The pro boys have been involved in exhibition games the past couple of weeks readying for the beginning of the regular season, which boots off Thursday night September 5.
That first regular season game features Baltimore and Denver a pair of teams that could well meet again in the American Conference title game in January. That AFC will be the first conference I look at in this my pro football prediction column for the year.
Baltimore again is the favorite in the AFC North and the defending Super Bowl champs should be as they return many of their starters including quarterback Joe Flacco who was a lights out player during the Ravens play-off run last year.
The AFC North Division Baltimore plays in is probably the NFL’s toughest division. Division foes Pittsburg, Cleveland, and Cincinnati no doubt all have play-off possibilities.
Not so with the AFC West where Denver plays. The Peyton Manning-led bunch is far ahead of its division foes San Diego, Oakland, and Kansas City.
The same can be said of the AFC East. Tom Brady and the Patriots are head and shoulders above Miami, New York, and Buffalo teams that seem to have trouble righting the ship.
Two teams Houston and Indianapolis have righted the ship in the AFC South leaving Tennessee and Jacksonville as solid also-rans in that division.
In the National Conference the North Division will belong to Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers with the Bears providing the most competition. Adrian Peterson was no doubt the NFL’s best player last year but teams have had a year to work on stopping Peterson’s romps, which will probably do in the Vikings. Detroit will find their own way to do the Lions in and figure to be no factor in the division.
Seattle and San Francisco will again rule the NFC West behind fine young quarterbacks. Arizona and St. Louis will be lucky to rule a few games.
The NFC East will be a donnybrook division all season with Robert Griffin III giving the Redskins a slight division edge. The Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles will all be capable of making noise and all the division games should be something else.
In the NFC South Atlanta and New Orleans are the only teams that can make any noise as Carolina and Tampa Bay will still find ways to struggle.
When all is said and done New England, Houston, Indianapolis, Denver, Baltimore, and Cleveland will be the AFC play-off teams.
The NFL teams will be Washington, Atlanta, Green Bay, San Francisco, Seattle, and the Giants.
Denver will win the AFC and Atlanta will win the NFC and a Manning will win another Super Bowl.
Friday night-lights will again be burning throughout the Big Bend as another high school football season is here.
The three county teams get started this Friday night when East Gadsden plays a regular season game and West Gadsden and Munroe have jamboree dates at Corry Field.
The Jaguars under a new head coach Trace Laing take a short trip to Bainbridge to tangle with the Bearcats in what is always an interesting meeting.
Laing, who has been an East Gadsden assistant the past two years, took over when Corry Fuller departed to take a coaching job at FAMU.
“We’ve looked pretty good in all our off season drills.” Laing says. “Opening with a team like Bainbridge will help us get an idea of just how good we are.”
Joey Striplin is also leading the West Gadsden eleven into his first fall after taking over for Antonio Bradwell.
The Panthers open the 7 pm Jamboree playing Aucilla in a quarter and Sneads in a quarter. “We’re ready to get under the lights.” Striplin says. “It’s time to
see what we’re good at and what we need to work on.”
Danny Hood in his second year at Munroe says his team is also ready for some action.“
“We are still young but we at least have more experience than we had last year so it’s time to see what that experience can do,” he said.
The Bobcats play Sneads at approximately 8 pm and Freeport at approximately 9 pm.
• East Gadsden at Bainbridge.
• Corry Field Jamboree (Hosted by Munroe); 7 pm Aucilla-West Gadsden; 7:30 pm West Gadsden-Sneads; 8 pm Munroe-Sneads; 8:30 pm Aucilla-Freeport; 9 pm Munroe-Freeport
• Pine Forest at East Gadsden
• West Gadsden at FAMU High
• Munroe at St. Joseph (St. Augustine)
• Toledo at Florida
• FAMU-Mississippi Valley State (Walt Disney World)
• FSU at Pittsburg (Monday Sept. 2)