Storylines around the NFL

Separating contenders from pretenders:

Through ten weeks of the NFL season I feel like we have a pretty good image of all teams, but a lot of them share similar records while not being on the same level as the others and it’s time to differentiate between them. This discussion is not about teams like the Saints, Rams or Chiefs, who have only lost one game and neither are we talking about Giants, Cardinals or 49ers, who have only won twice. This is about separating the middle of the pack, meaning all teams from a .500 record to twice as many wins as losses. With that in mind, all these teams are still in the hunt for a Wildcard Spot or in some cases even a division crown right now, but some of them are tricking us with their record and you see that they are not as good a football team when you look at the numbers and watch the tape. So which of these nine teams are actually ready to make a playoff run and which of them just pretend to be?

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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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