NFL Season Preview

Morgan Vogels, Sports Editor

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The start of the NFL season comes with a lot of speculation. After the NFL made a splash in the media throughout the preseason, the season is sure to be an entertaining one. Throughout the past few weeks, injuries have plagued several teams, with two big name quarterbacks announced as physically unable to perform after suffering injuries in the preseason. This upset the power rankings and will make for an interesting season.

Things were just starting to look up for both the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. After winning the NFC North last year, the Vikings were hoping for Adrian Peterson to dominate from the backfield again, while spreading out their offense with a cast of talented receivers. Unfortunately, this expectation was shattered when Teddy Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL in a non-contact drill during practice. After trading a 2017 first round draft pick and a 2018 fourth round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to pick up the 2010 number one draft pick, Sam Bradford, the Vikings will choose between Bradford and Bridgewater’s backup, Shaun Hill, for the starting job. Although they still have Adrian Peterson and a dominant defense, thanks to head coach Mike Zimmer, their chances at a Super Bowl appearance have been diminished. The same is true for the Dallas Cowboys after losing their starting QB Tony Romo to a fracture in his back. Romo has avoided being placed on the injured reserve, hoping to play as early as six weeks from now. In the meantime, the Cowboys will rely on rookie quarterback Dak Prescott until Romo is healthy again.

Even though the Vikings and Cowboys may struggle due to their quarterback woes, it’s looking like the season will be dominated by the NFC. Four of the five teams in the current power rankings are NFC teams. The Carolina Panthers took the top spot following their appearance in last year’s Super Bowl, followed by the Arizona Cardinals, the Green Bay Packers, and the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots should shine, regardless of the Tom Brady “Deflate Gate” four game suspension, but the rest of the AFC is up in the air. The Bengals and Steelers are in a position to have a decent season along with the Raiders and the Chiefs. The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are starting Trevor Siemian at quarterback after Peyton Manning’s retirement, which could pose a challenge.

The middle of the rankings are where both the Vikings and the Cowboys sit, along with the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and the Baltimore Ravens. Upon losing powerhouse receiver Calvin Johnson to retirement, the Lions will have a hard time keeping up a good season. They do have a chance to surprise us, though, with some of their off-season acquisitions. But, these teams should all fare better than teams like the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, and the newly transitioned Los Angeles Rams.

With all of the Colin Kaepernick drama, it’s been tough for the 49ers to stay focused. They’re putting all of their faith in Blaine Gabbert. The Browns are starting RG3, which should be exciting, but their weak offensive line will be difficult for him to work with, and their defense is shaky, which is not a good sign either. The only team that looks even worse than these two is the Rams. After the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles, things are not looking much better than they were before. They’re starting Case Keenum, which means they’ll probably be reliant on Todd Gurley to carry the team, literally.

Who’s going to come out on top this year? It’s up for grabs. In the end it will all make for an entertaining NFL season, which is what we all want, right?

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