by Andrew Cantor
On August 5th, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that football was back, ending a lockout that lasted four and a half months due to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. Only one preseason game was missed due to the lockout, and the biggest free agent frenzy in the history of sports took place.
The Philadelphia Eagles gave quarterback Michael Vick a long-term contract and signed star wide receiver in Steve Smith. They also loaded up on defense, signing Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugah. The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will look to challenge the Eagles in the NFC. The Saints are led once again by quarterback Drew Brees who always puts his team in a position to win ballgames. The Falcons have a very balanced offensive attack in which quarterback Matt Ryan has several offensive weapons to throw to. Running back Michael Turner also proves to be a solid option on offense.
Junior Chas Hinds favors the Green Bay packers, saying, “The Packers are definitely going to repeat as NFC champs. They have only lost a select few players from last season and got back the 10+ players that were not able to play because of injury,” Hinds said.
The power struggle in the AFC primarily lies amongst four teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and New England Patriots. The Steelers represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year with a stingy defense still talented at every position. James Harrison and Troy Polamalu anchor the defense as two of the most feared players in the league. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leads the offense with his ability to avoid sacks and make big plays under pressure. Their division foe, the Baltimore Ravens, look to challenge in the North Division. They added Lee Evans and Torrey Smith to go along with Anquan Boldin at wide receiver.
“The Ravens upgraded big time at receiving which will make an impact and help them reach the Super Bowl,” Sophomore Dan Parker said.
The Jets were able to re-sign wide receiver Santonio Holmes and retained cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, making it virtually impossible for any team to beat them through the air. They also picked up wide receiver Plaxico Burress, giving quarterback Mark Sanchez a big target in the red zone. The NFL is a quarterback driven league and the Patriots have the best in Tom Brady. Bill Belicheck’s offensive schemes combined with Brady’s ability to pick apart defenses are a formula for success.
There’s an abundance of variables, so it is hard to predict what will happen between now and February but the road to the Super Bowl is bound to be an intriguing one.
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