NFL 2012: FinallyI'm back and so is Football! The sweet smell of pigskin and perspiration is in the air (the latter being not so sweet). I always wonder how I survive the long dreary and dry months between seasons. NFL news and the draft just don't do it for me especially when the news is full of concussion related stuff (the scary reality of the nature of this sport is too much for me. I want blissful ignorance). Anyway, I'm ready for some football and I have some things I'll be watching out for in this coming NFL season.
- Will Payton Manning's neck snap and will his head fall off? This is the most cringeworthy story to watch. Every game he gets hit I'll be watching for signs of problems. Now that he's in Denver I'll see more of his games since I'm in the Mountain time zone. I used to be upset that my AFC Sunday afternoon game was always Denver. Now I'll be morbidly interested in these games.
- Which rookie quarterbacks will play well and which ones will be yanked or knocked out the fastest? I like Wilson in Seattle.Reminds me of Drew Brees. I'm interested in Luck and Griffin.Will the talent we saw last year in those guys shine this year? The speed of the NFL often turns good looking college QBs into sniveling piles of crappy signal callers. Think back to the fantastic college careers of Vince Young and Matt Leinart. Now think of their NFL careers. Yikes. The two that I'm guessing will crash and burn the fastest are Tannehill and Weeden. But the games have yet to be played and maybe they'll surprise me.
- Will 5,000 yards be as easy as it was last year? Brady, Stafford, Brees all got there and others came close. I like the passing game a lot but it is getting ridiculous out there.
- How fast will my Rams regret not taking Griffin III once Sam Bradford takes the field. One game? Two? The idea on passing on Griffin was that Bradford just needs a team around him and that last year was an anomaly. But have you watched him pass the ball in the past year and a half? It's ugly. He's inaccurate and skittish. I'm doubtful that he can become what he's hope to be.
- Will Justin Blackmon become a TD beast or a TD bust? Some of the most amazing catches I've ever seen in college came from this guy. He's not super tall but his arms are freakishly long. He'll play longer than he is.
- Can Austin Collie stay on the field? Not a major story for all, but since I've followed him since college I'm on the Austin Collie head watch as well. That guy has the worst luck with the angle of hits. He was on his way to being a breakout receiver for Manning two years ago and then the Colt horseshoe became unlucky for him. Manning was done in Indy just as he was becoming his favorite target and then concussions came one after another. Now he's one head shot away from retirement in his 20s.
- Who will claim title as best back this year? It's gone back and forth past few years. Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, Maurice Jones Drew. Most of the time rushing yards can tell you who had the best year but it's not necessarily the rushing champion who always has the best year. If the Back has lots of yards and blows everyone away with yards per average and TDs then that's a better indication of his prowess. Lots of contenders this year. The group mentioned above of course as well as Jamaal Charles (high yds per carry), Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Murray, Lynch, and some other sleepers could make a run for it. I think Foster and Charles if they stay healthy have the best shot this season.
- Is it another monster season for Tight Ends? Gronkowski and Graham had breakout years last year with wide receiver numbers. Those two firmly yanked the title of best tight ends in the game from Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and Tony Gonzalez (who are still good but are a bit older and show some signs of fading).
- Will Revis Island still rule in NY? Revis is the best corner I've seen in a long time but their window for dominance is short unless your name is Deion Sanders or Darrell Green.
- Will this be a weird year where the Baltimore offense is better than their defense? I'm not sure how long Lewis and Reed can anchor that defense and keep it dominant.
- Will Ndamukong Suh avoid the wrong kind of headlines this year? That guy was the definition of bad press last year.
Should be fun again this year.
Picks for the first week:
Giants over Cowboys (oops)
Bears over the Colts
Lions over the Rams
Eagles over the Browns
Patriots over the Titans (the Pats have a ridiculously easy schedule.....Again.!)
Chiefs over the Falcons
Vikings over the Jags
Saints over the Redskins
Bills over the Jets
Texans over the Dolphins
Packers over the 49ers
Seahawks over the Cardinals
Panthers over the Bucs
Steelers over the Brocos
Bengals over the Ravens
Raiders over the Chargers
Predictions for the year. It will be funny to look at these a few months from now.
NFC East: Giants
NFC North: Packers
NFC South: Saints
NFC West: 49ers
AFC East: Patriots
AFC North: Steelers
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Denver (if Manning's healthy, if not this is the worst pick of the bunch).
NFC Wild Cards: Cowboys, Bears
AFC Wild Cards: Ravens, Raiders
Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Packers. Packers the winner.