Category Archives: Dallas Cowboys

Biggest training camp battle for each NFL team

Arizona Cardinals – Starting Center

The Arizona Cardinals have a really tough decision to make at the center position. Young center Mason Cole was the starter last season and he was OK as the starter. However, Cole might have his job taken from him as veteran center A.Q. Shipley returns from injury. Cole provides more upside because of his age, but he is still a rather raw player at this point in his career. Shipley has much more experience and that likely will allow him to provide some more stability at the center position right away. Cole could win the job if he does well in the preseason, but all indications point to Shipley being the starting center early in the season.

Predicted Winner: A.Q. Shipley

Atlanta Falcons – Left Guard

Rookie Chris Lindstrom seems to have the starting right guard position locked down as he enters his first training camp. However, the Falcons have some major question marks at the left guard position. James Carpenter and Jamon Brown were both signed in free agency this offseason with somewhat big contracts, but now one of them will likely have to be a high priced backup guard entering the 2019 season. Jamon Brown is a good pass protector, but he is not nearly as good as Carpenter is in the running game. Carpenter also has more experience at the left guard position and he has been successful at that position before. Brown has been a right guard for most of his career, so the edge appears to go to Carpenter right now since he is a better all-around player and he has more experience.

Predicted Winner: James Carpenter

Baltimore Ravens – Left Guard

The Ravens offensive line is stable at most positions with several key veteran players returning in 2019. However, the left guard position is an absolutely wide open position right now. James Hurst seems like the favorite to win the job right now as he became the starter late last season and he has shown a good ability to play different positions along the offensive line. Jermaine Eluemunor seems to be the biggest challenger to take over the starting left guard role as he took first-team reps during minicamp. Rookie Ben Powers also has a shot to claim the starting role, but he’ll need to really impress during the preseason in order to do so. The Ravens also have Alex Lewis who started the majority of games last season at left guard, but he has struggled with injuries and consistency issues so he’s somewhat of a long shot to re-claim the role. The Ravens have several players who are challenging for the left guard spot, but Hurst seems to be the favorite as of right now.

Predicted Winner: James Hurst

Buffalo Bills – Right Guard

The Buffalo Bills re-shaped their interior offensive line completely this offseason and that included signing guards Spencer Long and Jon Feliciano in free agency. Spencer Long has much more experience as a starting guard in the NFL as Feliciano was stuck as a backup guard for several years with Oakland. The Bills have started training camp by rotating Long and Feliciano at the right guard position, but there’s no clear favorite right now. Long would be the assumed favorite because of his experience as a starter, but don’t be surprised at all if Feliciano ends up winning the job. The Bills seem to like Feliciano a lot and if he does well in the preseason then he’ll likely get the nod at right guard.

Predicted Winner: Jon Feliciano

Carolina Panthers – Free Safety

The Carolina Panthers will be getting a new starter at the free safety position after Mike Adams departed this offseason. Young safety Rashaan Gaulden is very inexperienced as he saw limited action as a backup last season. However, Gaulden still appears to be the favorite for the job right now because of the lack of true contenders that he has to compete with for the starting role. Colin Jones appears to be the biggest challenger to Gaulden for the free safety job. However, Jones has been a special teams player for most of his career and even though he is the most experienced player in the Panthers secondary then he’ll need to really impress in order to overtake Gaulden as the starter. Either way, the Panthers have a big void to fill at free safety and they’re likely hoping that Gaulden can adequately fill the void.

Predicted Winner: Rashaan Gaulden

Chicago Bears – Kicker

The Bears found out how important it is to have a reliable kicker after Cody Parkey missed what appeared to be an easy field goal for what would have been a game-winner in the playoffs last season. However, the Bears now have a wide-open competition at the kicker position with a couple of inexperienced players vying for the role. Elliott Fry and Eddie Pineiro are the two contenders at kicker, but they are both really young and neither player has an attempted a field goal in an NFL regular season game. Fry and Pineiro are so inexperienced that it’s really difficult to predict a favorite right now until actual preseason games begin. That being said, don’t be surprised if the Bears add another kicker before the season starts to create some more competition at the kicker competition. Elliott Fry probably has a slight edge right now because the Bears didn’t sign him to a 3-year contract this offseason for no reason, but he’ll need to show up in actual game situations if he is going to win the job.

Predicted Winner: Elliott Fry

Cincinnati Bengals – Left Guard

The Cincinnati Bengals have had some turmoil along the offensive line recently with rookie 1st round pick Jonah Williams lost for the season due to injury and guard Clint Boling surprisingly announcing his retirement in July. That means Cordy Glenn will now move back to left tackle while there is a huge void at the left guard position. Guard John Jerry has the most experience as a starting guard at the NFL level and most people would assume that he would be the favorite to win the job. However, most of the hype seems to surround young guard Christian Westerman who hasn’t yet received an opportunity to show what he can do as a starter at the NFL level. Westerman still has a lot to prove during the preseason, but the coaches seem to like him the most out of anybody competing for the left guard spot. Trey Hopkins could also compete for the left guard role, but his versatility makes him more useful as a backup. Overall, Jerry and Westerman seem to be the most serious competitors for the left guard spot, but Westerman seems like the favorite right now.

Predicted Winner: Christian Westerman

Cleveland Browns – Kicker

The Cleveland Browns have a very talented roster overall, but the kicker position appears to be a weakness heading into training camp. Greg Joseph is the incumbent starter for the Browns and he did relatively well last season as he went 17/20 on field goals. However, the Browns made an investment on rookie kicker Austin Seibert in the 5th round of the draft this offseason and Seibert has a real shot of winning the kicker job. Joseph seems to be the favorite right now because of his relative success as the kicker last season. That being said, the Browns clearly aren’t sold on Joseph which is why they brought in Seibert to compete for the job. However, if Joseph can play well during the preseason then he should be able to remain the Browns kicker.

Predicted Winner: Greg Joseph

Dallas Cowboys – Strong Safety

Jeff Heath has been somewhat of an unreliable starter at safety for the Cowboys in recent years, yet he still has somehow managed to maintain his role without being challenged much. Young safety Kavon Frazier played mostly special teams last season and he was a backup to Heath, but Frazier could still win the job if he has a really good preseason. The Cowboys also brought in veteran George Iloka this offseason and he has plenty of starting experience at safety from his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. Iloka could really challenge Heath for the starting strong safety job, but Heath still remains the favorite to stay in his role at this point.

Predicted Winner: Jeff Heath

Denver Broncos – Running Back

Phillip Lindsay shocked everyone last season by being a pro bowl caliber player despite being an undrafted rookie. However, Lindsay’s wrist injury and the new coaching staff puts his job somewhat up for grabs. Royce Freeman will certainly have plenty of carries this season, but the question is whether he’ll be the feature back ahead of Lindsay. We know that Lindsay and Freeman will both see plenty of action in 2019, but the question is whether Lindsay will be able to hold onto his role as the feature back.

Predicted Winner: Phillip Lindsay

Detroit Lions – Free Safety

The Detroit Lions have a major void to fill at the free safety position after longtime starter Glover Quin retired this offseason. However, the question is who will fill the void as the starter at the position. Tavon Wilson has the most experience of the challengers for the role as he saw a lot of snaps last season as a backup safety for the Lions. Newly signed safety Andrew Adams played last well and he could compete for some snaps as well. However, the player that is most hyped at the safety position for the Lions is 2nd-year player Tracy Walker. He obviously is the least experienced player vying for the safety role, but he also has the most potential as proven by his selection in the 3rd round by Detroit in 2018. If Walker plays well in the preseason then he should be the clear favorite to win the job over Wilson and Adams.

Predicted Winner: Tracy Walker

Green Bay Packers –  Number 2 Wide Receiver

It is no question that Davante Adams is the clear number one wide receiver for the Packers. However, the Packers don’t have a clear starter on the opposite side of Adams especially after the departure of Randall Cobb this offseason. Geronimo Allison has the most experience out of the players competing for the 2nd receiver role, but he still is unproven at the NFL level. Allison struggled to make an impact last season because he missed a lot of games due to injury. However, if he can stay healthy then he’ll probably get the opportunity to prove himself as a starting receiver for the Packers. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown will certainly see plenty of action in 2019, but they are still really young receivers with a lot to prove. Valdes-Scantling seems like the biggest challenger to Allison in the passing game and it will be interesting to see if Valdes-Scantling can have an impressive preseason to solidify the starting role. That being said, Allison has been in Green Bay for several years and it seems like he’ll get the most opportunity to be the 2nd receiver for the Packers.

Predicted Winner: Geronimo Allison

Houston Texans – Left Tackle

The Houston Texans offensive line was an absolute disaster last season and there are still several positions up for grabs including at the left tackle position. Houston drafted offensive tackle Tytus Howard in the 1st round and they are hoping that he can become a consistent starter at left tackle at some point. However, Howard might not be ready for a starting role considering that he hasn’t faced much NFL competition since he played college football at Alabama State. The Texans also signed veteran left tackle Matt Kalil this offseason and he has the most experience of anyone competing for the left tackle role, but he still seems like a longshot to win the job. Julie’n Davenport was the starter for Houston at left tackle last season and he is likely to stay in that role at least to begin the season. If Howard can prove during the preseason that he is NFL-ready then he could be the week one starter, but Davenport is probably the best option at least in the short-term.

Predicted Winner: Julie’n Davenport

Indianapolis Colts – Number 2 Wide Receiver

T.Y. Hilton is locked in as the number one receiver for the Colts, but the Colts have a lot of uncertainty behind him. Chester Rogers is the only returning receiver that saw plenty of action last season for the Colts, but he likely won’t have nearly as big of a role this season. The Colts signed Devin Funchess to a big deal in free agency, but he has struggled with consistency during his time with Carolina. Meanwhile, rookie 2nd round pick Parris Campbell has terrific potential and he could win the 2nd receiver role if he has an impressive preseason. Rogers and Campbell could have a big role this season, but considering the big contract that Funchess received he’s likely to win the 2nd receiver role unless he doesn’t have a good preseason.

Predicted Winner: Devin Funchess

Jacksonville Jaguars – Wide Receiver

The Jaguars have several young players with some good potential at the wide receiver position, but they don’t really have a true number one receiver. Jacksonville is hoping that Marqise Lee can be the top target when he returns from injury. However, the Jaguars can’t rely on him because of his issues with consistency and injuries. The real competition for the number one receiver role will be between newly signed Chris Conley who is the most experienced receiver for the Jaguars. Also, they have Dede Westbrook who was the team’s best receiver last season and last year’s 2nd round pick DJ Chark who they hope can have a bigger role this season. Chark and Westbrook clearly have the most potential and the Jaguars are hoping that they can seize the opportunity to take over the top receiver role in the offense. That being said, Conley is a more reliable pass-catcher at this point in his career and his prior experience with quarterback Nick Foles will only further help his cause. The Jaguars are extremely weak at wide receiver, but Conley will likely be the top receiver for Jacksonville in week one.

Predicted Winner: Chris Conley

Kansas City Chiefs – Running Back

The Kansas City Chiefs probably won’t be able to fill the void that occurred when Kareem Hunt was released last season. However, Damien Williams showed during his limited time as the starting running back that he can do an adequate job in that role. Williams is the presumed starter heading into 2019, but he doesn’t have too much experience as a starting running back in the NFL. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde didn’t have a good 2018 season, but he still has proven that he can be a good starting running back going back to his days with the 49ers. Hyde has starting potential and if Williams falters then don’t be surprised if Hyde could become the feature back. That being said, Williams did a good job last season and he is considered the clear favorite to be the starting back for the Chiefs.

Predicted Winner: Damien Williams

Los Angeles Chargers – Cornerback

The Chargers already have a couple of good starting cornerbacks with Casey Hayward and Desmond King. However, the starting spot opposite of Hayward is still very much up for grabs. Trevor Williams was the starter to begin last season, but a knee injury ended his season early. However, Michael Davis replaced Williams at the cornerback position and he played relatively well. Davis will have a chance to take over the starting cornerback role completely if he can have a strong preseason. Williams is the more proven option and he’s the favorite right now, but Davis will certainly make the competition close if he plays well like he did last season.

Los Angeles Rams – Defensive Tackle

The Rams have a big void to fill at the defensive tackle position after they lost Ndamukong Suh in free agency. The Rams didn’t do much to try to address the position, but they’ll have a couple of young options to choose from. Tanzel Smart and Greg Gaines are both competing for the starting defensive tackle role, yet both are very inexperienced at the NFL level. Tanzel Smart has the most experience of the two, but even he has very limited experience in the NFL especially since he didn’t record a stat last season for the Rams. The Rams drafted Greg Gaines in the 4th round this offseason to try and address the position going forward. Gaines is a rookie which means he still has a lot to prove before the coaching staff names him the starter. However, the lack of competition for the vacant defensive tackle role gives Gaines a great opportunity to be the week 1 starter.

Predicted Winner: Greg Gaines

Miami Dolphins – Quarterback

The Dolphins have what is likely the best position battle in the NFL as they are trying to decide who their starting quarterback will be in week 1. Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed in free agency, but he’s viewed as nothing more than a temporary solution at the quarterback position. Meanwhile, the Dolphins added young quarterback Josh Rosen via trade this offseason, but the question remains whether he gives the Dolphins the best chance to win right now. It’ll be a very interesting quarterback competition in Miami and there is a good chance that both quarterbacks see a decent amount of playing time this season. Rosen clearly has more potential at this point in his career, but he is viewed as the better long-term option than Fitzpatrick. It appears that Fitzpatrick is the favorite to be the Dolphins quarterback in week 1 because of his experience in the NFL, but Rosen could easily win the job if he can impress during the preseason.

Predicted Winner: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Minnesota Vikings – 3rd Wide Receiver

The Vikings have Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs as their clear top two wide receivers. However, the Vikings have a huge dropoff in depth at the wide receiver position and there is a major question as to who will be the Vikings 3rd receiver. Laquon Treadwell has been in that role in recent years and he could be in that role again this season. However, Treadwell hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunity and there’s a strong chance that he might not even make the 53-man roster when the season begins. The Vikings have a variety of receivers that could fill the 3rd receiver role, but Treadwell, Jordan Taylor, and Chad Beebe seem to be the main competitors. Jordan Taylor is the veteran of the group and he was rather productive in Denver when he was given an opportunity for playing time. If Taylor plays well then he could take Treadwell’s spot on the roster. However, Chad Beebe appears to be the favorite because he is the prototypical slot receiver because of his size and shiftiness. Beebe didn’t have much of a role last season and he certainly doesn’t have much NFL experience. However, he already appears to have a good connection with Kirk Cousins and if Beebe can play well in the preseason then he’ll likely win the 3rd receiver job.

Predicted Winner: Chad Beebe

New England Patriots – Tight End

It’s not easy to replace an elite tight end like Rob Gronkowski who decided to retire from the NFL this offseason. However, the Patriots are left with a very weak and uninspiring group of tight ends heading into the season. Benjamin Watson clearly has the most experience as he is 38 years old, but clearly age has caught up to him and he isn’t the good starting tight end that he once was. Also, Watson is suspended for the first 4 games of the season which means somebody else will have to start at the position to begin 2019. Meanwhile, Matt LaCosse is probably the most intriguing tight end that the Patriots have on their roster. LaCosse saw plenty of playing time last season with Denver and the Patriots are hoping that he can at least be an average starter this season. Both Watson and LaCosse should get plenty of playing time this season, but LaCosse should be the starter because he has the most upside.

Predicted Winner: Matt LaCosse

New Orleans Saints – Center

The Saints suffered a major loss to their offensive line when starting center Max Unger retired this offseason. However, the Saints addressed the position by signing veteran center Nick Easton in free agency and drafting Erik McCoy in the 2nd round. Both players will get an opportunity to win the starting job during the preseason. However, Easton seems to be the favorite to win the job as he has 17 career starts in the NFL and he likely provides better short-term stability at center for the Saints. The Saints are hoping that McCoy can be the long-term starter at center, but it is Easton who is more ready to make an impact right away. Maybe if McCoy really does well in the preseason then the Saints could decide to start him right away, but Easton is getting paid plenty of money to be able to make an impact as the starter to begin the season.

Predicted Winner: Nick Easton

New York Giants – Cornerback

The Giants are set with Janoris Jenkins as their top starting cornerback, but the rest of the cornerbacks are really inexperienced. The really interesting competition will be for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Jenkins. Sam Beal is a talented young cornerback, but he’s never played an NFL snap as he missed all of his rookie season due to injury. Meanwhile, the Giants drafted DeAndre Baker in the 1st round this offseason, so it’s only a question of when he’ll get an opportunity to be a starting cornerback. Baker and Beal have both been impressive so far in practice, so it’ll be a tough call as to who starts week 1. That being said, Baker was more of a highly touted prospect and he probably has the edge to start right now since both players have yet to appear in an NFL game.

Predicted Winner: DeAndre Baker

New York Jets – Backup tight end

The New York Jets know that Chris Herndon is their top option at the tight end position, but the problem is that the Jets will be without him for the first 4 games of the season due to a suspension. The Jets need to decide who will be the backup tight end this season while also trying to find out which player will take his spot to begin the season. The Jets have several players that could become the backup tight end as Eric Tomlinson, Trevon Wesco, Daniel Brown, and newly signed free agent Ryan Griffin are all competing for the role. Griffin has the most experience of the tight ends on the Jets roster as he has seen plenty of playing time at tight end for Houston in recent seasons. Wesco probably has the most potential of the group, but he probably won’t make much of an impact during his rookie season. Meanwhile, the competition will probably come down to the trio of Brown, Griffin, and Tomlinson. Brown has impressed during practices this offseason and he even saw some first-team reps, so the coaching staff clearly likes him a lot. Tomlinson is an experienced tight end and he saw some playing time for the Jets over the past couple of seasons. However, Ryan Griffin is the player that really stands out among the players that the Jets have at tight end. It might take Griffin awhile to get acclimated to the offense since he just signed with the Jets this month. That being said, Griffin has plenty of experience as a starting tight end in the NFL during his time with the Texans. The Jets will have plenty of competition at the tight end position, but Griffin stands out because of his experience at the NFL level.

Predicted Winner: Ryan Griffin

Oakland Raiders – Tight End

The Oakland Raiders lost star tight end Jared Cook this offseason, but the problem is they didn’t find a starting caliber tight end to replace him. The Raiders signed Luke Willson in free agency and he figures to have a role as mainly a blocking tight end. Willson is also the most experienced tight end competing for the starting role. Also, the Raiders drafted LSU tight end Foster Moreau in the 4th round this offseason. Moreau has good potential, but he likely won’t make much of an impact this season unless he really impresses during the preseason. Finally, Darren Waller seems to have the edge on the starting tight end job. Waller is undoubtedly the best pass-catcher that the Raiders have at tight end as he is really fast and he was once a wide receiver. He hasn’t made much of an impact in his career as he only has 18 receptions in the NFL. However, Waller has tons of upside and he should win the job as long as he has a decent showing in the preseason.

Philadelphia Eagles – Cornerback

The Philadelphia Eagles have a conundrum at the cornerback position especially with starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills injured right now. The team did sign veteran Orlando Scandrick, but he’s likely nothing more as a temporary option for depth purposes. Meanwhile, the real competition will be between Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, and Cre’Von LeBlanc for the slot cornerback role. Sidney Jones came into the league with high expectations, but he hasn’t made much of an impact due to injuries. Maddox and LeBlanc will provide some stiff competition, but the Eagles likely want to find out if Jones is a long-term solution at cornerback.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Number 2 Wide Receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster is obviously the new number one option in the Steelers passing game after the offseason trade of star receiver Antonio Brown. However, the 2nd wide receiver job is up for grabs as free agent signing Donte Moncrief and young receiver James Washington are both competing for that role. Moncrief obviously has more experience, but he’s more of a possession receiver than Washington is. Also, Washington barely has any experience as he didn’t see much action during his rookie season for the Steelers. Washington is a speedy receiver, but he also might not be ready to take over a full-time role as a starting receiver. Moncrief is a veteran receiver that provides more stability at this point and he fits better as an outside receiver at this point, so it’s likely that he has the edge for the number 2 receiver role.

Predicted Winner: Donte Moncrief

San Francisco 49ers – Running Back

If anybody can make sense of who will be the feature running back for the 49ers this season then please let me know. The 49ers arguably have the deepest running back group in the NFL as Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon, and offseason free agent signing Tevin Coleman are all competing for carries. Breida took advantage of injuries last season and he played very well, but it still seems like that wasn’t enough to make him a starter in 2019. McKinnon was supposed to be the starter last season, but an injury sidelined him for the entire year. He will likely see his fair share of carries, but the 49ers might not want to make him a starter right away. Finally, Tevin Coleman was signed to a big contract this offseason and he’ll surely have a big role in 2019, but it remains to be seen whether he becomes the featured running back. The 49ers will likely use a committee approach with their running backs, but Coleman is likely the favorite since he was just signed to a big deal in March.

Seattle Seahawks – Running Back

Chris Carson had a terrific 2018 season and he held onto the starting running back job despite having 1st round pick Rashaad Penny competing for his job. Penny seems poised to have a bigger role this season, but the question remains whether he’ll be able to overtake Carson as the starter. Carson is still the favorite to win the job at this point, but if his play falters during the preseason then don’t be surprised if Penny takes over the lead back role.

Predicted Winner: Chris Carson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Running Back

The Buccaneers have arguably the worst running game in the NFL as Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones are once again competing for the starting role. Barber was the starter last season and he showed signs of great potential, but he just wasn’t very consistent. Meanwhile, Jones had an awful rookie season, yet the Buccaneers have publicly praised how much he has improved this offseason and he seems poised to have a bigger role this season. Jones certainly has the higher potential and if he looks as good as the coaching staff says then he is likely going to be the featured running back this season.

Predicted Winner: Ronald Jones

Tennessee Titans – Number 3 Wide Receiver

Corey Davis is still the presumed top wide receiver for the Titans heading into 2019 and offseason free agent signing Adam Humphries will be the slot receiver. The Titans have plenty of depth overall at the position, but nobody has really established themselves as the number 3 option at wide receiver. The Titans have three really good options for the third receiver job as A.J. Brown, Taywan Taylor, and Tajae Sharpe are all competing for the role. Sharpe and Taylor are still young receivers, but they have plenty of experience in the Titans offense. Meanwhile, Brown obviously has the least experience as he was a 2nd round pick this offseason. Brown will likely get a shot to be a starter on the outside opposite of Corey Davis. However, it remains to be seen whether Brown is ready to make an immediate impact this season. That being said, Tajae Sharpe is probably the favorite right now because he has experience as a starter for the Titans and he has experienced some success in that role. Brown could start right away if he has an impressive preseason, but Sharpe is probably most ready to be the week 1 starter.

Predicted Winner: Tajae Sharpe

Washington Redskins – Running Back

The Washington Redskins are really deep at running back heading into 2019 especially with Derrius Guice returning from injury. Washington also has future hall-of-famer Adrian Peterson who was the starter for the Redskins last season. Peterson isn’t the dynamic player that he once was, although he is still capable of competing with Guice for the starting running back job. Meanwhile, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine could also compete for some carries as well. Guice figures to be the starter if he can stay healthy, but Peterson is the more proven option. If Guice can prove that he is fully recovered from his knee injury then there’s no reason to believe that he isn’t the favorite to be the main running back for the Redskins.

Predicted Winner: Derrius Guice

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NFL power rankings entering training camp

32. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins head into 2019 expecting a year of transition and uncertainty at key positions. The Dolphins especially have some uncertainty at the quarterback position as offseason additions Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick will battle it out for the starting job. However, the Dolphins don’t have many impact players on either side of the ball. Kenny Stills and Kenyan Drake are the biggest threats for the Dolphins on offense, but they can be inconsistent at times. Meanwhile, on defense the Dolphins have a terrific young core with Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. However, the Dolphins still have many holes to fill on defense before it can be a good unit overall. The Dolphins have some pieces to work with for the future, but the team doesn’t appear to have the intention of competing in 2019.

31. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has a new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and a talented young quarterback with rookie 1st overall pick Kyler Murray. However, a talented quarterback and a terrific offensive mind like Kingsbury won’t necessarily lead to many wins in 2019. The Cardinals did a good job of trying to surround Murray with some young talent on offense, but we’ll see if their young receivers can make an impact right away. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have star running back David Johnson, but he wasn’t very good last season by his standards. The Cardinals offense should be improved in 2019, but don’t expect major improvement from last season. The Cardinals defense still has plenty of talent with players like Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, and newly signed pass rusher Terrell Suggs. However, Peterson is suspended the first 6 games of the season and that will likely impact the defense in a very negative way. Overall, the Cardinals defense doesn’t inspire much room for optimism and the offense could struggle to acclimate to a new quarterback and offensive system, so it could be a very tough season in Arizona.

30. New York Giants

The New York Giants made some major moves this offseason to rebuild their team, but the direction of the team is still confusing. They no longer have key playmakers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Landon Collins as they all departed this offseason. The Giants still have elite running back Saquon Barkley on offense, but the problem is the Giants don’t have another reliable threat on offense. Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and newly signed receiver Golden Tate are the top options in the passing game. Also, Eli Manning is a subpar starting quarterback that can’t be relied upon and 1st round rookie Daniel Jones likely isn’t ready to make an impact right away. Rookie 1st round cornerback Deandre Baker and defensive tackle Christian Lawrence will make the Giants defense better. However, the Giants still have many holes on defense and it’s hard to expect them to carry the team this season. Overall, the Giants are in transition with their entire roster and it’s hard to see them competing for a playoff spot this season.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Maybe the Bengals surprise us all and somehow make the playoffs this season, but that is very unlikely with the uncertainty that the franchise has right now. New head coach Zac Taylor is still very inexperienced as a coach and he’s only been an offensive coordinator once prior to this season. The Bengals did draft Jonah Williams in the 1st round to improve their offensive line, but now he is expected to miss his entire rookie season. I do like the pieces that they have on offense with running back Joe Mixon to go along with the good duo of A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd at receiver. The offense might surprise some people especially if quarterback Andy Dalton has a good season. However, it’s difficult to overlook the weaknesses that they have on defense. The Bengals have some good veteran players with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on their defensive line, but they lack a good pass rush overall. The strength of the defense is clearly in the secondary and the team is hoping that they can carry the unit overall. The Bengals could be a sleeper team this season, but they play in a tough division and it could take awhile for new head coach Zac Taylor to adjust to his role.

28. Buffalo Bills

I really like what the Bills did in the draft by selecting Ed Oliver in the 1st round to make their defensive line even better than it already was. Also, 2nd round pick Cody Ford will hopefully provide some stability to what was a terrible offensive line last season. I don’t really have any concerns about the Bills defense especially with the additions they made this offseason. However, the offense is still a major concern because I don’t think they really did enough to improve. Sure, they added John Brown and Cole Beasley which should help to improve the passing game. That being said, Brown and Beasley shouldn’t be the top receivers on any NFL roster and it isn’t a significant upgrade over what the team had last season. Meanwhile, the running back position isn’t very good as LeSean McCoy isn’t the dynamic player that he once was and he probably shouldn’t even be a starter at this point in his career. Quarterback Josh Allen clearly has some potential, but he needs to fix the accuracy issues that he had last season. Overall, the Bills defense needs to carry the team because the offense likely won’t be much better than it was last season.

27. Washington Redskins

Washington’s defense should be fine this season especially with the big-time acquisition of safety Landon Collins this offseason. However, there’s not a lot to like about the Redskins offense heading into 2019. Sure, Dwayne Haskins was a really good pick in the 1st round and he has plenty of potential. That being said, Haskins is just a rookie and it’s difficult to expect him to come in and make much of an impact right away. Also, Haskins doesn’t have much talent around him. Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson are the team’s top receivers, but they haven’t inspired much optimism that they can be reliable options. The Redskins backfield is really deep and talented, but they’ll need to decide who will get the most carries between players like Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love. Overall, Haskins could exceed everyone’s expectations as the starting quarterback, but it won’t help that he doesn’t have much talent around him on offense. The Redskins have the defense to succeed, but the offense is what will really hold them back in 2019.

26. Detroit Lions

The Lions are just a mediocre team heading into 2019. They aren’t really a playoff contender, but at the same time they likely won’t be a terrible team either. I do like what they have on offense as they have a few good pass-catchers with Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, and rookie 1st round tight end TJ Hockenson. Hopefully Matthew Stafford can take advantage of his good pass-catchers and be better than last season. Keryon Johnson gives the running game some hope if he can stay healthy. Overall, the Lions offense should be able to score some points, but it is the defense that remains a concern. Sure, the Lions gave defensive end Trey Flowers a massive contract in free agency, but he still hasn’t had more than 7.5 sacks in a season. Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle are both really good players, but it is a question of how productive they’ll be as they are unhappy with their current contracts. The Lions overall will struggle defensively this season and that is what will really hold them back.

25. Oakland Raiders

Oakland was a terrible team last season and they got considerably better this offseason with big additions like Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, and Tyrell Williams in free agency. Also, they added three 1st round picks in the draft with Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Johnathan Abram. The Raiders no doubt have much more talent than they had last season and the only real big loss that they had this offseason was tight end Jared Cook. The Raiders will certainly be more competitive in 2019, but I’m not sold on them being a playoff contender just yet. They still have major needs at every position group on defense and the offseason additions of Ferrell, Abram, and Joyner won’t completely solve their defensive woes. The Raiders passing offense could be really good with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams as their top two receivers. Also, the running game could be decent as well if Josh Jacobs is able to make an instant impact as a rookie. The Raiders shouldn’t have a problem scoring points in 2019, but the defense remains a big concern even with the additions they made this offseason.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are a team with a high ceiling and a low floor for the 2019 season, but I believe they’ll likely be somewhere in between. Jacksonville’s defense is as talented as any NFL defense especially after they drafted talented pass rusher Josh Allen in the 1st round of the draft. Jacksonville’s defense could be very good if all of their talent can mesh better than they did last season. However, the offense remains a major concern heading into 2019. The offense will rely on star running back Leonard Fournette once again, but even he is unreliable due to his injury history and character concerns at times. The Jaguars did sign new starting quarterback Nick Foles to a huge contract in free agency, but he’s been a backup for most of his career and I’m not sure that he’ll be a significant upgrade for the team at the position. Also, Foles likely won’t get much help from his receivers as players like Marquise Lee, DJ Chark, and Dede Westbrook form what is likely the worst wide receiver group in the NFL. Jacksonville has major issues overall and offense while their franchise is still dysfunctional, so it could be another rough season for the Jaguars.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a mystery team heading into 2019 as they are in transition under new head coach Bruce Arians. Tampa Bay still has an elite passing game despite losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries this offseason. However, the running game and offensive line didn’t see any improvements made this offseason, so those units will likely be bad once again. Quarterback Jameis Winston is the biggest question mark for the Buccaneers heading into 2019 as they hope that Arians will help him limit his turnovers. If Winston plays well and doesn’t throw interceptions then the sky is the limit for Tampa Bay’s offense. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s defense remains a major concern despite the moves that they made this offseason. The pass rush is a really big concern with star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul expected to miss a big chunk of the season. They’ll need players like Shaquil Barrett and Carl Nassib to really step up while Pierre-Paul is out. Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea should form a really good defensive tackle duo while also being terrific run stoppers. The linebacker position is solid especially with the selection of Devin White in the 1st round of the draft. The real mystery remains in the secondary. They added Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards all early on in the draft. The Buccaneers are hoping that those trio of rookies can make an impact right away or else their secondary won’t be much better than last season. Overall, Tampa Bay didn’t get much better on either side of the ball and it’s hard to expect Bruce Arians to turn the ship around right away.

22. Denver Broncos

Denver still is really solid on defense especially with their pass rush with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, and Derek Wolfe leading the way. Also, the secondary figures to be good once again with Chris Harris returning as their shutdown cornerback. I don’t really have many concerns about the defense, but the offense continues to be a concern. New starting quarterback Joe Flacco is probably an upgrade over Case Keenum, but Flacco is still just an average quarterback. Also, Flacco might struggle to find reliable receivers in the passing game. Emmanuel Sanders is the team’s top receiver, but he is recovering from an achilles injury and he might not be as effective. Young receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton really need to step up if the passing game is going to improve. The Broncos offense will likely rely on the dynamic running back duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, so they should take a lot of pressure off the passing game. If Denver’s offense can improve quite a bit in 2019 then it’s not difficult to envision them being a playoff contender.

21. New York Jets

The Jets are an improved team and they have some really good potential if young quarterback Sam Darnold continues to get better. The addition of star running back Le’Veon Bell will take a lot of pressure off Darnold and it could really improve their offense in a big way. New York’s defense also has the chance to be good especially with the addition of Quinnen Williams to form a good duo with Leonard Williams on the defensive line. Jamal Adams and Trumaine Johnson also help make the secondary pretty good heading into 2019. Overall, New York is a decent all-around team if they can put the pieces together, but they don’t really specialize in one area. Maybe the Jets become a playoff contender in 2019, but it is unlikely that they’ll be a major threat to the Patriots in the AFC East.

20. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco was a really bad team last season, but that was just a matter of bad luck than anything else and they should be much better in 2019. If quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns to form after his injury then the 49ers could have a good offense and legitimately be a playoff contender. Garoppolo also has a reliable target with tight end George Kittle, but the wide receiver group really needs to improve in 2019. The 49ers running back group is really deep this season as Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, and Matt Breida all figure to split the carries somehow. San Francisco’s offense clearly has major uncertainty, but the defense should be very good. The team added Nick Bosa and Dee Ford this offseason to form a terrific pass rushing duo, but the 49ers have a really deep defensive line overall. San Francisco’s linebacker and secondary position groups, but having Kwon Alexander and Richard Sherman leading the way should help a little bit. Overall, the 49ers have the pieces in place to possibly be a playoff contender, but they need to deal with the uncertainty surrounding how their offense will mesh with Garoppolo back from injury.

19. Tennessee Titans

I’ve seen many power rankings that had the Titans ranked lower than this, but I still believe that they have enough talent on their roster to be a playoff contender. I like what the Titans have on offense particularly with their offense and the combination of Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis at running back. The Titans also have some underrated receivers with Corey Davis, Delanie Walker, and new receiver Adam Humphries leading the way. The main question will be whether quarterback Marcus Mariota can finally reach his potential and prove himself as the franchise. Tennessee’s offense need him playing well in order to be successful and the team likely won’t be a playoff contender if he doesn’t have a productive season. Meanwhile, the Titans have a very underrated especially with their very good secondary as they have Kevin Byard, Adoree’ Jackson, and Logan Ryan leading the way. The big concerns remains in the front 7 and it could be a real struggle for the Titans to generate a consistent pass rush. Overall, the Titans have an underrated roster, but they still need many things to go right if they want to be a playoff team.

18. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore was a playoff team last season and it’s possible they could be a playoff contender once again. However, the Ravens have major question marks on both sides of the ball. What we do know is that the Ravens running game should be elite with dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson and new running back Mark Ingram leading the way. However, the passing game could be very bad once again in 2019. Lamar Jackson didn’t inspire much optimism last season that he can be an accurate passer at the NFL level, but hopefully that’s something that he’s gotten better at in the offseason. The lack of the Ravens success wasn’t all his fault though as he didn’t have a reliable target to throw to. The addition of 1st round pick Marquise Brown should help out a lot, but the rest of the wide receiver group isn’t good at all. Meanwhile, the Ravens defense was terrific last season, but they lost several key players this offseason especially in the front 7. The Ravens did sign safety Earl Thomas to a huge deal and that’ll help their secondary, but the lack of a pass rush could really hurt the Ravens. Overall, the Ravens have good potential this season, but Lamar Jackson needs to be a much better passer and the pass rush needs to hopefully at least be average.

17. Carolina Panthers

Carolina has consistently been a contender in recent years, but they completely fell apart at the end of last season. The Panthers are hoping that star quarterback Cam Newton is healthier and that his arm strength returns because that’ll be really key to the success of the offense. Carolina should have an elite running game with Christian McCaffrey and there is a chance that McCaffrey could lead the team in receptions too. The Panthers will need more out of the passing game though and if they can get that then Carolina has a legitimate shot at being a playoff team. The Panthers have a terrific defensive line that got even better this offseason with the additions of Gerald McCoy and Brian Burns. The Panthers also have a good linebacker group led by star inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. Carolina’s secondary remains a big concern except for underrated cornerback James Bradberry. The Panthers defense figures to be good this season, but the Panthers’ playoff hopes rests on quarterback Cam Newton and the wide receiver group.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are in the midst of a major transition after losing key position players Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. However, the good news is that Pittsburgh has JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner to fill the voids at running back and wide receiver. However, the Steelers will need receivers Donte Moncrief and James Washington to make the Steelers passing game better. Either way, the Steelers should be able to score plenty of points even without Bell and Brown. Meanwhile, the defense still has some big question marks. The front 7 appears to be in good shape with rookie linebacker Devin Bush joining a group that includes TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Cameron Heyward. However, the secondary remains and issue despite the addition of cornerback Steven Nelson in free agency. The Steelers defense should be decent in 2019 and if the Steelers offense can put the pieces together then the team could be in the playoffs again in the near future.

15. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are still a playoff contender because they kept their core together on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper, and star running back Ezekiel Elliott forms arguably the best offensive trio in the NFL. Also, the Cowboys offensive line is really good and should help their key players to flourish. The offense does have some holes to patch, but they should be able to score plenty of points if their top players perform well. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have a really good group of core players in their front 7 with Demarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch leading the way. The Cowboys do have some needs in their secondary and they need to have another pass rusher besides Lawrence step up. The Cowboys still have several needs on their roster, but they have enough starpower that could be enough for them to be a playoff team.

14. Houston Texans

There’s tons of dysfunction going on within the Texans going on right now starting with their lack of a general manager right now and having what many would consider a bad offseason. Houston really didn’t do anything to get better, but they still have a good group of core players to keep them a contender. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and the duo of DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller provide him with some good weapons in the passing game. The Texans running game is somewhat of a question mark, but the duo of Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman should be able to get the job done. The Texans offensive line still appears to be a major concern and it could hold the Texans offense back. Meanwhile, the Texans still have a terrific defense heading into 2019 with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney forming what could be the best pass rushing duo in the NFL. The Texans secondary remains solid as well, although it was weakened after the departure of safety Tyrann Mathieu this offseason. Houston still has some uncertainty on both sides of the ball, but they have enough talent to possibly be a playoff team this season.

13. Seattle Seahawks

Pretty much everyone thought Seattle was in rebuild mode last season and they wouldn’t be a playoff team, but once again they proved that they are still a contender. Seattle still has Russell Wilson as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, there is a concern that he doesn’t have many targets to throw to in the passing game with the retirement of Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks will need Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf to really step up and take on the top receiver roles. However, Seattle has been built around the running game for the past decade and it will surely be the case this season with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny forming a really good running back duo. Meanwhile, the defense is still going through a major transition especially with star pass rusher Frank Clark traded away this offseason. The Seahawks are hoping that the new additions of Ziggy Ansah and 1st round defensive end L.J. Collier can provide an immediate spark to the pass rush. The Seahawks still have proven linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, but the rest of the defense needs to step up in order for the unit to be successful as a whole. Overall, Seattle might be overlooked once again in 2019, but it is a team that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

12. Chicago Bears

Chicago had a terrific season last year and succeeded just about everyone’s expectations, so they’re expected to be serious contenders again this season. However, they play in a really tough division with the Packers and Vikings. We know how good the Bears defense can be especially with the dynamic pass rush of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. The Bears also have a terrific secondary with players like Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson leading the way. There are absolutely no concerns about the Bears defense heading into 2019 and it is arguably the best defense in the NFL. However, the offense is the big concern for the Bears heading into 2019. Chicago needs quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to be more consistent this season and they need their top targets like Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton to be much better this season as well. Also, the Bears will look a lot different at running back with the departure of Jordan Howard. However, they’re hoping that Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, and Mike Davis can get the job done at running back. Overall, the Bears defense is elite and they can make the Bears a playoff team on their own, but they need the offense to put the pieces together in order to become a true contender.

11. Green Bay Packers

Last year was a tough season for the Packers, but if there is any team that can bounce back to become a playoff team again then it is the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is still a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and he’s capable of carrying Green Bay’s offense by himself. He does have an elite receiver with Davante Adams, but receivers like Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham need to step up for the Packers passing offense to be really successful. Meanwhile, the Packers seem to have a good duo at running game with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The Packers offense should be completely fine especially with Aaron Rodgers carrying the load as usual. It was the defense that really held the Packers back last season, but it should be much improved with the additions they made this offseason. Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and rookie 1st round pick Rashan Gary should improve a pass rush that struggled last season. Also, the secondary likely got better with the additions of Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage at safety. The Packers are clearly revolving around Aaron Rodgers, but his supporting cast should be better this season and that is why they will likely compete for the NFC North title in 2019.

10. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is a good team that unfortunately had some really bad luck with injuries especially on defense. Having players like Deion Jones, Ricardo Allen, and Keanu Neal will make a big difference for the Falcons defense. Also, the Falcons have a good defensive line that hopefully will perform better than last season as they have Grady Jarrett, Takkarist McKinley, and Vic Beasley as their top players on the defensive line. If the Falcons can get good play out of their defense then the Falcons should not only be a playoff team, but they could potentially be super bowl contenders. The Falcons are still built around an elite offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and a terrific group of receivers that includes Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley. Also, the running game could be good if Devonta Freeman can stay healthy and be as productive as he was a few years ago. The Falcons offense should be really good this season if all goes well and if they can get good play out of their defense then they have a real chance of being a playoff team.

9. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland finally appears to be a possible super bowl contender and it looks like they have a really good chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Browns are probably the most hyped team in football, but they are still a team undergoing a transition especially with Freddie Kitchens named as the new head coach. Their offense could be really difficult to stop especially since they added star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason to form arguably the best receiver duo in the NFL along with Jarvis Landry. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is the key to Cleveland’s offensive success this season and he showed signs last year that he can be the franchise quarterback the team hasn’t had for a very long time. Meanwhile, the duo of Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson at running back will be really tough to handle. Also, if Kareem Hunt returns later in the season then it will just add even more talent to Cleveland’s offense. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s defense is quietly getting better as well. Sure, they lost safety Jabrill Peppers this offseason, but Morgan Burnett should help fill the void a little bit. Drafting Greedy Williams should create a really good young cornerback duo to go along with Denzel Ward. Also, the addition of pass rusher Olivier Vernon could be really good especially with star defensive end Myles Garrett on the other side. Overall, Cleveland has improved on both sides of the ball and they have enough talent to be a serious super bowl contender this season.

8. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis proved that they are a team on the rise as they built what is arguably the best offensive line in football. Also, if quarterback Andrew Luck can stay healthy then he can basically carry the offense by himself. However, he does have some good weapons around him including T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and rookie 2nd round pick Parris Campbell. The Colts running game could also be good if starter Marlon Mack can stay healthy during the season. Indianapolis has an offense that is ready to compete, but the defense is much better than it was just a couple of years ago. Darius Leonard has already proven himself as a pro-bowl caliber linebacker and the addition of Justin Houston will only improve the Colts front 7 even more. The rest of the Colts defense could use some work, but Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin provide some cornerbacks that they can build around. The Colts strength is their offense, but their defense is beginning to come around as well. This team is definitely playoff-caliber, but they still have some work to do before they become a true super bowl contender.

7. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota really disappointed last season when it appeared that they would be super bowl contenders. However, the Vikings still have a good all-around team heading into 2019. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs form arguably the best receiving duo in the NFL, so quarterback Kirk Cousins really has no excuse to not play well this season. The Vikings are hoping that running back Dalvin Cook can stay healthy this season and if he can then that would be a big boost for the Vikings offense. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s defense has plenty of talent and it might actually be stronger than the offense. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen are a good pass rushing duo that will hopefully be better than last season. The Vikings also have a couple of really good linebackers with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Minnesota also might have the best secondary in the NFL with players like Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes. It is pretty evident that the Vikings are one of the best all-around teams in the NFL, but the Vikings must find a way to put that talent together better than they did last season.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles might not be a hyped team anymore, but they have proven themselves as a super bowl contender over the past couple of seasons. They have a good quarterback with Carson Wentz, but they’ll need him to stay healthy because they don’t have the luxury of Nick Foles as backup. The Eagles are very talented especially at the skill positions. Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Zach Ertz figure to be the top targets for the Eagles offense this season. The Eagles are also really deep at running back, but it’ll be interesting to see if Jordan Howard or Miles Sanders will get most of the carries. Philadelphia is still deep with their defensive line even with the departure of Michael Bennett. Also, the Eagles still have a good secondary that could be even better if they can get more from players like Sidney Jones. Overall, the Eagles have a really good roster on both sides of the ball and they should be a playoff team if all goes well.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City was a super bowl contender last season and it’s likely they’ll be the same again in 2019. Patrick Mahomes is a special talent at the quarterback and if he plays like he did last season then he can carry the offense by himself. However, there is some major uncertainty surrounding him on offense. The Chiefs might struggle to replace Kareem Hunt, but Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde should fill the void adequately at running back. The Chiefs also have major uncertainty with star receiver Tyreek Hill as he’s expected to be suspended for a portion of the 2019 season. The problem is the Chiefs don’t have much depth at receiver behind him as Sammy Watkins and rookie receiver Mecole Hardman are next on the depth chart. Tight End Travis Kelce should be the top target in the passing game especially if Hill is suspended. The Chiefs have major uncertainty on offense, but they should be just fine with Mahomes carrying the offense. The Chiefs front 7 should still be very good with newly added pass rusher Frank Clark and star defensive tackle Chris Jones. The Chiefs also made their secondary better by signing safety Tyrann Mathieu to a big contract. However, secondary is still a big weakness and the defense could hold the team back once again. The pressure will be on Mahomes and the offense to carry the team once again and if they can’t then this team could only be a borderline playoff team instead of a super bowl contender.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers might not be the best team in the NFL, but it appears that they have the most talented roster. They still have the ageless quarterback Philip Rivers to go along with several good pass-catchers including Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry. However, the Chargers offense is built around the running game with star running back Melvin Gordon and good 3rd-down back Austin Ekeler. The offense should be good, but the Chargers defense could be even better. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram form a very good pass rushing duo. Also, the addition of 1st round pick Jerry Tillery should improve the Chargers at the defensive tackle position. Meanwhile, the Chargers got better at the linebacker position by adding veteran Thomas Davis. The secondary though appears to be the biggest strength with star players Cameron Heyward and Derwin James leading that unit. The Chargers will likely be the favorites to win the AFC West because of their talented overall roster and they have enough to challenge the Patriots in the AFC.

3. Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff might not be the best quarterback in the NFL, but he performed well last season because of the tremendous talent around him. Todd Gurley takes a lot of the pressure off Goff, but there is some concern about how healthy Gurley’s knee is and how productive he’ll be in 2019. The Rams also have a terrific trio of wide receivers that help make the Rams passing offense elite as Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp are all returning for 2019. The Rams offense has proven that it can score tons of points and it is basically the exact same group as last season. Meanwhile, the Rams defense is still very talented as well. Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald has an argument as the best player in the entire NFL and he has a couple of good players around him with Dante Fowler and Michael Brockers. The Rams linebacker group is the weakness of the entire team, but the tremendous Rams secondary led by Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Eric Weddle helps make up for the weakness at linebacker. The Rams have a stacked roster overall and they are clear super bowl contenders heading into 2019.

2. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans probably should have been in the super bowl last season, but they are probably the favorites to reach that point in 2019. Drew Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, he doesn’t have to do as much anymore as he has a terrific running back duo to help him out with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The Saints also have a couple of good pass-catchers with Michael Thomas and Jared Cook. The only real concern is that the Saints don’t really have a reliable pass-catcher besides Thomas and Cook, but Brees is good at spreading the ball around so it shouldn’t have much of an impact. Meanwhile, the Saints defense is still really good especially with the talented pass rush duo of Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple lead what is a somewhat strong secondary as well. The Saints already have the offense to make the team a playoff contender, but if the defense is good then there is no doubt that New Orleans is a super bowl contender.

  1. New England Patriots

New England might not be the most talented team in the NFL, but they have maybe the best quarterback and best coach of all time so that’s all that matters. Many thought Tom Brady would thought that Tom Brady would get worse as he is over 40 years old now, but he continues to play at a high level. Also, he has some good talent around him especially at running back with Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead. The Patriots did lose star tight end Rob Gronkowski and that will likely have a big impact on the offense. However, Brady will likely figure out how to utilize the pass-catchers that he has and he’ll likely have Julian Edelman and rookie 1st round pick N’Keal Harry as his top targets. The Patriots offense might seem vulnerable, but they’ll be just fine as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense is decent, but they still have some weaknesses that could show this season. The Patriots lost pass rusher Trey Flowers in the offseason, but the additions of Michael Bennett and Chase Winovich could help fill the void. The Patriots secondary also should be strong this season especially with Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty coming back. This might be the year that the Patriots dynasty finally collapses, but I can’t doubt them because when I do then they just win the super bowl like they did last season.

2019 NFC East Standings Predictions

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles quietly had a very good offseason. Sure, they lost Michael Bennett, Nick Foles, Golden Tate, and Jordan Hicks. However, the Eagles also added some really good talent in free agency when they acquired Malik Jackson and DeSean Jackson. They also added some really good young players in the draft that can help for many years to come. Andre Dillard will likely replace Jason Peters at left tackle possibly after this season. Wide Receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside adds even more depth to the Eagles already crowded wide receiver group. Also, running back Miles Sanders will likely see a big role right away considering the Eagles uncertainty at the position. The Eagles are stacked on offense overall and if quarterback Carson Wentz can stay healthy then the team could be a super bowl contender once again. The Eagles also are stacked at pretty much every position on defense which makes the team even more complete. Overall, it is difficult to find a weakness on the Eagles roster and if they live up to their potential then they will be the favorites to win the NFC East.

2. Dallas Cowboys

If there is a team that can challenge the Eagles for the division then it is likely the Dallas Cowboys. The good news is that the Cowboys barely lost any players this offseason except for reliable slot receiver Cole Beasley that they replaced with Randall Cobb. Dallas also didn’t add much in the draft since they didn’t have a 1st round pick. The Cowboys are still a playoff caliber team if all goes well, but they didn’t really do much to get better this offseason. The Cowboys still have a terrific core of talented players on offense with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper leading the way. Dallas shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring points, but they do have some holes remaining on defense. They have a few talented players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, and Leighton Vander Esch. However, they still have needs at safety and some more impact players on the defensive line as well. Dallas has a good roster overall and they will likely challenge the Eagles for the division in 2019, but the Cowboys likely don’t have enough depth to be a better team than the Eagles.

3. Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins had a good offseason overall and they certainly had a terrific draft by landing quarterback Dwayne Haskins and elite defensive end prospect Montez Sweat in the 1st round. The Redskins also added elite safety Landon Collins in free agency which should improve their defense even more. They did lose impact outside linebacker Preston Smith in free agency, but that was the only key loss this offseason. Overall, the Redskins have really good potential in 2019, but they also have some major questions especially at the quarterback position. The Redskins will be without Alex Smith this season, so the team is hoping that Haskins can step in as a rookie and make a big impact right away. If the Redskins can get solid play out of Haskins then Washington could be a playoff team. They have Derrius Guice back from injury to give a boost to the running game, but the passing game is the main concern for the Redskins. Washington really doesn’t have an impact player at wide receiver and they of course still don’t know who will be their starting quarterback in week 1. The Redskins have plenty of talent on defense with Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, and Ryan Kerrigan leading the way in the front 7. However, they also have Landon Collins and Josh Norman to be the impact players in the secondary. The defense shouldn’t be much of an issue, but the offensive uncertainty is what could hurt the team’s playoff hopes in 2019. Washington has tremendous potential if all goes well, but they also could be a major disappointment especially if they don’t get good play out of the quarterback position.

4. New York Giants

The New York Giants are widely considered the worst team in the NFC East especially after the strange offseason that they had. They lost pro-bowl caliber players by letting go of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Landon Collins this offseason. They did add some good talent in the draft by selecting defensive tackle Christian Lawrence in the 1st round and cornerback DeAndre Baker in the 2nd round. However, the Giants are a team in a major rebuild mode. Sure, the Giants did add Golden Tate, Jabrill Peppers, and Kevin Zeitler, but that won’t be enough to make the Giants even close to being playoff contenders. The Giants do have some good pieces to build around on offense with Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram. However, the Giants still have aging quarterback Eli Manning, a bad offensive line overall, and a defense that has concerns at most of the spots. The Giants do have some players that they can build around for the future, but they are at the beginning stages of what could be a painful rebuilding process.

Teams that are in need of a rebuild

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are actually in the beginning stages of what could be a long rebuild and there is lots of more work to do. The good news is that they just drafted Josh Rosen this year to be their quarterback of the future. He has struggled as a starter in his rookie season, but that is mostly due to the lack of talent around him. The Cardinals need to focus on building around Rosen on offense. Sure, they have star running back David Johnson who will likely be with the team for several years. However, the Cardinals need to find a replacement for the aging Larry Fitzgerald and they need to add to their offensive line as well. Arizona has some good pieces on defense led by Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones, but they need to add some more talent around those guys. The pieces are in place for Arizona to compete in a couple of years, but they need to focus on drafting well and helping out their young quarterback.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s rebuilding hasn’t officially begun, but it is definitely coming very soon. General Manager Ozzie Newsome is already scheduled to retire after this season and head coach John Harbaugh could be on his way out as well if he doesn’t turn things around in 2018. Meanwhile, the team has already drafted Joe Flacco’s replacement at quarterback with Lamar Jackson and it is only a matter of time before Jackson takes over as the starter. The Ravens have talent on defense, but this could be the final year for Terrell Suggs in Baltimore and C.J. Mosley could depart in free agency as well. Baltimore has the talent to make a playoff run this season, but if they don’t make the playoffs then big changes could be made within the Ravens organization.

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo might be the least talented team in the entire NFL and they are just beginning what could be a somewhat lengthy rebuild. The good news is that they drafted their quarterback of the future with Josh Allen this year, but nobody really knows if he will live up to the hype. Allen has struggled in his rookie season, but a lot of that can be attributed to the lack of talent around him. Running back LeSean McCoy is about the only weapon that the Bills have on offense and this could be his final season in Buffalo. The Bills offensive line needs some more help and the Bills wide receiver group needs to be rebuilt completely. Meanwhile, on defense, the Bills have some good young talent, but they need to find a way to replace Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander who will likely leave in free agency. Buffalo has a good foundation with Josh Allen, but they really need some more talent around him in order to be successful.

Dallas Cowboys

The addition of Amari Cooper keeps the Cowboys as a competitive team in 2018 and it is a team that has tons of talent especially on offense. However, they need to figure out if Dak Prescott is truly the quarterback of the future and they also need to figure out how to fix their offensive line. Meanwhile, on defense, DeMarcus Lawrence is the clear leader, but he might leave in free agency after the season. Dallas needs to find a way to add some more young talent to their defense and probably replace the aging linebacker Sean Lee as well. The Cowboys could still be a playoff contender, although big changes could be coming if that doesn’t happen.

Denver Broncos

Denver has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. They thought that by bringing in quarterback Case Keenum they would be a playoff contender. However, Keenum has struggled with consistency this season and now the Broncos have to decide if they will keep him as their starter for next season. The Broncos have some really good young talent at the skill positions with Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, and Phillip Lindsay. However, they need to add a couple of more pieces to their offensive line to help out their quarterback and let their skill players be more successful. Meanwhile, on defense the Broncos have tremendous talent especially in the Front 7 with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and Shane Ray leading the way. The secondary also has some talent especially at cornerback with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. Denver has had a really frustrating year and it could lead to big changes as head coach Vance Joseph is likely to get fired. Also, the Broncos will need to look into finding a new quarterback and possibly replacing key free agents like Matt Paradis, Shane Ray, and Bradley Roby. Overall, the Broncos are a team that has great talent on both sides of the ball, but they mainly just need to make big changes by find a new head coach and quarterback.

Detroit Lions

Detroit’s passing game is very good despite trading away Golden Tate this season and they finally found a good running back with Kerryon Johnson. The offense isn’t concerning, but the defense is what really needs to be rebuilt. They have some talented players to build around with Darius Slay, Jarrad Davis, and Ezekiel Ansah. However, the rest of the defense needs some serious help and the defense could get even worse next season if Ansah departs in free agency. The Lions have the offense to compete right now, but the team won’t be competitive until they improve their defense.

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis has their franchise quarterback with Andrew Luck, but they are a team that has struggled to build a competent team around him. The Colts could use some help at wide receiver, but besides that their offense is pretty good. However, the defense is what needs some serious help. They have some good young players on defense with guys like Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard. However, they still need to improve their secondary and pass rush if they want to become a good defense. The Colts are near the end of their rebuilding process and if they add some key players to their defense then they could be really competitive next season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville has easily been the most disappointing NFL team after coming very close to reaching the Super Bowl last season. Quarterback Blake Bortles is the main source of the problems for the Jaguars as he turns the ball over too often and he’ll likely need to be replaced prior to the 2019 season. However, the problems on offense aren’t entirely his fault as he just doesn’t have a good wide receiver group even if Marqise Lee comes back healthy next season. The offensive line and running game are terrific for Jacksonville, but it won’t matter if the Jaguars can’t fix their poor quarterback situation. Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense has surprisingly struggled this season after being arguably the best defense in the NFL last season. There is no doubting the talent that they have with guys like Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and A.J. Bouye among others. That being said, for some reason they just haven’t been able to put it together and dominate like they did last season. Jacksonville has plenty of talent to be successful in 2019, but first they badly need to rebuild their passing game on offense.

Miami Dolphins

Miami is surprisingly having a decent season considering the lack of talent that they have. However, this team is still in a major transition phase as they need many pieces on both sides of the ball. It all starts with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who has struggled to stay healthy and they need to find out if he is their quarterback of the future. The Dolphins could decide to move on prior to 2019, but that would set the rebuilding process back even further. The Dolphins have some talent at running back with Kenyan Drake and at wide receiver with guys like Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Albert Wilson. However, they need to add some better weapons to their offense in order for it to reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Dolphins defense appears good enough to compete with a lot of teams as they have some good veteran players like Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. However, they also have some really talented young players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Raekwon McMillan. The Dolphins have enough talent to possibly be a playoff team, but big changes could be coming to their offense and their coaching staff if this season doesn’t end well.

New York Giants

The Giants made the mistake of believing that they could be contenders this season even with Eli Manning at quarterback. The Giants have plenty of talent at the skill positions led by star receiver Odell Beckham and star running back Saquon Barkley. However, the offensive line has been disastrous and Manning hasn’t played well either. New York needs to find a new quarterback and add some quality offensive lineman before the offense can succeed. Meanwhile, the Giants defense is already in rebuild mode after they traded away Eli Apple and Damon Harrison this season. They still have some good talent with Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins leading the way. However, they need to add some pass rush help especially if the defense is to get any better. Either way, the Giants have some hope for the future, but they are still a couple years from competing as they need to make big changes on both sides of the ball.

New York Jets

The New York Jets are a team with some hope for the future after they drafted Sam Darnold in the 1st round of the draft this year. He has struggled this season, but that is mostly due to the lack of weapons that the Jets have on offense. The Jets have a good running back duo with Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell. However, they need to find some better wide receivers to help Darnold out and a better offensive line as well. The Jets defense has plenty of talent especially at linebacker and in the secondary. However, they need to add some more pass rush help to improve the defense. New York has a solid foundation of good young players on both sides of the ball, but they need to add some more talent especially to the offense in order for it to be successful.

Oakland Raiders

The bad news for the Raiders is that they have basically no talent on their roster, but the good news is that they have a whopping five 1st round picks in the next two years in order to try and accelerate their rebuild. The main thing that they need to figure out is whether Derek Carr should continue being their starting quarterback. He looked like an elite quarterback just a few years ago, but the last two years he has been just average at best. At least the running back position has been good for the Raiders this season with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, and Jalen Richard. However, it is very possible that both Lynch and Martin could be gone next season. Tight end Jared Cook has been about the only threat for the Raiders in the passing game especially after they traded away Amari Cooper. The Raiders need to address the wide receiver position in a serious way in order to make their offense better. Meanwhile, the defense is absolutely terrible especially after they traded away Khalil Mack and released Bruce Irvin. The Raiders pretty much have nothing to build around on defense and it is something that they need to build from scratch. The Raiders need a lot of help on offense and defense, so it could be a very lengthy rebuild for the Raiders. However, it could be sped up if they hit on their five draft picks in the next 2 years.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers thought that they would be a playoff contender this season, but the early season injuries to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon really doomed them. However, running back Matt Breida and tight end George Kittle have been a couple of bright spots that the 49ers can build around on offense. San Francisco still needs some help at wide receiver and along the offensive line as well, but those are things that they can improve early in the draft. The 49ers defense has some good young pieces to build around especially on the defensive line with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. However, they need lots of help at linebacker and in the secondary before the defense is rebuilt again. Overall, having Garoppolo back next season will help the 49ers a lot, but they still have to rebuild their overall roster before they are competitive again.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle began a full-scale rebuild prior to this season and give credit to head coach Pete Carroll for keeping the team competitive. However, the team still has a long ways to go with their rebuild especially on defense. Bobby Wagner, Frank Clark, and Jarran Reed are tremendous players to build around. The rest of the defense needs a lot of work though especially if star safety Earl Thomas leaves in free agency as expected. Meanwhile, the offense for the Seahawks is actually pretty good as they have a good running game with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Also, they have a couple of good receivers with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks could still improve the offensive line, but their offense is better than most people expected. If Seattle can add a few pieces to their defense soon then they could be a competitive team much sooner than expected.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is a team in desperate need of a full-scale rebuild mostly because they haven’t drafted well and they haven’t done well in free agency either. The main issue for the Bucs is at the quarterback position as Jameis Winston continues to make dumb decisions on and off the field. The Buccaneers appear ready to move on from him this offseason and that means they’ll likely have to draft another quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well, but he is nothing more than a short-term solution. The strength for the Buccaneers is definitely at the wide receiver and tight end positions as they are extremely deep at both positions. However, the Buccaneers running game is still awful as 2nd round pick Ronald Jones has been a major bust so far. Also, the offensive line hasn’t performed well at all this season and that is something they’ll need to address this offseason. Meanwhile, the Bucs defense has been absolutely terrible as they’ve relied on rookies Jordan Whitehead, Carlton Davis, and M.J. Stewart to make an impact right away. However, they have struggled tremendously and veteran cornerback Brent Grimes hasn’t played well either. The Buccaneers invested a lot in their defensive line this past offseason and they have yet to see results due to injuries and inconsistent play. Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, Noah Spence, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, and William Gholston all have struggled to make an impact this season. Jason Pierre-Paul has been a terrific addition and Kwon Alexander was terrific before tearing his ACL, but besides that the Buccaneers defense has been awful. Tampa Bay has a lot to figure out on both sides of the ball because of terrible decisions made by general manager Jason Licht. He appears to be on his way out after this season and the entire coaching staff including head coach Dirk Koetter appears to be on its way out as well. The Buccaneers will be a very different team next season and they are just beginning what could be another lengthy rebuild.

 

Most surprising roster cut for every NFL team

Arizona Cardinals – Brice Butler – Wide Receiver

The Cardinals didn’t make any really surprising cuts prior to the 2018 season, but the one that sticks out the most is receiver Brice Butler. He has been productive as a receiver most notably with the Cowboys the past few seasons. Butler wasn’t expected to be the number two receiver for the Cardinals, but he could have provided some much needed depth as a 3rd or 4th receiver. Arizona is rather unproven at wide receiver besides Larry Fitzgerald which is why it was so surprising that they decided to let go of a quality veteran receiver like Butler. He could have at least provided better depth at receiver, but he shouldn’t be on the free agent market for too long.

 

Atlanta Falcons – Ron Parker – Safety

Ron Parker might be the most notable player to be cut by an NFL team just prior to the 2018 season. Parker wasn’t really expected to be a starter for the Falcons, but he has proven that he can provide terrific depth at the safety position. In fact, Parker showed his value the past few seasons with the Chiefs as he was a starter on a good defense for the past 4 seasons. Parker has already been picked up again by Kansas City, but he could have definitely provided the Falcons with a reliable backup safety.

 

Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perriman – Wide Receiver

Breshad Perriman is a very talented receiver and that is why the Ravens selected him in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. However, injuries and inconsistent play really held him back from reaching his full potential with the Ravens. It shouldn’t be too shocking that he was released considering the Ravens added a ton of wide receivers to their roster this offseason. However, Baltimore could have given him another opportunity as a 3rd or 4th receiver. Either way, it is a disappointing end to Perriman’s tenure in Baltimore that didn’t live up to the hype. However, he shouldn’t be on the free agent market for long as there should be some team that takes a chance on the young receiver with some potential still.

 

Buffalo Bills – Corey Coleman – Wide Receiver

Corey Coleman is yet another former 1st round wide receiver that has yet to prove his value. Coleman struggled tremendously with injuries and inconsistency during his two years in Cleveland and they surprisingly ended up just trading him away to Buffalo this offseason. However, Coleman didn’t last long with the Bills as he was cut just after the end of the preseason. It is especially surprising that he was released considering how thin the Bills are at the wide receiver position. Also, it is surprising that they let him go this soon especially considering that the team gave up a draft pick to do so. Coleman should find a role as a 3rd or 4th receiver on another team since he is still really young with lots of potential. However, if he couldn’t succeed with the Bills then it is hard to envision him finding much success elsewhere.

 

Carolina Panthers – Daeshon Hall – Defensive End

The Panthers hoped that by drafting Daeshon Hall in the 3rd round last year that he would provide some much needed depth to the pass rush. However, Hall only played in one game last year before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. He returned from the knee injury and he wasn’t very impressive this preseason for the Panthers. That being said, it is weird to see Carolina give up on such a high draft pick after only one season. Hall still has tons of potential and he should be picked up as a developmental project by another team, but it is disappointing to see his time in Carolina end before it really even started.

 

Chicago Bears – Doran Grant – Cornerback

Doran Grant had a very strong preseason for the Bears and it was thought that he was likely to make the 53-man roster. However, that didn’t end up being the case as it was a somewhat surprising move for him to be released. Cornerback Marcus Cooper really struggled in the preseason and it was thought that he might be cut, but instead it was Grant who was the odd man out. Grant still should be picked up by a team that needs depth at cornerback and his strong preseason performance only helps his cause.

 

Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Johnson – Defensive End

This might be the most notable player that was released on cut day, but it shouldn’t be very surprising. The reason this move didn’t come as much of a surprise as he has under performed in comparison to his contract and this moves saves the Bengals about $5 million. Also, Johnson’s release allows for some of the Bengals promising young pass rushers like Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson to get more playing time. Johnson could re-sign with the Bengals if he takes a pay cut, but he is still a player that can help other teams that need a good pass rusher.

 

Cleveland Browns – Nate Orchard – Defensive End

Add defensive end Nate Orchard to a long list of high draft picks for the Browns that have been busts. Orchard was a 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft and he was never really able to establish himself as a full-time starter with Cleveland. Orchard had been a backup defensive end for the Browns and he never really proved himself as he only had 5 sacks during 3 seasons with Cleveland. Some team will likely pick up Orchard as he can provide some solid depth at defensive end, but it was still a disappointing tenure for him with Cleveland.

 

Dallas Cowboys – Dan Bailey – Kicker

This move was arguably the most stunning move of the entire cut day as Dan Bailey seemed sure to be the starting kicker for the Cowboys in week one. Brett Maher didn’t seem like much competition since he was a 28-year old that had never even attempted a field goal in an NFL regular season game. Bailey was considered one of the best kickers in the NFL for several seasons with Dallas and that was why they gave him a 7-year deal back in 2018. However, injuries really held him back last season and he had the worst season in the NFL as he only made 15/20 field goals. This decision is purely based off of money as Bailey was going to make $3.4 million this year and Maher is playing on an extremely inexpensive contract. Bailey is still a very good kicker, so don’t expect him to be unemployed for too long. However, it is still surprising that the Cowboys would release arguably the best kicker in franchise history.

 

Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch – Quarterback

Paxton Lynch never really got the chance to be the full-time starter in Denver as he couldn’t even beat out Trevor Siemian for the starting job the past 2 years. Lynch started this offseason as the clear backup to new quarterback Case Keenum. However, Lynch’s awful preseason performances cost him the number two quarterback role as Chad Kelly played extremely well and jumped Lynch on the depth chart. After Kelly was officially named the backup quarterback it made it very clear that Lynch would probably not make the opening-day roster. There is a lot to like about Lynch as he has a good arm and terrific athletic ability for a quarterback. That was why the Broncos selected him in the 1st round of the 2016 draft, but he struggled in the limited opportunities that he had as the starting quarterback. Lynch didn’t have a good tenure with the Broncos, but being released should benefit as he should be able to get a fresh start as a backup quarterback elsewhere.

 

Detroit Lions – DeShawn Shead – Cornerback

Detroit signed veteran cornerback DeShawn Shead in hopes that he would compete for the 3rd cornerback role. However, Shead didn’t perform well mostly due to injury and now it turns out that he won’t be making the roster at all. The Lions are going with rookie Teez Tabor in the 3rd cornerback role, but it is kind of surprising that they didn’t keep Shead around for some veteran cornerback depth. Either way, the Lions gave Shead some decent guaranteed money this offseason and now he won’t even play in a regular season game for the team.

 

Green Bay Packers – Aaron Ripkowski – Fullback

The Packers didn’t really make any notable roster moves, but Aaron Ripkowski was probably the most well-known name to go. Ripkowski established himself as the Packers starting fullback the past few seasons, but he wasn’t used too often. There just wasn’t much of a role for Ripkowski in the backfield with Green Bay especially with the team not using a fullback too often anymore. Ripkowski might struggle to find a new team considering not many teams use fullbacks consistently, but he was a reliable player for the Packers the past few years.

 

Houston Texans – Braxton Miller – Wide Receiver

This was one of the most surprising moves on cut day mostly because the Texans lack depth at the wide receiver position. Miller was supposed to be a dynamic play maker when the Texans drafted him in the 3rd round in the 2016 draft. However, Miller failed to establish himself as Houston’s 3rd receiver as he only had 34 catches in two seasons. Miller has struggled with injuries and it was clearly a tough transition for him to go from playing quarterback in college to being a starting NFL wide receiver. Miller still has tons of potential and it shouldn’t take long for him to find a new team, but it was disappointing that he never lived up to the hype with Houston.

 

Indianapolis Colts – John Simon – Defensive End

John Simon was one of the very few veteran players on an extremely weak and inexperienced Colts defense. That is part of the reason that the Colts surprisingly decided to part ways with the defensive end on cut day. Simon has struggled with injuries and he was one of the Colts best pass rushers last season as he had 3 sacks. He isn’t a very good starter at defensive end, but he was still arguably the best defensive end that the team had right now. What makes this move even more surprising is that Simon had a terrific preseason as a starter and now he is just off the roster. Simon wasn’t the best option as a starter in the 1st place, but the problem is that the Colts don’t really have much to replace him. Simon should provide good pass rush depth for another team, but it was silly for Indianapolis to release him considering their troubles on defense.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars – Sealver Siliga – Defensive Tackle

None of the moves that the Jaguars made are surprising at all and the release of Sealver Siliga was foreseen as well. However, Siliga is a veteran defensive tackle that has provided solid depth at that position for several different teams. He shouldn’t be a starter like he was with the Patriots a few years ago, although he could have helped provide some depth for the Jaguars defensive line. The Jaguars are deep on the defensive line which is why Siliga likely didn’t make the team, but it is notable that he couldn’t secure a final roster spot.

 

Kansas City Chiefs – David Amerson – Cornerback

David Amerson looked like a lock to make the Chiefs roster as the 3rd cornerback heading into training camp. However, that all changed when the Chiefs decided to add Orlando Scandrick during the preseason. Also, Amerson struggled during the 3 preseason games that he appeared in and that didn’t help his cause at all. Amerson was once a decent starter with the Redskins and Raiders, but his career has progressively continued to go downhill. Amerson shouldn’t be counted on as a starter anymore, but he can still be a decent 4th cornerback for a team in need of some depth.

 

Los Angeles Chargers – Roberto Aguayo – Kicker

The Chargers had an intense competition at the kicker position between veteran Caleb Sturgis and former 2nd round pick Roberto Aguayo. However, Sturgis proved to the Chargers throughout the preseason that he was the more reliable kicker. Aguayo clearly has more potential, but he just has yet to put it together in the NFL after having an outstanding college career. Aguayo has now been with 3 teams since being drafted in the 2nd round a couple of years ago and it appears that his time to land a regular season role is dwindling. Aguayo hopefully can find some consistency and turn his NFL career around, but it isn’t a good sign that he couldn’t win the Chargers kicking job.

 

Los Angeles Rams – Temarrick Hemingway – Tight End

There were absolutely no surprises for the Rams on cut day as there weren’t really any notable cuts. However, one that caught my eye is tight end Temarrick Hemingway who was battling for the 3rd tight end role on the Rams roster. Hemingway missed all of last season due to injury and he didn’t perform well at all during the preseason. That was apparently enough for the Rams to part ways despite not having too much talent at the tight end position to begin with.

 

Miami Dolphins – Tony Lippett – Cornerback

It wasn’t too long ago that Tony Lippett was a starting cornerback for the Dolphins as he had 4 interceptions during the 2016 season. He was expected to be a starter once again last season until suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Lippett came back this offseason, but he never really looked the same after the injury. Also, Lippett clearly fell down the depth chart and the team just decided to part ways. It is really surprising that Miami decided to let Lippett go considering their lack of depth at cornerback, but he will surely find another job relatively soon.

 

Minnesota Vikings – Brian Robison – Defensive End

The Vikings made several stunning moves on cut day, but perhaps nothing was more stunning than the release of longtime Viking defensive end Brian Robison. Just a few years ago Robison was one of the most underrated defensive ends in the entire NFL. However, his play had dropped off last season as he only had 4 sacks for Minnesota and he is likely slowing down considering that he is 35 years old. That being said, it is still very shocking that the team would release him especially since the Vikings didn’t save much money and he wasn’t going to be a starter anyway. Also, Robison has been with the Vikings his entire career since being drafted by the team in 2007 and it makes no sense that they wouldn’t keep him as a reliable backup. Another thing is that Minnesota didn’t have much depth behind Robison and they will be going with a couple of really inexperienced players as the new backup defensive ends. Overall, this is a poor decision by the Vikings especially since Robison still could have helped the team as a backup pass rusher. Either way, Robison should find another job soon, but it would be really disappointing to see him play for another team after having him play for the Vikings his entire career.

 

New England Patriots – Cyrus Jones – Cornerback

Jones was a rare draft bust for the Patriots as he was a 2nd round pick by the team just two years ago. However, Jones struggled to carve out a role in the secondary with the Patriots as he was basically relegated to full-time special teams role during his rookie year in 2016. Jones ended up missing last season due to injury and he wasn’t very impressive upon his return to the field this offseason. Jones could have possibly found a role in the Patriots secondary this season since it is likely weaker than last season. However, Jones just fell out of favor with the coaching staff and he never got the opportunity to be a starter. Jones still has tons of potential, so maybe he can make an impact elsewhere, but it is surprising to see him released so soon.

 

New Orleans Saints – Rick Leonard – Offensive Tackle

The Saints cut a few of their late-round draft picks from the 2018 draft, but one surprising release was rookie 4th round pick Rick Leonard. Sure, Leonard probably needs some more time to develop, but the Saints knew that when they drafted him. Leonard wasn’t expected to play right away, but releasing him so soon doesn’t make too much sense. However, Leonard did sign to the practice squad which is probably best as it allows him time to develop, but the Saints shouldn’t have drafted him that high if they didn’t think he would be ready to make the roster.

 

New York Giants – Darian Thompson – Safety

New York made an absolutely shocking move by releasing safety Darian Thompson who was started all 16 games last season. It is especially surprising to see him released so soon considering that he was a 3rd round pick just last season. That being said, the Giants now are very young and inexperienced at one of the safety positions. Thompson might have been released because he is dealing with a hamstring injury, but if he gets healthy soon then there should be plenty of teams interested in signing him.

 

New York Jets – Kevin Minter – Inside Linebacker

The Jets apparently feel comfortable about their depth at linebacker as they released veteran Kevin Minter on cut day. Minter struggled with injuries last season, but he is still a decent linebacker that could be a starting linebacker. Minter is probably just a good backup at this point, but he should generate plenty of interest in free agency from teams that need linebacker depth. It was surprising to see the Jets release Minter since he could have provided solid veteran leadership on a relatively young team, but he shouldn’t have a problem finding a job elsewhere.

 

Oakland Raiders – Martavis Bryant – Wide Receiver

Oakland made several hugely stunning moves on Saturday, but the one that sticks out the most is wide receiver Martavis Bryant. The reason this move is so stunning is because the Raiders traded a 3rd round pick to the Steelers to acquire him during the draft in April. Bryant was expected to play a big role in the Raiders offense as their 3rd receiver, but he was basically nonexistent for the Raiders during the preseason. Also, Bryant has some serious character concerns which made it strange that Oakland would give up so much to acquire him in the first place. Bryant is facing yet another suspension for drug-related issues and it is likely that he would be suspended for at least one season like he was in 2016. However, it appears that Bryant has self-destructed his own career and it is disappointing to see a player with such tremendous talent basically waste it. At this point it would actually be very surprising if any team takes a chance on Bryant ever again especially if he is officially suspended by the league soon. Bryant is a very talented receiver, but at this point his chances of returning to the NFL are basically nonexistent.

 

Philadelphia Eagles – Donnel Pumphrey – Running Back

The Eagles are giving up on last year’s 4th round pick Donnel Pumphrey already as the team released him just prior to the start of the 2018 season. Pumphrey had a remarkable college career at San Diego State where he became the all-team lead rusher in NCAA history. However, Pumphrey hasn’t adjusted well to the NFL level as he has struggled tremendously with injuries. Pumphrey missed all of last season due to injury and he missed most of the 2018 preseason as well. It is kind of surprising that the Eagles released him so soon especially since the team doesn’t have as much depth at running back this year. Overall, it was disappointing that Pumphrey never even got an opportunity to play in a regular season game for the Eagles, but he should find a job soon as he can provide quality running back depth for basically any team.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – Landry Jones – Quarterback

It appears that the Steelers have decided on who their backup quarterback will be as they released veteran backup Landry Jones on cut day. Jones has seen action during the regular season each of the last 3 years, but he wasn’t very impressive when given an opportunity. Jones wasn’t a very good backup, but it will be interesting to see whether a team in need of a backup takes a chance on Jones. Meanwhile, Josh Dobbs looked like the odd man out for the Steelers at the quarterback position, although he will surprisingly stick around and be the new backup to Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh also has Mason Rudolph who was the team’s 3rd round pick this year, but the Steelers will likely just keep him as the 3rd quarterback for now while he develops. Landry Jones never really amount to anything in a backup and it was probably the right move for the Steelers to let him go considering the depth that they have at quarterback.

 

San Francisco 49ers – Jeremiah Attaochu – Defensive End

It has been a really disappointing NFL career for defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu who was a 2nd round pick of the Chargers back in 2014. He will have to find yet another new team as the 49ers released him after a short tenure with the franchise. This move makes sense for the 49ers though as Attaochu has struggled with injuries in recent years. Also, he wasn’t that impressive even when he was on the field for the 49ers this preseason. This move is somewhat surprising though because the 49ers lack good options with their pass rush right now and Attaochu has shown that he might be able to help a little bit in that area. He should find a job somewhere soon as a rotational pass rusher, but he just wasn’t a fit with the 49ers.

 

Seattle Seahawks – Maurice Alexander – Safety

This move is kind of surprising considering that the Seahawks are searching for some depth at the safety position with the contract holdout of star safety Earl Thomas. Alexander could have at least provided Seattle with a good backup safety while Thomas is out, but the Seahawks instead decided to add some young inexperienced safeties to their roster. Alexander certainly has proven his worth at the NFL level as he had 18 starts for the Rams during the past 2 seasons before he was released. Alexander might be able to be a backup on another team, yet it was a bad mistake for the Seahawks to release a guy that could have helped their team tremendously.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Keith Tandy – Safety

It wasn’t too long ago that Keith Tandy was a starting safety for the Buccaneers and he made some big plays that almost helped lead the Bucs to the playoffs in 2016. He lost his starting safety job last season, but he was still a quality backup that usually played well when called upon. This move is especially surprising considering Tampa Bay’s lack of depth at the safety position and he would probably be an upgrade over current starter Chris Conte. Tandy’s hamstring injury probably played a big factor in the decision to let Tandy go, but if he can get healthy then another team could be adding a very quality backup safety.

 

Tennessee Titans – Luke Falk – Quarterback

Luke Falk had a terrific college career at Washington State and it looked at one point that he might even be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Falk fell all the way to the Titans in the 6th round for some reason and he was competing for the backup quarterback spot behind Marcus Mariota. However, Falk couldn’t beat out veteran Blaine Gabbert for that role and Falk ended up losing his roster spot with the Titans as well. Falk could be a solid backup for a team in need of one, although it might take some time to develop him. Falk has already found another team though as the Dolphins claimed him off waivers and he will compete for a roster spot there. It is unfortunate that Falk didn’t last very long with the Titans, but he is probably going into a better situation with Miami.

 

Washington Redskins – Kapri Bibbs – Running Back

The Redskins have been absolutely decimated at the running back position during the preseason as Derrius Guice and Byron Marshall both suffered serious injuries. That led the team to sign future hall-of-fame running back Adrian Peterson just before the start of the regular season. However, it appears that signing came at the expense of young running back Kapri Bibbs who barely missed making the active roster for the Redskins. Bibbs has been impressive during the preseason because of his versatility as a runner and a pass-catcher as well. Bibbs might draw interest from other teams in need of running back depth, although he was re-signed to the Redskins practice squad for now. It was surprising to see Washington let go of Bibbs considering the injuries they’ve had at the position, but it might not be too long before he is back on the active roster.

Biggest question for every NFL team entering the 2018 season

Arizona Cardinals – Biggest Question: Can David Johnson stay healthy?

The Cardinals actually did fairly well last season as they finished 8-8 despite missing star running back David Johnson for basically the entire season. It is especially important that Johnson stays healthy this season since the Cardinals have such uncertainty at the quarterback position. Johnson is undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the NFL, but if he misses significant time then the Cardinals offense could have serious issues.

 

Atlanta Falcons – Biggest Question: Will the offense improve with Steve Sarkisian as the play caller?

Atlanta had a dynamic offense in 2016 as quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL MVP while leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl. However, Ryan’s play dropped off significantly last season with 1st-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Atlanta has too many weapons on offense not to be successful, so it is up to Sarkisian to do a better job with play calling in his 2nd season as offensive coordinator. Expect better results from the Falcons offense in 2018, but Sarkisian certainly needs to do a better job organizing the offense.

 

Baltimore Ravens – Biggest Question: How long will Joe Flacco last as the starting quarterback?

Joe Flacco is entering yet another season as the clear starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. However, there is much more pressure on Flacco in 2018 after the Ravens drafted rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson in the 1st round. Jackson proved that he is still a raw prospect during the preseason as he struggled with his passing at times. However, if Flacco plays poorly again this season then Baltimore might be pressured to make a change sooner rather than later. Flacco’s starting role should be safe at least for this season, but the Ravens clearly didn’t draft Jackson just to have him sit on the bench for a long time.

 

Buffalo Bills – Biggest Question: What is the Quarterback situation for the Bills?

The Bills enter the 2018 season with a very strange situation at the quarterback position as they basically have three guys competing for the starting role. Rookie Josh Allen has the most potential for sure, although he proved during the preseason that he likely isn’t the immediate answer for the Bills. Nathan Peterman has looked good in the preseason, but he still might not be even a good short-term solution for the Bills. A.J. McCarron seemed like the clear short-term starter for awhile, yet his injury kind of took him out of the race to be the week 1 starter. Either way, the Bills have three young and inexperienced starters that are all competing for the starting job. The Bills have many issues on their team, but the quarterback position is a complete mess right now.

 

Carolina Panthers – Biggest Question: Will the offensive line be up to the task?

The Panthers have some elite offensive talent especially with quarterback Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. However, the offensive line is definitely the biggest question mark on offense for the Panthers heading into the 2018 season. The loss of guard Andrew Norwell this offseason really hurt Carolina especially since they didn’t do anything to replace him. Meanwhile, the Panthers have already tested their offensive line depth in the preseason as they have dealt with a few injuries to their starting offensive line. Carolina is looking for Cam Newton to play better this season, but if the offensive line doesn’t give him much time then it could be a problem for the Panthers offense.

 

Chicago Bears – Biggest Question: Is Mitchell Trubisky ready to be a quality starter?

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky took over as the full-time starter late last season for the Bears and he wasn’t very impressive to say the least. Most of that could be attributed to the horrible supporting cast that they had to throw to. However, last season showed that Trubisky might not be ready to be a good NFL starting quarterback. There is a lot to like about Trubisky as he is a very good playmaker with terrific athletic ability. Hopefully having a full offseason of preparation as a starting quarterback and some much better receivers to throw to will help him out. Either way, Trubisky is clearly the starter now and the pressure is on him to perform because he has much more around him this season.

 

Cincinnati Bengals – Biggest Question: Will the offensive line play better?

The Bengals offensive line was an absolute disaster last season and that was the main reason that the team struggled. However, the Bengals took the initiative to fix the offensive line as they added Cordy Glenn as their new left tackle. Also, the team drafted center Billy Price in the 1st round and he figures to start right away as a rookie. We’ll see how big of a help those two players will be for the offensive line, but they couldn’t be any worse than what the team had last season. If the offensive line can just play at respectable level then the Bengals have some good talent to improve the offense in a major way.

 

Cleveland Browns – Biggest Question: When will Baker Mayfield take over as the starting QB?

Tyrod Taylor is clearly the starting quarterback for the Browns at least early on in the 2018 season. However, it certainly won’t be long before 1st overall pick Baker Mayfield has the chance to turn around the Browns franchise. Mayfield certainly looked like the real deal during the preseason and the team didn’t just draft him that high to have him sit on the bench. It might not be this season that Mayfield gets his chance as the starter especially if Taylor continues to play well. However, it is possible that Mayfield could become the full-time starter soon rather than later.

 

Dallas Cowboys – Biggest Question: Who will step up as the top receiver?

Dez Bryant is no longer with the Cowboys and that means the Cowboys group of receivers will look way different this season. Allen Hurns was brought in to possibly take over the role as the number one receiver, although his injury history shows that he might not be a very reliable option. Rookie receiver Michael Gallup has impressed during the preseason as well, so he figures to have a big role early on. Also, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley figure to have a decent role in the offense as well. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are a complete mess at the tight end position after the sudden retirement of Jason Witten. Dallas is now without their only two reliable pass catchers and they must replace those guys effectively or it could be a long season for the Cowboys offense.

 

Denver Broncos – Biggest Question: Is Case Keenum the answer at quarterback?

Denver had poor quarterback play last season and that was the main reason they struggled so much. However, the Broncos have their quarterback for the 2018 season as they signed Case Keenum to a rather big deal this offseason. Keenum really should be an upgrade over what the Broncos had at quarterback last season. He was surprisingly really good with Minnesota last season as he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game. However, Keenum has been a journeyman backup for basically his entire career and it makes you wonder if last season was just a fluke. Keenum has plenty of talent around him with the Broncos and there is no reason that he shouldn’t replicate last year’s success. That being said, Keenum wasn’t too impressive during the preseason and it will be interesting to see if he is the answer for the Broncos at quarterback.

 

Detroit Lions – Biggest Question: Will the Running Game improve tremendously?

The Detroit Lions have struggled at the running back position for awhile now, but the good news is that they made some serious improvements in that area this offseason. Detroit signed LeGarrette Blount in free agency and he figures to be the starter at least early on this season. Rookie 3rd round pick Kerryon Johnson should see plenty of carries throughout the 2018 season as well. Meanwhile, Theo Riddick has his role basically carved out as the 3rd-down running back and last year’s starter Ameer Abdullah could see some carries as well. Detroit still doesn’t have a great running back group, but it couldn’t be any worse than it has been in recent years. If Blount and Johnson can play well then it should take a lot of pressure off the Lions passing game.

 

Green Bay Packers – Biggest Question: Who is the starting running back?

Green Bay’s passing offense should be fine as long as Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback. However, there is a major question mark at the running back position for Green Bay as they have 3 players vying for carries this season. Ty Montgomery was the starter for the Packers basically the past two seasons, but he might be in for a lesser role this season. Also, Montgomery hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy consistently which is a major concern for the Packers. Jamaal Williams appears in line to be the starter early on and he should see most of the carries this season. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones seems like he might not have a big role especially since he is suspended to start the season, yet he could still see plenty of carries when he returns. Green Bay doesn’t have a clear starter right now and it seems as if the Packers are using a committee approach with their running backs. Either way, Green Bay is hoping that somebody takes the job and runs with it.

 

Houston Texans – Biggest Question: How effective will the offensive line be?

The Texans offensive line was definitely the main source of issues for the Texans offense last season and it is still a major concern heading into the 2018 season. However, Houston did at least attempt to solve their offensive line issues in free agency. They added Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete to be their starters at both of the guard spots. Also, they added Seantrel Henderson to be the new starter at least temporarily at the right tackle position. Those three shouldn’t make a huge difference for the Texans offensive line, but they certainly should be an upgrade over the disastrous offensive line that the team had last season. The number one priority for the Texans should be keeping quarterback Deshaun Watson healthy and it is still unknown if they will be able to protect him effectively.

 

Indianapolis Colts – Biggest Question: Can the defense at least be average?

It is the same issue every year, but the Colts just can’t seem to find a way to try and improve their defense. The good news is that star quarterback Andrew Luck will be back to start the 2018 season, but there is only so much that he can do. The Colts did add some young talent to the defense early on in the draft and that should upgrade the defense a little bit. That being said, there are still major concerns all across the board on defense especially in the secondary after they let go of their starting cornerbacks. Young safety Malik Hooker is really the lone bright spot in the Colts secondary and he will be relied upon to help carry the defense. Meanwhile, veteran Jabaal Sheard is the anchor of the Colts defensive line as he led the team in sacks last season. However, the Colts will have to rely upon their rookie defenders early on as Darius Leonard will be expected to start right away at linebacker. Also, rookie defensive end Kemoko Turay will be relied upon to start immediately and hopefully help the Colts defense that finished 31st in sacks last year. Rookie 2nd round defensive tackle Tyquan Lewis also could see plenty of playing time early on, although he shouldn’t have to be a starter immediately. Overall, the Colts defense is extremely inexperienced and they still have to improve at basically every position.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars – Biggest Question: Who will step up at wide receiver?

The Jaguars wide receiver group will look a lot different than it looked at the start of last season. Most notably they lost their top two receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in free agency this offseason. They did give Marqise Lee a big contract to keep him around, although he is out for the season after suffering a gruesome knee injury in the preseason. Jacksonville did add Donte Moncrief in free agency and he figures to now become the number one receiver for the team after the injury to Lee. However, Moncrief hasn’t proven that he can be a consistently reliable receiver during his time in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, rookie 2nd round pick DJ Chark could also see a much bigger role sooner than expected in the Jaguars offense. The good news is that Jacksonville has arguably the best running game in the NFL, but the offense could struggle if they need their receivers to step up and make big plays. The Jaguars already came into the preseason with a big need at wide receiver, but now they are even more thin at the position and they will need their inexperienced receivers to step up.

 

Kansas City Chiefs – Biggest Question: Can Patrick Mahomes prove that he is the franchise QB?

The Chiefs had plenty of consistency at the quarterback position for the past few seasons with veteran Alex Smith leading the offense. However, Kansas City is going in an entirely different direction this season with 2nd-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the new full-time starter. Mahomes is basically a rookie since he only had one start last season for the Chiefs, but there is no quarterback competing with him for the starting job this year. There is a lot to like about Mahomes as he has a terrific arm and he has terrific athletic ability as well. However, there are some concerns that he might turn the ball over too often which is certainly not what the Chiefs have been used to with Alex Smith under center. There is plenty of weapons around Mahomes though as he has Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins to throw to this season. Also, he has terrific running back Kareem Hunt alongside him to try and take some of the pressure off. The Chiefs entire season will depend on the success of Mahomes and they are hoping that he can live up to the hype and follow in the footsteps of Alex Smith.

 

Los Angeles Chargers – Biggest Question: Can the Chargers find some stability at Kicker?

The Chargers had a revolving door at the kicker position last season as they had 4 different kickers appear during the regular season. This season they are hoping to have much more stability as Caleb Sturgis heads into 2018 as the new kicker. Sturgis has been very reliable throughout his career and the Chargers are hoping that they can rely on him. The Chargers are a team with playoff aspirations this season and if the kicking situation isn’t solved then it could have the potential to cost them a chance at the postseason. Caleb Sturgis seems like he will be a major upgrade for the Chargers at kicker, but until he proves his worth then it will continue to be a huge question mark for the team.

 

Los Angeles Rams – Biggest Question: Can Jared Goff continue to improve?

Quarterback Jared Goff had an absolutely miserable rookie year in 2016, but last year the new coaching staff made a huge difference in his performance. Goff ended up playing at a pro-bowl level last season for the Rams and he proved that he is the franchise quarterback. However, this year is absolutely crucial for Goff as there is much higher expectations for him and the Rams in 2018. Goff has even more talent around him this season, so there is really no excuse for him not to take another step forward in 2018. I don’t think he will regress to the type of player that he was in his rookie season, but he needs to prove that last year wasn’t just a fluke.

 

Miami Dolphins – Biggest Question: Is Ryan Tannehill the answer at quarterback?

The Dolphins had some major issues at the quarterback position last season and it made them realize how much they actually missed Ryan Tannehill as the starter. Tannehill missed all of last season with a knee injury and it will be interesting to see how well he has recovered. Even when he is healthy Tannehill hasn’t yet proven that he is anything more than an average starting quarterback. It certainly won’t help that Tannehill doesn’t have much to work with on offense especially after the departure of star receiver Jarvis Landry. Tannehill has been in the league for awhile now, yet he still hasn’t proven that the Dolphins can rely on him consistently. However, if the Dolphins want to compete at all this season then they will need much more out of Tannehill especially considering that they don’t have much talent with the rest of the roster.

 

Minnesota Vikings – Biggest Question: Was Kirk Cousins worth the money?

The Vikings had some good quarterback play last season from Case Keenum, but they decided to try and upgrade even more by signing pro-bowl caliber quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency. Cousins is clearly an upgrade over Keenum, but many believe that the Vikings paid Cousins way too much. Minnesota gave Cousins a fully guaranteed $84 million contract which is a lot especially for a quarterback that isn’t even considered a top 5 QB in the NFL. Cousins has much more around him than he ever had in Washington as the Vikings have super bowl aspirations this season. Cousins has plenty of weapons especially on offense, so there is really no excuse for him not to play at an elite level in 2018. Cousins is set up for success, but he will have to prove a lot if he wants to show that he was worth all of that guaranteed money.

 

New England Patriots – Biggest Question: Who will step up at wide receiver?

The Patriots didn’t have an elite group of receivers last season, but it seems to be an even thinner group this season after the departure of Brandin Cooks. New England has tight end Rob Gronkowski and he figures to play a huge role as long as he stays healthy. However, the Patriots don’t have many great options at wide receiver especially early on in the season. Julian Edelman would likely be Tom Brady’s top target, but Edelman is suspended for the first 4 games of the season. Chris Hogan figures to be the top receiver while Edelman is out and Hogan should see a huge role in the offense even when Edelman returns. However, beyond Hogan and Edelman there is a huge question mark at the wide receiver position. Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett are likely the next options, although both of them haven’t proven that they can be relied upon as receivers. The Patriots passing game should still be elite as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback, yet it is a little bit of a concern that he doesn’t have many good options to throw to.

 

New Orleans Saints – Biggest Question: Has age catch up to Drew Brees?

The New Orleans Saints arguably have the best roster that they’ve had in the Drew Brees era, but the problem is that Brees is nearing the end of his career. Brees was still very accurate as proven by his 72% completion percentage. However, Brees just had a relatively average season by his standards. That being said, his decline in yards and touchdowns could be attributed to a much better running game for the Saints. Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but we’ll see if his statistics continue to drop as he turns 40 years old in a few months.

 

New York Giants – Biggest Question: Will Eli Manning ever return to pro-bowl level?

Age has definitely not been kind to Giants quarterback Eli Manning as it appears that he is just an average starting quarterback these days. However, the Giants hope that having Odell Beckham back from injury and the addition of elite running back prospect Saquon Barkley will help Manning out. Manning certainly has plenty around him, so now there isn’t an excuse for Manning not to play well in 2018. However, Manning needs to stop turning the ball over which has been a problem throughout his career. He has always been inconsistent as he has had some terrific seasons, but he has also had a few really bad seasons. The Giants have the overall roster to be playoff contenders once again, although if Manning doesn’t play well then it might be time for the Giants to find their quarterback of the future.

 

New York Jets – Biggest Question: Is Sam Darnold ready to be the starting quarterback?

The Jets knew that they were making a big investment when they traded up to select quarterback Sam Darnold with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. However, the Jets expected to develop Darnold slowly and let Josh McCown be the short-term starting quarterback. That plan apparently didn’t last very long as Darnold was named the week 1 starter for the Jets and he will be the youngest week one starter in NFL history. The Jets clearly believe that Darnold gives the team the best chance to win right away. Darnold is no doubt the quarterback of the future, but it might not be the smartest move to play him right away if he isn’t ready.

 

Oakland Raiders – Biggest Question: How will the Raiders replace Khalil Mack?

Oakland’s defense was already bad enough last season, but it just got even worse as the Raiders traded away elite pass rusher wKhalil Mack to the Bears. Mack was the only reliable player on Oakland’s defense, but now the Raiders defense appears terrible. The main question is how the Raiders will replace Mack for the 2018 season. It isn’t like they can just go out and sign a good pass rusher at this time of year, so it appears they’ll need their current defensive ends to step up. Tank Carradine seems like the most obvious replacement as he has been the starter for the entire preseason. However, Carradine only has 5.5 career sacks which isn’t exactly a sign of optimism for the Raiders. It will be tough to replace Mack, but the Raiders are hoping that someone can surprise them and at least somewhat fill that void.

 

Philadelphia Eagles – Biggest Question: How much will Carson Wentz play this season?

Starting quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off of a season-ending knee injury late last year. The thought was that he would be ready to start the season, but the good news is that the Eagles have the luxury of having a very good backup with Nick Foles. We already know that Wentz won’t start in week one, but beyond that it is unknown when he’ll be ready. Philadelphia doesn’t seem to be in a rush to play Wentz until he is 100% healthy, yet it will be interesting to see how long Wentz will be out. Nick Foles has proven that he can play just as well as Wentz and it allows the Eagles to take their team and wait until Wentz is completely ready.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – Biggest Question: Are the Steelers prepared to be without Le’Veon Bell?

Steelers star running backLe’Veon Bell is clearly unhappy with being franchise tagged once again this offseason and he has held out of the entire offseason for the 2nd straight year. However, the regular season is nearing and it is concerning that Bell still hasn’t reported to the team. Sure, he could decide to report just a few days before the regular season like he did last season, but it is still up in the air if that will happen. Either way, it appears that this is very likely Bell’s last season in Pittsburgh unless the two sides can miraculously agree on a new contract. The Steelers must prepare for what they will do if Bell departs after this season. That plan likely includes James Conner who got some valuable reps with the 1st-team in the preseason while Bell held out. Conner has been impressive so far and he is a good backup option if Bell decides to leave the Steelers. Even if Bell ends his holdout, the Steelers would be wise to give a bigger role to Conner as they prepare him to be the possible starter in 2019. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the Steelers handle the running back situation this season.

 

San Francisco 49ers – Biggest Question: What will the 49ers do at running back?

The 49ers seemed to find their new starting running back when they signed Jerick McKinnon to a big contract this offseason. However, the 49ers got some terrible news just prior to the season as McKinnon tore his ACL during practice and he will be out for the season. That means backup Matt Breida and newly signed veteran running back Alfred Morris will likely share the backfield for the 2018 season. The good news is that Breida and Morris have been impressive this preseason, although it will be difficult to replace the explosiveness of McKinnon. Breida figures to be the lead running back, but it is important that both running backs do well or else the offense might really struggle.

 

Seattle Seahawks – Biggest Question: How long will Earl Thomas hold out?

Earl Thomas has been away from the Seahawks all offseason as he has been seeking a new contract from the team. However, it doesn’t appear that there will be a resolution to this situation anytime soon as Thomas seems likely to not play any regular season games until he gets a new contract. Seattle also seems unwilling to trade Thomas unless they get good compensation in return like a 1st or 2nd round pick. Either way, Thomas is a free agent after the season and it seems unlikely that he will re-sign with the team. Thomas is really important to the Seahawks especially since they lost several key players from their defense this offseason. Thomas probably won’t play until he gets a new deal and the Seahawks probably won’t even negotiate a contract until he ends his holdout. Either way, both sides need to compromise or else this holdout could last all season.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Biggest Question: Is Jameis Winston the answer at quarterback?

There is no doubt the talent that Jameis Winston has and he showed it off during an impressive preseason. However, his character has once again come into question as he is suspended for the first 3 games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The main question though is whether he is the franchise quarterback that the Buccaneers have never really had. Winston often makes incredible plays, but he also makes way too many incredibly dumb decisions. Ryan Fitzpatrick certainly isn’t too much of a threat to take over Winston’s job long-term, yet if Fitzpatrick plays well the first 3 games of the season then it is very possible that Winston will be benched. Either way, this season is very important for Winston as he will need to prove that he is the answer for Tampa Bay at quarterback. If he fails to do that then the Buccaneers may be looking for a new starting quarterback very soon.

 

Tennessee Titans – Biggest Question: Can Mariota have a comeback season?

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota didn’t exactly have a good 2017 season as he threw for 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Tennessee still somehow managed to sneak into the playoffs and win a playoff game, but it was still concerning that Mariota played so poorly. Mariota was still a threat running the ball and he will continue to be a good dual-threat quarterback, but he needs to become more consistent as a passer. Mariota needs to return to the type of player that he was in 2016 when he played at a very high level and he didn’t turn the ball over very often. Mariota definitely has the potential and supporting cast to return to that type of season, but the Titans need him to play better because it will be difficult to win without him. It is likely that Mariota will bounce back in 2018, yet he needs to prove that he is the franchise quarterback for years to come.

 

Washington Redskins – Biggest Question: Is Alex Smith an upgrade over Kirk Cousins?

Washington was very fortunate to have pro-bowl caliber quarterback Kirk Cousins for the past few seasons. However, the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract extension and now the Redskins are moving on with a new veteran quarterback. Alex Smith was acquired by Washington and signed to a 4-year deal to be the Redskins new starter. Smith has already proven that he can be an elite quarterback even though he doesn’t often get considered that way across the league. Sure, Smith doesn’t make huge plays as often as other quarterbacks do, but he is an accurate and reliable quarterback. The best thing about Smith is that he rarely makes big mistakes. He takes care of the football and he usually gives his team a chance to win every single week. Smith might not be the most flashy quarterback, but he proved during his time in Kansas City is that all he does is win games. Kirk Cousins probably has more talent and potential than Smith does, but Smith might actually be an upgrade since he is a proven winner as a starting quarterback.

2018 NFC East Standings Predictions

  1. 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.