Just as every football season does, the 2014 NFL season will bring many memorable moments, jaw dropping plays and tremendous matchups that will leave us talking about them for years to come. Just last season we witnessed the “Fail Mary” between the Seahawks and Packers, the rise of Chip Kelly and Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles, the fall of Michael Vick and Josh Freeman, the all time touchdown record being broken by Peyton Manning and even a game finish in a tie (Packers/Vikings). Although many of those things are almost impossible to predict, I am going to get you ready for what very possibly could happen this season that you should keep a close eye on. The top ten things to watch for this NFL season are:
1. Drew Brees can cement his place amongst the all-time great quarterbacks this season by having one for the ages. He may even break the all time, single season touchdown record which Peyton set last year. Believe it or not, Brees has been the most consistent quarterback in the NFL for the past 5 years. At times he is unstoppable and he has remained in relatively good health during his career. Seeing what he has done since becoming a Saint makes you wonder how the Chargers ever gave up on him. Just shows you how unpredictable the NFL really is.
2. This is a passing league, now more than ever. Don’t be surprised if the single season receiving yards record gets broken this year by any number of the games talented receivers. Calvin Johnson set the record just two years ago and may break it again. Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson and even Antonio Brown have a chance at not only breaking the record, but being the first receiver to 2,000 yards, and those names are only the tip of the iceberg.
3. Can the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks be the first team since the 2004-2005 New England Patriots to repeat as champions, and for that matter be the first defending champion to even win a playoff game? I have news for you, the Super Bowl hangover is real folks. Three of the last 5 defending champs have failed to even make the playoffs the following year. Successfully defending a title may be the hardest thing to do in all of sports in the salary cap era we live in today. They have the talent to be a dynasty in the making, but the smart money would be better off betting elsewhere.
4. In today’s NFL the question isn’t will someone be suspended this season but rather who and when. We have already had two very big names go down before the season started in Ray Rice and Wes Welker. The only question is who will be next? It could be the Steelers Bell and Blount after being pulled over with marijuana in their vehicle a few weeks ago, but that’s just a guess. NFL players as a whole are doing too many stupid and ridiculous things off the field to say who it may be, but I can promise you it will happen again in 2014.
5. What major injury or injuries around the league will derail a team’s championship dreams? Last year, an injury to Aaron Rodgers hurt the Packers. Julio Jones and Roddy White both dealt with major injuries which left the Falcons reeling. It is inevitable that a major player will be injured this year, it’s just impossible to predict who and when.
6. When will Johnny Manziel overtake Brian Hoyer as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback? Let’s be honest, it’s going to happen. Both quarterbacks performed miserably this preseason. Hoyer basically won the job by default from his NFL experience but Manziel was drafted to be the backbone of the franchise. If the Browns start the season 0-3 or 1-4, Johnny Football will be given the job with a very long leash. It may even happen sooner than that.
7. New rule changes have made the job of defenders much more difficult. Receivers are going to be flagged much more often this season than in years past making the game ever more offensive. Because of this, expect scoring to soar even higher to new and astronomical heights and all offensive records are up for grabs in 2014.
8. Who will be emerge this season, seemingly out of nowhere, and take the NFL by storm as Nick Foles did in 2013? Because of the inevitability of injuries someone will get the chance to step up and be a star. As fans and as humans we never want to see anyone injured and in pain but it is always exciting to see the breakout players from year to year.
9. What will happen with the Washington Redskins nickname? There is a big push right now for there to be a new name in our nation’s capital. The name is being considered racist and unacceptable by many people around the world. I see a name change coming but not this year. This is definitely something to keep an eye on as more fuel is thrown on the fire that is the Redskins name change.
10. What team will surprise us all with a strong season and a spot in the playoffs? Last year it was the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles who shocked the masses and went from worst to first. This season the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are primed to make that jump. Every year there are new teams in the playoffs who missed out the year before, I see the Texans and Falcons making that leap.
Year in and year out the NFL is always a guessing game. These are just a few interesting things to keep your eye on this upcoming season. The Seahawks and Packers open the season today. Here is wishing for great season of exciting and unpredictable football. Right now it is the greatest game on earth. Each snap is a roller coaster ride of emotion, passion, love and hate. Buckle up, it’s going to be an exciting and thrilling ride.

Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers