We’re about to be treated to what will undoubtedly be an exciting year of football, and it’s just a few weeks away.
By Patrick Jude
Football season is easily the best time of every year. The weather cools down, windows open up, leaves start to fall. It is coming. Many months have passed since the widely hated Patriots pulled off the impossible, but damn if it wasn’t a spectacle to be seen.
A lot has happened over the course of the offseason; some players switched teams, other brand new ones entered through the draft, and a once vacant Los Angeles now has TWO teams.
Though the Jags and the Dolphins also reside in Florida, as far as Central Florida goes it’s all about those Buccaneers; and it looks like they’ll be at the top of the three. Free agency was good to the Bucs. Receiving weapon Mike Evans, and a well developing Jameis Winston at QB, added league veteran, and three time Pro Bowler, DeSean Jackson to finish off a one-two punch.
As if that weren’t enough, the Bucs brought in an extra set of hands with their first round draft pick of Alabama’s star tight end O.J. Howard… A soon to be free O.J. Simpson will have a chance to watch a new Juice.
It won’t be all easy for the Bucs though, as they’ll have to face each divisional opponent twice. What was once a lack luster division, the NFC South, has set itself up to be red-hot this season. The Saints, though they lost legendary lineman Jahri Evans, gained a three time rushing leader with a chip on his shoulder, Adrian Peterson. A lot are doubting AP, just as they did in 2015 when he came back from surgery, but I think most of us remember the 1,485 rushing yards he put up when last under pressure. The Saints also gained veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr. in free agency.
The Bucs will also have to face a largely unchanged roster of the now Super Bowl experienced Falcons twice this season, along with a crushingly disappointing Panthers who are looking to get back to where they were in 2015. The Panthers defense was undeniably beefed up over the offseason with the free agency homecoming of former linebacker, NINE time Pro Bowler, and all around great guy, Julius “Pepp” Peppers.
Many players moved elsewhere around the league. Former Patriots RB Lagarette Blount is now an Eagle. Receiver Brandon Marshall moved to the Giants, giving them arguably the best group of hands in the NFL. The most well rounded tight end, in terms of blocking and catching, Martellus Bennett, packed his bags for Wisconsin and is now officially a Packer. The biggest move, however, was that of the iconic Marshawn Lynch, from retirement to the Raiders.
Colin Kaepernick was snubbed in free agency, while interception all-stars Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez still have jobs. The Dolphins are even, seemingly, about to sign the ever-apathetic Jay Cutler, who was replaced by former Buccaneer Mike Glennon. Just to put this in perspective, Kaepernick has lead a team to a Super Bowl that was decided by just three points. The year after losing legendary receiver Randy Moss, Kaepernick still lead his team to the NFC Championship game. Love him or hate him, kneeling is the only thing keeping Kaep off a team not a lack of talent.
We’re about to be treated to what will undoubtedly be an exciting year of football, and it’s just a few weeks away. Though there were rumors of losing it, Thursday Night Football will be in full swing along with the regular Sunday and Monday night games. Get some wings, a couple pies, and get ready for some football!
Bold Superbowl prediction– Oakland Raiders vs Green Bay Packers
Currently Reading Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan.