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Hello there, BMFers! Football season has quickly blindsided us yet again and as we head into the final week of the NFL preseason, it’s time to take a look at the 10 most intriguing storylines around the league. From Johnny Manziel’s quarterback “battle” with Brian Hoyer, to the plethora of key injuries around the league, to whether or not Seattle and Denver can return to the Super Bowl – we have it all, folks.
10. Jim Kelly’s Health
Before we get into the seemingly meaningless drivel of sports talk, we must acknowledge Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly and his recently announced ass kicking of cancer. There is more to life than sports, and anyone who has experienced what Kelly and his family have gone through can tell you that. It is so good to see that Kelly is on his way to a fully successful recovery. He is an inspiration to all. Best wishes to anyone else out there who is currently in the toughest fight of their life.
9. 1999 – 2014: The Buffalo Bills Playoff Drought
As for Kelly’s Buffalo Bills, will they finally make the playoffs? Quarterback E.J. Manuel is trying to turn a franchise around that currently suffers from the longest playoff drought in the league. The Bills have failed to reach the postseason every year since 1999. Not a good look. Manuel looks like the quarterback of the future in every aspect except for his actual on field body of work. Don’t get your hopes up, Buffalo. And no, Jon Bon Jovi isn’t the answer either. Much like the Bills Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed, I don’t much care for Bon Jovi or his music either. I think Reed spoke for most of us when he recently stated simply, “F$%k Bon Jovi!”
8. The San Francisco 49ers of Santa Clara
The Niners are coming off three straight soul crushing postseason exits. Can they rebound one more time and make their push towards the Super Bowl? From the looks of their preseason outings – no. But preseason doesn’t really matter, does it? One thing is for certain, the Niners new, shiny Levi’s Stadium is quite a spectacle. However, the magic of San Francisco and the caution tape of Candlestick will not travel to Santa Clara, and neither will I.
7. Michael Sam’s “Money” Gesture
Even Rams rookie defensive end Michael Sam has had enough of Manziel. During Sunday’s contest, Sam sacked Manziel and celebrated with Manziel’s “famous” money fingers. It just about blew up the internet, even causing an earthquake way out here in California. For Manziel, this is just one of the many rude awakenings that he will receive throughout his short career. Good luck!
6. Johnny Backup
Speaking of Manziel, move over Johnny, Brian Hoyer is the TRUTH in Cleveland! After an underwhelming quarterback “race”, it appears that Johnny Football is now Johnny Backup…ERRR…Johnny Clipboard. We’ll see how long that lasts. CLEVELAND ROCKS!
5. Can the Broncos Return to the Super Bowl?
Reaching back-to-back Super Bowls is no easy task, but you can’t help but wonder if Peyton Manning and Company will accomplish just that this season. Their much improved defense and still high-powered offense have looked mighty solid this preseason. Saturday featured a coming out party for the newly acquired wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, as he and Manning showed off their deep connection in style. Maybe the loss of Eric Decker won’t hit them so hard after all. Although there is much concern for the health of Wes Welker, the Broncos appear to be poised for another impressive playoff run.
4. Is Seattle Still the Team to Beat?
When it’s all said and done, you still can’t argue against the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl odds. With a majority of last season’s championship team still intact, one of the deepest, if not the deepest rosters in the league is a scary team yet again. However, will Seattle have a Super Bowl hangover? Or will they be able to play hungry, underdog football as they have in years past? It will be interesting to say the least, and I will be watching closely while overindulging in Skittles.
3. Who Can Dethrone the Champs?
The age old question, right? Year after year we sit here making our boldfaced predictions and pretend that we are so certain of them. But in regards to whether or not your team is going to prevail this season, it comes down to one thing – HEALTH. In football, more than any other sport, you simply cannot assume that your team is going to end the season with the same roster that it started with.
2. Health – Sam Bradford
For instance, take a look at the St. Louis Rams now that their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, is out for the season. Let the Shaun Hill era begin! A tough break before the season even started. But the Rams aren’t the only team going through preseason troubles. Broncos receiver Wes Welker, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett, and Falcons left tackle Sam Baker (to name a few) are all also out with a variety of injuries, some less serious than others. But the point is that you never know what could happen in such a physical game. Take a look at what happened to 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman in last season’s NFC Championship game. His injury may haunt the Niners throughout this season as well.
1. Happy Football!
From Fantasy to Pop Warner and all the way up to the NFL, happy football season. It is bound to be another exciting season of highly competitive ball and too many commercials. Be sure to follow Baller Mind Frame all season long for the hottest takes on the interweb. And remember, Fantasy Football is, after all, just a fantasy. Do yourself a solid and stay out of the player’s @ mentions and slander me instead.
You can follow Rich Peters on Twitter @Tricky_Roma.