It's been more than three weeks since Tom Brady has done an interview -- and I'm guessing that's because he's still recovering from his Super Bowl parade hangover -- but that long drought is going to end tonight because Brady is going to be interviewed on CBS!
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback will be virtually visiting "The Late Late Show with James Corden" on Tuesday night (12:35 a.m. ET). If you can't stay up until 12:35 a.m. to catch the interview on CBS, you're probably going to want to go ahead and set your DVR, because Brady late-night interviews are always fun and Corden is always fun, which means this interview will be fun. As the parent of a 10-month-old baby, I'm generally in bed earlier than most people, but I think I'm going to suck it up and stay up to watch the Brady interview.
The last time Brady was on CBS, he chugged a beer with Stephen Colbert, so I have high hopes for tonight. Of course, since this is an NFL newsletter and not a TV guide, I will now stop talking about things that are on TV tonight and move on to football stuff. So let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: AFC South deep dive
With free agency just around the corner, we'll be spending the next few weeks doing a deep dive on each NFL division and for Tuesday's podcast, that meant jumping head first into the AFC South. As someone who lives in an AFC South city (Nashville), I thought it made sense for me to host this podcast alone, but apparently, no one else felt the same way, so I was joined by Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson to break down the division.
The first thing we debated on this podcast was the Jaguars. With a new coach (Urban Meyer), a new quarterback (presumably Trevor Lawrence) and a ton of cap space (the most in the NFL), Wilson and I both believe they have the tools to put together a competitive team that could win seven or eight games next season. However, Brinson poured cold water on our belief by saying Jacksonville is going to be horrible. If you're a Jaguars fan, please click here so you can send a hate tweet to Brinson.
During our conversation about the Texans, we all agreed that Houston just needs to suck it up and trade Deshaun Watson already. It's nearly impossible to plan for the future when you have no idea who your quarterback is going to be. The sooner the Texans trade Watson, the sooner they'll be able to look for their quarterback of the future (Who they might get in the Watson trade).
As for the Colts and Titans, we got into a spirited debate about which team is the best in the division. Even though my Nashville neighbors will hate me for saying it, I don't think the Titans are the best team in the AFC South and neither does Wilson. On the other hand, Brinson believes Tennessee is the team to beat.
To listen to today's episode -- and if you're a fan of any team in the AFC South, you will definitely want to -- be sure to click here.
2. Five reasons why J.J. Watt to the Cardinals makes sense
If you would have asked me 36 hours ago where I thought J.J. Watt was going to land, you could have given me 19 guesses and I don't think I would have said the Cardinals. With Watt wanting to play for a contender, I thought for sure he'd be looking to play for a team that made the playoffs in 2020. However, Watt shocked everyone on Monday afternoon when he announced that he was heading to Arizona.
On the surface, the move is a little weird, but after looking into it a little more, it feels like this signing actually makes a lot of sense and here are five reasons why.
1. Watt is familiar with Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
2. Watt gets to team up with Chandler Jones.
3. Cardinals better positioned in case they lose Haason Reddick.
4. Watt goes to a contender.
5. Watt gets to play against the Texans in 2021
That's the cliff-notes version of the list. If you want an in-depth look at each one of those reasons, you can check out the story I wrote by clicking here.
One interesting thing about the Watt situation is that he might have to switch numbers. Watt's number (99) has been officially retired by the Cardinals in honor of Marshall Goldberg, who played for the team from 1939 to 1948 and also fought in World War II. If Watt wants the number, there's a chance he'll get it and that's because Goldberg's daughter has already given him her blessing to wear it this year.
3. Tom Brady is already eyeing Super Bowl LVI
After Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, no one would have blamed him if he took a week off to vacation or rest or eat avocado ice cream but, apparently, that's not what he did. According to Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, Brady barely took a few hours off after Tampa Bay's 31-9 win over Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.
The morning after the game, Brady called Christensen and said he was already thinking about Super Bowl LVI.
"He's thinking about it the next morning," Christensen told The Tampa Bay Times. "He's barely been in a couple hours, and he's thinking about it the next morning. The thing that happens is, teams get distracted. Everyone is trying to make a little more money. Everyone has something going. Some have got a little book deal. They've got radio shows going. That doesn't happen to the Bradys or the Mannings of the world. They don't get distracted. They don't get off track."
Apparently, someone finally talked some sense into Brady and told him it's OK to celebrate the win, because celebrating is definitely what the quarterback did at the team's Super Bowl parade three days after the game. That being said, I'm guessing he was working out the morning after the parade after shaking off his hangover by drinking one of his magic TB12 potions before he went to bed that night. I think the moral of the story here is that I need to get on the TB12 diet.
4. 2021 NFL schedule rumors: How a 17th game will impact everything else
After 43 years of playing a 16-game schedule, it's looking more and more like the NFL will finally be expanding things to 17 games starting with the 2021 season. Although that move has been widely expected, NBC's Peter King did offer a few new scheduling nuggets this week of things that could change about the NFL schedule if it gets expanded.
Here's a quick look at the major changes:
- AFC will host the 17th game. The AFC and NFC will alternate hosting duties for the 17th game every year and for 2021, it looks like the AFC will start things off with the NFC hosting in 2022.
- No extra bye. There had been some speculation that the NFL might add a second bye to the schedule, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The 17 games will be played over 18 weeks.
- Monday wild card game might happen. For the 2020 season, the NFL gave us a triple-header on Saturday and Sunday of Super Wild Card Weekend. However, that could be changing and that's because the league is giving some serious thought to moving one of the games to Monday. The NFL wanted to do this last season, but the Monday of Super Wild Card Weekend was the same day as the college football national title game, so it nixed the idea.
- Super Bowl to be pushed back a week. With the regular-season schedule set to be played over 18 weeks (instead of 17), that means the Super Bowl is going to be pushed back a week. If this happens, that means Super Bowl LVI will be played on Feb. 13, which would be the latest that any Super Bowl has been played (Feb. 7 is the currently the latest the game has been played).
King also noted that the NFL will likely be scheduling two Christmas games this year, which isn't that surprising since the league has been known to do that when Christmas is on a Saturday, as it is this year.
Finally, if you're wondering who your favorite team will be playing in that special 17th game, here are the 16 games that will be added to the schedule if the NFL approves a 17th game:
Packers at Chiefs
Bears at Raiders
Vikings at Chargers
Lions at Broncos
Seahawks at Steelers
Rams at Ravens
Cardinals at Browns
49ers at Bengals
Saints at Titans
Buccaneers at Colts
Panthers at Texans
Falcons at Jaguars
Washington at Bills
Giants at Dolphins
Cowboys at Patriots
Eagles at Jets
The formula is slightly complicated, but basically, each NFL division is facing the cross-conference division they faced two years ago with one catch: They'll be matched up against a team from that division using last year's standings. For instance, the Chiefs played the NFC North in 2019, so they'll play one game against the NFC North in 2021. The twist is that since they finished in first place, they'll play the NFC North team that finished in first place in 2020, which in this case would be the Packers.
5. Top 10 free agents under 25
Although Tom Brady has proven that old guys can win in the NFL, the fact of that matter is that Brady is an outlier and that the NFL is mostly a young-guy's league, which is why most teams are generally on the hunt for younger players in free agency.
For the most part, you'll see NFL teams try to keep their most talented younger players under contract for as long as they can, but once in awhile, you'll see some talented younger players hit the free agency market, and that's where today's list comes in.
With free agency right around the corner, Cody Benjamin decided to make a list of the top 10 free agents under the age of 25, so let's take a look at the list.
1. Chris Godwin (Buccaneers)
2. Marcus Williams (Saints)
3. Yannick Ngakoue (Ravens)
4. JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers)
5. John Johnson (Rams)
6. Carl Lawson (Bengals)
7. Shaquill Griffin (Seahawks)
8. Curtis Samuel (Panthers)
9. Jonnu Smith (Titans)
10. Chidobe Awuzie (Cowboys)
To check out Cody's full story, be sure to click here.
6. Ranking the teams who are eligible for 'Hard Knocks'
At some point this offseason, the NFL is going to pick a team to be on "Hard Knocks" and although we don't know who the league is going to pick, we do know at that there are only five teams who are eligible to be on it this year.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the "Hard Knocks" selection process, a team is exempt from the show if any of the three rules below applies to them:
1. They have a first-year head coach in place
2. They have a playoff berth in the past two seasons
3. They have appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the past 10 years
For instance, the Falcons don't have to be on the show in 2021 because they'll have a new head coach. The Steelers won't have to be on the show because they've made the playoffs in the past two seasons and the Bengals won't have to be on the show because they've appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the past 10 years.
When we factor in those three rules and apply them to every team, we're left with just five teams that the NFL can force to be on "Hard Knocks" in 2021: The Panthers, Cardinals, Cowboys, Giants and Broncos.
With that in mind, Cody Benjamin ranked those five teams from the one he most wants to see to the one he least wants to see on the show.
I kind of agree with these rankings, but I would probably switch the Panthers and Cardinals. If we don't even take the J.J. Watt trade into consideration, Arizona has some electrifying stars in Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins and it would be fun to watch those guys go through training camp. Also, we'd probably get a more in-depth look at Kilff Kingsbury's house and I have to say, I've been thinking about that house way more than I probably should ever since they showed it at the draft last April. One thing about "Hard Knocks" is that a team could also volunteer to be on the show, which is what we saw last year with the Rams and Chargers.
For Cody's full explanation on his rankings and why he has the CARDINALS ranked last, be sure to click here.
7. The Kicker: Alvin Kamara wipes out on his snowboard
I'm not going to lie, it's been a rough week for Saints fans. Not only are they being left in the dark about whether their quarterback is going to retire, but now they also have to worry about whether their star running back is going to make it to the start of the 2021 season in one piece.
Apparently, Alvin Kamara is in Montana where he's been honing his snowboarding skills, which is a good thing, because they could definitely use some honing. At some point this week, Kamara jumped on his snowboard and promptly wiped out and you can see the video by clicking here.
That clip is making me want to snowboard, so I'm going to go do that in my backyard and since there's a 99% chance I'll end up injuring myself, I'm going to have Cody Benjamin fill-in for me tomorrow. Thanks Cody! As for me, I'll see you guys Thursday.