The 2015 regular season is just days away. What are the biggest NFL storylines as we gear up for the Thursday Night Football opener between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers?
As the last week of the preseason is in the books and 53-man rosters are starting to take form, most teams won’t risk putting their starters on the field this week and it’ll be more about the back half of each roster.
The Buffalo Bills released Fred Jackson, the guy with the third-most rushing yards ever for the franchise. Even though he was the league’s oldest running back at 34, it still comes as somewhat as a surprise given how much Rex Ryan has said he wanted to run the ball this season. If LeSean Mccoy misses the start of the year as Buffalo fears he might, Boobie Dixon would be in line for the bulk of the carries. Jackson really must have lost a few steps, if there wasn’t enough touches to go around in the run-heavy offense.
Jackson already visited Seattle but has not signed as of now. Speaking of the Seahawks, they’re waiting to figure out what to do with Kam Chancellor’s holdout before they making any more signings. Their backup running back, Robert Turbin, is set to miss a lot of time this season with an ankle injury, so there is a need for Jackson. Marshawn Lynch also reportedly pushed for them to sign him, knowing him from their time on the Bills. The Bills also have their starting QB in Tyrod Taylor, expect him to use his legs a whole lot.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ prized free agent acquisition Julius Thomas needs surgery on a finger he broke in the opening preseason game. He hopes to be back by Weel 4 but the Jaguars offense shouldn’t suffer too much as long as tight ends Mercedes Lewis and Clay Harbor continue their positive momentum’s into the regular season.
Yes, Tom Brady’s suspension was lifted by the courts, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. This case was no different then when Goodell was overruled in the New Orleans Saints bounty gate case or even Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension. What this should not do is influence every other suspended player to appeal in court as well. Greg Hardy is mulling it over but domestic violence and DeflateGate aren’t even in the same ball park.
Good news in Green Bay! Randall Cobb is set to make the season opener after getting hurt last week in preseason action. Lining up across from him at receiver looks like it will be Davante Adams, who has a giant chance with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Of course there’s going to be a drop off with him and Nelson, but Adams is set for a breakout year.
The AFC West has a chance to be one of the most surprising divisions this season. I think the Denver Broncos will take a small step back this season. Everyone is a year older and their running game won’t see the same success as last season. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers each had more productive off seasons. San Diego hasn’t had a steady running game in the last few years, so if Melvin Gordon can kick start that, their offense will stop being so one-dimensional. The Chiefs kept everyone on their defense and got Eric Berry back. If Jeremy Maclin can open up the offense they will exceed expectations. The Raiders might pull off a couple upsets too with new head coach Jack Del Rio. Maybe. Possibly.