13) Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in a Super Bowl since the 1995 season; Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger both won a Super Bowl in their second season- Dallas is hoping Dak Prescott gets a championship in his second season.
12) Roethlisberger has played all 16 games in only three of his 13 NFL seasons; he missed one game in four other seasons.
11) Teams who have rebuilt/are rebuilding their offensive lines:
— Vikings have four new starters on the offensive line.
— Broncos, Ravens, Chargers, Lions, Rams all have three new starters.
10) Indianapolis Colts have eight new starters on defense; their QB and center are both out to start this season.
9) Lot of people are touting the Buccaneers to be a playoff team this year; after watching Hard Knocks this summer, I wasn’t overly impressed by anything about them, other than coach Dirk Koetter is a very calm person. Even when he curses someone out, it is done quietly.
Koetter got the head coaching job because of how he’s helped Jameis Winston develop as a QB; would’ve liked to have seen some of that behind-the-scenes teaching on Hard Knocks.
8) Carolina Panthers lost six games by 3 or less points last year; teams like that often make a quantum leap forward if they get some breaks the next season, but Carolina was also 15-1 the year before, so maybe last year was the correction.
In any event. Cam Newton’s shoulder is the Panthers’ most important variable.
7) Do you think Bill Belichick will retire when Tom Brady does?
6) Oakland Raiders have five new starters on defense; Derek Carr has been terrific at QB as a Raider, but he is 1-5 against the Chiefs.
5) Minnesota QB Sam Bradford’s passes traveled an average of 6.24 yards in the air LY, the shortest average pass of any starting QB, which helps explain why he completed 70% of them.
Bradford’s best WR is Michael Floyd, who is suspended for the first four games this year.
4) Baltimore Ravens were 8-8 LY, losing three games they led with 2:30 to play; since June 1, Ravens have lost four starters for the season with injuries. Joe Flacco didn’t take a snap in the preseason games and they have three new starters on the OL. I’m a skeptic.
3) Arizona Cardinals have only five outdoor games this season; three of their road games are in domes. Cardinals also have six new starters on defense this season.
2) New Orleans Saints have been 7-9 the last three seasons; they’ve got six new starters on defense this year. Will they run the ball more this season to protect that defense, and aging QB Drew Brees? They’ve added Adrian Peterson, so it is a popular theory.
1) Last two years, Chargers are 7-17 in games decided by 8 or less points; they’ve got 10 starters back on defense and a rookie coach who hired two former head coaches as coordinators, which seems like a smart move.