NFL Football Trends To Watch This Year
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The 2012 NFL season is upon us, the fans have been waiting for football season like forever. There are teams that will definitely rise up and those who will have setbacks. There are also players who will begin to define their legacy and others who might legitimize them. No matter what NFL football team you are going to bet on, this trend is likely to emerge this season of the year and will be what we will always be talking about.
The Continued Proliferation of the Passing Game
Woody Hayes and Darrell Royal won’t stay in the NFL today. The mantra that “three things happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad” no longer applies. In addition to completion, incompleteness, and interception, passing play now often results in rough passer calls and passing interference flags. There is little reason for coaches to choke back a passing attack with those types of opportunities. The game has evolved into a pass-happy version that lights up the scoreboard and keeps fans on their toes. As Kevin Seifert thoroughly explains, the passing statistics have steadily increased over the past 25 years. In 2011 alone, three midfielders broke the 5,000-yard barrier that Dan Marino had just reached.
Cam Newton’s evolution
Cam Newton burns the NFL secondary to start the 2011 season. Then the defensive coordinator knows how to stop him. In his last six games, he averaged less than 200 yards passing after debuting with a pair of 400-plus attempts. But a child with a charismatic smile will do just fine. His skills are phenomenal. He shows that he has the accuracy and touch to make every throw necessary and a pair that seemed previously unimaginable. Now that he has been given the full offseason to hone his game, the team will find a much better midfielder when they take on the Carolina Panthers.
Boom-or-Bust season for Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan has enjoyed a stable but unspectacular career. His numbers certainly put him in the top half of NFL midfield, but now is the time to set his palate. Other than his rookie season, Ryan struggled to get things going in the playoffs. To be fair, the lack of a team along the line of attack didn’t help the problem. But that explanation will only work so long for the former third-choice overall. With guns like Julio Jones, Roddy White and Jacquizz Rodgers, the time has come for Ryan to move up to the elite or settle in as a good but not great midfielder.
Increment of North NFC
The NFL will revolve around the Midwest in 2012. The Green Bay Packers are one of the league’s elite teams, and the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are quickly approaching similar status. The Bears injected quality-received talent into a team that primed for a playoff spot before injury crushed those hopes. The defense is aging fast but will have to maintain its quality into next season. Detroit has been having some off-field problems lately. If they can weather the suspension, the Lions lose a bit of flair and will be content to play postseason.
Demotion of AFC North
AFC North will go in a different direction than their NFC counterpart. The Cincinnati Bengals have begun ushering in a new era in the division. They need to be stronger with one more year under their belt, and a sense of playoff will certainly motivate them. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens can’t say the same thing. Pittsburgh is in transition. The defense has had many aging players who have consistently put off injury for years.
Resurrection of the Head of Kansas City
Peyton Manning has signed a contract with the Denver Broncos, and Philip Rivers has had to bounce back from a bad 2011. Neither of these events mattered. The Kansas City Chiefs will win the AFC West. The defeats of Jamal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry were devastating last season.
Madness Continues with the Tebow Team
This one’s easy. Just because people will talk about Tim Tebow for millennia after he graduated doesn’t mean it’s not currently a trend. The biggest media stars reside in the largest media market in the country.