Excitement is already starting to mount for the arrival of the new NFL season when the LA Rams take on the Buffalo Bills on Friday September 9.
What follows promises to be 18 weeks of highs and lows for the teams in the league, as well as a feast of entertainment for the fans. Sure, not all the games will be quite as exciting as the dramatic Super Bowl LVI that saw the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in a thrilling final quarter points surge.
But the NFL has plenty of ideas about how to up the thrill factor for the League’s estimated 184 million fans.
More, better coverage
While there’s nothing quite like the excitement of seeing a game live, only a fraction of the total number of football fans can experience this each week The NFL is acutely conscious of this fact so, for the new season, they’re introducing a number of exciting new broadcast initiatives.
In the first of these, they have worked with NBC to introduce even more flexible scheduling for this season. So, as we get deeper into the action and the outcomes of particular games become more important, these will be the ones that make it onto our screens.
The way that many of us watch not just sport but all entertainment has changed and the NFL is also reacting to this with a number of new ways to watch online.
Under the banner heading of “altcasts” these include a special Twitch channel and, to attract the next generation of football fans, programming on the Nickelodeon Channel too. For those of us that love the betting and fantasy football side of the game and need to know all about the NFL Lines there will be ESPN’s very appropriately-named Between the Lines.
Five teams who could shine
Naturally, the big question is which teams are set to do well in the coming season and here are five that could excel.
Kansas City Chiefs
They made it all the way to the semi-final of last season’s play-offs, narrowly losing to Cincinnati. Since then, they chose to trade off arguably one of their best players Tyreek Hill bringing in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Juju Smith-Schuster and Skyy Moore. If these players bed-in as quickly as hoped, then the Chiefs will continue to be a considerable force. And let’s not overlook the fact that they still have the formidable Patrick Mahomes on the roster to give them strength in depth.
Los Angeles Chargers
It might have been their LA rivals that grabbed the glory in the Super Bowl but the off-season activity at the Chargers suggests that they’re really going for it this season. It all seems to be orbiting around the incredible skills of quarterback Justin Herbert who will be in his third season with the team. They’ve invested heavily in others to support him including linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback JC Jackson and guard Zion Johnson as a rookie from Boston College.
Green Bay Packers
Play-off quarter finalists Green Bay Packers showed a certain fallibility to the best teams in the league but they have taken steps that will, hopefully, address this weakness. They may have lost one of the best receivers in the game in Davante Adams but he has been replaced with the experienced Sammy Watkins with the roster also being boosted by rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. It’s just going to be a question of staying stronger in defense than in previous seasons.
San Francisco 49ers
Unlucky not to reach the Super Bowl after a narrow defeat by the Rams, it’s thought that this may be one team that can go far even without a truly elite quarterback. That’s because coach Kyle Shanahan has successfully put together a formidable offense featuring players like Jimmy Garropolo. It’s just a question of him keeping fit and injury-free. If the worst does happen then at least there is Trey Lance as a fall-back option more than capable of doing what’s needed.
While it may be a surprise to find the Eagles on the list, the arrival of A.J.Brown from the Tennessee Titans has added a first-rate receiver to their ranks. It’s also provided great support for DeVonta Smith. On the defensive front, the addition of Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis means that they should be solid on that score too. Two other signings in the form of James Bradberry and the Georgia college linebacker Nakobe Dean will further strengthen the Eagles – and perhaps it’s also going to help them to soar.
So there’s plenty to look forward to over the 18 action-packed weeks of matches ahead of us. As to who’ll be competing in Super Bowl LVII on 12 February 2023 in Glendale Arizona, we’re just going to have to wait and see.