The first regular season NFL games begin tomorrow. Hallelujah.
We’ve survived a long off-season and now can finally count down the minutes until our favourite athletes are under the bright lights. All excitement put aside, there’s many questions coming into play before anyone hits the field. Here’s some to get you excited (or worried) for the festivities this Sunday.
- Will the Browns be less laughable this season?
The Browns went 1-31 in the past two seasons, and only had one winning season in the past 15 years (2007, 10-6). But fans believe change is in the air, as a new bulk of talent and management could put things in the right direction. The new General Manager, John Dorsey, has been busy shaking up and creating a new roster this off-season. Former Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and rookie/first overall draft Baker Mayfield will duke it out for QB1. Other strong additions include running back Carlos Hyde, and defensive backs Terrance Mitchell and Damarious Randall.
The confidence is definitely there, as wide receiver Jarvis Landry believes they could have more than a winning season “”If we get everyone playing to their potential, we can win the Super Bowl this year” said Landry “You’ll be lucky if we don’t score 30 on you” (Sports Illustrated). Aggressive, but it might be the headspace the Browns need if they’re to break this curse.
- Will this be Eli Manning’s last year as the Giants quarterback?
Manning’s stats have been circling the drain recently, with 13 interceptions last season. Though not fully his fault, as the Super Bowl winning quarterback lost some of his main targets Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr to season-ending injuries.
Head office deliberately wants to compensate last season’s 3-13 record. The Giants acquired Nate Solder to the offensive line as well as drafting star running back rookie Saquon Barkley to the mix. As Manning heads into his 15th season, he has everything to prove with this new group, we’ll see if he can keep up with what he calls a “one year at a time league”
- How will the Patriots fair without Julian Edelman?
A four game suspension for wide receiver Edelman means a shake up in the offensive realm for the Patriots. There’s no clear rookie out to take this spot, but instead it looks that Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett and Cordarelle Patterson are expected to step up. With a questionable future on where he will go or what he will do after this season, expect tight end Rob Gronkowski to step up to reach his lucrative incentives. These include (but are not limited too): finishing the season with 70 or more catches, or playing 80% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps. These money grabs could pay him out an extra $4.3 million this year. Reaching/exceeding these stats will also provide him leveraging power for where he may want to play his final years, or how much he will make in them.
At the end of the day, the Patriots are lucky their first four games are mostly against weak teams, (Texans, Jaguars, Lions, Dolphins). The only one in this mix that should worry them is the Jaguars, after their near loss to them in the AFC finals. As they still pulled off a win then, one can assume Belichick will have tricks up his sleeve to stay undefeated these first four games.
- What to really expect from the Rams?
In 2016, the Rams has a dismal season of 4-12. In 2017, with new head coach John McVay, they transformed that to a winning season of 11-5. One of the quickest turn arounds the league has ever seen; and they didn’t slow down this off-season. At quarterback, Jared Goff is going into his third season, after passing 3,804 yards and throwing 28 touchdowns last season. Running back Todd Gurley is also coming off as one of the best (if not the best) running back in the league, and Aaron Donald coming off last season as the Defensive Player of the Year. The Rams continued to built up their team with more veteran talent added; such as defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and corner back Aqib Talib. Its their year to make their strongest playoff run
- Will Foles prove he belongs as starter?
He put on a show against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and played under the pressure like a harp- but could Foles the future of the champions franchise? Head Coach Doug Pederson announced that Foles will be QB1 this Thursday for the Eagles. Carson Wentz playing 11-11 drills with the team but has yet to be completely cleared by the Eagles medical team, but his nine-month mark will come mid-September. This gives Foles a “get out of jail free” card to play his game, without the heavy mental bearing of feeling like he could be subbed out anytime. But how will Philadelphia’s wonder boy act when he’s not on the world stage? Is he ready or will this be a band aid solution until Wentz is cleared? We expect it won’t be long until Wentz is in the drivers’ seat, but it will be a show to watch until then.
Season starts tomorrow. Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles, 9:20 p.m. EST. Be there.