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Last year in the NFL, we saw a handful of teams drastically improve as playoff contenders, which was ultimately led by the Philadelphia Eagles hoisting the trophy over New England. Their repeat success and the vast amount of quarterback changes lead the many questions we have as Week 1 is here.
Is this FINALLY the year Tom Brady and the New England Patriots decline?
As we’ve learned for the better part of a decade now, the answer is most likely no. Despite media trying to drum up drama between the quarterback and head coach Bill Belichick, there’s enough weapons on offense and the defense should have a better start.
Can Philadelphia repeat as Super Bowl champions?
Even after Thursday's ugly win, it could be a very rough beginning for them, at least. Quarterback Carson Wentz and a slew of offensive talent will be out for at least the first few games. We’ll see if they can wade through the waters and pick up a few wins as they become healthier.
Will Jimmy Garoppolo live up to his lofty expectations in San Francisco?
A lot of praise thrown toward Garoppolo despite a limited sample size, and that will finally be put to the test in his first full season. Does he have enough of a supporting cast to thrive?
Will Jon Gruden be able to succeed in Oakland again?
Perhaps a better question at this point would be what in the world the organization was thinking when it comes to trading away Khalil Mack. Many people are expecting a big letdown with the Raiders this season, who are bringing in a coach that’s been away from the sidelines for ten years.
Can Jacksonville repeat their success from a season ago?
A lot of things went right for the Jaguars last year, avoiding any serious injuries. In the preseason, we’ve already seen wide receiver Marqise Lee go down, and there’s still plenty of questions around how good Blake Bortles is under center.
Who will create a big turnaround like Jacksonville or the LA Rams in 2018?
San Francisco is a public favorite to turn things around, but are there any potential teams we can’t see coming? The New York Giants have a new head coach and still have a lot of playmakers on offense. Perhaps it could be the teams involved in the next few questions.
Is Sam Darnold ready to be a starting quarterback with the New York Jets?
Teddy Bridgewater has been shipped out to make room for the rookie quarterback. The Jets were probably not going to be in the playoff hunt anyway this season, but sometimes throwing out inexperience around mediocre talent can have disastrous results.
Will Cleveland win games this season?
They have the NFC East and AFC West to contend with this season, which doesn’t bode well for them considering they are deeper divisions. It’s a murderous two games to start (vs. Pittsburgh, at New Orleans), but then they’ll have the Jets and the Raiders. At least they’ll have a reliable QB under center with Tyrod Taylor and some playmakers on the offense.
Who will be the first head coach that gets the ax?
Yes, the question that’s always asked every year. With a 1-31 record, Hue Jackson is one of the top candidates in many sportsbooks. Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter, Denver’s Vance Joseph, and Miami’s Adam Gase are three other favorites in this category.
How big of an impact will the new tackle rule have?
It’s an ugly question that many of us would like to avoid, but expect this to be a heavy talking point in the early weeks. For those that watched the preseason, many tackles were penalized that weren’t deemed egregious in prior years. Especially with the controversy around what should be a catch in the NFL, not many fans are going to be happy about this.