OPUS Mag

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2016 NFL Season Review: The Road to Super Bowl LI

2016 NFL Season Review: The Road to Super Bowl LI

Cam Newton dyed his chin hair honey mustard!

To my fellow Americans, it’s that time again. Super Bowl Lee also referred to as Super Bowl LI is upon us, either way grab your popcorn and a craft beer because this should be interesting. Let's start from August 2016 as preseason was grabbing true football fans’ attention nationwide and we all just couldn’t wait to see some collisions on the turf. Seahawks fans had confidence, Patriots fans wanted revenge, Texans fans were nervous, and Cowboys fans were cocky. The four weeks leading up unto week 1 of an NFL season were once again filled with everybody making predictions. The Patriots, as always, were predicted to join the Super Bowl guest list and in the NFC we heard a lot of whispers for the Seahawks to get back to the big game in addition with the Vikings or Panthers, so I heard. So how did we get to a Patriots and Falcons championship game? I’m glad you asked.On the left, we have the AFC; as ALWAYS the Patriots were picked by almost everyone who knows football, to at least return to an AFC championship. It is hard to go against a team led by one of the greatest coaches and quarterbacks in NFL history, but some people did question how Brady would look after his four-game suspension. TB12 answered all those questions by damn near leading the MVP race all year and carving defenses up per usual. The defending champion Broncos had plans of riding their stout defense and relying on Trevor Semien to simply be a game manager, but with injuries to him and the the defense throughout the season they were barely able to stay at 500. Nobody really believed the Chiefs to be a “contender” but more of an well above average team that could make the playoffs at least and that’s what they did even earning themselves a higher than expected seed. The Dolphins were finally able to have a steady running game with Ajayi and stay afloat all year. They got lucky and had a Tannehill injury at end of the year and that led to Mat Moore sneaking the fins into a wildcard spot, but they ran into the triple B’s in Pittsburgh. My Texans paid Brock Osweiller some P. Diddy type money and while having the best defense in the league during the season, in round 2 of the playoffs, Brock simply lived up to his name and Brocked us. The Raiders rose from the dead and if it wasn't for Derek Carr breaking his leg at the end of the season would’ve been a number two seed in the AFC, something NOBODY saw coming even Raiders fans. The Titans looked a lot better than expected with Mariotta and the dual running back game plan they had of Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry but were bested by the Texans to win the AFC south. The Steelers probably had the best chance of getting to the big game out of the AFC in many peoples’ minds, and they came within one game of doing that. Unfortunately for terrible towel owners, Belichick once again outreached Mike Tomlin, and combined with Le’Veon aggravating a groin injury in the first quarter that will always result in a loss. All in all the AFC showed a number of new teams show major improvement but nobody was on the same level as the Gillete Stadium Gang.

To the right, the NFC; unlike the other conference the NFC doesn't have that consistently elite team every year so this was a wide-open race in many peoples eyes. The best quarterbacks of this conference all got to the playoffs. Russell Wilson got his Seahawks to the post season in spite of a trash offensive line and no Earl Thomas. Aaron Rodgers started off the season slow and then went on a hot streak to will his team to the playoffs in spite of only having defensive lineman and linebackers on defense. A commendable act because it’s hard to reach a NFC championship with no players to cover the opposing receivers and tight ends. Matt Stafford slang his Lions to a wildcard spot with no defense per usual. Eli and Odell and a new revamped Giants defense ran into a burning hot AR12 in the playoffs and went home quickly and coldly. The Vikings defense started the season in amazing fashion, and were doing wonders for my fantasy team but that whole team quickly started playing drunk. Speaking of drunk, Cam Newton dyed his chin hair honey mustard and the Panthers played accordingly. Carson Palmer did what he usually does a.k.a play good against bad teams and in big games against real competition turn into jello. Kirk Cousins needed to win the last game of the season to reach the playoffs and then the curse from allowing RGIII to get hurt while their was a black president in office hit the team and they missed the postseason. The Cowboys had another hilarious Romo injury which led to a rookie Dak Prescott playing like a top 15 quarterback all year, along with the freak that is Ezekiel Elliot behind that monster O line leading the NFL for most of the year and as a team only losing two games ALL YEAR. That of course led to them losing in the playoffs, in the first game, at home :) Matt Ryan finally played like “Matty Ice” all year week in and week out. With a Titans like RB depth chard with Telvin and Freeman and the grown ass Julio Jones outside, this offense was high octane all year. The defense was much improved and thanks to Vic Beasley sparking a pass rush culture up front the Falcons finessed their way into the Super Bowl.

My prediction? Patriots 33 Falcons 21

This is the Falcons 2nd time in franchise history and Matt Ryan’s first time being in the big game. Hard for me to pick against a team that regularly goes there, but the Falcons have a bright future. As long as Matt Ryan doesn’t dye any of his hair a condiment color and start dressing like my boujee Auntie regardless of the Super Bowl outcome they should be back among the elite NFC teams for the 2017/2018 season.

P.S: If I didn't mention your team in this article its because they were trash this year and that’s not my fault. Be safe tho.

 

Ready to Play - Part 2

Ready to Play - Part 2

Permission: An Open Letter to Women who've  been Shattered

Permission: An Open Letter to Women who've been Shattered