Pittsburgh Vs New England Opening Day Preview

The grind of the preseason is coming to an end and the even longer road of the NFL regular season is on the horizon. Football fans from all over the world are gearing up for what promises to be seventeen weeks of gridiron excitement, with many league stories already unfolding. Here are just a few interesting happenings around the NFL as we get ready for the first game on September 10. That game will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots
The game has numerous stories, not the least involving Tom Brady and whether he will play or not. Everyone is aware of the mayhem “DeflateGate” has caused and the most surprising thing about the story is it is still going on! They are endlessly debating Brady’s suspension for his alleged involvement in the controversy and it has not yet been determined if he will lead his team on opening night. There is over a week to figure it out, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this story continues through the beginning of the season.

Pittsburgh SteelersOn the Pittsburgh side, they are dealing with the fallout from their recent acquisition at the back-up quarterback position. Given their history, it would seem unlikely that the Rooneys and Michael Vick would ever come to terms. But come to terms they did and Michael Vick showed up in a Steeler uniform during a recent pre-season game in Buffalo. He did well that day but it is too early to tell if he will be embraced by Steeler Nation. There was quite a reaction from local fans when the announcement was made that he was going to play for the team. There were some demonstrations outside of Heinz Field and the local sports radio talk shows were focusing on it constantly.

There are other things that these two teams need to concern themselves with besides the inevitable distractions. The management, coaches and players should have only one thing in mind; how to get to Super Bowl 50. That should be the goal, because there are thirty other teams striving for the same trophy. This is a landmark year so hopefully the sideline shenanigans will take a back-seat to the more important business of playing the game. If only it was possible to return to the days of Lombardi and Shula, when it was more about the sport and less about the off-field indiscretions.

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Is This Peyton Manning’s Year?

It’s been a long 6 months. Sure, we’ve had the “Summer of Soccer”, baseball and the NBA. Fun, but not enough. I’m ready for some football!

The offseason has been interesting. Everyone knows about “DeflateGate” and how my Niners had The Worst Offseason In Professional Sports History. You’ve heard how Geno Smith‘s jaw was broken by linebacker IK Enemkpali and might have deserved it; and that Rex Ryan snatched up Enemkpali the day after he was released by the Jets.

Then there’s the standard New Head Coach optimism. Jack Del Rio is hopeful for his young, fresh faced Raiders. John Fox believes he can get Jay Cutler to play good football and maybe even care about it. Jim Tomsula is still holding out hope for Aldon Smith.

Now, finally, the offseason is over. It’s officially preseason. The NFL Network is in full swing, broadcasting every preseason game it possibly can. And I am watching. Yes, it’s preseason. Yes, it’s sloppy and boring. But it’s football.
More importantly, the beginning of preseason starts a very short countdown to September 10, when the Patriots take on the Steelers in the first regular season game. So yeah, I am pretty happy.

Here’s my big prediction for the 2015-2016 NFL Season:

The Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl. Yes, you read it here first. Ok, I know. The Seahawks, Patriots and Packers (among others) have great teams. Just hear me out:

This could (maybe should) be Peyton Manning‘s final season and he must go out on top. There is no better field general in the sport. Maybe never has been. Brady is more mobile (my desk is more mobile) and a great quarterback. Aaron Rodgers is at the top of his game and a force to be reckoned with. But Peyton is the man.

He’s arguably the smartest quarterback ever. That goes a long way when your team is in the trenches. He is the consummate problem solver under pressure. Totally unflappable. I have never seen Peyton panic under pressure. I can’t say that about any other QB in the league.

His team goes to war for him. Peyton is liked and respected by his coaches and teammates. That’s not necessarily the case in some of the other top-tier franchises. They trust him to call the right plays at the right time. His histrionics at the line (Omaha!) are less to confuse the defense than to adjust his play to what he sees on the other side of the ball.

The Broncos are solid. Sure, their secondary has been weak but Kubiak is working on it. Every other part of the team is rock steady. This team is ready to go head-to-head with the toughest competition the league can throw at them.
Peyton Manning

Lastly, and most importantly, there is no way Peyton can retire with only one ring. Eli has two. It’s just not right. This gross inequity can’t stand. I don’t see much danger in Eli adding to his two Super Bowl rings, so Peyton can level that score with a win.

I can’t wait to see him hoist the Lombardi trophy over his head.

I love football!

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