This NFL off season has been packed full of big moves, and drama. Check out our preview of the 2019 NFL Season.
Football is back baby! and this year marks the 100th season of the NFL. The NFL 2019/2020 season gets underway on Thursday 5 September (Friday 6 September at 10.20 am AEST for the Aussies) as the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field to kick off the season.
We’ve considered every power ranking and season simulation, checked out the final 53 man squads for each NFL team and formulated our own rankings of what fans are in store this NFL season. Our NFL preview for 2019 predicts the outcomes of each division in the AFC and NFC, with key insights and football betting tips as we get started on the journey to Superbowl LIV at the Hard Rock Stadium, in Miami Florida on Sunday 2 February 2020.
We are expecting a storyline-filled and exciting season with a number of NFL teams making big shakeups with their rosters this offseason and high expectancies of success for teams like –the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and the Green Bay Packers.
Plus, don’t forget the drama stemming from moves made by the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, and the seemingly stacked Cleveland Browns.
Thursday or Friday (depending on where you live) can’t come fast enough!
AFC Conference NFL Preview
AFC North Preview
Baltimore RavensEmbed from Getty Images
Last season they went from a disappointing 4-5 start under Joe Flacco, to win the AFC North Division – thanks to a run of 6-1 under QB Lamar Jackson. This season, the Ravens face a tougher schedule with several games against last season’s playoff teams.
The Ravens moved on from aging and inconsistent QB Joe Flacco in the offseason, trading him to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick. While the Ravens have a solid Running game plus the athletic prowess of QB Lamar Jackson should balance their offence – the worry of an injury is still in the minds of all fans every time that the much smaller Lamar Jackson takes off from the pocket.
But surely there are some people whispering in the ears of Jackson to ‘slide’ – especially considering RG3 is his backup QB, and we all know how RG3’s career started at Washington as a similar-style run first throw second QB.
As always, the Ravens Defence will be tough thanks to the solid coaching from Head Coach John Harbaugh and Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale. The free agency signing of Safety Earl Thomas to a four-year deal worth $80.7 million AUD will help strengthen the defence.
Cincinnati BengalsEmbed from Getty Images
After a decade of being an underperforming yet somewhat stable franchise – the Cincinnati Bengals have come to a fork in the road. The Bengals finally moved on from head coach Marvin Lewis and brought in first-time head coach Zac Taylor – who was the Quarterbacks coach for the LA Rams last season.
Taylor has some work ahead this year, with the Bengals having a poor defensive record, superstar wide receiver A.J. Green dealing with a foot injury and time seemingly running out for Quarterback Andy “Red Rifle” Dalton, overall there has not been much to cheer about offensively either.
The Bengals are being considered one of the worst defences this NFL season, and the only high point for the team will be the yards provided by last year’s top rusher in the AFC, Joe Mixon. They will be depending on Mixon and a few talented players in the more skilful positions to pick up the slack.
Cleveland BrownsEmbed from Getty Images
Well. This is going to get ‘real’, real quick. Or it will be classic Cleveland Browns embarrassment.
This roster is stacked. If the Browns were a family board game, they would be the biggest, most fun, game of Jenga!
Baker Mayfield throws lasers and has the personality that has everyone glued to the screen. The recent trade for Odell Beckham Jr from the New York Giants can go either way, Jarvis Landry showed great promise linking up last year with Baker, and stud Defensive End Myles Garrett is already a wrecking force for opposing offences.
But the Browns have one massive opponent standing in their way this season. It’s not the Steelers. No, it’s not the Ravens…
Their biggest opponent of the 100th NFL season – is their own personalities. This team has so many personalities that fans will be anxious every minute of the season. At least Myles Garrett does not have problems in this department.
Above all, the Browns season could go either way, their ‘under-25’ talent is ranked first overall and if the chemistry works they could be a weapon this year. Especially considering their schedule looks on paper to be one of the easiest in the NFL.
For the greater good of the league – fingers crossed the Browns can pull it together.
Pittsburgh SteelersEmbed from Getty Images
Last year was a difficult season for the Steelers, and they went through a bumpy off-season following their first missed post-season in the last 5 years.
Although the offence looks steady, the big question hanging over the Steelers is do they have enough firepower in their offence to win without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown?
Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster had a breakout year last year with Antonio Brown sitting out. Many are tipping Smith-Schuster to win the NFL receiving yards title, but he is not alone in the depth chart – with James Washington looking to be able to fill the gap as WR2 after having a limited rookie season in 2018.
The Steelers will have a test maintaining their intensity over the course of a full season – including facing seven of last year’s playoff teams. Don’t sleep on weeks 9, 10, and 11 as the Steelers have a tough stretch facing the now Luck-less Indianapolis Colts, defending NFC Champions LA Rams, and the young guns from the Browns.
AFC South Preview
Houston TexansEmbed from Getty Images
The Houston Texans were crowed the AFC South Champions last year – but we don’t expect the same in 2019. Their offensive line has hardly improved since their terrible season last year, where franchise Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked, 62 times!
A fairly mid-range schedule in terms of difficulty, the season will start off hard with the three ‘projected’ hardest games in the first six weeks – followed by a game against the Jaguars in London in week 9 of the NFL season.
It was a disappointing end to the offseason for the Texans – former number 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney was traded to the Seattle Seahawks because he refused to sign the franchise tag.
Keep an eye on number 15 – WR Will Fuller as he looks to have a big year and score more touchdowns than WR DeAndre Hopkins who spends most plays being double-teamed against the best cornerback – giving Fuller the opportunity to flourish. Provided he can stay healthy which has not happened over his three seasons in the NFL.
Indianapolis ColtsEmbed from Getty Images
The Indianapolis Colts have lost a lot of Luck now. Literally, with Andrew Luck making a smart decision to retire – citing issues with injuries and rehab complications over the recent years.
Former back-up to Tom Brady and Jimmy Garappolo – Jacoby Brisset takes the reins of the franchise and will have everything at his disposal with a great offence as he looks to show that a Brisset-led offence needs no Luck in 2019.
Although Brisset has struggled a bit in preseason he should be feeling in a good place with a talented team, and an offensive line which only gave away 18 sacks last season – which lead the NFL.
The Colts have a challenging schedule this year but they do not get stuck in any difficult stretches – their week 9 trip to the Steelers is between a home game against both the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins.
With the Colts in need of talent at WR, they drafted the insanely fast Parris Campbell out of Ohio State in the second round of this years NFL draft. Campbell ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine which was the best for receivers. Look for Campbell as he carves up with fast targets for yards after the catch.
Jacksonville JaguarsEmbed from Getty Images
The Jacksonville Jaguars were humbled in 2018. With a 5-11 finish, the Jags have a steady schedule this season, including no road games against the projected better teams from outside of the AFC South.
This season will hang in the balance of what the Jaguars can conjure up from Superbowl MVP Quarterback Nick Foles and Running Back Leonard Fournette.
Problem being, over his career Foles has been an average QB, ranking 23rd in total QBR amongst all passers since his rookie year in 2012. But hey, Foles is still a massive upgrade over Blake Bortles!
Given the Jaguars hired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo – Foles QB coach when he and the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl against the Patriots – you can bet your dollar the Jags are hoping this connection links up to create a productive partnership again.
Keep an eye on Rookie Josh Allen – the 2018 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Allen benefits big time from being on the field with the defensive Pro Bowl pass-rush stars in Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.
Tennessee TitansEmbed from Getty Images
Another year, another question aimed at QB Marcus Mariota – can he be great?
The Tennessee Titans took their foot off at the end of the 2018 season, and this year’s tougher home schedule could see the trend continue.
The offseason has been fairly lacklustre for a team playing in a difficult AFC South, however, the team made a decent push to improve the offensive side of the ball, signing Left Guard Rodger Saffold to a four-year deal and Wide Receiver Adam Humphrees. The Titans picked up WR A.J. Brown in the second round, and Guard Nate Davis in the third.
It is clear that the success of the Titans depends on whether the Offensive Line can keep Marcus Mariota in an upright position and let him shuttle out the ball to the offence.
Mariota is playing in the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, so no doubt Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is looking to have a clear evaluation of Mariota to decide whether the two ink a deal for the future of the franchise with Mariota.
For what it’s worth, Ryan Tannehill was traded to the Titans as a piece of insurance for Mariota.
AFC East Preview
Buffalo BillsEmbed from Getty Images
Where to for Josh Allen from here?
The Buffalo Bills want to know if Allen is able to move on from his ‘hero ball’ days and look at using his check-downs – instead of just hoofing the football down the field. The Bills success this year will hinge on whether Allen can secure the football.
In terms of schedule, the Bills have several winnable games – but have some difficult games in the second half of the season, including the two games against the Patriots year-in-year-out.
While we are expecting a similar season to the last, the Bills do have an improved offensive line with Quinton Spain, Ty Nsekhe, Cody Ford, and Mitch Morse, as well as nice additions to the WR corps in Cole Beasley.
The Bills released Shady McCoy who signed with the Chiefs last week but bolstered the backfield with signings of Veteran Frank Gore and Devin Singletary.
It is disappointing overall to think the Bills will have a similar season to last with one of the easiest schedules in the league.
Lookout for WR Cole Beasley as he is considered a shoo-in to crack a 100-catch season this year being one of the Bills primary targets. Beasley has reliable hands and will look to average the 6.3 targets he needs if he is to crack the 100-catch mark.
Miami DolphinsEmbed from Getty Images
It is a tough season ahead for the Miami Dolphins and there won’t be too much to look forward to.
The same can be said for Josh Rosen as he looks to show enough to head coach Brian Flores to seal the starting Quarterback job. Flores still believes Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better option for the Dolphins at QB, but the problem is Rosen has still yet to be given a roster that will provide him with the chance to flourish.
It’s no secret – 2019 is a rebuilding year for the Miami Dolphins.
They may manage a few wins against some of the other struggling teams, but they have a large number of games against playoff teams from last year. You could likely bet that the Miami Dolphins will be at the head of the line for the 2020 NFL draft’s number one pick.
On top of this – Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier is set to have almost $150 million AUD in cap space to go with at least 12 draft picks.
Dolphins fans may want to leave the TV off in September – they face the Ravens, Patriots, Cowboys, and the Chargers. Not something to look forward to… at least three of those games will be played in the hot and muggy Miami heat.
New England PatriotsEmbed from Getty Images
Life after Rob Gronkowski, will the fun come from? will the season hurt Tom Brady without his dominate tight end?
Well, at least we know winning is fun and the Patriots will do a lot of winning as always. Brady signed a two-year extension and looks set to stick to his comments of playing till he was 45.
The Patriots have looked impressive in the preseason, but there is still the question of what lies instore at tight end. We would not be surprised if the Patriots simply move on from the tight end playing a big role in their offence.
Overall, the offseason was same-old, same-old.
A bunch of big-time players moved on with the Patriots always choosing to let go of players wanting big paydays. Defensive End Trey Flowers went to Detroit to link up with former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia, while Offensive Tackle Trent Brown departed to the Raiders.
Linebacker Jamie Collins returns to the team and looks set for a key piece in the Bellichick defence. The 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn is returning from injury and is the starting Left Tackle.
Unfortunately, first-rounder N’Keal Harry has been placed on injured reserve after pulling up with an injury during practice with the Lions in August and then pulling out of the preseason opener. It is hard to doubt the Patriots though, their schedule is the easiest in the league. They have Tom Brady, Julian Edelman Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon (who knows what will happen), Demarius Thomas, and undrafted rookie WR’s Jakobi Meyers from NC State, and Gunner Olszewski of Bemidji State (yes, it is a real college).
Put your money on an AFC East title, an AFC Championship Game appearance, and probably home-field advantage through the playoffs.
Damn, Brady and Bellichick.
New York JetsEmbed from Getty Images
The year looks to be a rebuild for the New York Jets, while new head coach Adam Gase hopes to get more productivity out of second-year Quarterback Sam Darnold.
The signing of superstar Running Back, Le’Veon Bell will take some pressure off Darnold and improve the offence – provided Bell can show the productivity after setting out a year at the Steelers.
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has a big task to fix the problems of the Jets’ defence from last season. At least they have the second easiest schedule in the league. Will this be a tour of pain from Darnold, Bell and co?
The offseason was turbulent, but the Jets did well in the end. The signing of WR Jamison Crowder from Washington, and the hiring of Adam Gase – the organisations first Offensive-minded head coach since 1996 with Rich Kotite!
Look out for the high-flying season set for Robby Anderson at WR. He has a great rapport with Sam Darnold and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. A big year for Anderson will spell a big cash reward come Christmas time!
AFC West Preview
Kansas City ChiefsEmbed from Getty Images
There are three things we know about the Kansas City Chiefs. One, they are seriously fun to watch. Two, they are stacked with talent – seven players landed in the NFL Rank Top 100. Three, Mahomes has a bazooka for an arm.
The offence was seriously impressive in 2018, which culminated with Patrick Mahomes being the youngest NFL MVP since Dan Marino. Mahomes did so in his second year in the league, his first as a starter.
However, last season, many of the Chiefs’ games were shootouts – including the game against the Rams which was voted best game of the season.
The question is has the defence improved? Well, it won’t be for lack of trying. The Chiefs’ turned over just about everything in their defence with the signing of Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, four new assistants, moved to a 4-3 base defence and put big money on the table for Safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Keep an eye on week 14 of the NFL season as the Chiefs travel to New England to face the Patriots in what would likely be considered a game which settles home-field advantage through the playoffs.
Los Angeles ChargersEmbed from Getty Images
How much longer does Phillip Rivers have?
The Chargers had a great year in 2018 and their roster is seriously stacked with talent – very underrated too – the team had six players in the NFL Rank Top 100. The defence will suffer from All-Pro Safety Derwin James being out until about November thanks to a fracture in his right foot.
Thankfully for the Chargers, they have one of the best defences, with Joey Bosa, Casey Hayward, Melvin Ingram, and Thomas Davis – someone will need to step up and lead though.
There is a lot to be happy for with the Chargers, this season looks like the best year for them to make the Super Bowl and winning the AFC West is likely a given.
It would be better if the Melvin Gordon saga could be handled, but the hold out looks set to continue to the regular season.
We are thinking the AFC Championship Game will feature the Charges against the Patriots. Also, keep an eye on Joey Bosa as he looks set to pick up the NFL sack title. Bosa had a poor 2018 season plagued with injury but says that he is fully rehab’d and more explosive than ever.
Denver BroncosEmbed from Getty Images
Joe Flacco had quite the workout in the preseason and appears to be refreshed with the new start in Denver.
The season will be tough for the Broncos, but they won’t roll over for any team as they still look to be a tough team to grind out a win over at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
We think a .500 season is on the cards, but for Denver’s sake, hopefully, they find their Quarterback for the next few years with Flacco. It will be difficult with one of the hardest schedules ahead.
As always, any team coming against the Broncos will have to deal with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb heaping on the pressure. Last season both almost made the top five sacks in the league, Miller finishing fourth at 14.5 sacks and Chubb with 12 sacks.
All Flacco needs to do is get the team in the lead. Not hard, right?
Oakland RaidersEmbed from Getty Images
HBO’s Hard Knocks has shown many things of the Oakland Raiders this offseason. Unfortunately for fans, there has been more of superstar signing Antonio Brown’s feet and helmet than his stints on the field.
The Oakland roster is getting younger, faster, and edgier. The team has certainly improved in the offseason but there are still questions about whether they can get it done… and just how long Antonio Brown will be in Oakland/Las Vegas.
The Raiders have one of the harder schedules but we still expect them to come out as a wild card and the third team from the AFC West into the playoffs.
Antonio Brown has been targetted on average 11 times in games, will he keep it cool if Quarterback Derek Carr fails to get him the ball?
UPDATE: Things are looking worse for the Raiders and their relationship with Antonio Brown – reports suggesting that the Raiders and General Manager Mike Mayock apparently to suspend Antonio.
This suspension is important because it would void (given normal contract language) the $42.5 million AUD in contract guarantees – but, if Antonio is on the active roster on the opening day of the season the first year portion of those guarantees would become fully guaranteed because of his status as a veteran. Suspension looks likely, with a departure to come.
NFC Conference NFL Preview
NFC North Preview
Minnesota VikingsEmbed from Getty Images
The Vikings’ defence needs to get back to where it was before it was plagued with injuries.
A similar season is expected from the Vikings and Dalvin Cook has been promising again in the preseason. You can bet to see the Vikings move from being the worst rushing offence last season to top-five this season through Dalvin Cook and Offensive Line coach Rick Dennison.
Unfortunately for Vikings’ fans, this looks to be the final year of their title window. If they do not get it done this year with the talent they have supporting Quarterback Kirk Cousins, it is hard to see them getting the job done in a couple of years when plagued with money and age factors in the core squad.
The Vikings’ have a host of looks available in their nickel packages, which were played 77% of the time last season.
Green Bay PackersEmbed from Getty Images
The big question for Green Bay is whether Quarterback Aaron Rodgers can click with new head coach Matt LaFleur.
Rodgers has been lucky to have a stable coaching system during his career, but this year is a new offence to Rodgers and a new system altogether.
You could likely expect much of the same, with Rodgers being needed to carry the team or get them over the line in some difficult matchups, made harder now that Khalil Mack is on the other side of the ball, twice every year.
The Packers have a difficult stretch to close out the season with four of their final six games of the regular season, away games.
The over/under for Rodgers is 31.5 touchdown passes and you would be hard-pressed to think he would be over here. There will certainly be an adjustment period in the offence, and at the end of the day – even if Rodgers is finding his prime individually – the rest of the offence still needs to click with the offence.
Detroit LionsEmbed from Getty Images
You have to feel for Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. With new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, this will be the fifth offence that Stafford has had to adjust to.
For the Lions, their offence has largely been covered up in preseason but we expect there to be more play-action and running. If it is successful the Lions have a chance to battle for the NFC North title, but if it doesn’t go well then it could be a long and cold season in Detroit.
The Defence was bolstered with the addition of Defensive End Trey Flowers and Cornerback Justin Coleman.
Unfortunately, the Lions face a daunting home schedule against highly ranked teams but is also one of two teams that do not play a team coming off a bye-week or a longer week (Thursday Night Football game), the other team is the LA Chargers.
Chicago BearsEmbed from Getty Images
The Chicago Bears had a great season last year and their defence is one likely the best in the league this season. But the problem lies with their Quarterback still being Mitch Trubisky.
Trubisky didn’t feature much in the preseason and it has been hard to gauge his progress over his time in the league. It is just a really difficult task to consider whether he is the elite passer that the team needs.
Expect a similar season for the Bears, with Khalil Mack and co, also with a new-look defence under Chuck Pagano.
Unfortunately, the Bears also have a significantly tougher schedule this season. Keep an eye on Khalil Mack as he is relishing his time in Chicago and looks set to finish the season with at least 20 sacks.
NFC South Preview
Atlanta FalconsEmbed from Getty Images
It’s no secret, the Atlanta Falcons have been in a decline in recent years. But the pure talent in their team and the overall consistency of average-to-great statistics for Quarterback Matt Ryan keeps the falcons a what-if team each year.
Head coach Dan Quinn is taking on a lot since moving on from Marquand Manuel and taking over on defensive play-calling duties.
The Falcons ownership is confident they will reach a deal with their hall-of-fame bound WR Julio Jones, but the real question is whether Matt Ryan can lead the team back to the super bowl – we think not.
The schedule is difficult in the early days for the Falcons with games at the Vikings and then hosting the Eagles, followed by three games within the NFC South.
Keep your eyes on WR Calvin Ridley who is in his second year and set to have a good year, albeit, behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the depth chart. In his rookie season last year, Ridley had a catch percentage of 70% and 10 touchdowns. While there is plenty of talent ahead of him, the Falcons air-raid, pass-heavy offence will afford him some time on the field.
New Orleans SaintsEmbed from Getty Images
Will the Saints defensive line keep their dominance this year? Last season they ranked second for run defence, and fifth in total sacks.
To add to Drew Brees arsenal of targets the Saints signed veteran tight end Jared Cook to complement wide receiver, Michael Thomas.
You can put your dollar on the Saints fighting for the NFC South title again this year. The only minor worry for supporters is will Drew Brees be firing this year right through to the playoffs?
Alvin Kamara will look to continue the strong start to his career with a large volume of catches now that Mark Ingram is gone. The Saints signed veteran running back Latavius Murray too which will cover the snaps when Kamara is resting.
Will Drew Brees get another Super Bowl win, in 2020?
Carolina PanthersEmbed from Getty Images
A similar question to seasons gone by – can Quarterback Cam Newton stay healthy? Cam has been in a decline of form since his 2015 MVP season and is coming back from shoulder surgery for the second time in three seasons.
There is no quality at backup quarterback for the Panthers and the team would have to be wondering whether or not they need to look at drafting a quarterback for the future.
Bold predictions are being made across the league that the Panthers will lead the league in sacks thanks to rookie Brian Burns being a favourite for NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Veteran Gerald McCoy, and Bruce Irvin.
For the Panthers to see success this season, Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey will need to be on the same wavelength. Last season McCaffrey featured in 91.3% of the offensive plays – they will need to ease back on his snaps if he is to remain healthy for the season.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersEmbed from Getty Images
There are two stand-outs for the Buccaneers season – can Bruce Arians turn this team around? and what will become of Jameis Winston?
2018 was a bad season for the Buccaneers and they will no doubt be hoping for some improvement. Looking on the positive side, at least of their nine losses last season – six were by a touchdown or less. Arians has a penchant for success in close games – hopefully this will rub-off onto the new team?
Being in one of the stronger divisions in the NFL, the Buccaneers have a hard task most years. Jameis Winston will need to show what he can do as a decision is looming over whether the Buccaneers go in a different direction by moving on from their unreliable first-round pick.
NFC East Preview
Philadelphia EaglesEmbed from Getty Images
With Nick Foles moving on from the team, can Quarterback Carson Wentz stay healthy?
Wentz suffered significant injuries in his first two seasons but has since overhauled his diet and workouts, while planning to be much smarter about taking hits. Wentz needs to show that he can last a 16 plus game season, and this season he would be a happy man to do so thanks to the added weapons on offence.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson returns to Philly and running backs Jordan Howard, and rookie Miles Sanders will complement the Eagles system well.
The defence will need to step-up in terms of production now that Chris Long and Michael Bennet had moved on. Overall, the team is very well-balanced but it all comes down to Wentz in an extremely challenging and never-say-never NFC East.
Dallas CowboysEmbed from Getty Images
Ezekiel Elliott has been asking for a feed, and he got it this week as he signed a $132 million AUD deal with the Cowboys. Now is the time to continue showing up though and maintain the dominance he has had since coming out of Ohio State.
The Cowboys have a relatively easy schedule and will need to stay consistent throughout the season as they play Super Bowl contenders late in the season. The roster is stacked with talent though so an NFC East title is warranted, but can they get past the divisional round finally?
Jason Garrett will need to get results this year if he intends on re-signing with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones as the head coach of ‘America’s Team’.
Oh, and then there is the cloud surrounding Dak Prescott demanding a $40 million per year deal (Haha).
New York GiantsEmbed from Getty Images
There has to be one real question for the New York Giants season – do we bench Eli yet?
It has been a difficult offseason for the Giants, only made worse by the continual discussion surrounding rookie Quarterback Daniel Jones’ strong showing in the preseason – and the continued dismal performances of Eli Manning.
The team has assured the media that Manning is the starter but… you know. It only takes a couple of games for Manning to remind everyone.
Overall, the Giants have made some big moves this offseason when they traded the interuption-filled WR Odell Beckham Jr to the Browns, Olivier Vernon, and let Landon Collins walk. They improved with the addition of safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler. While much of the rebuild is complete, there are still a few key pieces to tidy up – the team will feel good knowing they have their running back for the future in Sayquon Barkley and (presumably) their future quarterback in Eli Manning 2.0 aka Daniel Jones.
The NFC East is going to be too much of a challenge for the Giants this year.
Washington RedskinsEmbed from Getty Images
A difficult season looms for the Washington Redskins. They may have stolen Dwayne Harris in the NFL draft, but they still have a dysfunctional front office and if Jay Gruden fails to get results this year, surely his job must be on the line?
Gruden has announced Case Keenum the starter at quarterback – but if Keenum fails to provide in the difficult first half of the season for Washington, fans will be quick to call for Dwayne Harris.
The rookie showed promise in the preseason, but still needs some work and would do better sitting out for a year. Knowing how Dan Snyder and the Washington front office work – bet your bottom dollar on Dwayne Harris being thrown in the deep end somewhere around weeks four to six.
Or there will be more quarterback controversy…
The offensive line needs a lot of work and the defence could do with improvements. Kerrigan and co need to step up this year in an NFC East division which has plenty of competition.
NFC West Preview
Los Angeles RamsEmbed from Getty Images
The LA Rams have seen a tonne of success since they brought in Sean McVeigh from Washington to be the head coach.
He has turned the franchise on its head, making Jared Goff into a $200 million AUD man – with $160 million of that in record-setting guarantees.
It is going to be a big year for the LA Rams as they look to head back to the Super Bowl. The team added veteran safety Eric Weddle and OLB Clay Matthews from the Packers. Aaron Donald is the best player in the NFL and will look to break former Giants LB Michael Strahan’s sack record of 22.5 sacks in a season.
Oh, and Donald will also look to become the first player to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three years in a row. As well as being named NFL MVP – a feat which only legendary duo Alan Page and Lawrence Taylor as the only defensive players to do so.
To make the pot even better, Todd Gurley rushed for 1200 yards in back-to-back seasons and had a league-leading high of 21 touchdowns in 2018 – even with a sore knee keeping him out of the last two weeks. This season, Gurley and the Rams will be hoping he can stay healthy as they look for another deep season, culminating in a sweet Super Bowl victory.
Seattle SeahawksEmbed from Getty Images
Think about it, no player has a heavier weight on their shoulders than that of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Since the Legion of Boom broke up and the disparaging loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in 2014 – the Seahawks have not been the same, and it has been left up to Wilson to pull a rabbit out of the hat – on just about every play.
The Seahawks offseason was busy, they started it with a league-low four draft picks and big paydays to Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner at about $31 million AUD each per season.
Trades brought in Jadevon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah on one-year deals and making the Seahawks edge rushers dominant once Jarran Reed returns from suspension mid-way through the season.
It will be interesting to see how much the Seahawks rely on Russell Wilson in the 2019/2020 NFL season.
San Francisco 49ersEmbed from Getty Images
Jimmy G returns for the San Francisco 49ers, and in preseason he has looked rusty in his first game back.
Although injuries plagued their season last year, the 49ers are hoping players make smarter choices (yes, Jimmy G you aren’t a RB) and avoid injuries derailing another season.
The 49ers made a few big plays in the offseason and it was obvious where they were looking to improve – the pass rush. The 49ers signed Dee Ford to a five-year deal and picked Nick Bosa second overall in the NFL draft.
With a fairly difficult schedule, also having to play twice against teams coming off of bye-weeks in Green Bay and Carolina.
The 49ers will also be hoping Earl Thomas can have a big year. When everything is said and done, a Kyle Shannahan lead offence always has the opportunity for greatness as we have seen in the past.
Arizona CardinalsEmbed from Getty Images
The Arizona Cardinals opted for short but popular, Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma with the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.
They moved on from their previous first-round draft pick, QB Josh Rosen who they picked with the 10th overall pick in 2018. Moved on from their first season head coach after a 3 win season, and the new head coach is also a first-timer in the very pro-air-raid offence, Kliff Kingsbury.
So, as we can see… Arizona has done a lot of moving… but can they move the chains? That is what everyone will be wanting to know.
Can Kliff Kingsbury’s offence will work in the NFL, but with a lacklustre roster – how bad will it get for the Cardinals in 2019?
You would be bold to predict the Cardinals would lead the NFL in scoring, but this seems a far cry from what will be the likely scenario, especially in a dominant division.
AFC Division Predictions
AFC North Rankings
- Cleveland Browns 10-6
- Baltimore Ravens 9-7
- Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8
- Cincinnati Bengals 5-11
AFC South Rankings
- Indianapolis Colts 9-7
- Houston Texans 8-8
- Tennessee Titans 7-9
- Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10
AFC East Rankings
- New England Patriots 12-4
- New York Jets 8-8
- Buffalo Bills 6-10
- Miami Dolphins 4-12
AFC West Rankings
- Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
- Los Angeles Chargers 11-5
- Oakland Raiders 7-9
- Denver Broncos 5-11
NFC Division Predictions
NFC North Rankings
- Minnesota Vikings 10-6
- Green Bay Packers 10-6
- Chicago Bears 9-7
- Detroit Lions 7-9
NFC South Rankings
- New Orleans Saints 11-5
- Atlanta Falcons 9-7
- Carolina Panthers 7-9
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-11
NFC East Rankings
- Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
- Dallas Cowboys 10-6
- Washington Redskins 5-11
- New York Giants 4-12
NFC West Rankings
- Los Angeles Rams 11-5
- Seattle Seahawks 9-7
- San Francisco 49ers 8-8
- Arizona Cardinals 4-12