by Brandon Liguori
On February 7, 2016, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos clashed at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California for Super Bowl 50. There were 71,088 crazy NFL fans shouting, stomping, and yelling the entire game! In the end, however, Denver’s defense was too much for Newton and the Panthers, as the Broncos reigned victorious by a score of 24-10.
Fast forward now seven months later because FOOTBALL IS BACK!
The 2016 NFL season, the 97th season in the history of the National Football League, is set to begin on Thursday, September 8, 2016, with the annual kickoff game featuring the defending Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers.
Opening Day for the remaining 30 NFL teams is set to begin on 9/11, where a moment of silence will happen to remember the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Two Monday night football games will take place the following night, with the first game set to begin at 7:10 p.m., and the nightcap at 10:20 p.m.
If you live, breath, and die to watch NFL, get ready because the greatest time of the year is right around the corner.
Sleeper Team of The Season
My sleeper NFL team for this season is the Miami Dolphins. I am very excited for what is to come for this football team, and their new home, Hard Rock Stadium. I could definitely agree that there is concerns with this team, as there is with the remaining 31 teams in the league.
The Dolphins have not had a successful, productive offensive line since the 2008 season. Just for reference, I was in fourth grade, and the quarterback was Chad Pennington.
The strengths of this football team is pretty simple. The running back, Arian Foster, is a veteran presence, and when healthy, can still play at an extremely high level. Foster is backed up by Jay Ajayi, former Boise State running back, a strong, rush attack-type back. This one-two punch should be a lot for defenses to handle.
The real strength of this Dolphins team is the defensive line. Even though these players did not perform well during games last season, the list of names on the defensive linie should strike fear into any quarterback’s heart: Cameron Wake, Mario Williams, Ndamukong Suh, and Earl Mitchell.
Notable Week 1 Matchups
Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota of the Titans and the Teddy Bridgewater-less Vikings will do battle. After the Vikings starting QB went down with a season-ending injury, all eyes will be on Minnesota to see if they can maintain their reputation as a playoff team.
Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles
In what is going to be Carson Wentz’s first career NFL start for the Eagles, NFL fans will be watching the North Dakota State product to see if he was worth the Philadelphia Eagles giving up so much to move up the draft. On the other side, The Browns are turning to Robert Griffin III as their quarterback, the 25th starting QB for the Browns since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay Packers
Most people will think I am crazy for saying this but I like the Jacksonville Jaguars to upset the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. I love the Jags defense, with new cornerback from Florida State Jalen Ramsey, former Florida Gators defensive end Dante Fowler, and Cal product linebacker Myles Jack as they make it a stingy and interesting team to watch.
New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals
The final matchup I am looking forward to is the New England Patriots heading west to take on the Arizona Cardinals.
This will be the first start for Jimmy Garoppolo, with future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, suspended for the first four games of the season for his involvement in the 2015 Deflategate Scandal.
I am most looking forward to how the new coaches produce with their new franchises, and what kind of impact the top draft picks make. Grab your popcorn everybody, because ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??!!?!