The NFL season is now just 17 days away from kicking off on September 5, when the Dallas Cowboys face the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. As the season continues to draw closer, we will be continuing to preview the NFL's divisions. Last week, we previewed the AFC East; today we will take a look at the AFC South.
After nine seasons without a playoff appearance, the Houston Texans were finally able to break through last season, winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record. The team was riddled with injuries last year, with many of the team's biggest stars missing a significant amount of time. Houston returns with many of their key players this season; the most notable exception is DE Mario Williams, who signed with Buffalo.
Projection: If the Texans can stay away from the injury bug, most notably QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster, they should be able to take home the division crown.
The 2012 National Football League season is just a few weeks away now, so over the next few weeks, we will look ahead to each division and see how each team projects. First up: the AFC East.
Very few teams made as many waves as the Buffalo Bills did this offseason. The team signed the top free agent on the market, defensive end Mario Williams, to a $100 million contract, the largest in franchise history. They then went out and further bolstered the defensive line by signing DE Mark Anderson, who had 12.5 sacks last season for the Patriots. It is widely believed that the Bills made these moves in order to put pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has owned the Bills for the past decade.
Projection: After finishing 6-10 in 2011, the Bills hope the improved defense will have them competing for a Wild Card spot in 2012.
The NBA and NHL seasons are over. Baseball is in its dog days of summer, with many fans losing hope for their team's chances. But this week marks the beginning of NFL training camp and sports fans everywhere are looking forward to the upcoming NFL season.
Rookies from the across the league have already reported to their team's camps, but this week marks the official start when veterans arrive to get ready for 2012.
Here are some of the things to keep an eye on as training camp gets underway:
What to Watch For
Peyton on the Rocky Top - After missing last season due to a serious neck injury, quarterback Peyton Manning left the Colts to join the Denver Broncos - the same team that was led by the ridiculously popular Tim Tebow just a year ago. Now the Broncos will be featuring a brand-new offense and this year's Broncos training camp will be important for Manning and his receivers to get on the same page. Oh, and one more thing about Tebow...
Another week is in the books and a lot of news was made this week. Here is just some of the things people couldn't stop talking about:
Ever since the world got its first glimpse of the new movie, "The Avengers," when its trailer premiered last October, the anticipation for it has been growing out of control. It opened today, May 4, so fans will finally get their chance to see if the film meets their expectations. Early reports predict that the movie will bring in a half billion dollars in box office sales worldwide by the end on the weekend. Yikes.
The movie stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson (of course...he's in everything!). "The Avengers" has received a rating of 93% on RottenTomatoes.com so far and should be a big hit. After seeing the trailer (on the left), there is no chance that I don't see the movie this weekend.
Cinco de Mayo
This weekend also marks one of the great non-holiday holidays, Cinco de Mayo! Wikipedia describes the day as a date of "celebration of Mexican heritage and pride," but most people just use the day to have a FIESTA!
The most talked about subject this week though was the unfortunate and untimely death of NFL legend Junior Seau. There is a lot of speculation and unanswered questions surrounding his passing, but one thing nobody can question is his impact on the game of football. He played the game with passion and heart, and if you ask many linebackers in the NFL today, they would say he was their role model growing up. He played for parts of 20 seasons in the NFL, suiting up for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. He played his college ball at USC, and they did a great tribute video with him singing and playing the ukulele. It's worth checking out.
With all the things that have already happened in this offseason in the NFL, it feels like the season never really ended. Between free agency, all the mock drafts, Peyton Manning going to the Broncos and the Saints scandal, football has never left the headlines.
Now the league has made more headlines after releasing the 2012 schedule of games and NFL fans have begun to drool at some of the match-ups. Here are some of the highlights of the 2012 NFL Schedule:
One of the hardest things to do in sports is win a championship in consecutive years, but that is the task of the New York Giants this season. The Super Bowl champions will not have an easy road back to the big game because, based on the records of the 2012 opponents from last season, the G-Men will have the toughest schedule in the league. They get right down to it, too, when they host division rival Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 5, in the NFL season opener. Tough games against teams like the 49ers, Steelers, Saints and Ravens all await the Giants in 2012.
For many people in the U.S., Thanksgiving is about three things: family, turkey, and football. Every year the NFL schedules a slate of games for Turkey Day and this year will feature some great games. The Detroit Lions will continue their tradition of playing on Thanksgiving and face the Houston Texans, who many believe could be a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. Following that, there will be a late afternoon game between the Dallas Cowboys and their NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins. But perhaps the most talked about game this Thanksgiving will be the prime-time match-up between bitter rivals New England Patriots and New York Jets.