Counting sleeps to NFL season begins

John
John Turner
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Since the last time we talked, we have a few more grey hairs, we survived weather-wise a bad winter, spring and summer and a long players lockout.

But the bright side to it all is NFL is back.

Next week, is the beginning of the regular season, and many fans are counting the number of sleeps until Thursday's opener between New Orleans and Green Bay.

Lately, The Freak has noticed the number of Philadelphia Eagles' jerseys, especially those No. 7 ones, popping up all over the place around the streets of Summerside. Going by that, it looks like many locals have jumped on the Eagles' bandwagon after all their big free-agent signings.

You can't blame them as they look like the best team on paper. However, paper has never won a football game, and Philly hasn't won a thing in the football world. So will that piece of paper hold the dreams of all the Eagles' fans?

Stay tuned for the answer in February.

Players to watch

Matthew Stafford - this kid has the heart of a Lion, and can put up some numbers when healthy. If he plays, the Lions will have a winning season.

Kevin Kolb - the most sought-after quarterback in the off-season, and he has won only a handful of games in the NFL. The Cards gave up a lot to get him, and this could make or break this organization for years.

Plax Burress - Burress is back in the Big Apple. But it was the Jets who brought in The Freak's buddy to give quarterback Mark Sanchez a red-zone threat, which he was for so many years for Eli. He will need to shake off the rust after being away from the game for two years while in jail. But, by mid-season, Plax might be a factor once again.

Albert Haynesworth - was a bust in Washington, or was it because Coach Shanahan was the bust and an idiot? Let's see if Coach Belichick can do anything with big Albert.

Donovan McNabb - signed with the Vikings after Coach Shanahan benched him in

Washington. See above.

Vincent Jackson - Jackson had a dominant season two years ago with the Chargers, and decided to sit most of last year out over a contract dispute. Bet he comes back with a vengeance, which will make quarterback Phillip Rivers smile.

Julio Jones - the Falcons gave up a boatload of high draft picks for Jones to be that impact receiver opposite of Roddy White, who draws all the double teams. If he can be that solid two guy in only his rookie season, Atlanta will be tough to beat.

Playoff teams

NFC division winners - Packers, Eagles, Saints, Rams. Wild card - Falcons,

Cowboys.

"Next week is the beginning of the regular season, and many fans are counting the number of sleeps until Thursday's opener between New Orleans and Green Bay." John Turner

AFC division winners - Pats, Ravens, Texans, Chargers. Wild card - Jets,

Steelers.

Surprise teams

The Lions have the makings of being good, and The Freak thinks this is the season they won't be one of the doormats. Good luck trying to run inside against Suh and Fairley.

Arizona, with its acquisitions on offence in Kolb and tight end Todd Heap, will put the scoreboard to work again in Glendale. Larry Fitzgerald, the best wideout in the game, will once again dominate, which will lead to more wins and give the Cards a good shot in the weak NFC West.

Miami played great on the road last year, and was brutal at home. They have a great underrated defence, and a second-year starting quarterback, Chad Henne, who should be better this season. The Dolphins will contend for a wild-card spot.

Disappointing teams

Sad to say, but the Giants have looked dismal on the offensive side of the ball with the loss of wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss. The defence lost its best cover corner in Terrell Thomas, and Osi has a bad knee. There could be some long Sunday afternoons this season at The Freak's house.

You never like to bet against Peyton Manning, but he has a bad neck starting the year, and the Colts are getting quite old in key positions, which is never a good sign.

Seattle won the NFC West last year, and upset the Saints in the playoffs. However, they brought in quarterback Tarvaris Jackson from Minnesota, who will ruin any offence.

Super Bowl prediction

Guess what?

The Freak will take the paper champs, Philadelphia Eagles, against the Baltimore Ravens.

I always like those defensive teams who can run the rock and the Ravens have a solid quarterback in Joe Flacco, who takes care of the football.

The Eagles have the talent, but will it all mesh together?

Andy Reid is one coach who might pull it off.

The Ravens beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl on a Ray Lewis fumble.

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to the footballfreak84@yahoo.ca.

Organizations: Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Chargers Big Apple Jets Vikings Dolphins Giants

Geographic location: Summerside, Kolb, New Orleans Green Bay Washington Atlanta Glendale Seattle Minnesota

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Recent comments

  • Pats Fan
    September 03, 2011 - 06:36

    "Are you ready for some football?" Thankfully, the NFL is back and I love The Freak's weekly column in the fall. Life is good! Hey Freak, is your loyalty to The Big Blue the reason why you can't bring yourself to write that the Patriots are actually the best team on paper rather than the Eagles. How about a Freak NFL Power Ranking of the league in one of your future columns?

    • Steelers Fan
      September 06, 2011 - 15:28

      PATS are only winning when they are cheating. The "so called" team of the decade" owes the Steelers 2 of their championships that they were in fact identified as stealing defensive game plans and were fined and lost draft pick(s). Haven't won since they were caught. There is only one team in the NFL that are legit to win it all on any given year. Thats right. You guessed it. The PITTSBURGH STEELERS. Shocked that a fan like the FREAK, and his football knowledge, would pick any other team.

  • Pats Fan
    September 03, 2011 - 06:33

    "Are you ready for some football?" Thankfully, the NFL is back and I love The Freak's weekly column in the fall. Life is good! Hey Freak, is your loyalty to The Big Blue the reason why you can't bring yourself to write that the Patriots are actually the best team on paper rather than the Eagles. How about a Freak NFL Power Ranking of the league in one of your future columns?