AFTER a long, long summer the NFL makes an eagerly-awaited return and we could see record numbers of new fans flocking to watch the gridiron action on the back of arguably the greatest sporting comeback in history in last season's Super Bowl.

The way the New England Patriots came back from the dead to stun the Atlanta Falcons made headline news around the globe. So with many newcomers sitting down to watch the new season what should you be looking out for?

Again for the big one next February you'll be able to pick from Sky Sports and BBC coverage for the Super Bowl – a move which undoubtedly only helps the popularity of the sport.

Sky Sports is your home of live games with more than 100 coming at you throughout the season from Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, while Sky Sports Mix is the channel to catch the excellent Red Zone on Sunday night when you'll see every touchdown as it happens.

The BBC also returns with two weekly shows previewing and reviewing all the action while they'll also show two of the four London games live.

It's a short season but a tough one in the NFL. Every team plays their three divisional rivals home and away along with 10 games based on a combination of a set rotation and a match-up against teams finishing in the same position in different divisions – this last one is geared up to make it easier for bad teams to improve.

The four divisional winners and two best runners-up (wild cards) enter the playoffs in both the AFC and NFC then to decide who goes to the Super Bowl. The structure often means surprise packages can come out of nowhere and make a playoff run – Atlanta being a prime case.

So are the Patriots the ones to beat again? In a word, yes! The big question this season is more who can stop the Pats than who will win the Super Bowl.

The Patriots have dominated the NFL like none before them, mainly down to the genius of coach Bill Belichick and magic arm of quarterback Tom Brady who together have found a way to stay ahead of the curve for approaching two decades.

They've seen other star players leave year after year but they're always still the team to beat having won five Super Bowls together in seven attempts and smashed numerous records in the process – these two will go down as the best ever once their careers are over.

And it gets no easier this year for the chasing pack. Brady missed the first four games of last year but will play a full slate this time around provided his 40-year-old body holds up – which some say is the only way anyone can stop this Pats juggernaut after they, if anything, strengthened their roster over the summer.

They've won three out of four Super Bowls by defending their title once before and their team this year could be just about their best yet.

The Patriots have been in six straight AFC Championship games but the challenge to stop them making the Super Bowl this year will be led by the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, are possibly the best attacking team in the league and will be well worth watching.

The Kansas City Chiefs will again be tough while Houston Texans have a fearsome defence that really troubled the Patriots in last season's playoffs. The Oakland Raiders are a popular pick and the Tennessee Titans are seen as a possible surprise package.

Representing the NFC in the Super Bowl could come down to who grabs home advantage in the playoffs but expect the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks to not be too far away.

NFL outright prices

  1. Jordan 5 years ago

    NFL Ante-Posts 2017 ?

    New York Giants NFC East Winners @ 11/4 @ Skybet – 4 points (Now best @ 9/4 @ Skybet)

    New York Giants To Make The Playoffs @ 11/8 @ Skybet – 8 points (Now best @ 5/4 @ Betfred)

    Tennessee Titans To Make The Playoffs @ 6/4 @ Ladbrokes – 4 points

    Cooper Kupp 60+ Receptions @ 6/1 @ Skybet – 5 points

    NFL Week 1

    The NFL regular season is right around the corner and I have a pick for week 1.

    They say never back your own team, but in the NFL you can almost always rely on Green Bay at home. We are only three weeks into the pre-season, but a few factors play into the Packers hands early. The Packers get to play their last home game at home, and will have their opener against Seattle in Lambeau too, so no long distance travel for any of the players in the green and gold over the next two weeks. Seattle however face a trip south down to Oakland, and will then travel east to Green Bay. Neither of the Seahawks or Green Bays starters will play the final pre-season game, so you can be sure the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson won’t suit up. However the two road games will have an affect on the Seahawks players even though they don’t play. Green Bay have had Seattles number since their NFC championship collapse, winning the last two which have both been at Lambeau. Three in a row?

    Seattle also have problems of their own. Last week they lost their starting left tackle to an ACL tear and had to trade to get extra depth on the offensive line. While they still might have one of the best defenses this year, being asked to hang with Aaron Rodgers, and a whole host of receiving talent, it’s going to be tough. A home advantage is a -3 spread in the NFL regardless unless you are the Cleveland Browns. This is a nice bet for the conditions Seattle are facing coming into week 1.

    Green Bay Packers -2.5 @ 3/4 @ 888Sport – 8 points

    -3 also worth a gamble, -47/50 available with Marathon Bet while your more popular bookies offer 5/6.

  2. jimron12 5 years ago

    Think giants game is a high scoring banker win for me this weekend Elliot out is massive negative for cowboys can only see one winner….

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