Veteran Losses: RB DeMarco Murray, OT Jermey Parnell, DE Anthony Spencer, DE George Selvie, DT Henry Melton, OLB Bruce Carter, CB Sterling Moore, KR Dwayne Harris.
Vetern Additions: RB Darren McFadden, DE Greg Hardy, ILB Jasper Brinkley, CB Corey White
2015 Draft Picks: CB Byron Jones 1st Rd, DE Randy Gregory 2nd Rd, OT Chaz Green 3rd Rd, LB Damien Wilson 4th Rd, DE Ryan Russell 5th Rd, LB Mark Nzeocha 7th Rd, OT Laurence Gibson 7th Rd, TE Geoff Swaim 7th Rd
2014 Record: 12-4
There is no doubt the loss of DeMarco Murray will be huge on this offense, but I don’t think that’s a reason for them to be written off as contenders in the NFC. Yes this offensive line is one of the very best in the NFL and yes I think anyone that has talent can run behind this line but no I don’t think whoever it is, whether it be McFadden or Joseph Randle, will be able to replace Murray’s production. Hell, the both of them combined may not be able to. But the Cowboys did find a winning formula in 2014: take the ball out of Tony Romo’s hands. I don’t mean that with any disrespect towards Romo but it’s very true. He threw his least amount of pass attempts in his career as a full time starter in his entire career. We know what that offensive line is going to give us, we know Dez and Jason Witten are going to give us, but Terrance Williams is the make or break player for this offense. He needs to prove he’s more than a guy with straight line speed.
This defense is going to be vastly improved once again and good job to the Cowboys for re-signing DC Rod Marinelli for three more years. Unfortunately for this defense, the injury bug hit CB Orlando Scandrick, who will be out for the entire season with a torn ACL. But they’ll have former first round pick Mo Claiborne back from injury. He’ll be in a rotation with Brandon Carr and 2015 first round pick Byron Jones, who I think is way more than a workout warrior. I know the Cowboys are also happy to have Sean Lee back, who missed all of last season due to injury. I look forward to seeing him lineup beside Rolando McClain, who will be serving a suspension for the first four games for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Greg Hardy will also be suspended those first four games as well. When he returns, he’ll join a defensive line with star potential that includes Demarcus Lawrence and 2015 second round pick Randy Gregory, who was looked at as a top 5 pick before failing a drug test at the NFL combine among other shit. This defense will be above average this year.
2015 Projection: 10-6
Despite taking a step back at the running back position, the Cowboys gained some much needed help on defense with the acquisition of players that will either play a key role as a starter or provide some much needed depth. Tony Romo is a great quarterback and he’s still leading this team. They’ll take a slight step back this year, but they’ll still be playoff contenders.
Veteran Losses: QB Nick Foles, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Chris Polk, WR Jeremy Maclin, TE James Casey, G Evan Mathis, G Todd Herremans, DE/OLB Trent Cole, ILB Casey Matthews, CB Brandon Boykin, CB Cary Williams, CB Bradley Fletcher, S Nate Allen.
Veteran Additions: QB Sam Bradford, QB Tim Tebow, RB DeMarco Murray, RB Ryan Mathews, WR Miles Austin, ILB Kiko Alonso, ILB Brad Jones, CB Byron Maxwell, CB Walter Thurmond
2015 Draft Picks: WR Nelson Agholor 1st Rd, CB Eric Rower 2nd Rd, ILB Jordan Hicks 3rd Rd, CB JaCorey Sheppard 6th Rd. CB Randall Evans 6th Rd, DE Brian Mahilik 7th Rd
2014 Record: 10-6
This offense has several big name losses this offseason including Nick Foles, Lesean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin among others. Overall, I think they were able to upgrade at position on this offense (on paper) except guard and wide receiver, although I think in the longterm Nelson Agholor will prove to be an adequate replacement for Maclin. If Sam Bradford can stay healthy this offense will easily average 30 points. I also think Murray and Mathews have the potential to become 1000 yard rushers each, Murray for sure.
Defensively I am extremely excited about this team. We already knew what this front 7 was capable of, and the additions of Kiko Alonso and the fact that Brandon Graham will be on the field more will only make them better. But this defensive backfield might be able to call themselves one of the best at the end of the season. They’ve looked amazing in the preseason (first team and the back ups) and if this play is able to carry over into the regular season, this defense will be a force to be reckoned with.
2015 Projections: 13-3
I have high expectations for this team in 2015. Offensively although there are questions at the WR position, I think the system will take over there. I like the fact they upgraded at RB and I’m a firm believer they upgraded at QB. Defensively, this is going to be a unit that’s a force to be reckoned with. They already had one of the top front 7’s in the NFL last year and that’s going to continue, but this secondary is going to be NASTY.
New York Giants
Veteran Losses: RB Peyton Hillis, WR Jerrel Jernigan, OT James Brewer, G Adam Snyder, C J.D. Walton, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DT Mike Patterson, OLB Spencer Paysinger, OLB Jacquian Williams, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Terrell Thomas, CB Zackary Bowman, S Antrel Rolle, S Stevie Brown, S Quintin Demps
Veteran Additions: RB Shane Vereen, OT Marshall Newhouse, DE George Selvie, NT Kenrick Ellis, OLB Jonathan Casillas, ILB J.T. Thomas, CB Josh Gordy, KR Dwayne Harris
2015 Draft Picks: OT Ereck Flowers 1st Rd, S Landon Collins 2nd Rd, DE Owa Odighizuwa 3rd Rd, S Mykkele Thompson 5th Rd, WR Geremy Davis 6th Rd, OT Bobby Hart 7th Rd
2014 Record: 6-10
Eli Manning is a contract year and I’m expecting him to put up huge numbers. Aside from having my #3 WR in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz will be healthy, RB Rashad Jennings will be healthy again this year although he’ll be splitting carries with Andre Williams and Shane Vereen (who I think will be huge for this offense). But the problem with this offense isn’t the quarterback…nor is it the rest of the skill positions, it’s actually the offensive line. The offensive line was cheeks in 2014 and it hasn’t necessarily gotten off to the best start in 2015. Will Beatty has suffered a torn pectoral injury which will keep him sidelined for about 6 months. This will cause Flowers to have to slide to left tackle, rather than right tackle which is where the team hoped he would play. They also added Marshall Newhouse from Cincinnati and he is expected to start at the right tackle position which is a good move for them because at one point it was thought of that Justin Pugh would have to play on the outside again, which saw him struggle at times in 2014. Now at the time I’m typing this today, Newhouse went down with an ankle injury and the severity of that injury is still unknown. But one positive note is that Geoff Schwartz will be returning from injury and should be able to contribute right away.
New York scored 28, 24, 36, 24, 37 and 26 points in its final six contests. They also gave up at least 25 points in four of those games, finishing the season with a 3-3 record. This defense still has major holes in it so I’m not completely sure what to expect. They did fire DC Perry Fewell and they hired Steve Spagnuolo, who coached this defense when they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2007. That’s a good move but they’ll have to depend on this front 4 to to cover up holes at linebacker and safety. I do love the cornerbacks on this team though, they have a very nice tandem with DRC and Amukamara.
2015 Projections: 7-9
I had high hopes for this team heading into the offseason but I’m not completely sure this team is ready to become serious playoff contenders. They still have problems on the offensive line, Eli needs help at the TE position and defensively, the LB group and S group aren’t looking good at all. If this team can make it to .500 it’ll be because of Eli Manning and Odell. Simple as that.
Veteran Losses: RB Roy Helu, WR Leonard Hankerson, OT Tyler Polumbus, G Chris Chester, DE/DT Jarvis Jenkins, DE/DT Stephen Bowen, NT Barry Cofield, DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, CB E.J. Biggers, S Brandon Meriweather, S Ryan Clark
Veteran Additions: DE/DT Stephen Paea, DE/DT Ricky Jean-Francois, NT Terrance Knighton, CB Chris Culliver, S Dashon Goldson, S Jeron Johnson
2015 Draft Picks: OT/G Brandon Scherff 1st Rd, OLB Preston Smith 2nd Rd, RB Matt Jones 3rd Rd, WR Jamison Crowder 4th Rd, G Arie Kouandjio 4th Rd, LB Martrell Spaight 5th Rd, S Kyshoen Jarrett 6th Rd, CB Tevin Mitchel 6th Rd, WR Evan Spencer 6th Rd, C Austin Reiter 7th Rd
2014 Record: 4-12
This offense has issues at quarterback and at offensive line, and unfortunately you really can’t do shit without either one. The offensive line is actually a bigger issue because it doesn’t matter who is behind center, if they can’t pass protect than this offense is fucked. You see how much Jay Gruden loves throwing the ball? What he needs to do run the ball a lot more. You have a capable back in Alfred Morris and they drafted Matt Jones in the third round who I feel has stud potential. The Redskins are also suffering at tight end with Niles Paul and Logan Paulson being lost to injury. Jordan Reed is very talented but he’s often on IR more than he is on the field. This receiving group is still in good shape. Hopefully Pierre Garcon can have a better 2015. He didn’t seem like a good fit in this offense last year.
The defense was a major issue in 2014, but I really believed they have improved. They were able to add Chris Culliver, Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, Dashon Goldson and Ricky Jean-Francois who will all either be starters or solid rotation guys. They had signed Junior Gallette after his release from the Saints, but unfortunately he suffered an achillies injury in camp. I think it was also a good move to get rid of Jim Haslett and bring in a new voice to call the plays. I think they have a solid front seven, with Ryan Kerrigan still being the star of this defense. He inked an extension earlier this month so he’ll be in DC for a minute.
2015 Projections: 7-9
Defense will be the 2015 Redskins’ calling card to success. They made a lot of very good additions in the offseason and although I don’t think this is a playoff time, I think they’ll be much improved from 2014.