It’s a good thing the lockout ended or else NFL fans would be climbing the walls trying to get their weekly fix in. When it comes to the NFL ,sports fans has some sort of an opinion on what will happen, what players will shine or bust, and who will go to the Super Bowl.
Since the NFL officially begins when the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints go at each other in a head-to-head matchup, I guess I might as well drop my thoughts on how the season will turn out.
Super Bowl Contenders
Philadelphia Eagles. Forget about the preseason. Michael Vick is ready to do his thing and lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. With several key defensive acquisitions after the lockout ceased, Vick and the Eagles will be hard to beat. Vick settles in as the leader of the team.
After snapping up the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award for his play last season, Vick is motivated and ready to prove to his critics that he is the best player in the league. Unlike past seasons, the Eagles are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Vick is not the only big baller the Eagles have.
Big things are expected from wide receiver DeSean Jackson and free agent stud Nnamdi Asomugha. Vick and the Eagles will fly all the way to the Super Bowl, dismissing all the haters along the way.
San Diego Chargers. This is the year coach Norv Turner and quarterback Philip Rivers finally break through the rough terrain of the AFC Conference and find themselves in the title game. Everyone knows about the Chargers’ feared aerial attack with Rivers on his way to shattering all of the team’s passing records.
The difference between this season and the last several years is that bthe Chargers will finally have a healthy, bruising running game to compliment Rivers and his deep core of wide receivers. Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert will be giving people headaches all year. On the flip side of the ball, hard-driving, tough-as-nails safety Bob Sanders will generate the type of defensive intensity that could finally carry the Chargers to the championship game.
Pittsburg Steelers. Intimidation. Fear. Hard hits. Swagger. There’s something about this Black and Yellow thing that makes people cringe when they line up against the Pittsburg Steelers. Taking a page from their coach Mike Tomlin, their no-nonsense leader, the Steelers are a team of maulers, rough house shakers and no-frills bunch of tough guys.
When you play the Steelers, you’d had better bring your lunch pail because it’s going to be a long day of bruises, hard knocks and pain. The Steelers are a radical bunch of guys that thrive on creating chaos, confusion and instigating fear in opponents. Safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison, running back Rashard Mendenhall and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are the playmakers for the Steelers.
Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback Donovan McNabb has had haters since he came into the league. He was openly booed on NFL Draft day when he became a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb took the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. It wasn’t good enough for his critics.
McNabb has been one of the best quarterback in the league (bar last season with the Washington Redskins) for the last seven to eight years. Yet, for some strange reason, McNabb doesn’t get the recognition and praise he deserves. Hopefully, after leading the Vikings to the NFC title game (where they’ll eventually lose to Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles), McNabb will have silenced his critics once and for all. McNabb will have his best season as a pro.
Wannabes and Pretenders
Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Matt Ryan needs to produce. After getting whipped by Green Bay and folding in the playoffs last year, this overhyped signal-caller can’t just skate on easy street any more because of the talent around him. Ryan has more playmakers than Michael Vick ever did, and he still can’t get it done in the postseason. The drought continues.
Baltimore Ravens. Joe Flacco is not the answer at quarterback. He’s too inconsistent. Linebacker Ray Lewis, the heart and soul of the Ravens, isn’t getting younger.
New England Patriots. Three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady is still feared. He’s a master field technician and can sill light it up through the air. But the glory days are fading fast.
Washington Redskins. Rex Grossman beating out John Beck for the starting quarterback position is headlines. Really?Please.
Indianapolis Colts. Talk about dumber and dumber. Why would you pay Peyton Manning or any other player $90 million dollars coming off of three neck surgeries? Having had my own football career permanently interrupped because of a car accident which left three of my vertabraes separated from my spine, Manning not being able to play for “awhile” simply means potentially career ending.
Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints. Resilient. Tough. Talent-heavy. But at the end of the day both teams will turn out to be one-hit wonders.
Most Valuable Player: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles; Runner-up: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Comeback Player of the Year: Donovan McNabb, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Bust of the Year: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Super Bowl Picks: Eagles, Chargers