With the 2010 NFL regular season set to kick off in just a few of days, I'm sure that we're all excited.
Coming off a thrilling 2009, this season opens with incredible hype and anticipation.
As always, each team enters the season with several questions buzzing around them.
Therefore, here are my thoughts on each team's biggest headline this season.
Note: I will be listing these teams in alphabetical order.
In a pass-dominated league, it's no surprise that having a franchise quarterback is often a requirement for success. The quarterback is responsible for taking command of the team, and without one a team is usually forced to settle for mediocirty
Unfortunately, for the Arizona Cardinals, they are stuck in a similar (if not worse) situation.
After Kurt Warner, a future hall of fame quarterback, announced his retirement, the team knew they had to find a successor. Instead of making a possible trade for Donovan McNabb or Jason Campbell, or even drafting Jimmy Clausen, they handed the reigns to Matt Leinart.
Fast forward a couple months, and the former No. 10 overall pick has been traded.
With Derek Anderson now set to be the Day One starter, will he be able to take charge and maintain the franchise's level of success?
While I don't believe so, he was indeed a Pro Bowl selection in 2007.
The Atlanta Falcons truly shocked the NFL world when they quickly turned around from the Michael Vick disaster to a playoff team in '08.
After drafting Matt Ryan to be the face of the franchise, their offense elevated to the league's elite and has carried them to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in team history.
However, their defense has been their Achilles Heel and has prevented them from taking the next step forward.
With the addition of cornerback Dunta Robinson and the emergence of young talent such as defensive end Kroy Biermann, I believe they're ready to do so this season.
For years now, the Baltimore Ravens have been known for their stingy, disciplined defense. Even with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed getting up in age, the unit continues to dominate their oppostion.
Really, the only reason the Ravens haven't been consistent Super Bowl contenders is because their offense hasn't been able to complete their end of the bargain.
However, I expect that all to change this year. With an effective rushing attack and strong offensive line in place, the pressure is on the passing game. Quarterback Joe Flacco has made a fluid transition into the pros, and with an improved receiving core headlines by Anquan Boldin, I project him to take his game to the next level.
If he's able to do so, the Ravens are one of my early favorites to win it all.
Every year, there are a select few teams who head into the season with little to no hope or expectations. This time around, the Buffalo Bills are leading that pack.
Looking at their franchise, they are in a complete mess. On offense, they have no proven quarterback, limited playmakers, and a weak offensive line. On defense, they aren't any better as they have a porous front seven. Their only true strengths, in my opinion, is their secondary and maybe their ground game.
Moreover, they have a new Head Coach in place, and it seems like they have no sense of direction whatsoever.
Putting all that into consideration, those are the ingredients for a two or three win season.
Luckily for them, that could equate into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Many seem to forget how talented the Carolina Panthers truly are. They have a dominant defense led by Jon Beason, and an underrated offense headlined by the league's best running back duo. Not to mention, they went 12-4 just two seasons ago.
That said, if Matt Moore can simply manage the game, then they could possibly replicate that caliber of performance.
Note that, if he can't, rookie Jimmy Clausen could be called upon to take over as the starting quarteraback.
The Chicago Bears, one of the most decorated franchises in football, have slipped ever since losing to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. In particular, their defense hasn't looked as stifling as it once was.
Now, with the Packers and Vikings widely considered Super Bowl contenders, they have a daunting road ahead of them if they want to regain their relevance.
In order to do so, they signed several talented players including defensive end Julius Peppers and running back Chester Taylor. Moreover, they hired Mike Martz to be their offensive coordinator with the hope that he can help Jay Cutler rebound from last season.
Will the team's investments pay off?
We'll just have to wait and see.
Carson Palmer, a former No. 1 overall pick, was once one of the elite quarterbacks and the Bengals boasted one of the most lethal passing games in the NFL.
However, while this may come to a surprise to some, the Bengals ranked 26th in total passing yards last season.
Especially in the playoffs, their lack of an aerial attack was apparent.
Hoping to solve the issue, the team went on the aggressive mode and
Now, the question is not only if Palmer can rebound his own season but also whether or not he can handle the different personalities on offense and prevent a feud.
Even though the Cleveland Browns won their last four regular season games last year, it was obvious that the Browns were one of the worse franchises in the league. In all honesty, they had very little going for them.
Luckily, they hired Mike Holmgren to be their President which should ignite a spark under their flame. He's a proven commodity in the league, and will give the team the best opportunity to turn itself around.
Observing his offseason decisions, you can already witness his imprint being made.
While it may not be an overnight process like the Miami Dolphins, he is leading this team in the right direction.
The primary reason the Cowboys were stomped on by the Vikings in their NFC Divisional Playoff matchup last season was because the offensive line allowed a whopping six sacks.
Whether or not they can fix their pass-blocking issues will determine their ultimate success.
More specifically, much will depend on LT Doug Free's play. He has a big responsibility to protect Tony Romo's blind side.
Former Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow is the main attraction in the mile-high city.
Even though Kyle Orton is the franchise quarterback for now, many are interested to know when, how, or even if Tim Tebow will see the playing field this year.
While I think a wildcat or specialized package is the best method to utilize his talents for now, nobody really knows what head coach Josh McDaniels has cooking up for him.
It's no secret that having a competent offensive line is an integral key to an offense's success. More importantly, protecting a $72 million investment is crucial to the entire organizations future.
Last season, the Lions' offensive line allowed 43 sacks, which ranked 9th worst in the league. Specifically, their most pressing issue lies at the tackle position.
Many believed that drafting Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung was the best route to go in order to replace Jeff Backus. Unfortunately for Stafford, that wasn't the case.
Therefore, Backus will continue his attempts to protect his blind side. His performance, along with the remainder of the offensive line, will determine their ultimate success.
As I referenced to earlier, stability at the offensive line is a crucial element of an offense's success. Apparently, the Packers didn't get the memo last year, as they allowed a whopping league-worst 51 sacks.
For a team with championship aspirations, that is definitely not the formula for success. No matter how many talented weapons they have, Aaron Rodgers won't be able to deliver the ball to them if he's lying on his back.
More importantly, even though Rodgers was able to withstand the beating last year, that doesn't guarantee that he will remain healthy under the same circumstances moving forward.
If this offensive line doesn't improve in their pass protection, he will eventually be injured, spelling disaster for the entire organization.
Last year, Matt Schaub established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL as he threw for a league-high 4,770 yards along with 29 TD. Do realize, though, that last year wasn't his first great performance.
The two prior were fairly successful, yet nagging injuries sidelined him for a total of 10 games. A similar fate next season would ultimately end the Texans' playoff aspirations.
Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, as it often does, the Colts are due for a Super Bowl hangover, as only three of the past 10 Super Bowl losers have gone to the playoffs the following year.
Whether or not the Colts are strong enough to overcome that will determine their ultimate success.
The Jaguars had a the third-worst attendance record last year. In fact, they are one of the few teams losing money. While this is primarily because of a poor economy, if the organization doesn't find a way to put fans in the seats, owner Wayne Weaver may be forced to sell.
Understanding this is difficult for Jaguars fans to digest, realize that they are headed in the right direction and that I sympathize for them.
Note: That picture is from 2008 after the team lost 24-14 to the Tennessee Titans.
In the NFL today, generating an effective pass rush is an integral key to a defense's success.
Apparently the Chiefs didn't get the memo as their pass rush has been ultimately non-existent over the past two years. While they did improve from their pathetic 10 sacks in 2008 to 22 in 2009, they have major issue in that area.
Aside from Tamba Hali, who was responsible for 8.5 sacks last year, they have virtually no other threat off the edge.
They will need to improve on that if they expect to be competitive.
As I've said on countless occasions, putting pressure on the quarterback is critical for a defense.
During the offseason, the Dolphins lost Jason Taylor and Joey Porter; two of their most productive players in that area. Last year, they were accountable for 16 of the team's 44 sacks, so they're absences will definitely be felt.
Whether or not young, yet promising players such as Cameron Wake can develop into serious threats off the edge be very important.
The only thing, in my opinion, preventing Adrian Peterson from being the league's top back is the fact that he has struggled to hold onto the football.
In fact, he surrendered eight fumbles last year, including two in the playoffs.
In his efforts to change that, he has been practicing with a 15 lb. ball. Personally, I'm a little skeptical about the drill, since it may cause him to jerk a normal ball, which is the source of the original problem.
Nonetheless, he will have to find some way to improve his ball security in order for this team to have any shot at winning a championship.
Despite having won the AFC East seven of the past nine years (finished 2nd the other two), many critics around the league have lost faith in the New England Patriots.
But, with Tom Brady another year removed from injury, Wes Welker back, and an improved defense, I could see them potentially winning the division.
There is tremendous pressure on the organization to succeed, and head coach Bill Bellicheck will overcome the adversity as he's done throughout his career.
The New Orleans Saints shocked the NFL world as they nearly went undefeated last season and ended up beating the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.
Now, with a big target on their back, the question is whether or not they can repeat as champs. While they are still amongst the league's elite, it'll be incredibly tough.
When the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIV, they played their unique style of football.
They primarily relied on an effective rushing attack on offense, and harassed the quarterback with a lethal rotation of pass rushers on defense. Ever since, they haven't been doing so.
That said, if they want to get back to the playoffs, they will have to get back to playing New York Giants football.
After a Cinderella-like playoff run to the AFC Championship Game last season, the New York Jets are considered one of the favorites to win it all this year.
However, with a running game that I believe has digressed with the loss of Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca as well as a prolonged holdout of their shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis, I think they're pretenders as opposed to true title contenders.
In fact, if they don't fix the Revis situation quickly, I don't think they'll make it into the playoffs.
The Oakland Raiders have been a franchise marked by instability and unorthodox decisions. Ever since being stomped on by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, they've been riding a seven consecutive season streak with eleven or more losses.
However, I'm a firm believer that that's all about to change. For the first time since Rich Gannon, they finally have a quality starting quarterback in newly acquired Jason Campbell.
Moreover, it appears as if the culture has changed in Oakland for the better. Now, the matter of fact is if that change can also improve their record.
When the Philadelphia Eagles shockingly sent Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in a trade that I predicted, their confidence in Kevin Kolb was obvious.
Of course, that doesn't mean that he'll be able to take full control of the team and win games just as McNabb did.
In a city where fans can be extremely critical, is Kolb not only skilled but mature enough to handle the pressures that come with being an Eagles starting quarterback?
I'm sure we'll all find out this season.
After discussing with comissioner Roger Goodell, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suspension has been reduced from six games to four.
Still, his abscene will likely be severely detrimental to the Pittsburgh Steelers season. Many, in fact, think that it may affect them internally and could ruin their entire season.
I, on the other hand, believe that a strong organization such as the Steelers will be able to persevere through the obstacles and possibly even contend for the playoffs.
After suffering a crushing one-and-done in the playoffs last season, the Chargers' window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl appeared to be shrinking.
Even worse, Pro Bowlers Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill are currently undergoing contract holdouts that don't show any signs of ending anytime soon.
That being the case, I don't think the Chargers are amongst the top eight teams in the league anymore. While it obviously won't be impossible, their chances of winning a title this year without their two star players are slim to none.
Alex Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick, has failed to live up to his high expectations to say the least.
Of course, for the early part of his career, there were legitimate excuses for his poor play. Now, with a strong supporting cast in place, it's a make or break season for him.
While I think he certainly has the ability to be a quality starter, it's still yet to be seen as to whether he will be.
Honestly, if there's one team that I have absolutely no clue what to expect from its the Seattle Seahawks.
With Pete Carroll as the new head coach, I'm not sure what tactics he's going to implement. Will their offense rely on the passing or running game? Will their defense blitz or stay conservative?
And, especially with the moves he's made this offseason, it's been difficult to read the team's plans and philosophies.
Moreover, will he be able to bring the Seahawks back to their winning ways or will they maintain their mediocrity?
But, I'm sure we'll learn that and more when the season rolls around.
Ready or not, Sam Bradford has been named the St. Louis Rams starting quarterback.
In his two preseason starts, he's looked remarkably sharp and has displayed the skills of a true franchise quarterback.
Now, we'll have to see if he can get it done in the regular season.
Will he be the savior of the franchise? Most likely not. Still, it's definitely a step in the right direction.
Josh Freeman, the team's 1st round pick last year, has showed some promise by boasting his cannon of an arm.
With another year in the system under his belt, is he ready to take the next step forward and lead this team to the next level?
For a team with little else going for them, they better hope so.
Chirs Johnson amassed an astounding 2,506 yards along with 16 touchdowns last season and proved that he is the league's premier running back.
Unfortunately, considering the 408 touches he had last season, the odds are against him to replicating those type of numbers.
While I project his stats to drop a bit, there's no doubt that he's more than capable of proving us all wrong once again.
2-time Super Bowl winning head coach vs. $100 Million Mistake
That's the NFL's latest feud, and neither side appears to be winning.
While Haynesworth has acted unprofessional, we all know how dominant he can be which is probably why the Redskins haven't cut ties with him already. That, and the fact that they've recently paid him a $21 million bonus.
Nonetheless, this is definitely a situation to keep an eye on.