Friday, September 22, 2017
Around the NFL 9/7/11
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published September 8, 2011

Playmaker Images

Finally, America’s sport, NFL football, kicks off this weekend.  The San Diego Chargers will host the Minnesota Vikings.  Photo by Jeff Lewis

Jeff Lewis Photography
Last season the Chargers ranked No. 1 in total defense, as well as in total offense.  Photo by Jeff Lewis

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor

Take the Chargers in Week 1

Quarterback Donavan McNabb and the Minnesota Vikings are heading down to San Diego to open the season verse the Chargers, which should be a Chargers victory.  Really thinking about it, take the Chargers to win the AFC West, and if you listen to some of the insiders, take the Chargers to make it all the way to the Super Bowl. 

Like last year, when the Chargers finished with the top ranked offense and defense in the league, they are loaded on both sides of the ball, and it would be hard to believe that they would have the same special teams woes for a second consecutive season. 

It would also be hard to believe that the Kansas City Chiefs will win 10 games like they did last year on their way to the AFC West Division title. 

The Chargers have been the class of the AFC West for the better part of the past decade, and with a franchise quarterback like Philip Rivers and all the weapons that he has, it is hard to bet against them. 

The AFC West is not the strongest division in football, which will benefit the Chargers.
The Oakland Raiders showed some life last year by winning eight games, which was the first non-losing season since they made the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.  But as long as Al Davis is in charge, do not expect them to compete for much of anything. 

As for the Denver Broncos, they can forget about it.  A once proud franchise has become one of the bottom feeders of the NFL, and there is no way that quarterback Kyle Orton’s average at best play will keep Tim Tebow on the bench long term.  But chances are that Tebow will not be the answer either. 

This division is pretty much set up for the Chargers to win year in, year out, which is what they have been doing for the most part. 

Vick’s redemption story is nearly complete

Now that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is entrenched as the team’s franchise quarterback, and he has a new $100 million contract, all he has to do is live up to the expectations of a starting quarterback. 

Only $40 million of his contract is guaranteed, which should be enough to pay off his creditors, but if he wants to see the remaining $60 million of that contract, he’s going to have to lead the Eagles into the playoffs, and be a winner once he gets there. 

The Eagles have been labeled a “Dream Team,” which nobody is buying into because they do have holes, especially along the offensive line. 

Vick may be mobile, but even quarterbacks who can get themselves out of trouble by taking off and running still need blocking to be effective from the pocket. 

If the Eagles can keep Vick up right and allow him to be effective from the pocket, they will make it far this season.  But if Vick has to do more running than needed, which can lead to injuries, back up quarterback Vince Young, who first said that the Eagles have a “Dream Team,” would get a chance to personally back up his claims. 

Game of the week, Ravens at Steelers

The Dallas Cowboys traveling to the New York Jets looks like a great game, but lets be real, the Cowboys are nowhere close to being a contender, and this game is more about the story lines than actually being a meaningful game.

But the Baltimore Ravens at the Pittsburgh Steelers, now that’s football.

Forget finesse play of more pass happy teams, the Steelers and Ravens love to bust their opponents in the mouth, and seeing that they hate each other, this game will be a slugfest.

Last season both teams finished 12-4 and they split their regular season games, each game being decided by only three points.  The Steelers knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs with a seven-point victory. 

Take the Steelers in this game.  Actually, take the Steelers to make another run at the Super Bowl.  The Eagles, Jets, and New England Patriots are getting a lot of the preseason hype, but do not forget that the Steelers have been to three Super Bowls since 2005, and they were just there this past season.  


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