Now that the dreaded NFL lockout has ended, and multiple teams have "splashed" in this year's flooded free agency pool, the 2011-2012 NFL season will be an unpredictable one.
In previous years, it was always those handful of teams that were destined to make a legitimate run at a Superbowl title, but this year the top of the totem pole is "open for business."
Philadelphia dominated the free agent market by signing multiple NFL starting-caliber players, such as former starting Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young, former starting Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown, former starting Arizona Cardinals CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the former primary lock down technician Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha to Philly's already talented roster.
Philly made some noise in free agency, but so did other teams like the New York Jets, who brought back their star receiver in Santonio Holmes and signed WR Plaxico Burress (6-foot-5 232-pounds), who gives them a much needed target in the redzone to score some easy touchdowns. The New England Patriots also were very productive in acquiring WR Chad Ochocinco (as a Bengals fan this hurts) from Cincinnati and getting a great defensive stopper in DT Albert Haynesworth.
With that being said, teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts for the AFC, and the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears for the NFC have always been in the mix for a chance to win the title in the past few years; this year is no different.
The field has opened up tremendously though because you cannot count out the defending champion Green Bay Packers, who have brought back majority of their young talented core for this upcoming season, the Atlanta Falcons are legitimate threats also with Matt Ryan as their QB and Michael Turner running the ball for them, as well as the Tamba Bay Buccaneers, who have improved their team over the years, and are now a true contender in the NFC South.
Don't be surprised if it comes down to the last game of the season to decide the Detroit Lions playoff hopes too. They're defense is tremendous (44 sacks last year) and if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy their offense will have a lot of success throwing the ball for not only this year, but years to come.
In the AFC, the Houston Texans are looking like they can finally beat the Colts out as the top team in the southern division. They have one of the best wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson, and their defense is beginning to get healthy with LB DeMeco Ryans coming back from injury. Also, the San Diego Chargers are always a dark horse with Philip Rivers as their quarter back.
All these teams mentioned, (to me) have a chance to do some great things this season, and maybe even shock the football world. NFL fans get ready for some exciting smash mouth football because our dream has finally become true; THERE IS AN NFL SEASON THIS YEAR, and we are locked in for the next seven to 10 years as well.