This division and the NFC South are probably the hardest to call across the league, I think I have made my mind up on the Giants winning it, but it’s a very tough division with a tough schedule this year as they face up against the AFC West.
Everything fell right for the Cowboys (17/10) last year, they’ve lost quite a few players this year already including 2 from their O-Line, Leary and Free, so it won’t be quite as good as last season. Also, Dak… He was great last year, don’t get me wrong, but it was one year… Everyone seems to be anointing him as a future HOF guy already, i’m not as sure as them. – I do however think they’ll give him more to do this year, and they will probably give him more designed runs which will help the offence in a different way. Zeke Elliott has received a 6 game suspension from the league at the moment which seems crazy given he was not convicted for anything! He will be appealing it and the league don’t exactly rush these things (see deflategate) so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play this year and it get resolved in a year If he does miss time then Darren McFadden will be stepping up and he’s a pretty good runner himself, so there will be a drop off but it won’t be a complete dumpster fire. In fairness they can’t stop getting suspensions all over the park, it seems to be what they do. Dez Bryant is apparently really good, everyone seemingly still loves him, and hopefully he’ll be coming into this year without any injury, other than him their leading receiver last year was Cole Beasley in the slot, he was the perfect foil for Dak in his debut season. There’s a few WR3 type guys Terrance Williams, Bryce Butler who are ok. Jason Witten is getting on a bit but still consistent at tight end, if he does miss game, which he rarely does then Rico Gathers is a guy to look for. He’s a giant and has been getting a lot of hype in the pre-season
The Eagles (4/1) have had a very good off season with their acquisitions, and look pretty good now, their OL is a very good unit now, they got their basher at RB in Blount, I think he’ll have the same role as for the Pats last year, maybe not 18 TDs but he’ll be that kinda guy again, Pumphrey could be in with a shout sooner rather than later as a change of pace back, it looks like Smallwood will make the roster at least and they’ve still got the evergreen Darren Sproles so there’s quite a lot of options at RB for them! Alshon Jeffrey will give Wentz a better target than he had the whole of last year where the Eagles had some of the highest drop rates in the league. Although Wentz did fall off a little towards the end of the year, that wasn’t entirely his fault and his numbers would have been far better could his pass catchers actually do their job. Jordan Matthews was likely to be in the slot, BUT they traded him to the Bills this week for a corner back, which means they are apparently going to be relying on Nelson Agholar in that position?! He’s a former round 1 pick who just hasn’t show anything in his time in the league. It seems a big risk to me, but I assume they know what they’re doing! They’ve got a couple of other guys on the outside, who will also need to step up on last year, guys like Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner who I had (losings) bets on scoring anytime when he made the team last year. I know @Cumbleton likes Mack Hollins this year, a massive guy who scored a long TD this week, Torrey Smith is on very little guaranteed money, but at least adds a bit of experience to the otherwise quite inexperienced group. Will Zach Ertz become a decent tight end? He always shows flashes but needs more consistency. 4 TDs (2 of them against the Cowboys in the final game when they were resting players) and 800 yards is ok, but he was touted for better.
The Redskins (6/1) lost a whole ton of targets from their WR corps with Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both leaving for pastures new, but picked up Terrelle Pryor who I think will have a cracking year with Cousins chucking the rock. I’m thinking 1200+ yards and a bunch of TDs for him! Jamison Crowder looks like he’ll be extending his role in the offence after a good year last year, he has been used more in 3 WR sets than last year where he was generally a slot receiver, with all the targets available he should do well again, sophomore WR Josh Doctson could be anything if he could ever stay fit, he’s got a hamstring injury now and reported as “day to day” which is a killer to someone aiming to prove themselves with good opportunity this year. Tight end Jordan Reed is one of the best in the league when he’s fit, but that’s his issue, he’s injured a lot. He’s been missing a lot of training camp with a toe injury and if he gets another bad concussion I think there’s a chance he will consider his career (same with Kuech the geek in Carolina.) They’re good at RB with not-so-fat Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine supported by Chris Thompson as a good 3rd down back. I was expecting Perine to prove himself in camp and to take the job sooner rather than later, but he fumbled in the pre-season game and apparently hasn’t shown a whole lot in general which is a shame for my 175/1 OROY bet on him! They improved on defence too signing Chris Baker, and obviously have Norman who’s a mildly good CB when he feels like it, as well as Breshad Breeland who needs to improve after not doing as well as expected last year.
Finally, the Giants (11/5) – Why I think they’ll win the division, they’ve got a good defence again this year, they’ve not lost anyone (that I can remember anyway) from a great unit last year and they paid JPP who had a good year especially considering he was adapting to playing with a club as a hand last year. They gave Eli Manning all the weapons he could hope for in the passing game adding Brandon Marshall and my personal fave TE from the draft Evan Engram (won some good money on him being drafted in the 1st round which helped my like of him), he’s basically a big WR. Both guys have good wingspans which should help an aging QB who hasn’t been great recently. And obviously OBJ and Sterling Sheperd still there from last year, giving further red zone targets. However they are still poor at RB. Smash Jackson… Paul Perkins could have a good season, but he didn’t show a whole lot last year, as mentioned above, the OL doesn’t exactly help the run. Wayne Gallman is an interesting piece in the backfield should Perkins not impress. Shane Vereen is still there to mix into that area as well, and they added Shaun Draughn from the Niners for some reason too. But despite lacking at RB, I think they have the most chance to improve past the Cowboys this year especially if the Zeke suspension sticks.