Fall is just around the corner and that means the return of two things: school and, more importantly, NFL football! We’re here to get you all set with a preview of the upcoming NFL season. As we look ahead to Week 1, we’re going to examine the key off-season moves, story lines to follow, a breakdown of each division, and of course, our Super Bowl predictions.
Key Off-Season Moves
There were a number of interesting moves this summer. From trades to free agent signings, here are the most notable:
- Brandin Cooks traded to New England
- DeSean Jackson signed with Tampa Bay
- Brandon Marshall signed with New York Giants
- Marshawn Lynch traded to Oakland
- Martellus Bennett signed with Green Bay
- Adrian Peterson signed with New Orleans
- Tony Romo retired
In terms of wide receivers, Cooks, Jackson, and Marshall top the list of players with new uniforms this year. With the recent news of Julian Edelman’s torn ACL, the acquisition of Brandin Cooks by New England is proving even more critical. DeSean Jackson is leaving Washington to team up with Mike Evans and Jameis Winston to form a potentially explosive offence in Tampa Bay. Lastly, Brandon Marshall didn’t have to move far, as he goes from the struggling Jets to the cross-town rival Giants. As we look at the running backs, it’s a couple of veterans that highlight our off-season moves, including Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to play for his hometown Raiders, and Adrian Peterson moving from Minnesota to New Orleans. Outside of the draft, not many quarterbacks changed teams. However, the biggest news was out of Dallas, as Tony Romo officially announced his retirement.
Every year a few key story lines dominate the headlines. Here are some to keep an eye on:
- Can New England win back-to-back Super Bowls? Can Tom Brady continue to play at a high level at 40 years old?
- Can Atlanta recover from their devastating collapse?
- How will the Chargers and Rams fare this season and how will they co-exist in LA?
- Which first year running back will have the best year? Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, or Joe Mixon? Which first year QB will have the best year? DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, or Mitchell Trubisky?
- Can Cam Newton and Andrew Luck recover from severe shoulder injuries?
Top of the Class: Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants
Better luck next year: Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys
This is a fascinating division. Each team has a powerful offence led by two veteran QB’s and two sophomores. It could be the most difficult division to predict.
Top of the Class: Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals
Better luck next year: San Francisco 49ers
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
Led by Russell Wilson and their incredible defence, Seattle will maintain their dominance over the NFC West.
Top of the Class: Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay
Better luck next year: New Orleans Saints
Prediction: Tampa Bay
This is a little off the board, but Tampa Bay has been improving year after year. This is the season they take the next step.
Top of the Class: Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings
Better luck next year: Chicago Bears
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL. As the temperature drops at Lambeau, watch out for Green Bay.
Top of the Class: New England Patriots
Better luck next year: New York Jets
Prediction: New England Patriots (Duh?)
This is a no brainer. The Patriots are once again the favourite in the AFC East, and it’s not particularly close.
Top of the Class: Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos
Better luck next year: LA Chargers
Prediction: Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr is a stud and Oakland’s front office has surrounded him with play makers. It will be a battle of Oakland’s offence vs. Denver’s defence for the division crown.
Top of the Class: Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans
Better luck next year: Jacksonville Jaguars
Prediction: Tennessee Titans
Tennessee looks like an up-and-coming powerhouse in the AFC South. Mariota will be joined by offseason acquisition Eric Decker and new draft pick Corey Davis.
Top of the Class: Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals
Better luck next year: Cleveland Browns
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh is poised to win the division on the strength of their offence. It’s worth noting that Cleveland has a new regime and had a strong off-season. They’re just not quite there yet.
Super Bowl Predictions
It’s difficult to make a case against the New England Patriots repeating as Super Bowl champions this year. They have arguably the best quarterback and best coach of all-time, and they show no signs of slowing down. With a healthy Gronkowski and a new weapon in Brandin Cooks, their offensive will be a force to be reckon with. That being said, sometimes it’s fun to root for the underdog. So here at True North Sports Camps, we’re predicting a Green Bay Packers victory. With Aaron Rodgers leading a well balanced offence, Green Bay will emerge out of the NFC North.
As training camp comes to an end and the final rosters are set, get ready to enjoy another fascinating season on the gridiron. We’ve done the best we can to predict what will happen, but once the whistle blows the players on the field will determine which teams will prevail.
Do you agree with our predictions? Share your comments by posting below or tweeting at us on Twitter (@truenorthcamps) with hashtag #playallday!