Finally, we have some football. After a fantastic first week of college football, the professionals are gearing up to start their seasons. The New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, and Arizona Cardinals eye a Super Bowl title, while teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Indianapolis Colts desperately try to stay relevant. There is a plethora of storylines before Week 1, so lets get right into it.
Can The New Editions In Chicago Propel Them Into The Playoffs?
Lets get one thing straight: the Bears are not a bad football squad. Between the injuries of Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and 2015 first-round pick Kevin White, Jay Cutler, regardless of all of his own issues, had absolutely no one to throw to last season. While the receiver group and the offensive line will have a new look, cornerstone running back Matt Forte decided to take his talents to New York to join the Jets. To replace Forte, the Bears will look to second-year back Jeremy Langford. While losing Forte will obviously hurt, Langford is not a huge step in the wrong direction. But, as I have always said, it will come down to quarterback play. Jay Cutler needs to perform better, and he should with Alshon Jeffery and company. Look for the Bears to surprise this season.
Can The Lions Stay Relevant Without Calvin Johnson?
The biggest news of the offseason was undoubtedly the untimely retirement of Calvin Johnson. He has been the team's top offensive threat since they drafted him in 2007. Fortunately, the Lions were able to land arguably the top wide receiver on the free agent market this offseason in Marvin Jones. They have talent on offense, and will also get back top linebacker DeAndre Levy, who missed 15 games last year with a hip injury. Nonetheless, I just don't see enough pieces on Detroit's roster to think that they will be able to compete this season.
Are The Packers A Favorite To Win The Super Bowl?
Last season, the Packers saw injuries and out-of-shape players plague their season. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL, and we all know that he is Aaron Rodgers' favorite target. Similarly, running back Eddie Lacey ate himself out of a job, as he had to take P90X classes to get his weight back in check. Thankfully, it appears as if he has figured it out and came to camp in shape. However, all the Packers really did was sign a few insignificant pieces and nurse all of their other players back to health. Granted, the Packers were already one of the best teams in the league, but I think they now have some competition in the NFC with seemingly better Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks squads. The Packers can most certainly make it to the Super Bowl, but they will need to ride the coat tails of a hopefully reinvigorated Aaron Rodgers.
Can The Vikings Still Make The Playoffs Without Bridgewater?
What a tough situation for an up-and-coming franchise. Teddy Bridgewater was getting ready to lead the Vikings to a potential deep playoff run, but instead will be sidelined for quite some time, after essentially tearing every muscle and ligament in his knee. To add insult to injury, some have stated that they are not sure if Bridgewater will be able to return and be the same quarterback. To ease the bleeding, the Vikings impulsively traded for ex-Eagles QB Sam Bradford, who has been underwhelming his entire career since coming out of Oklahoma as the #1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Thankfully, the Vikings still have Adrian Peterson, who can hopefully lead them to a plus-.500 record and a playoff game.