Storylines around the NFL

Under-the-radar standouts of the early season:

Three weeks into this NFL season we have seen some tremendous performances by individual players and teams. After analyzing Patrick Mahomes’ early success, I decided to give some other players credit for what they have shown so far. However, we all marvel over Drew Brees defying odds and how Khalil Mack is wrecking offensive gameplans on a weekly basis. So rather than pointing out the obvious superstars of the game, I want to bring those guys into the spotlight that I think aren’t talked about enough. Moreover, I won’t mention seasoned veterans like Fletcher Cox, who has been an absolute nightmare for opponents, or rookies like Kerryon Johnson, who I predicted to have a big year anyway. With that being said, here’s the list:

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Storylines around the NFL

Quick observations for every NFL team from week one:

With the first week of the season in the books, I thought it would make sense to give a short update on all 32 teams around the league. Now having watched every single matchup, I came away with one observation for each NFL squad. For plenty of them I came up with several statements, but I went with the most apparent one to me. Usually I go by divisions, but for the purpose of this I listed them in alphabetical order.

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Storylines around the NFL

Preseason standouts 2018:

Time to switch back to NFL football! I have now watched pretty much every snap of the first three weeks of preseason and it’s time to point out the guys, who have impressed me the most. I’m not here to tell you that legends like Tom Brady have looked sharp, but rather this list is about rookies and a few second- and third-year players, who aren’t on a lot of people’s radars at this point and have looked like impact performers to this point. Not all of these youngsters might see a significant amount of snaps this season because of the veterans ahead of them taking away opportunities, but they have looked like guys who could step in and make a difference for their teams. With that being said, these young men have caught my eye:

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NFL Offseason, Storylines around the NFL

Position battles to watch out for heading into NFL training camps:

In the NFL there is constant competition at pretty much every position. Front offices try to find replacements for aging players or those, who will soon demand contracts they can’t afford. That creates an environment, where every man is working as hard as they can to earn a starting spot. Only competition gets the best out of football players and it is vital for a team’s success. I picked out the eight positional battles that will be most interesting to watch through training camps and beyond. So here they are:

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NFL Predictions, Storylines around the NFL

Second- and third-year players ready to break out in 2018:

Now that we’ve talked about the top overall players in the NFL, I want to shift my focus more towards the young up-an-coming stars of the game. Specifically, I will look at players coming into their second and third seasons, who are not looked at like that quite yet. So you won’t see any names like Alvin Kamara or Carson Wentz. This list includes those who have already seen the field a lot, had their last year cut short by injuries or just didn’t get the opportunities to shine quite yet. But what combines them all for me – I think they could break through this upcoming season.

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Storylines around the NFL

How the Patriots have been on the right side of the whistle all year long:

Before I say anything else – Congratulations to the New England Patriots organization for reaching the Super Bowl for the third time in four years and eight time in 17 years. Nobody in the league has been able to even come close to the consistent excellence they have displayed. With that being said, I can’t help but see a theme that has followed the team throughout the 2017/18 season – they have had a lot of crucial calls go their way. I’m not suggesting to any degree, that they haven’t earned a spot in this title game, but rather I want to point out a few incidences I have noticed over the course of their campaign. Let me elaborate:

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Storylines around the NFL

How the Steelers psychologically own the Bengals:

I love the AFC North rivalries and Steelers versus Bengals is always penciled in on my schedule, but Pittsburgh has now won six in a row and nine of the last ten in this matchup. In the seven games they’ve played over the last three seasons, only two were decided by more than one score, but Cincinnati somehow can’t seem to finish against their division rivals, despite objectively putting up a better effort a lot of times. I want to dive into why the Bengals can’t seem to make this an even series.

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