A Fan’s Guide to the NFL Pre-Season
~ Amy Lignor
Fans… Are you ready for some football? No offense against any other sport, but the most watched is getting nearer. The camps have begun and it’s time to gear up for, what many assume, will be one of the most turbulent and exciting NFL seasons ever.
It is news time, shopping time, event time. If you ask the New York Giants’ fans, it is even the time to
make grandstands bend under the weight of them all who show up to nab autographs from big names. Official blogs are up and running, and, as always with this mobile world, apps can be downloaded for each team. Official websites are where to get tickets, rosters, pre-season schedules, and head to the team stores to make sure that your “Cheesehead” is brand new before Aaron gets that first ball thrown for a touchdown.
Already the “experts” out there are putting their first stamp on the season regarding the pros, cons and eventual winners. Here is one quick list to let the debates begin:
Bills: Can Rex Ryan do it as coach? He has all the right people to work with, but QB Mark Cassel is the one to watch. With him on target, the Bills have a shot.
Dolphins: Tannehill is the key here…the exhausted key, because his “potential” seems to be as fictional as “The Hobbit.”
Patriots: It’s important to note that every time something controversial happens, Brady, Gronk, and his guys never waver. Will they be Super Bowl bound again? Yes.
Jets: The Lombardi is as distant for this team as Oz is to everyone but Dorothy.
Ravens: WR Steve Smith is getting older by the minute, but one awesome season last year could definitely flow into another.
Bengals: They do have it all. Look closely; solid receivers, a defense that delivers, good running game. What don’t they have? A QB they can trust. Andy Dalton has to shine.
Browns: They broke the bank for “Johnny Football,” and the sting is not over.
Steelers: QB is ready; the defense needs to be ready too. But the Steel Curtain definitely has the best shot at taking the AFC North.
Texans: Defensive tools will be standouts, but…QB Hoyer will (again) have to improve for his offense to make a mark.
Colts: In Indianapolis, Gore needs to run and Andy Luck needs to send it flying. With this balance, the Colts take it.
Jaguars: Let’s just say, they have surprises up their sleeves that will make fans extremely happy.
Titans: An RB must come out of the woodwork for the Titans to see a shot. Trouble is, in the running department, they are running on empty.
Denver Broncos: They say Coach Kubiak will bring back the toughness. Manning is still great, but less numbers will appear on the scoreboard. Even with that, the Broncos will win.
Chiefs: Throw the ball down the field – not 10 yards, not 20…DOWN the field. Until that occurs, forget it.
Raiders: Learning. This team is in “building” mode and they are doing a heck of a good job at it. No shot at the Lombardi this time around, but soon. Very, very soon.
Chargers: The defense is good, just not good enough.
Cowboys: Never a dull moment. But will they pay for their huge losses and dumb payouts to a member who can’t even step on the field? McFadden is desperately needed to bring about a perfect season. Romo needs help.
Giants: May just own the second best offense in the NFL when all is said and done.
Eagles: The “in your face” to Dallas for stealing away the best RB in football is fun. Trouble is, they didn’t steal the best (or even second best, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) QB to go along with it.
Washington: RGIII is over. This season, fans will have to accept that.
Bears: Jay Cutler needs to awaken or simply go home. Chances are that “waking up” is not on Cutler’s radar.
Lions: Nine wins at the very most. Suh was necessary for the defense, and the Packers retain the driver’s seat.
Packers: An offense that cannot be stopped. Rogers is on track for the Super Bowl appearance AND the win, and he is surrounded by the best go-to guys in the NFL.
Vikings: Adrian Peterson has something to prove to fans and management. Will he? Yes. Will it be good enough? No.
Falcons: Dan Quinn HAS to fix the defense. As past Seattle defensive coordinator, he has the skill to do it. But every piece can’t be mended in one season.
Panthers: Cam Newton needs to be protected. This guy has proven he has a body as strong as Thor but, unfortunately, he is not a god.
Saints: Some say Brees will struggle; others say it’s his time. Either way, he should still be better than the rest in this division.
Buccaneers: QB Jameis Winston will be great on the field, but controversy awaits.
Cardinals: Sorry Seahawks fans, the QB has the power, and the defense has the ability to shove Seattle aside.
49ers: This should be interesting. Either a rehabilitation or a full-scale destruction.
Seahawks: Graham has been added but Marshawn Lynch will still get the plays. Carroll as head coach screwed up last year, and coming back will not happen.
Rams: The offense is nonexistent and that’s one side out of two that you definitely need.
Now, fans…let the debates begin!