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Bills (Division)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Bills (Division), Patriots (Wild Card), Dolphins (Wild Card)

AFC South

Aug 9, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Anthony Firkser (86) warms up with tight end Jonnu Smith (81) before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans (12-5)Tennessee Titans (9-8)
Indianapolis Colts (10-7)Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-10)Houston Texans (6-11)
Houston Texans (3-14)Jacksonville Jaguars (4-13)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Titans (Division), Colts (Wild Card)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Titans (Division)

AFC North

Daniel McCullers Bears
In what may be the tightest division in football, the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns are all competing to be kings of the AFC North.
Photo: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6)Cleveland Browns (12-5)
Cleveland Browns (11-6)Baltimore Ravens (11-6)
Baltimore Ravens (10-7)Pittsburgh Steelers (7-10)
Cincinnati Bengals (6-11)Cincinnati Bengals (6-11)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Steelers (Division), Browns (Wild Card)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Browns (Division), Ravens (Wild Card)

AFC West

Perhaps the most exciting player in football, Patrick Mahomes will look to lead the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl.
Photo: Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)Kansas City Chiefs (13-4)
Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)
Denver Broncos (6-11)Denver Broncos (9-8)
Las Vegas Raiders (4-13)Las Vegas Raiders (8-9)

Aalap’s Playoff Teams: Chiefs (Division), Chargers (Wild Card)

Quinten’s Playoff Teams: Chiefs (Division)


Playoff Teams

NFC EastDallas CowboysDallas Cowboys
NFC SouthTampa Bay BuccaneersTampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC NorthGreen Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
NFC WestLos Angeles RamsSan Francisco 49ers
NFC Wild CardWashington Football TeamNew Orleans Saints
NFC Wild CardSeattle SeahawksChicago Bears
NFC Wild CardSan Francisco 49ersSeattle Seahawks
AFC EastBuffalo BillsBuffalo Bills
AFC SouthTennessee TitansTennessee Titans
AFC NorthPittsburgh SteelersCleveland Browns
AFC WestKansas City ChiefsKansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild CardIndianapolis ColtsNew England Patriots
AFC Wild CardCleveland BrownsMiami Dolphins
AFC Wild CardLos Angeles ChargersBaltimore Ravens

Conference Championships/Super Bowl

NFC ChampionshipBuccaneers vs. RamsBuccaneers vs. Seahawks
AFC ChampionshipBills vs. ChiefsChiefs vs. Browns
Super BowlBuccaneers vs. BillsChiefs vs. Seahawks
Super Bowl ChampionBuccaneersChiefs

2021 Season Awards

MVPPatrick MahomesJosh Allen
Coach of the YearBrandon StaleyPete Carroll
Comeback Player of the YearDak PrescottJameis Winston
Offensive Player of the YearChristian McCaffreyChristian McCaffrey
Defensive Player of the YearAaron DonaldKhalil Mack
Rookie of the YearTrevor LawrenceJustin Fields
AP Offensive Rookie of the YearJustin FieldsJustin Fields
AP Defensive Rookie of the YearPatrick SurtainJaycee Horn

First Head Coach Fired?

While this is an odd prediction to make, and you hate to see anyone lose their job, it’s the reality of the business. Nevertheless, both Quinten and I made our predictions. My prediction was that Mike Zimmer gets axed on Black Monday after failing to make the playoffs yet again. Meanwhile, Quinten predicts that Bengals’ third-year HC — and Sean McVay disciple — Zac Taylor gets the boot from Cincinnati first.

What Do You Think?

Lets us know in the comments or on Twitter what you think of our predictions. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or concerns with us.

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Writer/contributor for On Tap Sports Net and Bears on Tap. Lifelong and a die-hard fan of the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks. Nothing but respect the White Sox though. Enjoying life and having a good time. Interests also include eating, gaming, sometimes reading and tons of tomfoolery. Good sense of humor (although sometimes dry). Occasionally witty. Follow me on Twitter

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