The NFL preseason has come to an end as fans, players, and coaches across the country prepare for kickoff. The preseason games have failed to bring the excitement of the regular season, with starters only playing one or two quarters per game.
However, fans have been able to see some exciting new draft picks, such as Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, warm up and take their first snaps in the league as professionals, as well as some big trades and retirements that will shape the coming season.
The Cleveland Browns won all four preseason games after losing all sixteen regular season games last season. The Browns became only the second team in NFL history to lose an entire sixteen game season, but some say that rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry, who they acquired from the Dolphins over the offseason, are the key to turning the franchise around in the next few years.
Mayfield continues to battle for the starting position with former Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor currently holds the starting position, but if he does not perform well, fans are ready to see Mayfield play.
The Jets selected Sam Darnold out of The University of South Carolina with the third pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Darnold was the first rookie quarterback to secure a week one start after the Jets traded away Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints. After years of inconsistency at the position, the Jets believe they have found a real franchise player. The Jets ranked in the bottom five teams in the league in offense and defense in 2017 and are looking for a winning season for the first time since 2015.
The season kicks off this Thursday, September 6, as the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons. The two met in the divisional round of the playoffs last year and the Eagles narrowly escaped with a win, costing the Falcons a chance at a Super Bowl rematch with the Patriots.
Philadelphia will once again rely on their back-up quarterback, Nick Foles, who carried them to a Super Bowl victory after Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL at the end of a near perfect regular season in 2017.
The Falcons are led by veteran quarterback, Matt Ryan, who recently became the league’s second highest paid player ($30 million/year) after yet another 4,000 passing yard season last year. These two offenses dominated in 2017, so it seems safe to expect a high scoring game to kick off the 2018 NFL season.
Look for the Atlanta Falcons to upset the Eagles on the road. Final score: Eagles 27, Falcons 35.