Gridiron Killing Fields: Injuries have turned 2017 NFL season upside down

Written by :
Published on : November 16, 2017

 

 

Football is violent. It’s part of the allure of the game. A fast paced, highly charged game of gladiator chess where the players put their bodies through hell for the enjoyment of us all. It’s inevitable that these athletes will suffer injuries throughout the course of a grueling season. Every year, fans and players alike must deal with these injuries. The pain of injury and the hard work that goes into recovering from those injuries is something that fans can’t even imagine, but that doesn’t mean we don’t suffer too.

 

Some years are worse than others as far as injuries and 2017 has turned out to be one of, if not the most, gruesome for player injuries in the NFL on record. Players have been robbed of the opportunity to pursue their livelihood and fans have been robbed of the big plays and quality football that these players produce. These big injuries have flipped the league on it’s head and some of the most electrifying players in the NFL have been left on the sidelines. They have come early and often and left heads around the league spinning in an attempt to keep up as the body count rises. Let’s look at some of the big injuries this year.

 

The insurmountable losses

 

Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers has once again proved himself to be the most valuable player in the NFL. Yet this year it wasn’t his actions on the field that proved that already accepted fact of life, but his (potentially) season ending collarbone injury. The subtraction of Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers changes the team in a way that can’t even begin to be described. Brett Hundley has shown some growth in his weeks as a starter in place of Rodgers, but unlike the discount double dick, Hundley, cannot single-handily mask the holes in the Packers roster. Because of that, the Packers, who still hold a winning record at this point of the season, are doomed.

 

Deshaun Watson

When the Houston Texans selected former Clemson standout and National Championship winning quarterback, Deshaun Watson, with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, I thought it was a very nice pick for a franchise that has never, in its existence, had a true star under center. Little did I (or anyone else) know that Watson would hit the ground running in such a fashion. Watson appeared in 7 games for the Texans and completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also ran the ball for another 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Texans were finally legit and and had found their QB of the future. Then a torn ACL in practice cut the legs out from under his rookie season and along with losses of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, the Texans are looking at another lost season.

 

David Johnson and Carson Palmer

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When David Johnson went down with a broken wrist early in the Arizona Cardinals opening game loss to the Detroit Lions, it was clear that the Cardinals had a long road ahead of them. Johnson is among the best young running backs in football and an invaluable part of the Cardinals offensive attack, but luckily for the Cardinals they still had an offensive mastermind of a coach and an injury to your starting running back can be overcome. When Carson Palmer went down with a broken bone in his non-throwing arm during the 33-0 loss to the LA Rams in London, it was clear that the Cardinals had careened off that long road and gone over a cliff. Without the two best offensive players and the likes of Drew Stanton throwing the ball, it is a sad reality that Bruce Arians final year as head coach of the team will be a wasted one.

 

Ouch, that hurts

 

Odell Beckham Jr
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With Eli Manning still throwing the ball this offense was never going to light the world on fire. Manning is well past his prime and no wide receiver, even one of the same caliber as Beckham was going to change that. But OBJ went down with a season ending ankle injury in week 5 everyone knew the Giants were screwed. The G-Men are now 1-8 and destined for a top pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and perhaps a new head coach. OBJ can’t come back soon enough.

 

Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill leaves a whole lot to be desired as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins but he is still a starting level quarterback and the best one in Miami by a longshot. When he was lost for the season before it even began, the team got desperate and went out and signed Jay Cutler out of the broadcast booth. He has since been about as good as one would expect. Cutler has helped lead the team to a 4-5 record and Dolphins fans are eagerly awaiting any and all news on Ryan Tannehill rehab from ACL surgery.

 

Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford was brought in last year after Teddy Bridgewater’s very serious knee injury, and he has played pretty well. But he hasn’t been able to stay on the field and Case Keenum has performed admirably in his absence. Now, more than a year later, Bridgewater’s return seems somewhat immenent and Bradford’s inability to stay on the field isn’t all that much of a concern. Much more of a concern is the injury to rookie running back, Dalvin Cook. Before he tore his ACL in the game against the Lions he was having a monster year. Luckily the Vikings defense is good enough keep them competing for the NFC North title.

 

Zach Miller
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The Chicago Bears passing game has been desperate for competent pass catchers all season. The Mike Glennon experiment failed miserably and now they have rookie Mitchel Trubisky throwing the ball. One of Trubisky’s only decent targets was tight end Zach Miller but then a gruesome injury ended his season and almost caused him to lose his leg entirely. The Bears offense is now all but doomed this season but the real tragedy is that Miller’s career may well be over. We wish him a speedy recovery.

 

Well, that’s unfortunate

 

Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelmen

It’s the Patriots. They’ll survive.

 

Joe Thomas
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The Browns were never going to do anything this season and at this point they are in the running for an 0-16 record, but you never want to see a future hall of fame player go down with a serious injury. Especailly when he’s been so loyal to that city and been such an iron man. Prior to this tricep injury, Thomas had played a NFL-record 10,363 consecutive snaps, while playing through torn ligaments for a time and starting 167 straight games. Good on the Browns for giving him an extension even after the injury and making him the highest paid offensive linemen in the league.

 

Eric Berry

Eric Berry is, and should be, a fan favorite around the NFL. Even with Raiders fans. You can’t help but love this guy’s story and his courage as he beat cancer and came back to the NFL to regain his spot among the best safeties in pro football. That made it even more of a bummer when he ruptured his achilles tendon in week 1. He’s just 28-years-old so there’s no reason he can’t make a full recovery, but the Chiefs defense sure has missed him while he’s been gone.

 

It’s a long season, and we are only at week 11. There’s no telling how many more injuries will come before the Super Bowl. No doubt there will be some, but there has certainly already been enough to hold us all over until next here. Here’s to hoping that all of our favorite teams can make it through the rest of the year unscathed.

 

 


2015 College Football Predictions

Written by :
Published on : September 2, 2015

 

 

The 2015 college football season gets underway this week, headlined by some marquee matchups right off the bat. Last year’s football season was one of the all time best, helped by a new college football playoff system that removed a lot of the headaches created by the former BCS system. This year, I expect another action packed, hard hitting season that won’t disappoint. Here’s a quick look at how I expect the Power 5 Conferences to unfold and what teams/players may be lifting some hardware come January.

 

ACC

Paul Johnson and his triple option could surprise some people in the ACC this season.

 

The ACC has belonged to Florida State the last couple years, who lost just one game over the past two seasons. However, with Jameis Winston now in the NFL, the conference is up for grabs. Former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has been named the starter in Tallahassee. He is very talented and brings valuable experience, he also is very turnover prone. I think Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the best QB in the conference, and I look for him to lead Clemson over visiting Florida State in a pivotal game that will ultimately decide the Atlantic Division. In the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech looks to be a step above the rest of the competition again. Paul Johnson’s success with the triple option has surprised many after he showcased it for six years at Navy. I think Johnson and the Yellow Jackets get over the hump this year, winning the ACC for the first time during his tenure.

 

Atlantic Division Winner:  Clemson

Coastal Division Winner: Georgia Tech

Conference Champ: Georgia Tech

 

BIG 12

Look for Trevone Boykin to lead TCU to the conference title.

 

Baylor or TCU. Might as well flip a coin in the Big 12 again this year. Baylor has won the Big 12 the last two seasons, but comes in ranked below TCU heading into this year. I think the conference champion will be decided when these two meet on the gridiron in late November. Last year, Baylor erased a 21-point deficit to stun TCU on the road, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the Horned Frogs. This year, I think revenge will be served as Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin leads TCU to a win vs the Bears and ultimately, a conference title.

 

Conference Champ: TCU

 

BIG 10

As long as they stay focused, Ohio State should roll through the BIG 10.

 

Last year, Ohio State wasn’t given much of a chance after news broke that Braxton Miller would miss the entire season due to a shoulder injury. We all know what happened after that, as the Buckeyes surprised everyone (multiple times) along the way to a national title. This season, Ohio State again looks unbeatable. By returning all three quarterbacks (though Braxton Miller has switched to wide receiver) and running back Ezekiel Elliott, they have Big 10 defenses getting ready to wave the white flag. It will be very interesting to see how Ohio State handles the pressure. Last year, while they of course won the national title, they did it without really ever having the target on their backs. This year, much like Kentucky in basketball, every team will be gunning for them. Ohio State will have to be mindful of that and make sure not to overlook anyone. The other big news in the conference is Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh as head coach. This was the biggest hire of the year without a doubt. Harbaugh will surely bring the glory days back to Michigan, but with both of the Wolverines rivals (Ohio State and Michigan State) having some of the more successful years in their programs history it won’t be easy. In the West division, (formerly the Leaders division) Wisconsin has enjoyed a lot of recent success, making it to three of the four conference championship games thus far. Melvin Gordon heading to the NFL is a huge loss though, and road trips to Nebraska and Minnesota this season will prove to be too much. I see the Golden Gophers, led by Jerry Kill, getting the upset and winning the division this year.

 

East Division Winner: Ohio State

West Division Winner: Minnesota

Conference Champ: Ohio State

 

PAC 12

The Ducks will remain on the top of the PAC 12 this year.

 

The PAC 12 was the hardest conference to predict for me, and I feel the conference is wide open. In the North, I see it as a two team race with Oregon and Stanford, but the South has as many as four teams vying for a place in the Conference Championship game. At Oregon, Marcus Mariota finally left after an incredible career, but the cupboard is anything but bare in Eugene. Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams Jr takes over at quarterback, and the Ducks are loaded as usual with speed and athleticism at running back and wide receiver. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan returns for his fourth season, and as always, a stingy defense gives the Cardinals a fighting chance in the division. On the other side of the conference, USC, Arizona St, UCLA and Arizona all will be contending for the division. I think quarterback play will be the difference, and USC’s Cody Kessler has the most experience of the group. Last year, Kessler threw for 39 touchdowns and wasn’t really talked about too much. This year I think he becomes a household name, leading the Trojans to the Conference Championship game.

 

North Division Winner: Oregon

South Division Winner: USC

Conference Champ: Oregon

 

SEC

Saban and Co aren’t headed anywhere just yet.

 

After winning the National Championship seven straight times, the SEC has now gone two consecutive years without a National Title. Last year, the SEC West showcased some of the most talented teams in all of football, giving us multiple top-25 matchups every week. This year, the division should again be strong, but not as talented top to bottom. I think the battle for the Iron Bowl will be a pivotal game again in Alabama, as the Crimson Tide visit the Auburn Tigers late in November. For both Alabama and Auburn, replacing their starting quarterback, leading wide receiver and arguably top running back all in the same season seems a bit overwhelming. Yet both teams, and the Crimson Tide especially, always seem to have an All-American waiting in the wings. I give the slight edge to Alabama. In the SEC East, Georgia lost Todd Gurley to the NFL but I love what I see in his replacement Nick Chubb. After an outstanding breakout campaign as a Freshman, Chubb has the backfield to himself and has a realistic chance at 2,000+ yards and getting the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship game.

 

SEC East Winner: Georgia

SEC West Winner: Alabama

Conference Champ: Alabama

 

 

Heisman Trophy Candidates

Keep an eye on Deshaun Watson as he challenges for the Heisman this year.
  1. Any Ohio State Quarterback
  2. Ezekiel Elliott- RB- Ohio State
  3. Trevone Boykin- QB- TCU
  4. Cody Kessler- QB- USC
  5. Deshaun Watson- QB- Clemson

Playoff Teams

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Oregon
  4. Alabama

 

Heisman Trophy Winner

Ezekial Elliott will end up hoisting the greatest trophy in college football this year.

Ezekiel Elliott

 

National Champion

Much to the ire of their northern neighbors, the Buckeyes will repeat as champs this season.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes

 

 


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