50 Reasons to Get Pumped Up for the 2011 NFL Season

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 19, 2011

50 Reasons to Get Pumped Up for the 2011 NFL Season

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    As the NFL lockout is finally coming to an end as both sides are reportedly simply dotting i's and crossing t's, we can now look forward to next season—which should start in just a few weeks!

    Last year's season was one of the best ones over the past decade, and many of us believe that next season is going to be even better.

    There will be many intriguing storylines throughout the entire season, and many questions will be asked and answered—2011 is going to be one hell of a season. 

    Here are 50 reasons to get jacked up for the 2011 NFL season.

    Get ready! It's almost here!

    For more articles like this, check out my blog at PatriotsPlus.net. Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @   TonySantorsa. 

There's Going To Be a Full NFL Season!

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    Come on, everybody! Let's celebrate!

    There is going to be a full NFL season after such a depressing and long locked out offseason. 

    Now we can only have nightmares of what a year without football would be like...Scary, right? 

Green Bay Has a Legitimate Chance of Repeating

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    In recent memory, the Green Bay Packers are in one of the best positions to repeat out of all of the recent Super Bowl champions.

    The Packers will likely have almost an identical team to last year's, and not to mention, all of the returning players that were placed on injured reserve. 

    Be on the lookout for a Super Bowl repeat!

A Year without Brett Favre

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    After 20 long seasons, 2011 will likely not feature any sightings of quarterback Brett Favre on a football field—many of us most be thanking god at this point!

    I know for a fact that I became very fed up with Favre's antics over the past seasons, and I'm sure that the majority can agree with me.

    Here's to a full season without the drama that surrounds No. 4!

Chad Ochocinco Will Likely Explode in Cinci

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    Even with the locked out offseason, Chad Ochocinco made his voice clear and was as loud as ever.

    Ochocinco has gone back and fourth discussing the possibilities of leaving Cincinnati and going somewhere like Chicago or New England, and he's even discussed how he wants to remain a Bengal. 

    If the Bengals do not move Ochocinco before the start of the season, he's probably going to explode due to the uncertainty of his future. 

Will Peyton Return to Form?

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    After throwing a near career-high in interceptions and being sacked 16 times, will Peyton Manning be able to return to being the dominant quarterback that he was a few years ago?

    Could this be the end to Manning's amazing legacy as he sits at the age of 35?

    I sure hope not.  

Tom Brady's Streak of Passes Thrown without an Interception

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    I know, I know, Tom Brady did throw an interception in New England's playoff loss against the New York Jets, but that does not count against his regular season streak.

    As of now, Brady has thrown a record 335 straight regular-season passes without an interception.

    Which week do you think Brady will finally throw his first pick?

The Detroit Lions May Actually Have a Winning Record

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    The first time since 2000, the Detroit Lions may actually produce a winning record—however it all depends on the health of Matthew Stafford and if he can manage to stay healthy the entire season.

    Who knows?

    The Lions are talented on both sides of the ball and could very well end up going 9-7 in the NFC North. 

Matt Ryan Should Have a Career Year

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    With the addition of rookie Julio Jones, Matt Ryan's numbers should only get better in 2011.

    Last season, with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, Ryan tossed a career-high 28 touchdowns while accumulating 3,705 yards through the air.

    Throw Jones into the mix and the Atlanta Falcons should have a top-notch passing attack, and Matty Ice should throw at least 30 touchdowns and close to 4,000 yards. 

Patriots vs. Jets Rivalry Will Be at Its Best

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    Ever since Rex Ryan landed a job as the New York Jets' head coach back in 2008, the Jets vs. Patriots rivalry has been at its best—and it's only going to get better.

    We all know that Ryan hates Tom Brady, and Wes Welker hates Bart Scott—but one thing is for sure, each party respects the other, and every game between these two teams is going to be a great one. 

Josh Freeman Should Emerge as One of the League's Best Quarterbacks

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    Attention all fantasy football owners: Josh Freeman is going to have a spectacular season in 2011. 

    Last year, in just Freeman's second year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' passer completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 3,451 yards while tossing 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions. 

    I think it's safe to say that Freeman is a lock for 30 touchdowns in 2011. 

Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams Could Make the Playoffs

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    In such a weak NFC West division, the St. Louis Rams could possibly run the table and make the playoffs.

    What does this mean? One of the league's youngest quarterbacks will be in the sport's biggest spotlight.

    Sam Bradford was the 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and should only get better as the years go by. 

Joe Flacco Could Have a Breakout Season

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    Joe Flacco will be entering his fourth year in the NFL and has put up quality numbers ever since becoming the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback.

    This year Flacco should have a breakout season, as there's a strong chance he'll toss over 30 touchdowns—especially after playing another season with Anquan Boldin. 

Mark Ingram Can Stabilize New Orleans Offense

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    Mark Ingram is the most NFL-ready running back out of the 2011 draft class and should have a shot at becoming the New Orleans Saints lead running back.

    Ingram will join a pass-heavy offense but could stabilize the Saints' offensive attack with his presence in the running game. 

Which Quarterback Will Start in Cleveland?

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    The Cleveland Browns currently have Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy as the team's two quarterbacks, and it is unclear on who will be the team's starter in 2011.

    Wallace certainly has the experience, but McCoy performed fairly well during his rookie season. 

Can Ron Rivera Turn Carolina into a Dominant Defensive Team?

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    Last season, the Carolina Panthers ranked 18th in team defense and could jump up a few spots with the signing of head coach Ron Rivera.

    Rivera is a defensive-minded coach that will be installing his defensive system once the lockout has conclude.

    The Panthers have talent on the defensive side of the ball, but will it translate into Rivera's scheme? 

Patrick Peterson Could Turn Arizona's Secondary into One of the League's Best

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    The Cardinals selected defensive back Patrick Peterson with the fifth pick of this year's draft.

    Peterson was arguably the most talented player in this year's class and could quite possibly be the most NFL-ready player.

    Peterson will join Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Greg Toler to create one talented defensive backfield. 

The Houston Texans Could Make a Run for the AFC South Title

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    With the additions of defensive end J.J. Watt and Wade Phillips, the Houston Texans could turn their defensive woes around square in it's tracks.

    If the Texans can create a solid defense, then they'll have a legitimate shot at stealing the AFC South away from the Indianapolis Colts. 

Who Will Be the Starting Quarterback in Denver?

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    Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn are all possibilities to be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback in 2011.

    Tebow is definitely the most intriguing option, as he's got such a great skill set.

    I know most fans will be cheering for Tebow. 

Mario Williams Will Become the Largest Outside Linebacker

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    The 300 lb. Mario Williams will be switching from defensive end to play outside linebacker in Wade Phillip's 3-4 defensive system.

    Williams will be the heaviest outside linebacker in the NFL, and it's going to be very interesting to see how he adapts. 

Who Will Win the NFC West?

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    Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers or the Arizona Cardinals—who will be the division winner?

    It's quite arguable that all four teams are not worthy for playing in the postseason, but one will. 

Alex Smith May Turn His Career Around

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    Under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback Alex Smith will have a strong shot at turning his rather disappointing NFL career around.

    The former first overall pick will be playing under an offensive-minded head coach for the first time in his career. 

It Will Be a Three-Team Race in the NFC South

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    Believe it or not, the extremely youthful Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be a solid football team over the next few seasons, and they may be ready to win now. 

    The Buccaneers will challenge the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints in 2011 for the NFC South title. 

Michael Vick Will Be a Full-Time Starter Since 2006

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    The 2010 NFC Comeback Player of the Year award winner, Michael Vick, will be entering 2011 as the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback, something that Vick hasn't done since 2006.

    It will be interesting to see how Vick will perform with a whole offseason knowing that he's the No. 1 guy. 

The Buffalo Bills Could Upset the New York Jets or the New England Patriots

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    The Buffalo Bills are building quite the team with the addition of Marcell Dareus and Aaron Williams during the 2011 draft. 

    The Bills may be young but are talented and will put up a fight against the Jets and Patriots this season. 

Tony Sparano Will Be on the Hot Seat

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    The Miami Dolphins front office wants to win now, and if they don't, then they'll likely part ways with head coach Tony Sparano.

    It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins play under Sparano, as he knows he's 100 percent on the hot seat. 

LeGarrette Blount Could Emerge as One of the League's Top Running Backs

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    Last season, LeGarrette Blount was the only rookie running back to accumulate at least 1,000 yards while he did so in only play 13 games. 

    Blount averaged five yards per carry and who knows how well he'll do playing in all 16 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Larry Fitzgerald May Be on the Trading Block

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    If the Arizona Cardinals do not address their major quarterback needs, then Larry Fitzgerald is simply going to request a trade out of Arizona. 

Brady vs. Manning

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    The New England Patriots will square off against the Indianapolis Colts during week 13 this season. 

    Brady vs. Manning, do I need to say more? 

The Green Bay Packers Should Only Get Better

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    The Green Bay Packers may have won the Super Bowl last season but keep in mind that they had 16 players on their injured reserve list—Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley are two of the more significant players that missed time. 

Ben Roethlisberger Will Play a Full Season with the Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Ben Roethlisberger missed the first four games of the season last year as he was serving a suspension handed down by the NFL. 

    The Pittsburgh Steelers may have gone 3-1 through those four games but could have went 4-0 if Roethlisberger actually played. 

Super Bowl XLII Rematch

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    The New England Patriots will welcome the New York Giants to Gillette Stadium during Week 9 of the 2011 season.

    This will be the first time that the Patriots meet the Giants since their Super Bowl XLII loss which ended their perfect season. 

    Do you think that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will have pay-pack on their minds? 

Will Mark Sanchez Complete over 60 Percent of His Passes?

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    Through Mark Sanchez' first two years in the NFL, he has yet to complete 60 percent of his passes.

    If the New York Jets want to move forward into the Super Bowl, then Sanchez is simply going to have to be more accurate. 

Randy Moss Is in "Freakish Shape"

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    According to Randy Moss and his agent, the former Pro Bowl wide receiver is in "freakish shape."

    Moss is currently a free agent and could make a major impact in 2011.  

Carson Palmer Could Be Playing for a New Team

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    Carson Palmer is definitely a talented passer but has seen his numbers take a major dip over the past couple of years.

    Palmer has requested a trade out of Cincinnati, or he'll simply retire.

    There's a very good chance Palmer will be playing for a new team this year. 

Jamaal Charles Could Eclipse 2,000 Yards

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    Last year, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles ran for 1,467 yards while averaging an amazing 6.4 yards per carry.

    If Charles receives more touches, as he only had 230 last year, he could have a good chance at accumulating 2,000 rushing yards. 

Tom Brady's Hair

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    Everyone has got to be wondering how long Tom Brady's hair will be in 2011!

    ...Just kidding. 

Tiki Barber Potential Return to the NFL

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    Tiki Barber could be returning to the NFL as he's stated earlier this offseason that he plans to come out of retirement, according to multiple sources

    My predictions on this story is that Barber is going to regret this as he'll likely make a fool out of himself. 

Another Head Coach in Oakland

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    Ever since Jon Gruden left the Oakland Raiders in 2001, they have seen five head coaches as Al Davis has recently promoted Hue Jackson to serve as the team's next head coach.

    Will Hue Jackson be the guy that finally takes the Raiders to the playoffs? 

Rex Ryan and the Jets' Trash Talk

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    Ever since Rex Ryan became the New York Jets head coach back in 2008, he has put the Jets in the spotlight with not only his team's stellar play but his big mouth.

    Rex and the Jets sure love to trash talk! 

The Silver Crush

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    Rookie defensive linemen Nick Fairley will be joining Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch in Detroit to create one of the top pass-rushing defensive fronts in all of football.

    In fact, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz actually already nicknamed this group the "Silver Crush."

Cam Newton Could Start a Few Games for Carolina

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    There is a great possibility that Cam Newton will start a bunch of the games for the Carolina Panthers in 2011.

    If Jimmy Clausen can't beat out Newton, then it's likely that the first overall pick in this year's draft will get his feet wet this year. 

The "Wildcat" Could Be Dead in Miami

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    In my opinion, it's highly unlikely that the Miami Dolphins will re-sign Ronnie Brown, especially as they drafted rookie Daniel Thomas out of Kansas State.

    With Brown's absence, how can the Dolphins run the Wildcat? 

Steve Smith May Be on the Move

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    Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is on the trading block and could be shipped away for a third-round draft pick in return, according to the Charlotte Observer

    What teams do you think that will show interest in the 32-year-old receiver? 

Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez Are Only Going To Get Better

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    New England Patriots rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both combined for 87 catches and 16 touchdowns last year.

    Gronkowski and Hernandez are only going to get better, especially with quarterback Tom Brady slinging them balls. 

Rob Ryan Will Be Dallas' Defensive Coordinator

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    Rob Ryan will be taking over the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator duties in 2011.

    Ryan is a solid defensive coach, just like his twin brother Rex.

    Expect the Cowboys to do a whole lot of blitzing this year. 

Chris Johnson Could Hold out for Quite Sometime

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    According to NFL Network's John La Canfora, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson will hold out if he does not receive a contract extension.

    This is certainly good news for everyone in the AFC South. 

Dez Bryant Could Turn into an Elite Wide Receiver

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    If both players stay healthy, Dez Bryant and Tony Romo will be playing their first entire 16-game season with each other.

    Bryant is definitely a talented wide receiver, and Romo needs to take advantage of his tremendous skills. 

Christian Ponder Could Lead the Minnesota Vikings to the Playoffs

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    Minus the quarterback situation, the Minnesota Vikings are a very talented team that does not have many holes to fill.

    If rookie quarterback Christian Ponder emerges as the team's starting quarterback, he'll have a chance at leading the Vikings to the postseason if he plays fairly decent considering how much talent is around him. 

Andy Dalton and A.J. Green Could Both Start in Cincinnati

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    If the Cincinnati Bengals do move on without quarterback Carson Palmer, then there will be a legitimate chance that rookie Andy Dalton will start a few games in Cinci.

    Dalton would then have to develop a strong relationship with rookie wide receiver A.J. Green, as both players are the futures of the franchise. 

Week 1: Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints

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    The reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers will kick off their season with a major challenge as they'll suit up against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. 

    If you're just a fan of the game, then you are going to absolutely love this matchup.

    What a great way to start the 2011 season?