- Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are reigning super bowl champions and they figure to be just as good in 2018. Star quarterback Carson Wentz should be fully healthy by week 1 of the regular season, but even if he isn’t the Eagles still have super bowl hero Nick Foles as his backup. Wentz will also have a good supporting cast to throw to with Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Mike Wallace. It will also help that the Eagles have a good running back with Jay Ajayi that will help take some pressure off of the passing game. The Eagles also have a very talented offensive line that should help to give Carson Wentz tons of time to throw the ball. It is really hard to find a weakness on the Eagles offense and it has the potential to be just as dynamic as last season. Meanwhile, the Eagles defensive line is still arguably the best in the NFL with star players like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Michael Bennett leading that group. The Eagles also have a very talented linebacker group led by Nigel Bradham. They even have a good secondary with Malcolm Jenkins, Ronald Darby, and Jalen Mills leading the way. Philadelphia doesn’t have a major weakness anywhere on their roster and they should be ready to make yet another deep playoff run in 2018.
2. New York Giants
The Giants were absolutely awful last season, but that can mostly be attributed to key players like star receiver Odell Beckham. However, the Giants made some key additions to make their team even better in 2018. The biggest addition that they made though was drafting elite running back prospect Saquon Barkley in the 1st round. Barkley is a dynamic playmaker that should make a huge impact on the Giants offense right away. He is a major upgrade over what they had at running back last season and he will take tons of pressure off of Eli Manning and the passing game. Manning isn’t the quarterback that he once was and it is a concern heading into 2018. However, there is no excuse for Manning to have a poor 2018 season since he has Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shephard in the passing game to go along with Barkley in the running game. The Giants finally improved their offensive line as they added quality left tackle Nate Solder in free agency and talented young guard Will Hernandez in the 2nd round of the draft. The Giants have a good supporting cast on offense, but the success of that unit will all come down to the performance of Eli Manning. Meanwhile, the Giants still have some good pieces on defense despite trading away star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. New York still has some good pieces on the defensive line with Oliver Vernon and Damon Harrison leading the way. The linebacker group could be an issue once again for the Giants in 2018, but it could be better with the additions of Alec Ogletree and Lorenzo Carter. Meanwhile, the Giants secondary has the chance to be very good with Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, and Eli Apple as the top players in that unit. The Giants still have some question marks on both sides of the ball, but they have just enough to be serious playoff contenders in 2018.
3. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are intriguing team heading into 2018 because they have high potential, but they could be a poor team as well. Dallas arguably has the best running back in the NFL with Ezekiel Elliot and they still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to block for him. The huge issue for the Cowboys in 2018 will be their passing game. The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this offseason, but they did nothing to effectively replace them. Dallas now has an uninspiring group of receivers with Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams being their best options. Dallas has a really good young quarterback with Dak Prescott, but the Cowboys passing game could really struggle if they don’t have a receiver to step up and become the number 1 option. Dallas has a terrific running game, but now defenses can focus on stopping Elliot since the Cowboys have absolutely no threat at wide receiver. Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense isn’t exactly an inspiring group. They have some really good pieces like Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving, and Sean Lee. However, the rest of the defense is very unproven and they certainly don’t have much depth in any area on defense. Dallas could be a playoff contender if all of the pieces fit correctly, but they have many areas of concern that could hold them back.
4. Washington Redskins
Washington is a team that could be a playoff contender in 2018 as they do have some good pieces on their roster, but they also are a team that could be really bad. Alex Smith is the new starting quarterback for the Redskins as he will replace Kirk Cousins at that position. However, it is unknown whether Smith will be an upgrade at the position going forward. The key will be whether the supporting cast around Smith can step up and help him out. The Redskins have some receivers with some potential like Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Jamison Crowder. However, none of those three guys have proven that they can be number 1 receivers in the NFL. Washington has plenty of talent at running back especially with the addition of Derrius Guice. However, it is unknown whether Guice, Rob Kelley, or Chris Thompson will get most of the carries in 2018. Washington has a good offensive line as well led by Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, yet they still have holes to fill with that unit. Overall, Washington has the potential to have a good offense, but it all depends on if the supporting cast steps up. Meanwhile, on defense, the Redskins have some really talented players especially in the front 7. They have a couple of really young and talented defensive lineman with Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Also, they have a couple of proven pass rushers with Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith. However, the one big issue for the Redskins on defense is their secondary as they have star cornerback Josh Norman, but nothing really else. Somebody else in the secondary needs to step up or else Washington could have tons of problems stopping the pass. The Redskins have some pieces on offense and defense to turn this team into a playoff contender this year. However, they are playing in a tough division and they still have many needs to fill which is why I have them finishing last in 2018.