The 2015 NFL regular season is approaching fast with games kicking off tomorrow night. With a new season, there are many teams looking to continue their momentum from last season.
The NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and the world champion New England Patriots will look to achieve similar success. Seattle added some fire power with the addition of tight end (TE) Jimmy Graham. The team also gave their talented quarterback (QB) Russell Wilson a maximum contract, securing the young passer for the next four years. The Patriots, back under the leadership of Tom Brady, will look to continue the winning tradition of New England.
Toward the bottom of the league, two teams that struggled last season to watch out for will be the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams. Washington’s quarterback situation is at top of the headlines right now with former Heisman winner and first round pick, Robert Griffin III, not set to start against backup Kirk Cousins. In St. Louis, the Rams have an elite defense, but with Nick Foles replacing the often-injured Sam Bradford, it will be interesting to see if the Rams’ offense can finally match up to its defense.
At the very bottom of the league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, who cashed in with the number one and number two overall picks in 2015 NFL draft, will keep fans paying close attention. The Buccaneers drafted QB Jameis Winston from Florida State, and the Titans selected QB Marcus Mariota from Oregon. Both of these quarterbacks had solid pre-seasons and will be given the keys to their franchises come week one.
In North Carolina, the Panthers will attempt to make history by winning the NFC South Division for the third time in a row. The team may be struggling offensively due to the loss of second year wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who suffered a torn ACL.
Losing the skilled receiver will certainly hurt the Carolina offense, and even non-Panthers fans are aware of this.
“They took a hurting when Kelvin Benjamin got hurt,” UNCG senior marketing major and Baltimore Ravens fan Chris Tazewell said. “So I don’t think it’s gonna be a good season for them.”
UNCG junior media studies major and Panther fan Michael Fields was a bit more confident when discussing the Panthers.
“I do not expect much out of them this season, but I’m hopeful. But if they have a bad season, I might expect that,” Fields said.
With many teams in each conference, the AFC and NFC, who are great offensively and defensively heading into the new season, one question remains: who has the best units on both sides of the ball this year?
“Offensively, in the AFC, you have the Broncos with a lot of offensive weapons, and defensively, they also have a lot of pass rushers,” Fields said. “In the NFC, you have the Cowboys and the Eagles as both their offenses are really good.”
One student commented on who he believes is the best and worst overall team in the league.
“The best overall team might be the Broncos because they have a lot of offensive power or Green Bay because of their offense and they have a great defensive,” UNCG information system supply chain management major and New England Patriot fan Jacques Carter said. “The worst team I think might be the Raiders because they don’t have a good quarterback.”
While explaining the best overall teams on campus, students on campus also shared who they felt was the best overall player heading into the 2015 campaign.
“I think it’s either J.J. Watt or Aaron Rodgers,” Fields said.
Tazewell also said, “I’m going to have to give it to J.J. Watt.”
Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, was the defensive player of the year in 2014 and is a very versatile player who can play both offense and defense. Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, is a two time league MVP.
The goal for each team is to make it to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Many fans and analysts are picking the Patriots to repeat as world champions, mainly due to Tom Brady and his revoked suspension. The journey to the Super Bowl will begin Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.