The 2018 NFL season is finally here as it kicks off tomorrow with Thursday Night Football as the defending champs the Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons.
Football is back! The wait is over. We survived the dreaded summer months, its Week 1 and every team gets a fresh start. Every team starts off with the same goal and that’s to reach the Superbowl in February. There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the NFL over the past few months but once we go in between the lines, this should be an exciting year. With Opening Kickoff less than 24hrs away, here are just a few stories that I’m looking forward to hearing about as the 2018 season unfolds.
We all know Tom Brady is one of, if not the greatest quarterback to play the game. Many may argue, but in my opinion, he is the second coming of Joe Montana and at this point in his career I’m sure most think he has already surpassed him.
Brady, 41, is heading into his 19th season with the New England Patriots and he seems to get better as he ages. It seems that the only constant the Patriots has these days is the consistency of Brady. No matter who lines up on the field with this guy he still manages to compete at a high level, his numbers never lie and come January his Patriots almost always seem to be in contention to make yet another Superbowl run.
He’s only one of two players in NFL history to win 5 championships. Think he’s got enough left in the tank for number 6?
Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns by far has the talent and skillset to be a Top 10 WR, but it’s his off the field issues that always limited his time on the field.
The Cleveland Browns were the team of choice this year to be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. I didn’t get the chance to watch much of the show, so not sure what to expect from Gordon once the lights go on. If you ask me, it seemed as if he spent more time serving suspensions over the past few seasons then he did playing.
Although despite not being on the field or with the team, he still managed to stay in playing shape. Everyone loves a comeback story and the city of Cleveland definitely needs a star from their football franchise to lean on since the departure of LeBron James. Gordon is a tremendous talent and it would be nice for him to have a great year and showcase his talents as he once did before.
The New York Giants
First and foremost, I’m a Giants fan so I’ll try to keep my bias to a minimum. On paper, the Giants have the weapons to lead a high power offense this year. We all know that having a ton of weapons doesn’t guarantee wins, but I am excited to see what’s in store. The Front Office did some positive things at the end of last season and during the offseason. They finally parted ways with Ben McAdoo, which was long overdue. They filled a much-needed void at running back by taking Saquon Barkley out of Penn State with the 2nd Pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Giants still have issues to fix with the Offensive line, however, having a talent like Barkley should make up the difference. The Giants are also banking on, at least I know I am, that adding Barkley will not only increase the running game but will alleviate Eli Manning of pressure and give him more time to get the ball to his playmakers in Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and 2nd-year tight end Evan Engram.
Their defense has always been good. They were plagued with some key injuries and also had some holes to fill, especially in the middle of the field. The G-Men added Alec Olgetree (from the Rams) instantly improving their 2nd line of defense and if Pro-Bowl S Landon Collins can remain healthy to lead the secondary, the sky is the limits for this team on both sides of the ball.
Good news for all the cheeseheads out there, Aaron Rodgers is back. It will be interesting to see how this Elite QB bounces back from a shoulder injury that cost him to miss a significant amount of games last season. The last thing you want is to lose your star QB to injury, let alone a shoulder injury. Rodgers is a fierce competitor though and I can’t wait to see what kind of numbers he puts up this season. And let’s not forget the Packers are still operating under head coach Mike McCarthy, which is always a plus.
They inherited a new weapon from the Seattle Seahawks in TE Jimmy Graham and have high expectations for young WR Devonte Adams. Fellow WR Randall Cobb’s has been mentioned in trade talks this week. Nothing is official but as far as I know but he’s for sure on the trading block.
Nothing against Russell Wilson, but now Graham has an even better QB than Drew Brees so it should be interesting to see if he can revive his career and get back to the dominant player he once was in his days with the Saints. I’m positive Rodgers will be playing with a chip on his shoulder so no reason why I don’t forsee Rodgers and Graham establishing a Brady-Gronk like connection.
Speaking of Seattle, the Legion of Boom is more now like the Legion of Whom. What was once the most feared defense in the NFL is no more. Over the past few seasons what once was the LOB was gradually dismantled.
Richard Sherman is now in San Francisco and after Kam Chancellor announced his retirement this offseason, you have to wonder what’s next for All-Pro S Earl Thomas. I recently read that there are trade talks, but one thing is for certain, the LOB era in Seattle has officially gone BOOM.
Andrew Luck hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2016 which may be a concern to the Colts fans. Similar to the sympathy I have for Josh Gordon lies the same with Luck. Luck was a highly sought after QB coming out of Stanford. He was drafted No.1 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, with high hopes of filling the shoes of Peyton Manning. Luck has shown signs of greatness but has been plagued with injuries. For guys like this, you just want to see them overcome setbacks and get back to competing at a high level. Keep your eyes open though, if Luck remains healthy he could surprise us all.
Alex Smith & Adrian Peterson
The Washington Redskins may have lost their gunslinging QB Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings, but they looked to rebrand themselves with the additions of veterans Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson.
Still, to this day, I don’t know how the San Francisco 49ers managed to let go of Alex Smith as he would’ve been a great backup even after losing the starting position to then QB Colin Kaepernick. Nonetheless, Smith ended up in Kansas City and probably had the best year of his career – now he’s in Washington? Adrian Peterson is slowly becoming the Tiger Woods of football, but I think he still has some juice left in the tank. He may not have the ability to be a workhorse like he once was, but I know most teams would love having AP as an option when it comes to short yardage and goal line situations. Curious to see how these two vets carve out roles on their new team.
There are a ton of stories surrounding the NFL this season, but these were just a few that immediately came to mind when I decided to write this. If you like this post you can look forward to more like these as the season progresses. Subscribe to get notified, good luck to all teams and enjoy the season!