What-If Wednesday, Part 4: One Guy Away

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Write October 27th down in the record books, the NFL finally got something right! This Sunday’s prime time was great, even without Patrick Mahomes. Aaron Rodgers had one of the best throws I have ever seen, but that’s not what we are here to talk about; buckle up and get ready for What-If Wednesday Part 4. This week we will be talking about the Raiders, Bears, Eagles, Panthers, and Colts.


Oakland Raiders (3-4)


Big surprise, the Antonio Brown trade didn’t work out. Thankfully for the city of Oakland, that trade didn’t destroy them. The Khalil Mack trade is another story. We aren’t here to chew the fat about Oakland’s front office, though. Derek Carr has been good this year, mostly because of their rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Sure, their defense needs work, but let’s make this offense even more potent and give them an All-Pro wide receiver.

Anyone who follows ESPN, Bleacher Report, or Sports Illustrated on social media saw that moment in 2014. As the ball flies over his head, Odell Beckham Jr. reaches back and makes the best catch in recent memory. But putting OBJ on this team isn’t just about his talent; not only will he improve their receiving core (by a lot), he will also bring the Raiders back to “big-market status” just like they were in the early 80’s. The Beckham Jr. addition will help bring the team back to primetime status, but will also make them an easy 10-6 squad.


Chicago Bears (3-4)


Just before I start, I want to offer Bears fans my condolences. I tried to defend Tribusky, I thought maybe he would be mediocre and be a good QB on a defense-dominated team. Unfortunately for Chicago, trading up to pass on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson was a blemish that will stick with the franchise until the end of the era, maybe even beyond. We know what the Bears need--if you were watching the game, you could hear the fans tell you by the boos that were rocking Soldier Field on the team’s way to the locker room. The Bears need a new QB yesterday.

The Bears only have a few years to be good, Mack’s contract has five years left, their rookie running back still has a limited lifespan, and Allen Robinson isn’t going to be healthy forever. Their new QB, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, is the same way. With the all-time leader in passing yards leading the new Matt Nagy offense, this Bears team rips through their tough division, winning 12 games as a Super Bowl contender.


Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)


After a dominant win at Buffalo on a cold Sunday afternoon, the Eagles are in a prime position to take control of their division. This team has a great quarterback, a sneaky good running game, and mediocre wide receivers. But, we aren’t here to make this offense any more dangerous. This week, the Eagles had to start Bruce Hector opposite Fletcher Cox. Never heard of him? Me neither. That's because he was pulled from the practice squad to start for Philly this week. This Eagles team badly needs another defensive tackle, and Geno Atkins is just the guy.

Atkins has been a mainstay for the Bengals defense for his whole career. The veteran defensive tackle would be a great addition for the defense and also a great addition to the locker room. Atkins has had 74 sacks throughout his career, and with Fletcher Cox as his partner, he would pad those stats even more. With Atkins filling a badly needed hole in the defense, the Eagles are on their way to an easy eleven win season.


Carolina Panthers (4-3)


A rough loss to the undefeated 49ers isn’t going to slow the Kyle Allen hype train down anytime soon. Not only that, Christian McCaffery can carry an offense, way easier than Allen can and he is doing just that. McCaffery is having a career season for this Carolina team. The Panthers offense is so close to serviceable, but their defense needs an upgrade. 

If Patriots superstar Stephon Gilmore was thrown into the Carolina uniform, he immediately becomes Luke Kuechly’s partner in crime. Kuechly is the clear leader of the defense, but with a former Bill Belichick defensive all-star, this defensive becomes a loud, potent beast. Gilmore can sniff out the other team’s best receiver and shut him down, something that would be nice when playing the Saints, a divisional rival.


Indianapolis Colts (5-2)


I don’t want to brag, but in my NFL preview for The Campus Citizen, I called the Colts being pretty good. I mean after all, I’m just a humble guy with great opinions. After the loss of Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett took this team and turned it into what it is today. To quote Commissioner Gordon, “Because he’s the hero [Indianapolis] deserves…” (Note: This quote has been adjusted). After Luck decided to throw in the towel, Indy didn’t deserve to be tortured as a sports town any more and because of Brissett, it’s not. Unfortunately for the Colts, this underdog team won’t last forever, so let's give them that little boost to truly become a contender.

The Colts have a great offensive line protecting Brissett and he already has T.Y. Hilton and Marlin Mack to dump it off to, but what if he had another receiver? What if Brissett had Tyreek Hill? Sure, Hill has had some problems off the field, and he’s also had a down season thanks to the injuries Mahomes is currently suffering. Wearing the blue and white, speedster Tyreek Hill would run circles around defenders and while he’s doing that, the Colts will keep running defenders around their division.

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