The NFL season is finally here. It kicks off tonight when the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers play host to the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Athlon Sports' editorial staff made its predictions in the Athlon Sports Pro Football 2011 Preview magazine, and here they are.
Falcons (5) over Rams (4)
Saints (3) over Giants (6)
Packers (1) over Falcons (5)
Eagles (2) over Saints (3)
Packers (1) over Eagles (2)
SUPER BOWL XVLI
Packers over Patriots
1. New England Patriots
Belichick and Brady marching toward fifth Super Bowl berth. 2. New York Jets
Ryan still hungry after back-to-back trips to the AFC title game. 3. Miami Dolphins
Need more All-Pros to “take their talents to South Beach.” 4. Buffalo Bills
Gailey unveiling “hybrid” defense anchored by versatile Dareus.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Hits-burgh gunning for record ninth Super Bowl appearance. 2. Baltimore Ravens
Fans hoping this year isn’t farewell tour for Lewis and Reed. 3. Cleveland Browns
Just what curse of Cleveland sports needed, a Madden cover. 4. Cincinnati Bengals
Bungles are back; Dalton era starts now.
1. Houston Texans
Phillips bringing his 3-4 scheme south from Big D to Houston. It's all setup for Kubiak to win now. 2. Tennessee Titans
Munchak and Locker replacing Fisher and Young in Music City. 3. Indianapolis Colts
No Manning for 2-3 months means few wins for 2-3 months. 4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Garrard cut just days before the season begins, MJD coming off a bum knee, it's not looking good.
1. San Diego Chargers
Possible move to L.A. a black cloud hanging over sunny San Diego. 2. Kansas City Chiefs
Will offense remain as potent without Weis calling plays? 3. Oakland Raiders
Climbing out of the Black Hole after many years of obscurity. 4. Denver Broncos
New regime of Elway and Fox has a Mile High mountain to scale.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl expectations for “Dream Team” assembled in Philly. 2. New York Giants
G-Men eager to put last season’s collapse and this preseason behind them. 3. Dallas Cowboys
New sheriff Garrett and healthy gunslinger Romo ready to ride. 4. Washington Redskins
Snyder and Shanahan most stubborn men in nation’s capital.
1. Green Bay Packers
Reigning champ Rodgers eyeing back-to-back title belts. 2. Detroit Lions
Motor City revving engines, eager for breakout season. 3. Chicago Bears
Egos bruised and flaws exposed by Packers in NFC title game. 4. Minnesota Vikings
Metrodome implosion symbolic of collapse as contenders.
1. New Orleans Saints
What lockout? Brees’ OTAs have Big Easy locked and loaded. 2. Atlanta Falcons
Bold draft-day moves prove Dirty Birds playing to win now. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Young Bucs older and wiser after playoff-less 10-win ’10. 4. Carolina Panthers
Newton bringing Cammy-Cam Juice and Midas touch to Charlotte.
1. St. Louis Rams
McDaniels joining Bradford for new-look Greatest Show on Turf. 2. San Francisco 49ers
Harbaugh hoping to follow Bill Walsh from Stanford to Super Bowl(s). 3. Arizona Cardinals
Paid king’s ransom in trade and contract extension for Kolb. 4. Seattle Seahawks
Hasselbeck and Tatupu leave leadership void on both sides of ball.
Can Aaron Rodgers add a league MVP trophy to the Super Bowl XLV MVP he won in February?
The 2011 NFL season kicks off with a Thursday night showdown between the last two Super Bowl champions, as Super Bowl XLIV MVP quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints march to Lambeau Field to take on Super Bowl XLV MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers — in the first of 256 regular season games that span from Sept. 8 until Jan. 1, 2012.
Before a snap has been taken, Athlon Sports looks into our crystal ball in an attempt to predict who will be award-worthy after the dust settles this season.
The Philadelphia Eagles have their quarterback. On Monday, Michael Vick signed a six-year, $100 million contract ($40 million guaranteed) with the franchise that has given him not just a second chance, but a second life.
Here's 10 NFL stories bound to spark a lot of drama this season.
Every NFL season has its share of drama. Unfortunately, with the Twitterverse and 24/7 media world, most of that drama happens off the field, as opposed to on. In the spirit of preseason predictions, I looked into my crystal ball and predicted 10 stories the sports media world will work itself into a frenzy over this season.