One Last Look in the Rear View

Nick Condit, Tales from the Vault

All we know for sure about the season that begins on Thursday is that it will surprise us.  If you don’t agree, think back one more time to some of last year’s memorable moments:

  • Houston’s former undrafted free agent running back Arian Foster rushing for a league-leading 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns.
  • Jacksonville’s David Garrard connecting with Mike Thomas on a game-winning 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to break Houston’s heart in Week 10.
  • Brett Favre playing his last season, part of it with Randy Moss – who suited up for three teams and made 28 catches.
  • Just one year after they finished 3-13, the Buccaneers going 10-6 and narrowly missing the playoffs behind Josh Freeman’s 25 touchdown passes and mere 6 interceptions.
  • DeSean Jackson’s game-winning punt return in Week 15 against the Giants that helped determine the NFC East.

Other stories that began in 2010 will continue to play out this fall:

EAGLES: A year after setting career highs in passing yards (3,018), touchdown passes (21), rushing touchdowns (9), completion percentage (62.6), and passer rating (100.2), Michael Vick is back with a new 6-year, $100 million contract.  Can he stay healthy and play at an even higher level to help Philadelphia win its first Lombardi Trophy?

COLTS: Last year Indianapolis’ streak of seven consecutive seasons with 12+ wins was snapped. Now Peyton Manning is recovering from offseason neck surgery and his consecutive games-played mark is in jeopardy.  How will his team hold up if he’s sidelined?

PATRIOTS:  New England is now 2-3 against the Rex Ryan-coached Gang Green, following the Jets playoff win over the Patriots’ that Tom Brady says he’ll never get over.  New England hasn’t won a playoff game in three years.  Will that streak continue in 2011?

JETS: Last year was only his second in the NFL, but already Mark Sanchez shares the NFL record for most road playoff victories in a career.  Can Sanchez play well enough this coming regular season to lead the Jets to their first division title in nine years?

PACKERS: The Packers overcame injuries throughout 2010 to win the Super Bowl.  Is Green Bay recovered, rested and ready enough to repeat?

What story lines will you be following the closest this season and who do you think will be playing the leading roles? 

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