What can you expect this NFL season
It’s almost here.
After a tumultuous offseason that seemed to center on yet again, another cheating scandal, fans can finally get excited for some NFL action. Teams have started reporting to training camp while players are showing up every day, getting ready for another season of some hard-hitting fun.
There’s much to look forward to this season, especially after how last season finished and the moves made during the offseason including the draft. Every fan comes in optimistic before the season with the slate wiped clean for all 32 teams. Everyone has a shot at the Super Bowl until the first snap of Week 1, giving fans continued hope during the season or those wishing it was already hockey season.
While the Hall of Fame doesn’t arrive for another two weeks and the preseason festivities follow shortly, here are three things I’m most anxious about as players continue arriving at training camp.
How much do Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have left before calling it a career?
After breaking Brett Favre’s touchdown record, Manning has nothing else left to prove except for one thing — performing great in the clutch. Compared to his rival, Brady, Manning hasn’t fared too well in the playoffs, making only one Super Bowl appearance since arriving in Denver. But under a new coach this season, things are looking up for the Broncos but everything, again, will rest on Manning’s shoulders.
Brady, on the other hand, captured his third Super Bowl amid a cheating scandal involving low-pressurized footballs before the AFC title game. Low pressure, the right pressure or even high pressure, Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. We either love him or hate him, but like Manning, how much does Brady have left to offer the NFL?
Will the NFC West be the best division in football?
If there were two extra wild cards this season, every team in the NFC West could make the playoffs. One wild card might even have a better record than a division winner.
But the West, which prides itself on defense, looks formidable once again.
Seattle is the top team in the division, but Arizona was close behind last year and if not for several major injuries at quarterback, the Cardinals could have faced the Seahawks in the playoffs. The 49ers disappointed last year but under a new coach, they could either keep going down the same path or change the stars and let their quarterback perform like he did when he arrived on the stage three years ago. And the Rams finally got rid of their cold sore at quarterback, who was more injury prone than your big toe getting stepped on. But they only way for St. Louis to move is up after finishing last in the division.
How about an encore, Josh Mauga?
It was a risky gamble signing Fallon’s Josh Mauga last summer for the Chiefs? After injuries plagued him in New York, Mauga went through extensive physical therapy and conditioning, thanks in part to ex-Fallon teammate Tyler Simper. Ironically, though, it was an injury that allowed Mauga to come back onto the scene and start in every game last year.
After Joe Mays went down in the preseason, Mauga stepped up at linebacker and led the team in tackles despite Kansas City falling short of the playoffs. The Chiefs rewarded the ex-Wolf Pack linebacker with a three-year contract, which begs the question, how will Mauga handle his second season in the starting role?
Expect Mauga to be more fine-tuned on defense and don’t be surprised to hear his name more often on Sundays.
Another quarterback showdown in the AFC is inevitable with Manning and Brady, but who will come on top or will both succumb to injury? Will the Seahawks be the best again or will some team finally dethroned Seattle and its 12th-man curse it’s placed on the rest of the opposition? And will Mauga continue to progress in the NFL and become one of the best linebackers in the game?
All these questions beg answers but we’ll have to wait as the season is around the corner. It’s about time.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.