It’s Labor Day weekend, when every NFL 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, broken down by divisions:
KANSAS CITY: A repeat of nearly everything from 2019, with a stingier defense for the reigning Super Bowl champions, 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.
L.A. CHARGERS: Sixth overall draft pick Justin Herbert is their franchise QB, OR Philip Rivers leaving is more traumatic than being second-class citizens in Los Angeles.
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.
SAN FRANCISCO: Like Kansas City, a repeat of 2019 for the reigning NFC champions, but with a staunch defense 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 offense while the defense steps up, OR the Cardinals still can’t stop people and lose a bunch of shootouts.
L.A. RAMS: Sean McVay can outcoach opponents despite a less talented roster, OR all of the departures drop the Rams into the basement two years after a Super Bowl run.
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.
MINNESOTA: Dalvin Cook stays healthy and dominant behind a solid O-line, OR the departures of Everson Griffen, Stefon Diggs and others 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.
CHICAGO: Discovering that drafting Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Mahomes wasn’t a mistake, OR discovering it was a franchise-sized flop.
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 touchdowns and the defense solidifies, OR Ryan Tannehill returns to looking like a backup QB 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.
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 the 43-year-old QB who won six Super Bowl titles with New England is too old to be heroic any longer.
ATLANTA: What clicked in 2016 does so again, saving the jobs of coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, OR the Falcons keep on fading into obscurity.
CAROLINA: New coach 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.
NEW ENGLAND: Bill Belichick really was/is the genius behind the 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 draft pick Tagovailoa remains impacted by the injury from his final season at Alabama last fall.
N.Y. 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.
DALLAS: New coach Mike McCarthy has just the touch Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott need, OR longtime team owner Jerry Jones starts looking for Jimmy Johnson’s phone number.
PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz plays a full season and the playoffs, sparking an offensive resurgence, OR Wentz can’t stay on the field and the Eagles’ grit isn’t enough.
N.Y. 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 nickname.