Ah yes. Up here, north of the 45th parallel, the winds have just a hint of a bite in them. And that means one thing. As the 2019 NFL season descends upon the landscape I take a look at the storylines that will be unfolding each Sunday afternoon. So, sit back and enjoy the four glorious months that is the NFL season. It should be quite a ride.
2019 Must Watch NFL Story Lines
The Saga in Antonio Brown‘s Head
The Oakland Raiders traded Amari Cooper for a song. However, they played New Kids on the Block “Hangin Tough” and signed perennial pro-bowler Antonio Brown. With eyes, wide HBO couldn’t resist the temptation of possible drama in Oakland. And they were right. AB came and saw and promptly created must-watch tv. Apparently he and the NFL were at odds…with his helmet. Cue the tears and talk of retirement. Still unhappy with his helmet and now a disagreement with the team’s general manager, “Mr. Big Chest” has put on suspension by the Raiders.
How this saga plays out is anybody’s guess. However, there is big money on the line. If released the Raiders owe Brown nothing. But, if on the active roster come Sunday then they will be on the hook for Brown’s guaranteed money. Stay tuned.
My Chemical Rodgers-Lafleur Bromance
To audible or not to audible? That will be the question in Green Bay this season. The pinky-raised beer sipping Aaron Rodgers likes to do things his way. Newly hired Matt LaFleur, in trying to install a new offense has said it doesn’t necessitate the quarterback having to audible. Rodgers, however, likes to audible. And, why not? He’s a master reader of defenses. This could end like a Las Vegas marriage. Drunk one minute to hungover and seeking an annulment the next.
I for one won’t be surprised if we’re talking about Rodgers wanting a trade out of town by season’s end. The thing to keep on eye on is how LaFleur’s offense affects our fantasy teams. Fantasy owners of Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones must keep close tabs on the first few weeks and sell high if the Lambeau winds turn chilly earlier than expected.
The Rise of Danny Dimes
As the sun sets on the venerable Eli Manning‘s career, a new gunslinger emerges: first-round draft pick, Daniel Jones. Jones’ outstanding pre-season has further added to the summation that Manning’s leash may be shorter than first thought. After all, Jones threw for an eye-popping 85% completion rate and seemingly had his way with opposing defenses (yes, second and third-string defenses). However, that was enough to change the draft night boo-birds of the New York Giants‘ faithful.
Although the Giants schedule doesn’t look especially tough (seven games against non-playoff teams from 2018) leading up to their week 11 bye, they are not without serious challenge. They face the Dallas Cowboys twice, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings with a chip on their shoulder, and teams with improved defenses looking to prove they belong in the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Detroit Lions. So, if they have they start the season winless through the first four games don’t be surprised if Danny Dimes gets the call.
Get Down With the Browns
One word: stacked! If there’s a player with a bigger chip on their shoulder than Baker Mayfield, I don’t know who it is. The brash former Heisman trophy winner will look to put the city of Cleveland on his shoulders, in an even bigger way than LeBron James did with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The “Dawg Pound” has been salivating for 60 years for their beloved Cleveland Browns to bring home the championship. Mayfield would like nothing more than to be known as the quarterback that saved Cleveland. Not much needs to be said that already hasn’t. However, Antonio Callaway is suspended for four games but that doesn’t mean we should discount the established Rashard Higgins.
And if Mayfield can keep Odell Beckham happy and well-fed? We could be in for an offense that rivals that of the Kansas City Chiefs and perhaps be talking about new coach, Freddie Kitchens as the 2019 NFL coach of the year.
Kliff and Kyler: The Guru and the Gunslinger
Sound the alarm. It’s an air-raid! New Arizona Cardinals coach, Kliff Kingsbury, comes to town and gets his guy, Heisman trophy winning Kyler Murray. This could be a match made in heaven. The ESPN Sports Center highlight reel is most assuredly going to be filled with images of Murray weaving and darting through opposing defenses. Fans and sports journalists alike will keep their eyes glued to Murray as he develops into an NFL quarterback. With that being said, defensive coordinators will be scouring tape scheming to stop the prodigy.
The Cardinal’s defense is not good, ranked 26th in 2018, which should give Murray plenty of chances to get on the field to do his thing. However, the Cardinal’s offensive line is not good either, ranked last in 2018. Will Murray be able to scramble for his life long enough to avoid the same ill-fated outcome as Robert Griffin III? Time will tell. I for one can’t wait for Sunday afternoons.
Other storylines will fill our timelines in the 2019 NFL season. Will holdouts end? Will an unfortunate injury dash the hopes of a contender? Which dark horse will emerge to contend? The NFL season will be full of twists and turns and these are just some of the storylines that will keep us on the edge of our seats on any given Sunday.
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