HERE’S the first of Louis Ross’s (@LouisRoss67) NFL previews as he tackles the NFC East.
NFC East | 13th September 2015 – 3rd January 2016
Hopefully there are a few new NFL converts reading this so with apologies to the experts, a brief explanation of the NFL season. There are 32 franchises in the NFL split into two leagues. The AFC and the NFC are each made up of four divisions of four teams. After a 16 game regular season, the winner of each league plus the two best records make it to the playoffs in January. At the end of that, we will have a champion of each league and those two will meet in the Super Bowl in February.
It can get a little more complicated than that, but let’s get started. Just one more thing. The NFL operates a draft system and that means the best players in College Football are drafted by the Pro teams. The worst of the 32 teams gets to pick first in the draft and so on until the best team from the previous season picks last.
This system keeps the talent flowing around the game unlike football where the dominant clubs, especially today, stay dominant. In American Football, the idea is that every team will have its good times and it’s bad. It generally works. Apart that is, from the New England Patriots. The dominant force in the NFL for almost 20 years. That should not be and is down to the genius of the Head Coach, Bill Belichick. There’s one rule in the NFL and that is, don’t write the Pats off.
So, I have eight pieces for you before the season opener on 10th September. For me and most NFL nuts this is the week before Christmas. The off season stretches from February to September and I can’t tell you how much I miss this game in those months. First up is …. Drum roll …..the NFC East.
The most competitive division in Football (sorry, you got to call it football). This comprises four teams that really do not like each other. These games are always worth watching. In recent times only the New York Giants have produced Super Bowl winning teams. It is unlikely that will change this year.
These guys are known as ‘Americas Team’ in much the same way as John Terry refers to himself as JT and everyone chuckles. Tony Romo is the star player. The Quarterback who has it all. Problem is he rarely does it when the pressure is on.
Dallas did something last year that has rarely been seen in 50 years. They had the best Running Back in the NFL and released him. DeMarco Murray now plays in Philadelphia. Madness.
That is where they will struggle this year. Forgive me, but Darren McFadden never was and never will be a number one rusher. Sean Lee returns from injury to improve the Linebackers. Dallas will do what Dallas do. 1st or 2nd and then a massive bust come playoff time.
Coach Chip Kelly likes his teams to play the game like nobody else. Trust me on this one, Philly will be great to watch this year. You wouldn’t have been too positive when they released LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, Mike Vick and others but I really like the addition of Sam Bradford at QB, a guy who’s time in St Louis was ruined by injury.
His receiving core is poorer for the loss of Jeremy Maclin, but Murray and Ryan Matthews as a pair of running backs cannot be bettered. Byron Maxwell is a great recruit at Cornerback. There are injury issues right now and I may be wary in the first couple of weeks but only Philly can stop Dallas winning the East and as long as Mark Sanchez doesn’t have to play too many games, they could go well.
New York Giants
This could well be Tom Coughlin’s last shot in charge of Big Blue. Eli Manning doesn’t have too many chances left either. They have a potential Hall of Fame receiver in the magnificent Odell Beckham Junior but not much else. Shane Vereen needs to make a big impact after moving from the Pats and if they win eight games this season, I will be amazed.
Bottom, last, worst team in the NFL? That could all be coming the Redskins way. Kirk Cousins is now the starting Quarterback. RG III is on his way out. The Defence is an absolute shambles and they won just four games last season. They have so many weapons on Offence and rookie Matt Jones could even push Alfred Morris for the number one Running Back spot but the Defence is just awful.
NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles to win NFC East (13/8 William Hill)