7 NFL hot takes on Steelers, Colts, Panthers, Vikings before 2024 season begins

Jul 10, 2024 | Sports | 0 comments

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

A new NFL season is approaching. Here are our biggest hot takes on how it’s going to play out.

The NFL season is quickly coming around the corner. A week from today, the first NFL teams will report to training camp as the prelude to a 2024 with a lot of intrigue. From the rise of new stars like CJ Stroud and Jordan Love to the Atlanta Falcons finally being serious about football, there’s so many things to get excited about this season.

Hot take season is also in full effect, and while these aren’t knock your socks off spicy, they’re surely all going to come true and reveal us to be correct about everything. These takes range from the QB competition in the Steel City to the potential best offense in the NFL, truly something for everyone.

Here are seven hot takes for the 2024 NFL season just before training camp begins. Check back in six or seven months and let us know how we did.

Justin Fields wins the starting job in Pittsburgh

When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Russell Wilson — aided in large part by a massive contract offset the veteran quarterback had with the Denver Broncos — the intention was to have Wilson as the starting quarterback this season. Even after the Steelers traded for Justin Fields, head coach Mike Tomlin referred to Wilson as the start, indicating that the veteran was in “pole position” to keep the job.

But to keep the analogy going, it is not as if Wilson is Max Verstappen at this point in his career.

The veteran may enter training camp as the starter, but Fields gives the offense more big play capability with what he can do with both his arm and his legs. So while Wilson might be on pole position, Fields is going to lead the first lap of this race.

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts make the playoffs

There is a lot of buzz about the AFC South this season, starting with the Houston Texans. Thanks in large part to a tremendous rookie campaign from C.J. Stroud the Texans won the division a season ago, and won a Wild Card game against the visiting — and favored — Cleveland Browns. While Houston’s surprising run to the playoffs ended the following week, with the organization convinced that Stroud is the franchise quarterback they hoped they were drafting, they loaded up around him this offseason.

Then there are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who just handed Trevor Lawrence a big contract and are just one season away from a division title and surprising Wild Card weekend win of their own.

But do not sleep on the Indianapolis Colts. They made a surprising postseason push of their own last season, and while that effort fell short, now they are getting Anthony Richardson back. A full season of Richardson in Shane Steichen’s offense is going to put the Colts in the playoffs.

The Carolina Panthers will win the NFC South

Hear me out. There’s nothing that would lead you to believe the NFL-worst Panthers could bounce back to win their division, but if you scratch the surface there’s something compelling brewing in Charlotte.

The Panthers have had a tremendous offseason that addressed their biggest deficiencies on the offensive line from a year ago, while adding much-needed separation to their receiving corps in Diontae Johnson. The offense was so putrid a year ago that there’s miles of improvement, and new coach Dave Canales, architect of Bake Mayfield’s success in 2023 is poised to do the same thing for the Panthers.

Last year all signs pointed to the Bucs being the worst team in the South, and they won. That can be the Panthers in 2024, regardless of what Atlanta has in store.

Sam Darnold is going to create a QB controversy in Minnesota

All signs point to the Vikings choosing to wait, and not push J.J. McCarthy into a starting job before he’s ready — which is absolutely the correct move. The thing is: Sam Darnold is good enough to make a lot of people have second thoughts, and I think he’s going to do just that.

At 27-years-old there’s plenty of tread left on the tires here, and the Kevin O’Connell offense will mask a lot of Darnold’s deficiencies. Pair that with Justin Jefferson, who is always a factor, and there’s a definite scenario here where Darnold surprises people, leads the Vikings back to the playoffs, and creates concern over whether or not McCarthy should take the job.

The Green Bay Packers finish with the best offense in the NFL

The Packers finished last season in a flourish, throttling Dallas on the road in the playoffs and taking the San Francisco 49ers to the limit in the Bay area. This was largely on the backs of growth out of their young QB Jordan Love and the emergence of a receiver group that is more committee than with one star. Add in head coach Matt LaFleur designing an incredible offense and you have the perfect mixture for a team that’s ready to tear up the league in 2024.

With Love’s growth continuing as well as the maturation of the young skill position group, the Packers can be the best offense in the NFL in 2024.

3 AFC South teams make the playoffs

It feels like the AFC South is ready to step into the limelight this year. With the QB talent in the division at its’ highest and teams like the Texans and Titans putting together star-studded groups of surrounding talent, the division is truly an arms race. As other divisions in the AFC remain in flux, the AFC South can get three teams into the playoffs like the AFC North did last year. The Texans are the favorites to win the division, now boasting a defense complementary enough to support an offense led by QB CJ Stroud. The Jaguars have Trevor Lawrence primed for a big year, and a defense now coached by Ryan Nielsen should give Jacksonville the boost it needed last year. Indianapolis will hopefully get a full season of Anthony Richardson and Tennessee has the talent to push hard for a playoff spot. The AFC South is ready to get out of the doldrums and into the NFL spotlight.

Maxx Crosby wins Defensive Player of the Year

It feels like Maxx Crosby has consistently been one of the five best EDGE defenders in the entire league for a while now, despite playing for a team in the midst of an identity change. Crosby plays almost every snap of every game, and remains incredibly productive. His pressure rate remains high and he turns those pressures into sacks. While the Raiders might not have the best outlook for 2024, adding Christian Wilkins to the defensive front frees up more one-on-one opportunities for Crosby, who can have the same jump as Myles Garrett did in 2023 en route to his first DPOY win.

[#item_full_content]Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

A new NFL season is approaching. Here are our biggest hot takes on how it’s going to play out. The NFL season is quickly coming around the corner. A week from today, the first NFL teams will report to training camp as the prelude to a 2024 with a lot of intrigue. From the rise of new stars like CJ Stroud and Jordan Love to the Atlanta Falcons finally being serious about football, there’s so many things to get excited about this season.
Hot take season is also in full effect, and while these aren’t knock your socks off spicy, they’re surely all going to come true and reveal us to be correct about everything. These takes range from the QB competition in the Steel City to the potential best offense in the NFL, truly something for everyone.
Here are seven hot takes for the 2024 NFL season just before training camp begins. Check back in six or seven months and let us know how we did.
Justin Fields wins the starting job in Pittsburgh
When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Russell Wilson — aided in large part by a massive contract offset the veteran quarterback had with the Denver Broncos — the intention was to have Wilson as the starting quarterback this season. Even after the Steelers traded for Justin Fields, head coach Mike Tomlin referred to Wilson as the start, indicating that the veteran was in “pole position” to keep the job.
But to keep the analogy going, it is not as if Wilson is Max Verstappen at this point in his career.
The veteran may enter training camp as the starter, but Fields gives the offense more big play capability with what he can do with both his arm and his legs. So while Wilson might be on pole position, Fields is going to lead the first lap of this race.

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts make the playoffs
There is a lot of buzz about the AFC South this season, starting with the Houston Texans. Thanks in large part to a tremendous rookie campaign from C.J. Stroud the Texans won the division a season ago, and won a Wild Card game against the visiting — and favored — Cleveland Browns. While Houston’s surprising run to the playoffs ended the following week, with the organization convinced that Stroud is the franchise quarterback they hoped they were drafting, they loaded up around him this offseason.
Then there are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who just handed Trevor Lawrence a big contract and are just one season away from a division title and surprising Wild Card weekend win of their own.
But do not sleep on the Indianapolis Colts. They made a surprising postseason push of their own last season, and while that effort fell short, now they are getting Anthony Richardson back. A full season of Richardson in Shane Steichen’s offense is going to put the Colts in the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers will win the NFC South
Hear me out. There’s nothing that would lead you to believe the NFL-worst Panthers could bounce back to win their division, but if you scratch the surface there’s something compelling brewing in Charlotte.
The Panthers have had a tremendous offseason that addressed their biggest deficiencies on the offensive line from a year ago, while adding much-needed separation to their receiving corps in Diontae Johnson. The offense was so putrid a year ago that there’s miles of improvement, and new coach Dave Canales, architect of Bake Mayfield’s success in 2023 is poised to do the same thing for the Panthers.
Last year all signs pointed to the Bucs being the worst team in the South, and they won. That can be the Panthers in 2024, regardless of what Atlanta has in store.

Sam Darnold is going to create a QB controversy in Minnesota
All signs point to the Vikings choosing to wait, and not push J.J. McCarthy into a starting job before he’s ready — which is absolutely the correct move. The thing is: Sam Darnold is good enough to make a lot of people have second thoughts, and I think he’s going to do just that.
At 27-years-old there’s plenty of tread left on the tires here, and the Kevin O’Connell offense will mask a lot of Darnold’s deficiencies. Pair that with Justin Jefferson, who is always a factor, and there’s a definite scenario here where Darnold surprises people, leads the Vikings back to the playoffs, and creates concern over whether or not McCarthy should take the job.
The Green Bay Packers finish with the best offense in the NFL
The Packers finished last season in a flourish, throttling Dallas on the road in the playoffs and taking the San Francisco 49ers to the limit in the Bay area. This was largely on the backs of growth out of their young QB Jordan Love and the emergence of a receiver group that is more committee than with one star. Add in head coach Matt LaFleur designing an incredible offense and you have the perfect mixture for a team that’s ready to tear up the league in 2024.
With Love’s growth continuing as well as the maturation of the young skill position group, the Packers can be the best offense in the NFL in 2024.
3 AFC South teams make the playoffs
It feels like the AFC South is ready to step into the limelight this year. With the QB talent in the division at its’ highest and teams like the Texans and Titans putting together star-studded groups of surrounding talent, the division is truly an arms race. As other divisions in the AFC remain in flux, the AFC South can get three teams into the playoffs like the AFC North did last year. The Texans are the favorites to win the division, now boasting a defense complementary enough to support an offense led by QB CJ Stroud. The Jaguars have Trevor Lawrence primed for a big year, and a defense now coached by Ryan Nielsen should give Jacksonville the boost it needed last year. Indianapolis will hopefully get a full season of Anthony Richardson and Tennessee has the talent to push hard for a playoff spot. The AFC South is ready to get out of the doldrums and into the NFL spotlight.
Maxx Crosby wins Defensive Player of the Year
It feels like Maxx Crosby has consistently been one of the five best EDGE defenders in the entire league for a while now, despite playing for a team in the midst of an identity change. Crosby plays almost every snap of every game, and remains incredibly productive. His pressure rate remains high and he turns those pressures into sacks. While the Raiders might not have the best outlook for 2024, adding Christian Wilkins to the defensive front frees up more one-on-one opportunities for Crosby, who can have the same jump as Myles Garrett did in 2023 en route to his first DPOY win.SBNation.com – All Posts

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