NFL Expectations

by James Darby


Who’s ready for some football? Yes the NFL is back and that means  millions of Americans will be spending the next seventeen Sundays glued to their televisions and electronic devices watching every snap, every tackle, and every touchdown. It has seemed like forever since we last saw the Denver Broncos beat up on Cam Newton and the Panthers in last years Super Bowl, but with the offseason being rather entertaining for the NFL it did seem to help take some of the thoughts of wanting actual football back. Fans of the NFL got to see the Rams return to Los Angeles for the first time since the 1994 season, and draft quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the draft. The draft in my perspective was rather entertaining seeing Goff go to Los Angeles and also seeing where other college stars were going to be ending up. I believe the Cowboys hit a homerun by drafting Ezekiel Elliot with the fourth overall pick as he looks to be a nice fit behind that rejuvenated Dallas Cowboy’s offensive line. The offseason also allowed us to see some  high profile players change teams like Robert Griffin III, Brock Osweiler, and Chris Ivory. It should be another action packed, hard hitting season for the NFL and here are some of my expectations for  teams and players. 
      With this being week one of the NFL expectations are high for every team and player, but there are a couple teams I think you can expect to surprise some people this season. I expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to surprise everybody this season and win ten games. Gus Bradley will be entering his fourth season as head coach and though last seasons win total of five was his most so far in a season, I really like the talent that has come together in Jacksonville. Blake Bortles will be looking to improve of his career year last season in which he threw thirty-five touchdowns. That’s just as many as Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, and Cam Newton had last season. Bortles will have some nice targets to look for again with Andre Robinson looking like he can be a top ten wide receiver. Along with Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas I really do expect to see this Jaguars offense take off and win the AFC South. With that being said I do not expect the Jaguars to make it to the Super Bowl but I do see the Pittsburg Steelers making it and I expect Ben Roethlisberger to have one of his best seasons in his career. Big Ben was limited at times last season due to injuries, but if he can stay healthy this season, and find his number one man Antonio Brown I could see Roethlisberger being mention for his first MVP. Besides brown Roethlisberger has other great targets like Markus Wheaton, who will most liekly miss the opener due to a right shoulder injury. That shouldn’t slow down one of the best offenses in the game though as Roethlisberger will still have Darrius Heyward-Bey, who can be a good deep threat option for Big Ben and the Steelers. Even Tightend Jesse James, the second year pro out of Penn State could be a nice target for Roethlisberger. With all these big and fast targets, and a running game that will give defensive coordinators head aches, I expect Ben Roethlisberger to have a huge year. Maybe not just regular season MVP, but maybe a  Super Bowl MVP for Big Ben? 
          With expectations there can be sometime negative expectations. You can have bad expectations on movies, restaurants, and even in the NFL. You could expect a team like the New York Jets to be bad this season. Do I see the Jets being bad because of the talent they have ? No, but more the fact of chemistry and how a team stays together. Brandon Marshall is a key figure into this as when you look through out Marshall’s playing career, three of the four teams he has  played for have had a winning record in their first season with Marshall on their team. After the first season though, Marshall never saw a winning season with the Broncos or the Bears. So here we are again with Brandon Marshall and the Jets. In his first season last year with the Jets they  went 10-6. This year I expect the New York Jets to go 7-9. The Jets have a very tough schedule at the beginning with match ups like the Bengals, Seahawks, and Steelers. I don’t believe Ryan Fitzpatrick will be able to duplicate last years success and from having Brandon Marshall in Chicago when the Bears were loosing, I learned that Marshall can turn into a distraction and not a true team player. The evidence to that is the fact that he has been traded three times and every trade came after a loosing season. 
        Cheer again America, football is back! A season full of questions looking for answers awaits everyone. How will Sam Bradford do in Minnesota? Will Jordy Nelson be able to be Aaron Rodgers number one guy again? Will the Raiders post their first winning season since 2002? All these answers await us over the next few months, so grab your seat on the couch and start making your groove into it, make sure all Sunday Chores are done before kick off and get read to watch some football. If one has to be sad about football, it could be that this will be the first opening week since 2002  that neither Tom Brady or Peyton Manning will be starting a game. But hey, you will Brady in a month, and you will see Manning on the Directv commercials. 


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