2016 NFL preview: All eyes on football

With fall arriving, it means that Sundays will be filled with cheers and screams as football has returned. The NFL season is starting off with a bang. The first game of the year — on Sept. 8 —  was a rematch of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.

Like any other NFL season, this one is filled with several story-lines. One team to look at is the defending champion Broncos, who look to defend their title with less talent at the quarterback position than last season. Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset being a two time Superbowl champion and owning almost every single passing record in NFL history.

So it would look like the keys to the car would be handed over to backup Brock Osweiler who played a good part of the season last year while Manning was injured. Osweiler instead headed off to Houston and became the quarterback for the Texans, signing a four year $72 million contract, according to USA Today.

In response to this move, the Broncos moved up in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft to draft Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. With these large changes occurring, it looks like the Broncos will have a hard time getting back to the Super Bowl this season.

The reigning NFC champion Carolina Panthers look like they are ready to carve out the NFL again like last year. Quarterback Cam Newton looks to build upon his record MVP season last year, and this year his top pass catcher Kelvin Benjamin returns after being injured for all of the 2015 season. With the Panthers offense having its fully loaded offense back, there is no where to go but up for the team.

Besides the Panthers, the NFC has some talented teams that could represent the conference in the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks will try to win their second Super Bowl in four years. The defense led by Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, will be a top five defense as they have been for most of this decade. The offense led by quarterback Russell Wilson looks to take a stronger grip on the offense, after the retirement of running back Marshawn Lynch.

The Arizona Cardinals who are the division rivals of the Seahawks also look like title contenders this season. Quarterback Carson Palmer has forgotten about his terrible seasons with the Bengals and is finding himself reborn since arriving in Arizona three seasons ago.

For the rest of the NFC I believe that there are two dark horse teams that can make a deep playoff run this year. One team is the Dallas Cowboys,. Yes, their fans say that they can win the title every year and their enemies say that they are overrated, but this year could be different. The Cowboys drafted former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. The highly rated rookie could flourish in this offense with one of the best, if not the best offensive line in the league.

The questions on the team, though, are its defense who at times does not look great, and the health status of Tony Romo. The 36-year-old suffered a broken bone in his back during a preseason game, according to ESPN, although Dallas may not sink with Romo under center. In the preseason backup rookie quarterback Dak Prescott turned heads as he was playing like he should have been a highly drafted player. If Prescott carries himself in the regular season like he did during the preseason, a quarterback controversy may start brewing.

The Minnesota Vikings are another team that look like they could take the next step this season. Their first year in the brand new US Bank Stadium could be a very special one. Adrian Peterson still looks fresh despite being 31 years old, and they have a very strong defense. The only problem the Vikings face is a quarterback problem. Two weeks ago Teddy Bridgewater was injured in practice, Bridgewater tore his ACL and dislocated his knee, according to ESPN. However, the Vikings addressed the problem by trading for Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.

The AFC is a little bit more wide open as to who will be the best team. Many believe that the Broncos are already out of the playoff race. The Patriots will have to start the first four games of the year without Tom Brady due to his suspension from the Deflate-gate scandal two years ago. The Jets and Bills look to pounce on the weaker Patriots in the beginning of the year and hope to get into the playoffs, an accomplishment that both teams were close to doing .

The Steelers are a favorite to make the Super Bowl as they were last season, as they faced several injuries they still made it to the divisional round. This year they face some early suspensions from Leveon Bell, but if he performs well when he comes back, the combination of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Bell looks to rip through the AFC.

As football starts back up everyone wants you to give an opinion on who you think the winners of the season could be. I have shared my opinions with you, but 10 million things could happen, and most likely will. So the best thing to do is to root for your favorite team and enjoy it, because football has returned.