AFC Training Camp: Each teams “X” Factor for the 2019 season

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Baker Mayfield has given the Cleveland Browns hope for the future but can he alone lead the Browns to the promised land? ‘X’ AFC style
Photo Credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images

Football season is nearly here!!! After releasing our NFC “X” factors two weekends ago, it’s time to head over to the American Football Conference and visit the 16 teams that look to chase down the Lombardi Trophy. The NFL offseason has been INSANE, with all the trades, new draft picks, and contract signings; this season is shaping up to be a great one.

The Cleveland Browns shook up the AFC outlook with the Odell Beckham trade, the New York Jets won the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers sent WR Antonio Brown to the Raiders for pennies on the dollar. Jacksonville finally has a credible QB, the Dolphins will have an interesting (not to be taken lightly) QB battle between Ryan “FitzMagic” and 2018 1st round pick (10th overall) Josh Rosen.

This should be fun, here we go with the AFC ‘X’ Factors!

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NFC Training Camp: Each teams “X” Factor for the 2019 season

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Bears’ QB, Mitchell Trubisky, is one our top X factors for the NFC.
Photo by Camrongood [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

Training Camp starts in less than a month, you can hear the screams and tears of joy from the NFL faithful as the new season is fast approaching. I would like to take this time now to point out each of my “X” factors for the following 32 teams. This “X” factor can stem from the front office, a coach, a star player, or group of players for that matter. Its this focal point that I believe can either give your franchise the playoff push it needs, their first breakout season in a while, or maybe just give you the hopes that: “THANK GOD WE AREN’T REBUILDING ANYMORE”

The “X” factor is not necessarily each teams best player, but more so the player that each team needs to breakout and contribute in order for their team to have the best success. So with out further adieu lets begin with the NFC:

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Could there be two LA teams in Super Bowl LIII?

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The two teams representing Los Angeles, the Rams and now the Chargers, could make an all-L.A. Super Bowl this year for the first time in NFL history.

The Rams and Chargers are both the most dangerous and talented teams in the NFL.

Starting with the red-hot Chargers, and their Sergeant General Phillip Rivers, who is displaying some of the best quarterback play in his career. Rivers threw for over 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns in another impressive season, and hopes to keep the momentum going in the playoffs.

The Chargers have a tough Divisional Round matchup against the New England Patriots this Sunday, In Foxborough. To make matters worse, Rivers is 0-7 against QB Tom Brady and his Patriots in the playoffs.

It is hard to count out the Patriots in the playoffs, but I think the Chargers have more firepower to deal with New England.

Chargers’ Head Coach Anthony Lynn will make sure to utilize Melvin Gordon, and the running game to keep a well-balanced attack against the Patriots’ defense. Rivers will be up to the challenge, knowing that, he will need to play smart football in a very hostile environment.

Since the start of the season, the Rams have always been the team to beat, and now they are here postseason. Jared Goff and teammate Todd Gurley certainly have matured, along with their Head Coach Sean McVay.

Goff, and his team are favored against the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday, but could be an interesting matchup based on the opponent’s skilled defense. The Rams will certainly have to do more than just simply pound the rock in order to score on Dallas.

While I think Dallas defense is dominant, I think the Ram’s offensive will be too much for the Cowboys to deal with.

There is a great chance that both of these LA teams advance in the next round, and even after that…which means Super Bowl LIII.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Seattle Seahawks: The ending of an era, but to a new beginning 

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The Legion of Boom Era in Seattle is officially over – the Seattle Seahawks officially split up their once-legendary defense after parting ways with Pro Bowler Michael Bennett, and now, Richard Sherman.

After seven seasons with the team, the Seahawks are releasing their star cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday, according to ESPN. The four-time All-Pro will be playing for a new team for the first time in his career.

The Michael Bennett trade to the Eagles helped create the domino effect that led to Sherman, completely putting an end to the Legion of Boom Era. Changes are in foot for the Seattle Seahawks, releasing Sherman opens up $11 million in salary-cap space.

Coach Pete Caroll is starting to make a transition for the team, and trying to make the statement – defense is no longer their sole identity.

Sherman, 29, is recovering from an Achilles injury – but is still very well in the prime of his career. Though his numbers have declined the past few seasons, Sherman leads the league with 32 interceptions and 99 passes defended since 2011.

Who will pick up the Pro Bowl cornerback, and where would be the best fit?

Photo (Richard Sherman) by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0],via Wikimedia Commons

Post-Super Bowl Ramifications

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What a surreal, dominating Super Bowl 50 performance by both sides of the defense, especially Von Miller and his fellow Broncos. I myself, was almost in awe seeing Cam Newton basically getting harassed on every down of the game.

Star linebacker Von Miller is certainly going to get a big pay raise during this off-season after his game-changing plays last night. For the most part, we can expect a good performance by Denver’s pass rush, who is best in the league, but a majority wouldn’t see the a tidal wave of Broncos throttling Carolinas offensive line and Cam himself.

I had a feeling there was some magic in Peyton Manning’s last season…even though I thought the Panthers had the upper hand. The young and talented vs. the wise and experienced, assisted by dominating defenses this was an interesting, yet compelling Super Bowl for many reasons.

Mentioning the success for Denver and there star defense, this championship game was a big sign that the foresight into Broncos future is a very exciting, thriving one. This game was also a growing opportunity for Brock Osweiler, especially, since he had played seven games prior to The Super Bowl.

Having the perspective of a Dallas Cowboy fan, I was very happy to see star Demarcus Ware win a championship after so many years of grinding in the NFL. Status quo for Denver here is that the future certainly looks bright. Now, let’s flip the coin if you will and take a look at Panthers side of quarter.

It is quite obvious after Cam’s body language and way he conducted himself at the post Super Bowl conference and interviews he is not only upset over the performance, but also appeared Newton was shut down.

He looked extremely upset and emotionally shut down, like most quarterbacks should after losing there Super Bowl, however Cam’s defeatist attitude showed a foresight into him maturing into an eventual Manning-like model of a QB.

Newton may have as much talent as any QB in the NFL, but if his mental toughness is ranked at the bottom of that list then Panther’s future with him doesn’t look as promising as everyone thinks after this breakout season. Interesting to see if Cam Newton will have the mental toughness to bounce back from this devastating loss and lead his troops again back to the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs.

For many and myself as well, would say that this certainly was Carolina’s season. Will be hard to see if Panthers defense can repeat such a high quality, near perfect performance next year.

Though, a big focus will be on Cam: if he is going to bounce back and put the championship behind him and perhaps take it as a learning lesson.

Will Newton be able to repeat similar MVP performances?

Is he still is going to grace the league again with his never-ending touchdowns?

Is he still going to dance his way into the end-zone or will Super Bowl 50 silence him into a more reserved QB? It is always interesting to see the ramifications unfold for both teams after a championship.

Photo by Arnie Papp (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons