NFL Season Tips
- Bruce Arians delivered a 4th straight winning season as Head Coach, and 3rd straight as head of the Cardinals. This team ranked #1 on offense & #5 on defence before an obliteration at the hands of the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game.
- Their defence has been significantly strengthened in the off-season, #29 pick in the draft Nkemdiche slotting in as Defensive Tackle & acquiring Chandler Jones who posted 12.5 sacks last season. Carson Palmer faces major questions though, he threw 35 TD & averaged 8.7 yards per attempt, all career highs for a 36 year old. Larry Fitzgerald has been an inspiration, but you feel his level will begin to drop soon, now entering a 13th NFL campaign.
- Schedule wise, the Seahawks are much more kindly treated this season, 5 games against teams that played in the playoffs. Their defensive machine has lost some depth, but the majority of this team reached the 2013 & 2014 Super Bowl, so there’ll be little to hide behind if performances are poor.
- Russell Wilson carried the offense last season, picking up the #1 QB rating, but his offensive line looks like it will have major problems again. They’ll feature heavily, but this unit is far from complete.
Los Angeles Rams
- All hopes seem to be pinned on Jared Goff, expected to be thrown in at the deep end straight away. Not easy for a rookie QB, especially when the offense was ranked last in the league last season. Their offensive line looks weak and some key veterans were allowed to leave to free up cap space.
- Todd Gurley & Kenny Brit are special talents but must remain healthy, and Head Coach Jeff Fisher will surely be removed should he have a 5th straight losing season with this team.
San Francisco 49ers
- A disastrous year following three straight NFC Championship appearances, and the Chip Kelly rebuild is in full swing. Blaine Gabbert looks more likely to be the starting QB, and the franchises preference to keep their large cap space for future moves has left holes all over the roster.
- They ranked #31 on offense & #29 on defence last season, and with massive deficiencies in their offensive & defensive lines, the 16/17 season looks like a miserable one for Niners fans.
- 2015 was a real breakout year for the Panthers, and their statistics showed why this team finished 15-1 & reached the Super Bowl. They led the league in takeaways & point differential, and their offense came alive due to Cam Newton’s remarkable development in his 4th year as a starter.
- Their offense will be feared again, but their secondary has been hit hard. Josh Norman joined the Redskins, Charles Tillman retired and Roman Harper has gone to divisional rivals New Orleans. They will be a force but will need their draft picks to step up and fill the gaps left in the roster.
- The Falcons started the season 6-1, but quickly faltered dropping 7 of the next 9 games to finish 8-8. The Falcons made some moves in free agency, signing Alex Mack, who’ll team up with Kyle Shanahan again & WR Mohammed Sanu.
- Their top two draft picks fill the safety & LB spots, and there’ll be pressure on these guys to perform, the Falcons have salary cap difficulties. The pass rush was deeply affected by Vic Beasley’s injury, and they’ll hope he can build on a solid rookie year.
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints offense was ranked #2 in the league, but their defence was probably the worst in league history. Dennis Allen is the new defensive coordinator and immediately aimed to build with the signing of DL Nick Fairley & taking defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins in the draft.
- Salary Cap is a major stumbling block, and there seems to be trouble brewing in the Drew Brees camp also. They’ll struggle to improve, mainly due to having no depth & many spots still to be filled in the secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jameis Winston has shown solid minerals in his rookie season, and should continue a very promising development this year. Doug Martin sealing a new deal until 2020 will give even more confidence to an offense ranked #5 in the NFL last year.
- The Buccaneers were sharp in the off-season, signings all coming on the defensive side after they intercepted just 6 passes in 2015. The addition of Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes & Darryl Smith will help, and while the schedule is tough, Buccaneers fans can be optimistic.
- The Vikings wonderful improvement from 7-9 in 2014 to 11-5 was torn apart with a missed field goal from 27 yards in the wildcard round. Mike Zimmer has built a strong defence and upgrades to the offensive line should allow Teddy Bridgewater more time to execute his passing game.
- Laquon Treadwell, #23 pick overall is a great addition at WR, but the Vikings will need to be stronger on offense this season, they were ranked #29 in the league last season. This year’s schedule is much tougher and more productivity will be required to regain a playoff spot.
Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers pulled off some miracle plays last season, but his overall stats took a hit. The Packers dropped from #1 on scoring offense to #15, but this seasons schedule is much more manageable.
- The return of Jordy Nelson at WR will be important, but they are lacking real depth in these positions, injuries killed the productivity of Rodgers last season and if injuries raise their head again it will be troublesome. They should really be winning this division, and a new coaching setup + very talented defence will make them serious title contenders.
- Give credit to Detroit, they rallied from 1-7 start to earn a respectable 7-9 finish to the season. The loss of Calvin Johnson can be looked past as they’ve made some shrewd deals in the off-season. Marvin Jones joins Golden Tate & Eric Ebron to form an exciting receiving partnership.
- Rookies Taylor Decker & A ’Shawn Robinson are interesting prospects and the acquisition of Schwartz & Charles are all positives. If Matthew Stafford can maintain the form he found near the end of last season, Lions fans may have something to cheer about.
- The Bears finally got the best from Jay Cutler, he posted a career high 92.3 passer rating, but it will be fascinating to see if the departure of offensive coordinator Adam Gase puts the QB on the back foot yet again. Free agency was based around improving their “D” and the signings of Freeman & Trevathan should prove beneficial.
- Their secondary wasn’t upgraded and they managed just 8 INT’s last season. Playing at home was also a nightmare, they’re 3-13 the past two seasons in Soldier Field. Bears fans should prepare for another tough season.
- The Redskins landing Josh Norman was a major statement in free agency, as they look to defend their Divisional Crown. Kirk Cousins will have to be much more consistent if he’s to be the face of this franchise. He finished #16 in the ratings last season, and a long-term deal will hinge on how he performs in 2016.
- There’s a major problem at the RB position. They allowed Alfred Morris to join the Cowboys, leaving them with Matt Jones as a starter. Jones has one of the highest fumble rates in the league, and it seems as if there passing game will dominate any potential success they’ll have this season.
- The Eagles regression began last season, going 7-9 after two consecutive 10-6 seasons. The QB debate rages on, Sam Bradford led the league in completed passes under pressure but again his health comes into question. Philadelphia find themselves with #2 overall pick Carson Wentz as backup, so a fascinating battle between those two men awaits.
- They had no receivers finish with a positive grade last season, so the bundle of talent they picked up must improve. Their offensive line improved significantly in free agency, Brooks & Wisniewski bringing strength & depth. This is a tough division, but the Eagles have the potential to take it.
New York Giants
- The Giants finished 6-10 last season, but could easily have made the playoffs, dropping leads late in multiple games. That was the 3rd consecutive season with a losing record, and the departure of Tom Coughlin followed soon after.
- Eli Manning will have some targets to hit this season, Victor Cruz returns from injury, joining Odell Beckham & 2nd round draft pick Sterling Shepard as a fearsome big three. Their Secondary needs drastic improvement, rookie safety Landon Collins allowed over 600 passing yards, the most in the league. The Giants need to be sharper closing out games, but can certainly contend for a playoff place.
- Injuries completely derailed the Cowboys last season, having reached the NFC Divisional round the previous post-season. Again all results will depend on Tony Romo, and the 36 year old broke down with injury numerous times last season. The run game will be a significant backup, drafting #4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliot, who will be aided by probably the best offensive line in the league.
- The secondary is the major weak link, their starters allowed 14 touchdowns – 0 interceptions, which tells its own story. What lies in wait for Cowboys fans this season is tough to predict, but Tony Romo’s health will be a major factor.
NFL season Tips
- Seattle Seahawks to win NFC West – 1.83 Paddy Power
- Green Bay Packers to win NFC North – 1.66 Bet365
- Cleveland Browns under 4.5 season wins – 2.00 Bet365
- Jacksonville Jaguars under 7.5 season wins – 1.90 Bet365
- Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl – 9.50 Paddy Power
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