SAU Buzz

2016 NFL Midseason Report

by Casey Hupton
Posted on Nov 27, 2016

The road to Super Bowl LI is halfway over, and almost every NFL analyst’s head has exploded on the rollercoaster ride that has been the last nine weeks.

“I thought the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton were going to have the best year because of how their season ended last year in the Super Bowl,” Vince Vignali, SAU freshman, said. “Also, the fact that they only lost one key player, Josh Norman, but also gained Kevin Benjamin helps.”

Vignali based his assumptions off the bad taste the Panthers must have had after Super Bowl L.

While the fans have their own methods for predicting who will be successful, the professionals have their own.

Seven CBS analysts got together before the season even started and created their top predictions for what the season would hold.

Only two of the experts, Pete Prisco and Sean Wagner-McGough, believe the Denver Broncos can make it back to the playoffs. All of the analysts think that they will not make it back to the Super Bowl. The other five say that the Broncos’ AFC West rivals, Oakland Raiders, will make their glorious return to the playoffs. This is a bold prediction considering the Raiders only won seven of 16 games.

The experts are predicting a polar opposite ending of the NFC East. Four of them put the New York Giants in first place, while the other three put them in the last place of their division.

Will Brinson is the only of the seven analysts that did not put the Cleveland Browns at last in the AFC North. Brinson is also the only one to say the Kansas City Chiefs will finish in first or second place of the AFC West.

The Dallas Cowboys were unanimously voted to not end up in last place of the NFC East but only three of the analysts, Jason La Canfora, Jared Dubin and Ryan Wilson, put them in the playoff picture.

At the end of the journey, lays the Super Bowl. The experts are putting the Pittsburg Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals or New England Patriots as the AFC champions with one of four teams as their NFC counterpart: the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers or Arizona Cardinals.

“At the beginning of the season when the Vikings were the only undefeated team, my expectations were pretty high. I thought we were going to have a good season, but now I'm just hoping that we can get out of this losing streak,” Monica Ryant, SAU junior said, “I still have high hopes for Bradford. He’s a great QB, I just think they have to reevaluate their plays both on offense and defense and come back.”

Ryant had high hopes for the Vikings duo of Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. Their near win in the NFC Wild Card game in the 2015-2016 season would have led many fans to the resurrection of the Minnesota Vikings, but also leads to speculation on the kicker, Blair Walsh.

“One main improvement could start with Walsh making his field goals,” Ryant said. “To me, a field goal is like a free-throw, it's basically free points.  I know that winning or losing isn't just about one player in particular but sometimes it comes down to that one person doing their job right.”

High hopes seem to be a running trend in the NFL this season. Hope and pride have reentered the lives of The Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys and their fans.

The Oakland Raiders are currently in first place of the AFC West following their win over the Denver Broncos 30-20. The Raiders are currently 7-2, with a 5-0 record for their away games.

The Dallas Cowboys are also in first place of their division, the NFC East. The Cowboys have had little threat to their reign at number one this season with the best record of the league at 8-1. They are also on a seven-game winning streak that does not seem to be ending any time soon.

Both teams are being fueled by an outstanding class of younger players. Rookies for the Cowboys include Dak Prescott, QB, and Ezekiel Elliott, running back, both of whom are breaking records left and right. The three year stars for the Raiders are Darek Carr, QB, and Amari Cooper, wide receiver.

Andrew Perloff, Sports Illustrated analyst, believes one of the best matchups for Super Bowl LI would be the Raiders and Cowboys in Houston. However, sports fans will have to wait and see how this rollercoaster of a season plays out.