With the new NFL season kicking off tonight fans across the nation are in excitement because FOOTBALL IS BACK. Could this be the year beloved team finally takes the next step? A fresh start for every organization, and as we have seen year in and out anything is possible. Certain teams may have better odds then others due to their passed production and off season acquisitions but I dare try your luck Vegas if you believe it’s as simple as that. Just last year saw a team that went 15-1, dominating the regular season, only to be upset and eliminated in their first playoff game. On the other side the squad that beat they went 9-7 in the regular season taking them having to win the final game of just to win their division and squeak into the playoffs, and this same team goes on to win the Super Bowl? This type of story line would be hard to believe if it were in the movies but the reality is it actually happened, surprising or not and that’s why we love this game or at least why I do. Of course as fans the icing on the cake or for me the ketchup on the side is to see you favorite hoist the Lombardi trophy. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, this is the opening week of the NFL season; Super Bowl talks are months away, but the journey begins now. I’m pumped as we all should be because the day we’ve all been waiting for is here. As I scroll down my Twitter feed I sense the excitement is through the roof. With soaring expectations we’re entering a new age in today’s pass happy league, but the formula of a strong defense to compliment that high powered offense is still the recipe for championships. In 2012 we have five rookie QB’s set to make their first start in the league and more then half of the leagues field generals are under the age of 25. Fair or not, with Cam Newton having a Lebron James like rookie campaign in record breaking fashion it will indisputably be a tough act to follow for these young QB’s. Growing pains are to be expected and loyalty will be tested in the fan bases of all these franchises around the league. One thing for sure is no one knows who will be that team that will emerge out of nowhere like that pimple on your forehead and eventually burst into championship form. Ok, I realize that was a gross and visual comparison but here is my point, the process of becoming a champion is not always a cake walk, sometimes it’s flat out ugly, but all worth it in the end, for the winner of course .The New York Football Giants proved that during both of their super bowl runs, but guess what they got the job done and you can’t take anything from them. Haters will hate but all you do is show them that shiny ring or point to the banners hanging in the stadium. So as it’s the hours away from opening kickoff, it’s time to bring out those jerseys again because NFL kickoff is here! So in the spirit of talking about the Super Bowl champs why don’t I start off in the division that has produced these champions two out of the passed five seasons. Here are my power rankings for the NFC East from top to bottom starting off the year: (These rankings are based on how last season ended, we all know anything can happen in this league let alone the NFC East.)
- New York Giants: Last Season (9-7)
Key losses/Injuries: Mario Manningham, Brandom Jacobs, Prince Amukamara
Key Additions: David Wilson, Reuben Randel, WLB Keith Rivers, TE Martellus Bennett.
I’m ranking the Giants number 1 in the NFC East due to the obvious fact that they won the super bowl last season and you carry that title until someone dethrones you. Although there are some concerns I see as teams will be ready to challenge the champs: We know about the emergence of Victor Cruz and Hakim Nicks, but there is a void for a proven 3rd receiver, the defense continues to have health issue’s in the secondary which ranked 27th in total defense last season and lastly the health and consistency of the offensive line that held up its own when it counted produced a last place rushing attack last season. But as we all saw the Giants proved they can get it done despite these deficiencies, they still have the best defensive line in the league and Eli aka “Elite” Manning at QB. We will see who steps up and if the G-Men can defend their crown.
Philadelphia Eagles: Last Season (8-8)
Key losses/ Injuries: Asante Samuel, OT Jason Peters(ruptured Achilles)
Key Additions: LB Demeco Ryans, QB Nick Foles, DT Fletcher Cox
The Dream Team? Not so fast, the Philadelphia Eagles flat out did not live up to the expectations/hype they mainly placed on themselves last season. That’s not to say there were not bright spots and that’s not to say this team is not still loaded with talent. That’s why I have them ranked second coming into the season, to make it short and simple leading the league in turnovers won’t cut it and Vick not being healthy won’t cut it. But the fact that this team went 5-1 in the division last seasons leaves me wondering, what if they get it together? Giving Desean Jackson his deserving contract and bringing in a veteran former pro bowler at MLB in Demeco Ryans as well a few more active bodies to the defensive line Philly once again has a great team…on paper.
- Dallas Cowboys : Last Season (8-8)
Key Losses/ Injury: ILB Bradie James, CB Terrence Newman, WR Laurent Robinson. Jason Witten(Injury)
Key Additions: Safety Tyrone Crawford, CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne, ILB Dan Connor, Lawrence Vickers FB
Where Do I begin with “Americas Team” ? A team that’s had 6 different head coaches and one playoff victory in the passed 15 seasons. One constant has been GM Jerry Jones who continues to try and make improvements to his teams’ roaster as well as purchasing a brand new multi billion dollar stadium. And with each season as all the expectations build in Dallas, their loyal fans have been left like an ice cube sitting in a sauna. But maybe this is the season, if they could finally get healthy and have solid production out of the offensive line. With the hire of highly respected offensive line coach Bill Callahan will change this unites identity. It would be silly to assume that this Dallas squad definitely has the potential to get it done. But previous history is not on their side, Tony Romo has to eventually win if he wants to be remembered as one of the great Cowboy qb’s, point blank. They have tightened up that secondary which has been huge problem for them in years passed and its now time for defensive mastermind Rob Ryan to work his magic. On the negative side it seems the injury bug has already come into play with Jason Witten so others will have to step up in a hurry, we’ll find out soon enough about these 2012 Cowboys.
4. Washington Redskins : Last Season (5-11)
Key Losses: LaRon Landry, Jabar Gaffney
Key Additions: Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garçon, Joshua Morgan
“He’s as fast as Michael Vick but he can make all the throws that Peyton Manning can make and he can make all the reads Tom Brady can make” Maybe this was a tad overstated for a quarterback who hasn’t played a single game in the NFL but make no mistake about it the Redskins have found their quarterback for the future in RGIII. So what is there to expect from the 2012 Skins? They recently cut veteran tight end Chis Cooley and RB Tim Hightower. However with new additions to the receiving core and the emergence of Fred Davis at TE and RB Roy Helu and second year back Evan Royster the Skins definitely have pieces to be a potent offense. Also we tend to forget this team beat the super bowl champs not once but TWICE last season. With a much underrated defense as well as a explosive special team unit with return man Brandon Banks the Redskins can only get better from here on out. Skins fans all know Mike Shanahan is on the hot seat as this may be the last straw for him to turn things around down in D.C. He has some promising pieces to work with, now let’s see what happens.
In My best Bart Scott voice, CANT WAIT for tonight!