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Football starts today!Here are eight burning questions that will get some level of resolution today after months and months of speculation.
1. Do the Jets actually have a super-secret Tim Tebow mega-offence?
This is the big one. The Jets risked a lot by trading for Tebow (see the nightmare scenario here), and much of the success or failure of the move comes down to whether the team can get creative and use him as a wildcat-y QB.
The team has been coy about their wildcat offence. And by coy, we mean they have gone to ridiculous lengths to make sure no one knows anything about it. We’re sceptical that it will anything to write home about. But the first time Tebow steps on the field today, it will be all goosebumps. Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen:
2. Can Peyton Manning throw a ball further than 15 yards without his arm falling off?
OK, that was phrased kind of meanly. But it’s a legitimate question, Peyton has admitted that his arm isn’t where it was back in his prime. And there are rumblings everywhere that all the zip on his throws has vanished.
Luckily for us, all it will take it one classic Peyton deep out to the sideline to but all of these concerns to bed.
3. Are the Saints going to have a victim complex?
Everyone thinks Bountygate is going to derail the Saints for the entire 2012 season. But we’re interested to see if the exact opposite will happen.
The Brees-era Saints have been nothing if not resilient. We can totally see them rallying around each other, viewing this whole scandal as a persecution, and using that as fuel for the season.
4. Will the 49ers try to throw passes longer than 15 yards this year?
The Niners are a Super Bowl contender because of their defence. But they added a whole bunch of weapons this offseason with the expressed purpose of opening up the offence.
Mario Manningham and Randy Moss (even though he’s really old) are both guys who can stretch the field. The big question will be whether or not Alex Smith can throw deep balls without turning it over. San Fran was built around protecting the ball and playing good defence last year, so they’re taking a risk by trying to make more things happen on offence.
5. Is the Patriots defence better?
The Pats have juggernaut potential, but that defence needs to get better.
Chandler Jones is a rookie pass rusher who people are in love with, and Bill Belichick is a dangerous defensive tactician when he has playmakers to work with. If the New England defence is just average this year (as opposed to awful last year), this team will be scary.
6. Adrian Peterson isn’t really going to play, right?
The guy blew out his knee less than nine months ago. There’s no way he plays. There’s no way the Vikings medical staff lets him play, right? RIGHT?
Unfortunately, the Vikings play the Jaguars today. So you’re going to have to sit through that stinker if you want to find out.
7. Can Andrew Luck stay upright?
Luck has looked great in the preseason. But this Colts offensive line is just terrible, which means Luck is going to get hit a ton.
A lot of people don’t realise that Luck likes to run the ball a little bit, so he’ll be taking additional hits that way as well.
We’re going to find out really quick whether his rookie year is going to be a David Carr-level sack fest against Chicago’s aggressive defence today.
8 Did the Carolina defence improve enough to make them a legitimate sleeper in the NFC South?
All Cam Newton’s stats and highlights will be for nothing if the Panthers can’t stop anyone again. That defence improved through the draft, but the core from last year’s group is still in tact.
Tampa should be dramatically improved on offence, so today will give us a good indication of where the Panthers stand on D.
What to watch today, if you just want to watch one game at a time:
- 1:00pm — Bills vs. Jets
- 4:25pm — Packers vs. 49ers
- 8:20pm — Steelers vs. Broncos
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