10 Thoughts: Predictions on the 2017 NFL Season
It feels like it’s been a while, football. And for this writer, living in New York has made the summer feel far too long. But whether we’re ready for it or not, the NFL season begins on Thursday, and with it comes a plethora of fascinating storylines, questions, and predictions.
We begin with this year’s defending champions: The New England Patriots.
New England made the most out of their offseason, attempting to give the aging Tom Brady the nuclear codes to at least three other countries. It’s a given that no other team in the AFC can touch the Patriots, but Bill Belichick is obviously concerned with winning another Super Bowl this year. The acquisitions of Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett allow New England to stretch the field on offense, and lock down opposing receivers with the one-two punch of Gilmore and Malcolm Butler. They were even able to re-sign LB Dont’a Hightower, securing the middle of the field on the defensive side. Even with the untimely injury of Julian Edelman, New England is still one of the best teams in the NFL. This load up seems similar to that of 2007 when the team added Randy Moss and followed it up with an undefeated regular season. The sports world will be watching to see what they can do with the weapons they’ve acquired this season.
On the opposite coast, another interesting team to watch this year will be the Oakland Raiders, who are poised to make a deep playoff run after fizzling out at the end of last season. Derek Carr has established himself as one of the premiere quarterbacks in the league, and his two top receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, are coming off two great years. But the real story lies with 31-year-old Marshawn Lynch, who has come out of retirement to join his hometown team. Before the team moves to Las Vegas, I believe this squad has enough going for it to make the AFC playoff picture interesting come January.
We’re also seeing an abundance of rookie quarterbacks in the NFL this year. From Deshaun Watson to DeShone Kizer, from Mitchel Trubisky to Patrick Mahomes, multiple teams are putting their faiths in first year players. Kizer has already earned his starting job in Cleveland, but will we see some other rookies lead their teams this year?
10 Predictions for the 2017 NFL Season