Opinion, Sports

What to look for during the 2018 NFL season

As an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan and Fantasy Football player, I love September—along with December and March. December has Christmas; March has my birthday and March Madness; September is the start of the NFL season. This season has lots of unknowns, but here are some of the things I am most excited for this year.

First, Andrew Luck is probably the league’s biggest unknown this year. In over 14 games, he has averaged almost 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. But last year, Luck was recovering from shoulder surgery, and played a whopping zero games. When he plays, the guy has potential to be a top 5 QB. But after surgery, anybody in the league is a liability. He could have a Tom Brady recovery, who has become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time after his surgery. Or it could be a Robert Griffin III type recovery—he’s no longer in the league after a short, five-year career.

Second, Deshaun Watson is in a similar boat. Watson started his rookie year with what was looking to be an MVP-caliber season. Watson had thrown 19 touchdowns and almost 1,700 yards until a heart-breaking ACL tear cut his season short. After his surgery last season, Watson will be looking to pick up where he left off. The only question is whether the young QB will be playing with the same vigor he left with.

Third, there’s an exciting class of sophomores to watch and see if they can keep up their play after fantastic rookie seasons. On the offensive side, there’s Deshaun Watson; Kareem Hunt, who led the league in rushing; and Alvin Kamara, who was a nightmare for opposing defenses. On the defensive side there’s Myles Garrett, the freak of nature from Texas A&M, and Marshon Lattimore, who was one of the best rookie cornerbacks in the league.

Fourth and finally, look for this year’s rookies to be as exciting as ever. Baker Mayfield came up short of a national championship in his final year as an Oklahoma Sooner. Mayfield is as polarizing a player as we’ve seen, but he is an extremely dynamic quarterback. Look for him to play good minutes for the Cleveland Browns this year. Sam Darnold is looking to make history as the youngest quarterback ever to start for an NFL team, and after the New York Jets traded away Teddy Bridgewater during pre-season, it’s going to happen. Last—but certainly not least—Saquon Barkley: if you haven’t heard his name, you better learn it soon. Barkley was a monster at Penn State, and will continue to be so at the New York Giants. If he doesn’t win Offensive Rookie of the Year, I will be genuinely shocked.

Plenty of controversy surrounds the NFL. New rules attempting to make the game safer are being met with disdain from players and fans alike. Executives never came to a conclusion on the kneeling for the anthem, so that will stay an issue. But football will be football. If you don’t like it, that’s okay, but I’ll be spending my Sunday afternoons on the couch with my Chiefs jersey on, watching what will prove to be another exciting year of NFL football.