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The Carletonian

NFL Preview

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The 2015-2016 NFL season is already underway and promises not to leave anyone feeling deflated by the end. So, no matter what your knowledge on the NFL, here are a few key points to inflate your knowledge for this season.

Deflate-gate… As you might have noticed by the introductory puns, last season the Patriots Super Bowl victory was spoiled by the news of deflated the footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. The pressure is on the Pats this year as they look to repeat a Super Bowl victory. However with some key loses on defense, including nosetackle Vince Wilfork and defensive backs Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. The team is looking to its younger players and some key Free Agent acquisitions to lead the team defensively. Meanwhile Tom Brady and company on offense look to pick up right where they left off last season.

How about the Rookie QB’s? The top 2 picks in the 2015 NFL draft were quarterbacks. With the number one pick, the Bucs took Jameis Winston and with the number two pick, the Titans took Marcus Mariota. Both the Bucs and the Titans finished last year with losing records and neither team has made the playoffs over the last 5 years. Both of these franchises will rely heavily on their rookie quarterbacks to lead them to the playoffs.

Sophomore Slump? Last year, the NFL saw some extremely exciting rookie performances including Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina Panthers WR), Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings QB), Odell Beckham Jr (New York Giants WR), Ryan Shazier (Pittsburgh Steelers LB) and Aaron Donald (St Louis Rams Defensive Tackle). All of these rookies had spectacular debuts, however it is all too common for stellar rookies to run into the sophomore slump in their second year of NFL action. Kelvin Benjamin’s season was over before it began, with a torn ACL. But look out for big a season from Odell Beckham with the (hopefully soon) return of fellow wide-out Victor Cruz. And for a big year two from Teddy Bridgewater with the return of the team’s dynamic running back Adrian Peterson. Similarly, Aaron Donald is making himself a case to be the best defensive nose tackle in football.

Trades and Rivalries… There were lots of big-name trades this off-season that will lead to some pretty interesting matchups for this season. One of the biggest was the Philadelphia Eagles and the St Louis Rams essentially switching starting QB’s, with Sam Bradford becoming an Eagle and Nick Foles becoming a Ram. DeMarco Murray’s transition from being a Cowboy to an Eagle will add to an already rich rivalry between the NFC East division rivals. Rex Ryan, old head coach of the New York Jets, moved across the division to the Buffalo Bills- look for him to challenge his old Jets and the New England Patriots for a division title.

With so many questions going into the season, the one thing we know for sure is that this year will not be flat, deflated or low pressure at all.

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