There is a phrase in sports psychology—“train your mind and the body will follow”—that alludes to the power of our beliefs, motivations and resiliency. It also speaks to the power of momentum, the human tendency to ride waves good thoughts to success or float down a river of despair toward failure. As we approach the 2019 NFL season, some teams clearly have momentum coming in, while others may already see the sad stream before them.
There’s no team coming in hotter than the Cleveland Browns. A feisty young quarterback, lots of new weapons and some key free agent pickups have things truly looking up for the first time in a long time in the land of paper bags.
New England Patriots
The defending Super Bowl champions may have lost some key pieces, but they still have Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the best record by far against the spread in the last 10 years. The Patriots will remain hot until they’re not.
It helps they play in a weak division, but franchise quarterback Carson Wentz is back to lead a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. This is a very talented roster that believes it can win.
The Bears went out in the wild-card round last year to big Nick Foles, but there’s no doubt momentum and hope exist in Chicago again. Matt Nagy is a creative head coach who may be leading some of the evolution of the sport.
I’ve written recently that I don’t think the Colts will make the playoffs because of their brutal schedule, but there is no doubt that they are coming in to the season with deservedly high expectations and optimism.
There is some sense of hope that Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury will create fireworks in Arizona and revolutionize the league, but it feels like a false hope. Most agree this team will struggle.
New York Giants
What more really needs to be said that hasn’t been said already? For their fans’ sake, hopefully the offensive line is better.
After years of mediocrity with an above-average roster, it feels like the rebuild is now underway with a rookie head coach.
It’s hard to be optimistic with such big question marks at quarterback. Things could go south quickly if they can’t score points.
The Lions have never been that bad, but they have never seemed capable of winning their division, let alone more.
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