Last week I reviewed every AFC team’s status as it stands. Now I am doing every NFC team.
The Eagles Super Bowl team was best from start to finish. Last season, injuries to defensive backs caused them to barely make the playoffs. Now with everyone healed, they should be poised to dominate again. Carson Wentz should be healthy and find his 2017 form again. The defensive line is still very good with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, it doesn’t matter if they lost veteran Michael Bennett. Probably a 13-3 season in store for Philly.
The Cowboys have three of the best Offensive Linemen in football. Zach Martin, Thomas Fredrick and Tyron Smith. They have one of the leagues best Running Backs. Ezekial Elliot. Last season they traded for a pro bowl 24 year old receiver Amari Cooper. Dak Prescott is a decent Quarterback. All the Offense needed was that big target. The problem is that the rest of the receiving core is a dumpster fire. Cole Beasley is now gone. The Defense is still only decent, they did re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence. It’s going to be hard to keep up with a not really deep team. It depends on the development in Dak. 10-6 is there likely destination again.
New York Giants:
Heading into the offseason I thought they were a 7-9 2019 team, I am wrong. In 2018 they had elite defensive linemen Damon Harrison, pro bowl linebacker Olivier Vernon, elite Safety Landon Collins, hyped rookie running back Saquon Barkley, arguable best receiver in football Odell Beckham Jr. an improved Offensive Line with the addition of Nate Solder and other good receivers in slot guy Sterling Shepard and Tight End Evan Engram. But of course everything fell apart. Eli was trash, the offensive line was trash, Beckham stayed unhealty, Shepard and Engram had a hard time staying healthy. The only upside to their offense was rookie sensation Saquon Barkley. He had a pro bowl season behind a terrible Offensive Line as a rookie. He is headed for great things. Beacause of how bad the offense was, they decided to begin a rebuild. They traded Damon “Snacks” Harrison. All they traded him for was a 5th round pick. That isn’t close to his value, they should have at least also gotten a 2nd round pick. They also traded CB Eli Apple for a 4th round pick and 2020 7th round pick. This offseason, they let Landon Collins go to the free agency. They didn’t really try to lose him, but got outbid by the Redskins and when he was gone it was time for full tank mode. The 27 year old Olivier Vernon had a down season, so because of his monster contract they traded him for pro bowl offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler. They then went on to trade star wide-out Odell Beckham… they traded him for a 1st and 3rd round pick and SS Jabrill Peppers. Peppers will go as Landon Collins’ replacement. Peppers might be as good as Collins in a few seasons and is cheaper right now. Then they oddly signed veteran Receiver Golden Tate, overpaying him. They drafted Daniel Jones 6th in the draft. Jones was a projected 2nd round QB, but the Giants were too worried they weren’t even going to get him at 17. He has been in the Manning Camps for years, so they felt like they had to super reach for him at 6. At 17, they picked defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. It is hard to understand what Dave Gettleman is doing, considering he just got rid of his superstars to get younger and cheaper versions. I’m expecting a 5-11 season out of this team.
2018 was the year of veterans for Washington. QB Alex Smith, RB Adrian Peterson, TE Jordan Reed, the O-Line and LB Ryan Kerrigan. But you cannot rely on veterans. Smith suffered a possibly career ending injury. They lost young receiver Jamison Crowder from their receiver core. WR Paul Richardson is all they got left that’s decent. Reed ended the season injured and is now injury prone. Adrian Peterson is always questionable. Other running back Chris Thompson under-performed. The only good thing they got new for their offense is 15th overall pick Dwayne Haskins. They were a little lucky he fell to them. They traded for Case Keenum in case they didn’t get Haskins, but they did. Keenum and McCoy will easily be backups for Dwayne Haskins. Smith probably won’t come back. Haskins is a good start to build the offense around, I would. They need to do that over the next few years. I love d-lineman Da’Ron Payne on their defense. I just don’t think that’s enough though. It’s time to trade Ryan Kerrigan. What they did to their secondary was awful: They released young good safeties HaHa Clinton-Dix and DJ Swearinger to overpay elite young Safety Landon Collins. They wanted to take him from the AFC East, but it was still an overpay. Clinton-Dix and Swearinger have good futures so they were good enough for that position. Some people think they can compete if Philly and Dallas are unhealthy, but I am not too high on them. Another 5-11 season is bound.
The Bears haven’t made much hey this offseason. They signed Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. But nothing really done to the offense. The team should improve. But the division keeps improving. It will be cold and loud in Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t win any of those games. I see a tough 10-6 season barely winning the division.
Head Coach Matt Patricia has been all about the defense. Mid-season he traded a 5th round pick for Defensive Lineman Damon Harrison Sr. He also signed young stud defensive lineman Trey Flowers. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones were already decent for their receiver core. But now they’ve added veteran Danny Amendola and Tommylee Lewis. Lewis is remembered for being the victim of that bad pass interference no-call in the NFC Championship game with the Saints against the Rams, but is actually a capable receiver. The Offensive Line has improved, they’ve added runnning back CJ Anderson. In the draft I expected them to draft a defensive player at 8 or trade up to 3 or 4. Instead, they stayed where they were and picked Tight End TJ Hockenson. Hockenson is most peoples favorite player from the draft and very underrated because of his position. I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit improved to 9-7.
Green Bay Packers:
Aaron Rodgers missing the playoffs 3 straight seasons seems unlikely, but the team isn’t as improved as everyone is suddenly saying. They are being way too overrated for no good reason other than “They have Rodgers”. Rodgers likes his new coach Matt LaFleur. They have added a lot of new pieces to their team, but I disliked their first draft pick a LOT. Rashan Gary was a bad pick. In 2015 the Browns selected DT Danny Shelton early. People said it wasn’t really a good pick, they took a shot and he didn’t turn out to be that good. In last years draft the Buccaneers selected DT Vita Vea 12, it was considered a bad pick and he had a bad season. Da’Ron Payne was picked 13 and was much better than Vea. Gary is like both of them. They needed to go O-Line to protect Rodgers. They did throughout the rest of the draft, but needed to at 12. Yes Jonah Williams was picked right before them, but Jawaan Taylor and Chris Lindstrom were still available. I just don’t see them getting past 8-8 in this tough division in 2019. I’m sorry.
Heading into 2018 the Vikings thought the only upgrade needed was at Quarterback. They got the good replacement at Running Back for Jerrick McKinnon in Latavius Murray for that season, and Kirk Cousins was the big replacement for Case Keenum. Except Cousins had a bad season. They ended 8-7-1 missing the playoffs on the last week of the season. Now they’ve lost Latavius Murray and didn’t find a good replacement. Ameer Abdullah isn’t that good, there is no way they are winning the bidding war for Jay Ajayi, they have no interest in veteran Marshawn Lynch and didn’t draft a very good running back. They also have a very below average O-Line and needed to improve that. They didn’t do anything during the free agency period to address the O-Line. They waited until the draft to get pieces. They were able to barely re-sign LB Anthony Barr. This team still just doesn’t seem to have the correct pieces, and are relying on everybody to exceed expectations because they hit the Salary Cap limit. They are hoping they hit the jackpot in the draft, they know they’re probably not winning any of their away games vs their division. A tough 7-9 season seems the most probable right now.
New Orleans Saints:
The Saints were ripped off in the 2019 NFC Championship game and deserved to go to the Super Bowl. It was their year to win it. 2019 will be another good season however. The 2017 draft was one for the ages. First round pick Marshon Lattimore was defensive rookie of they year and is a top 3 cornerback today. 3rd round pick Alvin Kamara was offensive rookie of they year and is a top running back today. 2nd round pick Marcus Williams is only known for his Minnesota Miracle fail but is actually a stellar Safety today and 1st round pick Ryan Ramczyk is a stud Offensive Lineman. They just got an upgrade at secondary running back from Mark Ingram to Latavius Murray. They still have a good receiving core led by Michael Thomas. However Brees is only getting older and will be 41 next season. It will be hard for the team to be as good as last season, but should still end 12-4.
The winners of the 2016 NFL Draft need that Super Bowl they single-handedly blew 2 years back. In the 2016 draft they selected now stellar Safety Keanu Neal in the 1st round. They selected defensive rookie of the year and now pro bowler Linebacker Deion Jones in the 2nd round. In the 3rd round they selected stud Tight End Austin Hooper and in the 4th round they selected decent Linebacker DeVondre Campbell. This defense is now stacked. Vic Beasley is an improving linebacker to this day. Grady Jarrett is an improving D-Linemen. The secondary still has Desmond Trugant and Ricardo Allen. Sure they’ve lost the likes of Robert Alford and Brian Poole, but at least gained Brent Grimes. Deion Jones was injured in 2018 which really tore their defense down, but in 2019 he will be healthy again. The Offense was so good in 2016 because of Kyle Shanahan’s aggressive. gameplan. Shanahan stepped down from Offensive Coordinator to head coach the 49ers but they still have a good offense. Matt Ryan is still performing at a decent rate. He has receivers in All-Elite Julio Jones, top 2018 rookie Calvin Ridley, veteran Mohammed Sanu and young Tight End Austin Hooper. The O-Line has been good and they have Running Back Devonta Freeman. However in 2018 Freeman got injured, Jones played unhealthy and Ryan got off to a slow start. In 2019 everything will be back to normal, plus they added protection for Matty Ice selecting Chris Lindstrom 14th overall. I might not agree that Lindstrom was better than Jawaan Taylor, but he’s good enough. 11-5 and a playoff berth is their 2019 destination.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
They hired Bruce Arians to head coach and Todd Bowles to Defensive Coordinator. These 2 were the coach D-Coordinator duo with the Cardinals during their success 5 years ago. Let me tell you if Arians can’t fix Jameis Winston then no one can. They still have star receiver Mike Evans. They released veteran D-Lineman Gerald McCoy to sign veteran Ndamukong Suh. Suh might have more anger issues, but he is cheaper right now. They are hoping for a breakout in Vita Vea. They want LB LaVonte David to continue to be like his early prime. They drafted LB Devin White 5th overall to replace Kwon Alexander. I excpect possible a 7-9 season in 2019.
I am low on the Panthers. Cam Newton can’t stay healthy, their only star Offensive Player is young RB Christian McCaffrey. They can never seem to figure out their defense. They are unexpectedly headed for a gruesome 4-12 season.
Los Angeles Rams:
This team had a hot first half of 2018, in the second half Jared Goff slowed down but they still ended 13-3. Goff had a really good NFC Championship game, but they were given the win on a bad call and Goff played god awful in the Super Bowl. He was not ready yet. They still have the Running Back of a lifetime in Todd Gurley II and a good O-Line. Plus they have Receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. The Defense has made changes though. The Defensive Line no longer has Ndamukong Suh because they didn’t want to pay him. It still does have 2 time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald, and Michael Brockers. The secondary has Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib but aren’t that deep at that position. They lost Safety Lamarcus Joyner but were able to replace him with veteran Eric Weddle. There isn’t much wrong with this team, but they didn’t really improve the team assett wise this offseason. They’ll be the same thing probably ending 11-5 or 12-4 depending on how Jared Goff does.
San Francisco 49ers:
QB Jimmy Garoppollo is coming back from injury. RB Jerrick McKinnon is returning from injury, they still have RB Matt Breida and just signed Falcons RB Tevin Coleman. The Receiving core has insanely monsterous tight end George Kittle, speed demon receiver Marquise Goodwin and other receivers such as veteran Pierre Garcon and Dante Pettis. It’s a shame they couldn’t land Antonio Brown, but they still have a good offense, capped off by a good Offensive Line led by veteran Joe Staley and 2018 9th overall pick Mike McGlinchey. The Defense is also not that bad, the secondary was simply just loaded with injuries in 2018. The D-Line is led by DeForest Buckner and they now drafted Nick Bosa 2nd overall, who was by far the best player in the draft. They were prepared to select LB Josh Allen until they heard the Cardinals weren’t selecting Bosa first, so they filled their linebacker position by getting Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander. They traded a 2020 2nd round pick for Ford and signed Kwon to a good deal. The have the coaching. They hired Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch in 2017 and are working together perfectly. Owner Jed York is making all the right moves with them by his side. They are bound to trade Nick Mullens who did well while Jimmy G was injured, all that’s left is execution.
Russell Wilson is very good. The Running Backs are quite good. The problem was their O-Line in 2018 and they had hit the cap limit so they couldn’t improve it other than in the draft. They had to release veteran receiver Doug Baldwin because he failed a physical. On defense the secondary has collapsed. They lost Safety Earl Thomas to the Free Agency and Kam Chancellor also failed a physical resulting in a release. They got rid of 25 year old Defensive Lineman Frank Clark. It was a good move considering his legal issues, big contract and the offer from Kansas City. They got a 2019 first rounder, 2020 second rounder and moved up in the 2019 3rd round in that trade. They did this because they’re trying to mini-rebuild. They traded pick 21 to Green Bay and picked LJ Collier at 29. Collier is younger and cheaper that Clark. Collier also fits their system and don’t forget GM John Schneider is the best drafter in the biz. They also signed veteran Defensive Lineman Ziggy Ansah to the team. The defense will be built around top Linebacker Bobby Wagner. They also draft WR D.K. Metcalf. This guy was a top 10 draft pick heading into the 2018 college season. Injuries turned him into a late 1st rounder. His insane Draft Combine performance pushed his grade back up, but he still dropped to the mid 2nd round where Seattle picked him. I still don’t believe the Seahawks will get passed 7-9.
Perhaps the wild card of the 2019 season. In 2018 they went 3-13. The Offense was dreadful. The O-Line was bad, that gave top Running Back David Johnson a down season. The receivers were all bad, Fitzgerald had a down season. This made it very hard on 10th overall pick Josh Rosen. In last years draft the Cardinals traded from 15 to 10 to get their QB of the future. The Defense was well, insanely young and not ready to compete yet. Many people expected them to pick DE Nick Bosa 1st overlal because of the dreadful D-Line. But then they hire Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach. Kingsbury has been obsessed with Kyler Murray throughout college and begged him to choose football over baseball. Murray was not at the top of most people and team’s QB board despite winning the Heisman trophy. Haskins was and he was barely a top 10 QB. But Kingsbury was willing to reach to get the guy he’s been recruiting that fits his system, rather than a guy that fits their defensive system and fills a hole in Nick Bosa. The Cards have been working on their Defense all offseason. They signed Safety DJ Swearinger to improve their secondary. They also signed Cornerback Robert Alford to play alongside veteran pro bowler Patrick Peterson. Peterson is suspended for the first 6 games of the season however. The Linebackers are not that good, so they added veteran Terrell Suggs. Drafting Nick Bosa was the right move for their defensive line, but Kingsbury was willing to take a risk by instead reaching for a 5 foot 10 inexperienced Quarterback while already having a young one with potential. After drafting Murray they traded Rosen to the Dolphins for their 2nd round pick and 2020 5th round pick. The Cardinals had a pretty good draft in general. They addressed their O-Line, Receiving core, Defensive Line and Secondary. With some people saying that Kyler will be a star, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Cards shape up in 2019. Because it’s Kingsbury’s first season as a head coach, I say they go 5-11. But only positive signs will come from Kyler Murray.
That’s all for my team reviews bye.