The 2012 NFL season is about to get underway and based on the headlines and issues going into the season, like the replacement refs, the Tim Tebow drama in New York, and the Saints, after their bounty scandal in the offseason, this year should be not only intriguing, but also very fun to watch and witness.
It seems like every season there’s new storylines and issues that develop and to choose from and they are usually a few teams that seem to make some noise and have surprising seasons, even if we couldn’t see it coming. Today, I’m presenting you a list of the top 5 teams, that I believe could not only make some noise this season, but also could have surprising seasons. These teams may or may not make the playoffs, but they will have an impact this NFL Season and I think we’ll be talking about them as we go through the year.
Now with no further introduction, here’s my list of the top 5 teams to watch out for this season.
1. Philadelphia Eagles: Although the Eagles had a disappointing season last year, from all of the pressure and expectations that was placed on them, I liked how they ended the season and I think they’ll be able to carry that momentum and confidence into this year. I think the team will take it one game at a time and try to ignore the overwhelming hype surrounding them. We all know that QB Michael Vick can make big plays and make this offense pretty good, but the one thing he needs to do this season is to stay healthy the whole year. That’s been the talk this preseason and everytime Vick has gotten injured, the offense didn’t perform as well or smoothly and that is the one question mark I have about this team. If Vick can stay healthy and continue to approve, this Eagles offense will be hard to stop and they will be able to score lots of points, when they can. The Eagles defense is probably one of the most physical ones in the league and if they can continue to play like that and be more consistent, this defense will be hard to score on and they will be able to make big plays. The Eagles could be not just the scariest team to play against this year, but they could be the team to beat. If the Eagles can get off to a good start this season and if Vick can stay healthy, they could win the division and have a legit shot of winning the NFC and go to the Super Bowl.
2. San Diego Chargers: It seems like each season, the Chargers seems to be the team that everyone likes and chooses to win not only the AFC, but to even win the Super Bowl, but instead, for the last couple of years, they have found ways to get off to a slow starts and disappoint us all. I feel that this year, the Chargers can chance that habit and can become a better team. Besides New England and Baltimore, I think the Chargers could become the other team to beat in the AFC, they do have good, deep talent, on both sides of the ball, that can make big plays, they just need to play more consistently and not lose games, that they should’ve won. QB Philip Rivers is a legit NFL QB and I think he”ll continue to preform at that level, he could become an MVP candidate this season. Their defense isn’t bad, it just needs to be able to prevent big plays from happening. The AFC west is wide open and I think the Chargers have a great shot of winning it and if they do, they could be tough to beat in the playoffs and could resprent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
3. Chicago Bears: I think we can all agree that the Bears are the third best team in the NFC north, behind the Packers and Lions, and I believe this season, they can step up and challenge both of them for the division tittle. Although I believe the Bears can be pretty good this year, I wonder about two things, can QB Jay Cutler stay healthy for the whole year and be more consistent and can defensive player Brian Urlacher stay healthy and continue to perform at a high level for this Bears defense. Cutler has always been, in my opinion, an up and down player, where when he plays good, he’s good, when he plays bad, he’s bad. If Jay Cutler can be more consistent and not make too many mistakes, this Bears offense will definitely be better and Cutler could become a top 10 QB in the near future. The Bears defense last year was not as good as it could’ve been, due to the season ending injury to Urlacher, and since he’s coming back this season, I expect this defense to be better and be as physical, tough, and tenacious as were used to seeing. If everything goes right for this Bears team, from the defense being able to perform as they did before to Cutler being more consistent and taking the advantage of his newest offensive playmaker, WR Brandon Marshall, who can make big plays and stretch the field, they’ll be pretty good and expect them to challege the Packers and Lions for that NFC tittle.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Although the San Francisco 49ers are the favorite’s to win the NFC West, I believe that the Seahawks are the second best team in the division and can at least challenge them for it. I liked how the Seahawks played last year, with all of that competitiveness and being able to use their RB Marshawn Lynch as a powerful, tough runner. I like the team how they are on both sides, but the only thing that I wonder is how their QB situation is going to turn out. It looks like QB Russell Wilson, a rookie QB from Wisconsin, will start for them in week 1 and maybe beyond that and I know Wilson can make big plays with not just his arms, but his legs, but will he able to do that in the NFL and not make rookie mistakes. Besides the QB issue, I think the team looks good and will be able to play with lots of confidence and competitiveness they had last year and I expect Lynch to have a big season and help Wilson and the offense and you gotta think the Seahawks will definitely continue to feed off some of the fan’s support. Even though the division is still somewhat weak, with the Rams reloading and the Cardinals figuring out who they there, the Seahawks can make this division interesting, if they can give the 49ers a fight for the division tittle and I expect them to.
5. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers made some great strides last season and with the help of QB Cam Newton’s Record Breaking rookie year, their stock rose alittle and their future became more brighter, than it did a couple of years ago. Even though their not a super bowl contending team yet, Based on what the players had been saying during the offseason and taking a full page ad about why they will win this year’s super bowl, they would tell you else wise, and I liked that, it gives them motivation. I expect the team to not only get better on both sides of the ball, but to carry all of that competitiveness and confidence they had last year into this year. Based on how the NFC South looks, with the Saints moving on from their offseason problems, the Buccaneers continuing to reload, and with the Falcons sometimes being inconsistent, The Panthers can compete in this division and as long as Newton doesn’t suffer a sophomore slump and continues to play well and make big plays, they’ll have a chance to win it.