Written and Media by Jonathan Barker[divide]
The regular season for the country’s most popular sport is about to begin! Some fans may say pre-season football has a lot in common with Who’s Line Is It Anyway? (because the points don’t matter). Although some drama may follow since the exhibition play allows coaches to experiment with unproven NFL players who are simply yearning to make a roster spot.
However, Tim Tebow will not be one of them after the Philadelphia Eagles cut the former Heisman Trophy winner on the final 53-man roster cut on Saturday. We learned after months of the “deflategate” controversy, Tom Brady is a free man and will play this weekend along with every other player. Don’t get me wrong, this off-season has some aspiring moments: Brett Favre cried at Lambeau Field for the first time since 2007, Johnny Manziel pledged to come up with a better touchdown celebration, and Geno Smith got punched in the jaw. I think I’m able to speak on behalf of most football fans when I say LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
The 2015 NFL season officially kicked off Thursday, September 12th in New England when the visiting Pittsburg Steelers failed to upset the defending champions. Tom Brady and the Patriots defeated The Steelers 28-21. The remaining teams will face off on Sunday before two games on Monday night: Philadelphia at Atlanta and Minnesota at San Francisco. With so many Week 1 games, how could anyone watch them all?
There is a lot to look forward to this season! We will find out if Sam Bradford can stay healthy (can you believe that on his last NFL game over half of our current GC student body was still in high school?). By the end of the season, we will know whether time has any effect on Adrian Peterson who hopes to return to his 2013 form. Then of course we will get to see Tampa Bay and Tennessee try to develop former Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were given the keys to their respective teams after being selected the first two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Every year some excitement is converted to disappointment all thanks to preseason injuries. You know like getting a season ending injury before the season actually starts? Unfortunately, that happened to a few key wide receivers including Bears’ seventh overall pick Kevin White, Panthers second-year Kelvin Benjamin, and Packers veteran Jordy Nelson. Regardless of what team you root for, it’s always a sad moment when a player’s future becomes jeopardized due to exhibition play. That’s like a highly trained soldier flying off to war only to be sent back after incurring a third-degree burn on the plane ride from spilled coffee.
Despite the loss of Jordy Nelson, my strong Packer bias will force me to again predict a fifth Lombardi Trophy for the city of Green Bay. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle earned a ticket for their third consecutive Super Bowl or even if the Cowboys or Cardinals were able to prove doubters wrong . In the AFC, look out for the Colts or even Kansas City to dethrone New England. Of course, Peyton Manning and the Broncos deserve to be in that discussion as well. Then again, who knows? The future Super Bowl winner could be flying under everyone’s radar, just as they plan on doing.
This article wouldn’t be finished unless I made some predictions. I think Jameis Winston has all the tools he needs for a convincing rookie campaign. The Offensive Rookie of the Year award has his name on it. On the defensive side, I think Browns rookie DT Danny Shelton is someone to look out for. Dez Bryant just got a new contract this offseason and he is going to prove he earned it. Without the running efforts of DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant will step into an even bigger role for the Dallas offense. There’s a reason he was my first fantasy pick this year. I’d be surprised if he didn’t get his first Offensive Player of the Year trophy this year. JJ Watt is an athletic freak and every quarterback in the league cringes at the sound of his name. I don’t know how he won’t be voted Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year. Lastly but not least, I think Andrew Luck is bound to have a breakout season that will officially throw his name into the great quarterback conversation with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers. I expect Luck to win MVP and possibly an AFC Championship. However, Aaron Rodgers comes out in the clutch in Super Bowl 50 and the Packers bring the Lombardi back to Titletown with a final score of 31-24. However, that’s just my opinion.
Overall, I’m looking forward to another exciting year of NFL football. We’ve had plenty of off-season and pre-season drama, so let’s get to the action!