The NFL Regular Season is Finally Here!

In less than one week the NFL will start their 100th season. The Bears and Packers, probably the most historic rivalry in football, will open the season on Thursday, Sept 5th. Normally the NFL opens their season with the defending champion, but not this year. The rivalry means to much to the league and it will be the 199th game played between the teams. Once you get past that game, opening weekend will be full of great matchups like the Redskins and Eagles plus the Patriots and Steelers. I wanted to take a look at the teams vying for Super Bowl contention and if we could see a few surprise teams this year.

Starting in the NFC, there are a few teams that are expected to stay on top while a few teams could have a turnaround and surprise people. In the NFC East, the Eagles should prevail. I do not think the Giants and Redskins have enough talent to compete with them. However, if enough breaks go their way the Cowboys could end up on top of the division. The NFC West should belong to the Rams. They are loaded with talent and could have even more drive this year after losing in the Super Bowl last year. I do not believe the 49ers, Seahawks, or Cardinals have near enough talent to knock the Rams out of the top spot in the division. The NFC North figures to be a slugfest. It could end up being the most competitive division in the league. Plenty of people believe the Bears will win again while plenty believe the Vikings will turn it around and rise to the top. I am not an expert, but I believe we will be watching the Bears and Rams battling to be the NFC participant in the Super Bowl.

In the AFC there will be many of the same powers at the top, but many are predicting some surprising change as well. We will start in the AFC North with the Browns being the “hot” pick of most people. They have plenty of talent and name recognition now, but do they have the toughness to knock off the Steelers and Ravens? That will be fun to watch! In the AFC East you can not go against the Patriots. They have won the division 10 straight times! Until Brady and Belicheck are gone you have to figure the division runs through them. The AFC West should be easily handled by the Chiefs, but the Chargers could make a run. The Raiders also figure to be better as do the the Broncos with the addition of Flacco. I believe we will be looking at a Patriots vs. Chiefs title game with the Chiefs making it to the Super Bowl.

In many season the playoffs are mostly decided by the last week except for 1-2 spots. Hopefully there will be more spots on the line this year. It really turns up the excitement. Week 17 has quite a few match ups that could end up deciding the division and playoff spots. The Bears play the Vikings, the Chiefs play the Chargers, Pittsburgh is at Baltimore, and the Saints play the Panthers. All 8 of these teams could end up in the playoffs or out. It would be great to see all of these teams playing at full strength to decide the playoff match ups. To be honest, I am just excited that the season is starting. I can not wait to watch Thursday’s game and many more throughout the year, especially the Chiefs vs. Rams in the Super Bowl.

—Victor Mandalawi