COLE’S NOTES: Let the games begin
Alright, sports fans. I did a "Bob Mackenzie" and took the summer off. It was a jam packed couple of months that saw some of the biggest headlines in sports history written.
Instead of looking back, though, let's look forward to the NFL regular season that starts Thursday. Insert inspirational quote about "never looking back" or "the future is yours to create" here.With all of the elements to consider this might be the hardest season to try and predict the outcome of. Tom Brady has been suspended for four games so the Patriot aren't so much a lock to win 12 games, which seems to be the measuring stick for the Brady Bunch.
Peyton Manning is no longer chucking pigskins and no one really knows who is in Denver. The Broncos thankfully proved that defense wins championships because that is exactly how they claimed the Super Bowl 50 title.
The media always wants to crown the Cowboys, since they are America's Team, but with half of their defensive starters being suspended and Tony Romo not being able to fall properly they will start the year with a rookie QB and RB to take them to the promise... or probably not.
Can Carolina repeat the season they had last year? Maybe. They lost a top five cornerback, or top on CB if you ask Josh Norman, but gain their number one wide out, Kelvin Benjamin, who missed the entire season last year.
Who really knows. Not me. But guessing is half the fun. By the way, when people say something is "half" I always wonder what the other 50 per cent of what they are talking about is. Well in this case, it's seeing how the season will play out.
The Cole's Notes version of my prediction is that the healthy Green Bay Packers outlast everyone and defeat the New England Patriots, who have a month fresher Tom Brady, in Super Bowl 51.The Arizona Cardinals do deserve all of the accolades they are receiving because they have the best receiving core in the league, an awesome defense, and David Johnson, who is supposed to be this season’s leading rusher.
But I can't help but think that Carson Palmer turns the ball over at a crucial moment in the NFC Championship game because he has never conquered the elusive "Big Game". Or maybe they lose to the Seahawks who always seem to be a threat come playoff time.
Maybe with the addition of Josh Norman the Washington football club will finally get out of the first round because their defense has obviously improved which should couple nicely with a balanced offensive attack.
How can I leave Carolina out of the equation? Crazy right? Well last year I had no faith in them until the Super Bowl game where I made the not so bold prediction that they would win.
Well I think the Panthers will have a good year but the NFC is strong and the Panthers should have a tough schedule. That coupled with the fact that the league might have a blueprint of how to beat them (thank you Denver) makes me believe that they might struggle to even get to the third round.New England makes it all the way to the big game because no one from the Bengals, Broncos, Chiefs, or Steelers really separates themselves from the pack at the start of the season and the Patriots use the last 12 games of the season to get Brady meshing well with his wideouts, who he knows well, and now has a two-tight end threat with Martellus Bennett joining Gronk. As much as I dislike Aaron Hernandez it's hard to not say that he made New England hard to beat. Bennett should fit in nicely.
The Bronco's defense isn't good enough to carry that offense, led by a new QB, especially since they will be facing all the division champions.
The Steelers are too vulnerable on defense and their offense took a hit losing Laveon Bell to a suspension. Yes, I know Deangelo Williams subbed in nicely last season but I think that is so last year (yes, I want you to read that in the voice of Alicia Silverstone in the movie Clueless. Oh, you didn't see that movie? Yeah, me neither. I meant Remember the Titans. I'm sure Denzel said something along the same lines).
The Bengals have yet to prove me wrong in believing that they are the least disciplined team, especially when it comes to games/plays that matter the most. I am a fan of AJ Green and Andy Dalton but that defense can't seem to get out of their own way.
The Kansas Chiefs had a great year last season but no team can make it far if they can go multiple quarters without a wide receiver catching a ball. Yes, that running back committee is solid and Kelce at TE makes for a defense that can move the ball... but you have to move it past the goal line. The Chiefs are too predictable when they get close.
The playoffs will shape up like so. In the NFC you will see Green Bay, Arizona, Washington and Carolina all winning the division and Seattle and Atlanta come in as Wild Card teams.
In the AFC New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Oakland.... yes Oakland! I believe they had the best off season of all teams in the league. The Broncos will squeak their way into the playoffs as will the Texans.
Did I not talk about your team? Well let me know who it is, and we can talk about how bad their season is. Or I can waste of your time talking about how bad the Cowboys will do.
It's game time folks! Let the games begin!
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