This year’s football is going to feel completely different from any other year. Some teams will have to play most of the year without fans while others might have to play with just a few. Home games will feel different and playing in the road might not be a disadvantage anymore. But with all of these differences, there are a few teams who are impacted way more than others.
1. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are easily the most impacted team by Covid-19 in the entire NFL. 8 New England Patriots opted out of the 2020 season, due to different reasons. 4 of them being crucial first-team players to the Patriots. Star LB Dont’a Hightower, Safety Patrick Chug, Offensive Tackle Marcus Cannon, and FB Dan Vitale. Hightower and Chung were key pieces to the historical 2019 Patriots defense and Hightower isn’t only a star player but also a leader on this team. Cannon has been a starting offensive tackle for the patriots since 2011, taking care of Tom Brady and winning 3 Superbowls in that time. And the Patriots had recently signed Dan Vitale to take the place of injured FB James develin. The Patriots offense is known for using their fullbacks in running situations, so losing him is a big hit to their running scheme.
2. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks lost almost no players due to the COVID, but they did lose their 12th man. CenturyLink Field is known for being one of the toughest places to play in. Their fans are famous for creating small earthquakes during the Seahawks games. Do you know that great run Marshawn Lynch made against the Saints, where he alone broke the entire defense? Well, this run is known as the “Beast Quake” because the fans created an actual earthquake in the city of Seattle. So losing that home-field advantage is going to be difficult for the Seahawks, no longer playing and feeding off of that great energy will probably cause a different attitude on the Seahawks’ players, and will be reflected on the field of play.
3. New Orleans Saints
Similar to the Seahawks the Saints are going to be affected because of the lack of fans in the stadium. But unlike the Seahawks, the Superdome not only provides energy to the Saints but it also makes it impossible for the other team’s offense to hear. Because the Superdome is a closed environment sound stays within the stadium and therefore that amount of noise impedes opponents offenses to hear the snap count and sometimes even the play that they are supposed to run. So even though the NFL has allowed stadiums to play noise during the game the feeling and the loudness won’t be the same, and probably teams won’t be as uncomfortable playing there as before.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are the only team planning to start a rookie QB on week 1. But what most people don’t know is the time of adjustment it takes from playing in College to the NFL. Usually, when people draft a QB they let him sit on the bench for some time, for them to be able to have a better transition, and that is taking in count that Training Camp normally begins in late April. So not only are they going to need Joe Burrow to start on game one right away, but they are going to need him to have a good transition taking in count that the adjustment period was less than 2 months without any preseason games or combined practices with other teams. So for Joe, that week one and probably the first games on the season are going to be tough. But for the Bengals luck in 3 of their 4 initial games, they are playing against teams that were below .500 including the jaguars who just got rid of all of their star players. So that might be an advantage for Joe Burrow’s adjustment to the NFL.