NFL Storylines for 2017

With the Hall of Fame game kicking off tonight, I wanted to list some intriguing storylines around the league going into the 2017 season. There’s obviously a ton of interesting narratives to follow, but I’m going to try and narrow my list to keep it as short as possible.

The Super Bowl Hangover… 

We all saw what happened to the 2016 Panthers. Coming off a 15-1 season, a dominant NFC Championship performance, and an MVP season for Cam Newton in 2015, the Panthers simply fell apart in 2016.

So the question begs to be asked: How will the Atlanta Falcons respond to their crushing Super Bowl loss? I think they’re in better shape than the Panthers were last year; they return most of their roster and have a ton of young talent. They had a historical offense last year, but will be without Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Watching how they respond to their heartbreaking loss is the most obvious storyline of 2017.

Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders…

Everybody loves Beast Mode, and he couldn’t of landed in a better spot after taking a retirement break in 2016. The Raiders are coming off a magical season in which they won double-digit games for the first time since 2002. The NFL is more exciting with Marshawn Lynch, especially when he’s playing for his hometown team. All eyes will be on Beast Mode and the Raiders in 2017.

The Hype Train…

Every single season, there are teams that enter the year with a ton of “hype.” The Raiders were the hot pick last year, and they certainly showed up. This year, there’s two particular teams with a ton of hype surrounding them: The Titans and Buccaneers. It’s even more interesting because both teams feature quarterbacks drafted No. 1 and 2 in the 2015 draft, respectively. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are entering their third season in the league, and expectations couldn’t be higher for both.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys…

The Cowboys’ rookies took the league by storm last season. Fourth-round QB Dak Prescott exceeded all possible expectations, while Zeke lived up to his and then some. Now with a year under their belt, it’s going to be fun to see how they improve from here. Elliott will likely be fine when he comes back from his likely suspension, but Prescott is the more intriguing prospect due to his position.

The 40 year old Quarterback…

Tom Brady turned 40 today, and it’s only right he closes out the list. The Patriots loaded up in the offseason for another run at the Super Bowl; Brady has a ton of weapons and a full 16-game season ahead of him. Love them or hate them, the Patriots’ dominance in the past 15 years has been amazing. I’m personally looking forward to what the 40s have in store for Tom Brady.

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