The College football season wets the whistle for our football crazed nation a full 13 days before the NFL opener. When the Patriots open up with Kansas City on September 7th, the true American past time in the sports world will be in full swing.
So many perplexing questions to be answered. Both the AFC and NFC have intriguing divisional games in the early going that could make things even more interesting. In the AFC, New England has more than 80% of the votes to represent the Conference in the Super Bowl from the handicappers I know. The Pats continue to tweak things in the off-season of each year and remain the League constant. Their dominance in the AFC EAST, which seems to continue to get weaker as a division, will continue this season. Picking up WR Brandin Cooks from New Orleans was the first of several off the field moves made that could help Belichick & Brady hoist another Lombardi Trophy by season’s end.
Living in Las Vegas and airing my current radio show, SportsXradio on AM 720 KDWN on the flagship station for the team soon to call Nevada home, the Raiders….has me even more fired up for 2017-18. A healthy Derek Carr could slot the Raiders in the number two slot in the AFC if the Silver and Black can avoid distractions (Marshawn Lynch – sitting during National Anthem) and continue their ascent on both sides of the ball. Their toughest task comes right outta the gate in Week One when they travel to Tennessee and are currently listed as a road favorite. Del Rio won a big one very similar to this last season in New Orleans and it ignited Oakland’s 12-win season. The Raiders are currently the 2nd favorite to win The SuperBowl at 6/1, only behind New England.
Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cincinnati and the aforementioned Titans, are other teams I see as post season potential but the Pats are the only team I feel is a no brainer to make the playoffs in the AFC. Miami is a dark horse but if Cutler or Moore can stay consistent, the Dolphins, under the astute leadership of Adam Gase, could be a post season sleeper.
The NFC is so diverse. I think there are ten teams that have a legit shot to represent the Conference in Minnesota at the Big Game. The Ekeziel Elliott suspension could take the Cowboys fortunes down a peg in one of the toughest divisions in the League. The NFC East and NFC South both have a shot to put three clubs in the playoffs. Seattle and Arizona will be the strongest out west while the Pack should prevail out of the North with the Vikes and Lions battling several others for a wild card spot.
I’m not going to get into every team but one team I think that will surprise, go up & over their win total and win their Division in the NFC is the Philadelphia Eagles. I feel like QB Carson Wentz is a blue collar leader that will make big plays out of nothing and if WR Alshon Jeffery can stay healthy the Bald Birds have a shot to shock some people.
There are many new faces in different places this season and several coaches that start this campaign already sitting on warm seats. So at the end of the day, or season in this case, all I can say is buckle up. It’s gonna be a heck of a ride!
Ken Thomson’s Season Access Pass for NFL & College Football is available now, right HERE.