On Football: 32 recipes for tasty and inedible seasons


By BARRY WILNER - AP Pro Football Writer



FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. Hopkins may be a perfect fit for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. Hopkins may be a perfect fit for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)


FILE - Seattle strong safety Jamal Adams (33) reacts during NFL football practice in Renton, Wash., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Seahawks hope the Legion of Boom is reincarnated with Jamal Adams. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP, File)


FILE - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. Jackson hopes to lead the Ravens to the postseason. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)


It’s Labor Day weekend, when every team has a perfect record and spouts optimistic claims of reaching untold heights, energizing their fan base.

Some of them actually might be on target.

Others are dreaming. Of course, when you haven’t lost a game yet, why not?

Here are recipes for a tasty season or an inedible one for each of the 32 teams.

AFC WEST

KANSAS CITY — A repeat of nearly everything from 2019, with a stingier defense, OR the dreaded “We’ve already won it” syndrome.

DENVER — The Orange Crush and all the new speed on offense make the Broncos formidable, OR John Elway’s drafting woes resurface.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS — Sixth overall draft pick Justin Herbert is their franchise QB, OR Philip Rivers leaving is more traumatic than being second-class citizens in LA.

LAS VEGAS — A gorgeous new home is just the tonic for the Raiders, OR they miss the Black Hole so much they can’t get anything right for Jon Gruden.

NFC WEST

SAN FRANCISCO — Like KC, a repeat of 2019, but with a staunch D in the Super Bowl’s fourth quarter, OR the malaise that tends to hit title game losers runs rampant.

SEATTLE — Russell Wilson finally gets some MVP recognition and the Legion of Boom is reincarnated with Jamal Adams, OR the Seahawks can’t run the ball or rush the passer.

ARIZONA — DeAndre Hopkins is a perfect fit for the Cardinals’ offense while the defense steps up, OR the Cardinals still can’t stop people and lose a bunch of shootouts.

LOS ANGELES RAMS — Sean McVay can outcoach opponents despite a less talented roster, OR all of the departures drop LA into the basement.

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE — Lamar Jackson is the unanimous league MVP again, and carries such performances into the playoffs, OR Jackson’s game simply isn’t built for the postseason.

PITTSBURGH — The Steel Curtain has returned to dominate, OR Ben Roethlisberger is a shell of the potential Hall of Fame QB of earlier in his career.

CLEVELAND — Discord and dissension disappear under new coach Kevin Stefanski, OR nothing changes and the Browns severely underachieve once more.

CINCINNATI — Joe Burrow brings the winning ways from the Bayou and it catches on, OR, uh, Same Old Bungles.

NFC NORTH

MINNESOTA — Dalvin Cook stays healthy and dominant behind a solid O-line, OR Everson Griffen, Stefon Diggs and other departures can’t be overcome.

GREEN BAY — The 13-3 record and close wins of last season truly are representative of these Packers, OR A-Rod is so ticked by the drafting of a quarterback that he wants out.

DETROIT — Matt Patricia shows his defensive genius wasn’t left in Foxborough, OR he continues to show it was.

CHICAG0 — Discovering that drafting Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Mahomes wasn’t a mistake, OR discovering it was a franchise-size flop.

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON — J.J. Watt stays healthy and tears apart offenses like in his prime, OR the trade of Hopkins to Arizona is a fiasco for the Texans.

TENNESSEE — Derrick Henry runs for about 2,000 yards and a bunch of TDs and the defense solidifies, OR Ryan Tannehill returns to looking like a backup and the D struggles.

INDIANAPOLIS — All the talent gathered over the past few years coalesces under underrated coach Frank Reich, OR the Colts overestimated what Rivers has left.

JACKSONVILLE — We’re searching for a way out of the basement; can’t find it, OR the Jaguars are even worse than we think.

NFC SOUTH

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees and Michael Thomas remain unstoppable and that improving defense is even better, OR Brees, 41, is too old to be heroic any longer.

TAMPA BAY — Tom Brady is, well, Tom Brady, and guides the Buccaneers toward the top, OR Brady, 43, is too old to be heroic any longer.

ATLANTA — What clicked in 2016 does so again, saving the jobs of coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff, OR the Falcons keep on fading into obscurity.

CAROLINA — Matt Rhule is a master builder and turns a young, relatively untested group into winners, OR the Panthers are the least talented team in the NFC.

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND — Bill Belichick really was the genius behind the Patriots Dynasty, OR it was Brady all along who had the magic touch, not the coach.

BUFFALO — The Bills are the someone else to finally win the division, OR Buffalo reverts to falling short again, this time in a weakened sector.

MIAMI — Tua Time comes early and is a terrific show, OR first-round draftee Tua Tagovailoa remains injury impacted.

NEW YORK JETS — A bunch of no-name receivers and defenders burst into prominence, OR Adam Gase is the wrong coach for QB Sam Darnold — or vice-versa.

NFC EAST

DALLAS — New coach Mike McCarthy has just the touch Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott need, OR owner Jerry Jones starts looking for Jimmy Johnson’s phone number.

PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz plays a full season and playoffs, sparking an offensive resurgence, OR Wentz can’t stay on the field and the Eagles’ grit isn’t enough.

NEW YORK GIANTS — Somebody takes charge on a defense missing playmakers, relieving some burden on the offense, OR that D is a Meadowlands mess.

WASHINGTON — Ron Rivera is able to change not only the culture but the on-field results, OR nothing changes for the team with (for now) no name.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

FILE – In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. Hopkins may be a perfect fit for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/09/web1_125425086-3f7a5db7548a4eb69b99e48364bff3a6.jpgFILE – In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game in Houston. Hopkins may be a perfect fit for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

FILE – Seattle strong safety Jamal Adams (33) reacts during NFL football practice in Renton, Wash., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Seahawks hope the Legion of Boom is reincarnated with Jamal Adams. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/09/web1_125425086-42e926694ac64fa7b5bcd50c756c1c16.jpgFILE – Seattle strong safety Jamal Adams (33) reacts during NFL football practice in Renton, Wash., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Seahawks hope the Legion of Boom is reincarnated with Jamal Adams. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP, File)

FILE – Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. Jackson hopes to lead the Ravens to the postseason. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/09/web1_125425086-a86ae7e98ea74ea3baff6a44d78f4bf6.jpgFILE – Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. Jackson hopes to lead the Ravens to the postseason. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

By BARRY WILNER

AP Pro Football Writer