On this, the first day of the impending NFL Schedule we find ourselves at a new and exciting precipice: Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays will now be given new meaning. Football will lend each of these previously ordinary days of the week a more-exciting angle. Here are some of the intriguing Storylines of the upcoming NFL season.
1. Can The Saints Repeat?
Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Saints’ road to repeating as champs will be almost as difficult as banning alcohol consumption in New Orleans. Well, maybe not that hard. The last team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions was New England in 2004. However, the Saints bring back an offense that was explosive both through the air and on the ground last season and the core of a more-than-respectable defense. Darren Sharper’s injury, putting him out of play for the first 6 weeks will hurt some in the Saints’ secondary but look for the champs to play well.
Clearly a lot can happen in the course of a 16-game season, but with Drew Brees at the helm, distributing to his plethora of offensive weapons, the Saints seem poised to stay at or near the top of the NFC.
2. Can Favre Play at the Same Level in 2010?
I know. You’re tired of Favre. I think we all are a little but, damn it, the guy can’t seem to stop being interesting. Even if you think he’s an ego-maniacal twit with one foot in a nursing home activitites room, which I’m not sure I disagree with, you have to admit he’s captivating television.
Favre, who again “debated” playing this year thereby subjecting us to countless hours of media coverage, has appeared in more grainy, poorly-shot video than bigfoot. I’ve seen him more mowing his lawn and playing fetch with high school kids more than I’ve seen him play this pre-season. It seemed that Favre was looking to relieve himself of some of the pressure in a press conference earlier this summer by saying that he doubted he’d have as magical a year as last season.
With Percy Harvin a consistent question mark, whether it be for his headaches or his potential to cheef up like Bob Marley in his spare time, and Sidney Rice out for a good chunk of the season the Old Gunslinger may have had better quality receivers at “Middle of Nowhere High School” than he will in Minneapolis.
3. Are the Jets the Real Deal?
The Jets have been one of the hottest topics this off-season. Whether it be for Rex Ryan’s affinity for F-Bombs and jelly-filleds or for all-everything corner Darrelle Revis’ holdout from mini-camp, the Jets have been making headlines. I, for one, believe that the mass amount of media attention is fairly well merited.
The Jets philosophy resides with playing insatiable defense. With a hunger that not even their head coach can compete with, they will probably swarm the ball and have a top-5 defense in the league. With Revis back in the lineup, instead of screaming at old women in Dick’s Sporting Goods commercials, that defense is complete.
The offense is another story entirely. Mark Sanchez had a few of the rookie doldrums last year. In fact, as I was painfully aware when I foolishly started him in an early fantasy game, Sanchez sucked last year at times. He progressed as the season wore on and seems to have focused more on his game this off-season than on posing in GQ magazine. The run game for the Jets was tops in the league last year and will be good again, with Shonn Greene the focal point of the ground game.
The AFC east is going to be a dog-fight this year. We’ll see if the Jets make it out alive.
4. Will the Cowboys Look Good on the Field as Well as On Paper This Year?
The Cowboys franchise for the last few years has been a lot like a too-airbrushed model in a “gentleman’s magazine.” They look great on paper, then you see them in person and they’re a totally different team, look like they might fall apart if you touch them and make you want to hold up the paper next to them because you feel desperately like you’ve been tricked. Not only do the Cowboys date these kinds of women, they are their NFL equivalent.
Jerry Jones has pumped so much money into this team that he’s only got a couple million left in his “Emergency Botox fund.” The stadium has been built, like some garish, modern-day Taj Mahal, and now Dallas will be hosting this season’s Super Bowl. The pieces of this Domino effect seem to be in place. Now will Romo and his merry-men be able to finally get to the promised land?
5. Will Albert Haynesworth Ever Just Close His Buffet-Loving Pie-Hole?
Albert Haynesworth is getting paid to play football. In fact, he’s getting paid an absurd amount. And all he’s done so far in this pre-season is fail more conditioning tests than the contestants of “Celebrity Fit Club” combined. Now, as the time to put up or shut up, Albert has done neither. He’s complained about not playing with the first team defense. Complained about not starting. Meanwhile, Mike Shannahan, the first year head coach of the Redskins, has neither bent nor budged at his girthy stars’ often times public reproaches of his style.
It looks like Haynesworth is now being told to pack his multi-million dollar Gucci bags and hit the road in his private jet. I’d call him a “fat” cat, but that would be really corny. Oops, I just did.