Each NFC East Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help.  Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks.  Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player.  I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the NFC East:

  1. ezekiel-elliotDallas Cowboys- The Cowboys put together a season that seemed to have come right outside of a movie script.  The veteran qb goes down with an injury and it is up to a couple of hotshot rookies to keep the team afloat until the star veteran could return.  Except, the veteran never returned and not because of his injury being too severe, the hotshot rookies were on a roll and looked unstoppable.  They seemed to be taking the team over in the same kind of way that Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk took over the Rams in their first years starting on the team, except Zeke and Dak were true rookies.  That was all until the team got to the playoffs and lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in their first playoff game.  Now it is time for them to find their flaws and the biggest one is their ability to rush the passer consistently on defense.  They might not be in this position where their biggest need is at this position if Randy Gregory didn’t end up becoming a head case, but it is where they are now.  And this draft, besides just being a deep edge rusher draft is also a draft where a late first round prospect at edge rusher plays for a Lovie Smith in college who runs the same defense as Rod Marinelli with a lot of the same terminology in Dawuane Smoot out of Illinois.  Dallas really is building something special here, and once they get a consistent pass rush, they can potentially advance to the next round of the playoffs.
  2. landon-collinsNew York Giants- Going into the season, most Giants fans expected the Giants to have the most explosive offense in the NFC East and one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL while their defense would be improved from the worst ranked defense in the league but not being anything special.  And that right there is why the games are played.  The Giants’ defense turned into one of the very best units in the NFL with all 3 of their big free agent acquisitions proving their worth, a 2nd year pro at safety going from looking lost in coverage into arguably the best safety in the NFL, and strong showings from multiple rookies.  So yea, for now the Giants’ biggest need isn’t on that side of the ball.  Their offense on the other hand looked like it was a Ferrari parked in a garage and not moving because no one knew where the keys were.  There wasn’t a 100 yard rushing effort by a running back until week 17, Victor Cruz couldn’t get separation on the outside, Eli Manning was missing some throws, the tight ends looked like they had anchors strapped to their feet after the catch, but most importantly was that the Giants had some of, if not the very worst offensive tackle play on both sides of offensive line in the NFL.  Eli Manning threw the ball sooner after the snap than any other quarterback in the league yet he was still constantly under pressure.  Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart are not good enough to be starting tackles in the NFL, and their inability effected how every other person on the offense struggled.  Now, I have said before that this draft is a weak offensive tackle draft, but late in the first round is where a team can actually get value at the position in this year’s draft.  If the Giants can fix their offensive tackle problems, they may be able to find the keys to the Odell Beckham Jr lead Ferrari.
  3. trent-williamsWashington Redskins- Coming off their first playoff appearance since 2012, the Redskins had high expectations for this past season.  On offense, they had some of the most yards in the league behind Kirk Cousins throwing for over 4900 yards and a receiving corps that ran deep with 2 great receiving threats at tight end.  They had a very good offensive line and they had a developing running back in Robert Kelly who can stand to have a change of pace backfield mate.  Their defense on the other hand needs some help.  They were the worst team in the NFL in 3rd down defense, allowing 46.63% of all third downs to become first downs.  By comparison, the Buccaneers who were first in the NFL in that category allowed just 34..36% of third downs to be converted.  That big of a difference is unacceptable and something needs to be done to fix that.  One thing that would help them greatly is an inside linebacker who can go out in coverage and stop the run equally well.  Mason Foster was adequate at that, but he doesn’t have sideline to sideline speed and none of the other linebackers on the roster have that kind of skill since Su’a Cravens will be moved to strong safety which will help that position.  If the Redskins get a speedy linebacker to compliment Foster, they will be a lot closer to having a competitive defense.
  4. NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia EaglesPhiladelphia Eagles- The Eagles came into the year with a rookie qb pegged as the starter after they traded away Sam Bradford with little time before the start of the season.  Carson Wentz started out fast but slowed down as the season went on.  They also switched to a new scheme on defense, switching to a 4-3 wide nine scheme from a 3-4 two gap system and for the front 7 it worked out wonderfully.  Brandon Graham had a career year, Fletcher Cox lived up to his contract, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham were great at linebacker, and in the secondary Malcolm Jenkins showed how he is a top 5 safety.  But both their offense and defense had an Achilles heel.  For the offense it was their wide receiving corps which was one of the worst in the league with only Jordan Matthews playing at a passable level on offense while on defense their best corner back  was Leodis McKelvin who isn’t good enough to be a top 2 corner on most teams in the NFL.  According to Pro Football Focus they had the lowest ranked receiver in the NFL in Nelson Agholar and the lowest ranked corner in the NFL in Jalen Mills.  Both of these positions are in dire need of help, but their receivers need to improve to help the development of Carson Wentz.  If they get a good wide receiver, they may be able to help Carson Wentz into not having a near 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio in his 2nd year and may make the Eagles’ offense into a more serious threat across the board.

Previous articles in this series:

AFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-north-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC West- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need-2/

“West Coast is the best Coast and you have to be a Beast to live in the East”

By Lawrence Edwards

It’s already week 11 in the NFL season. Man! time has really flown by. It’s November and all the games from here on out have playoff implications for many teams, specifically in the NFL’s two best divisions, the AFC West and NFC East. The AFC West has 3 teams sitting at 7-2 after week 11, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. One of these 3 teams will most likely be in the AFC Championship taking on New England.Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers - Week 10 Picks And ... Raiders run past Broncos to take hold of AFC West lead - Sportsnet.ca Kansas City is probably the strongest team out of the West based on the team being well rounded on both sides of the ball, but Oakland is a potential juggernaut offensively and the defense showed signs of living up to it’s potential before the bye. I still find it rather impressive how Kansas City can lose it’s franchise and pro bowl rusher and still have the talent to never miss a beat in the run game. Spencer Ware will the face of that backfield for some time. Denver is more of the   2016 AFC West NFL Betting Preview: Champion Broncos Still Headline the ... card here. The Broncos have a super bowl caliber defense that can win championships but the sub par play of the offense is a major achillies heel. Yes the defense is capable of stopping teams like New England, but what happens when Tom Brady has one of those games where the defense doesn’t matter? Trevor Seimian will not be even close to capable of matching Brady point for point. Still the Denver defense and offense have done just enough to be sitting at 7-2 with a shot to still take the division. The AFC West is the toughest division in the league right now and all three of these teams are probably dead set on knocking off the AFC favorites Patriots when the time comes.

 

In the NFC East there is much less room for mistakes, because unlike the AFC West, not every team has the same amount of wins. The Dallas Cowboys sit atop the NFL with a record of 8-1 thanks to the stellar play of the offensive live and the two rookie sensations.... Pittsburgh This Weekend (11-11 through 11-13) | Pittsburgh Beautiful Coming in at #2 is the New York Giants and they are a game and half behind Dallas with a record of 6-3. The win in the season opener puts the Giants within striking distance of catching the Cowboys. Dallas would need to drop a game and lose to New York on December 11th for that to happen. The Redskins are 5-3 and the Philly brings up the rear at 5-4 but sit at 0-3 in the division. As it stands today and if they can keep pulling out wins, the NFC East would send 3 teams to the playoffs; The Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins. That’s right, in just one season the East has gone from least to beast. The division is made up of offenses who can light up a score board and relentless bend but don’t break defenses who may not always wow you with crazy amounts of sacks and flashy plays but will keep you out of the end zone at critical moments and step up to the plate when they’re called upon to give the offense another chance. The play calling of Ben McAdoo has been getting better and better since coming out of the bye week and the Giants offense is beginning to click and take shape. The run game however still needs work, they did however have one of their best ground performances against the Bengals on Sunday. Quick Notes November 14, 2016 Giants vs Bengals - Bleedbigblue.com tempRedskins-Vikings-HighlightsRedskins-Vikings-AlumniGC1_1019--nfl ... The Redskins are another team who’s offense is starting to play to its potential. Although the Vikings have been on the decline the Skins put up an impressive performance against one of the NFL’s best defenses and their defense really came to play making critical plays in key moments that helped them secure the victory. The room for mistakes for everyone besides Dallas is extremely scarce. A loss gives Dallas more separation and other teams more momentum to move up into your place. From here on out for the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles, every game is a must win game.

 

What to look forward to in Week 9!

WESTERN SHOWDOWN!

Photos - Week 10: Broncos vs Raiders — NFL RUSH Derek Carr and the hot Oakland Raiders host Von Miller and the Denver Broncos in a prime time Sunday night match up. Both teams are coming in to the game at 6-2 with firm control over the AFC West on the line. Winner takes top seed in the AFC West and holds their own destiny to a ride into the post season, losing doesn’t necessarily put the other out of playoff contention but it will make the road to SB 51 much tougher and besides, no one likes to lose, especially to a division opponent. If the Raiders do pull off this win, it will be impressive against this Denver defense and Oakland will most likely make the playoffs for the first time in forever

BATTLE TO KEEP PACE WITH DALLAS!

From the Sidelines: Giants vs. Eagles (1/3)The New York Giants are the only team to beat the NFC leading Dallas Cowboys this season and the Philadelphia Eagles just blew a 10 point lead late in the 3rd Quarter against the Cowboys last week and allowed Jason Witten to catch his first touchdown of the season as a game winner…BUMMER! The Giants and the Eagles meet Sunday afternoon – both teams looking to go 5-3 on the season –  with an advantage to control their own destiny with at least a wild card spot for the playoffs. This game looms larger for New York. The Giants are coming off a bye week fully healthy, getting a downed Eagles team straight off of two division losses in back to back weeks. A win here will put them in the driver seat for a wild card spot and the opportunity to still take the division if Dallas drops a game and the Giants keep winning and knocks off Dallas when they meet again at MetLife. A loss for Philly here could put them in a detrimental state at 0-3 in the East and 4-4 on the year.The NFC East is getting very interesting!

“WAIT BATMAN, IT MIGHT BE A TRAP”

At 0-3, Terrelle Pryor Believes Cleveland Browns Can Go 13-0 The Rest ... Speaking of the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys are hot right now. Dak Prescott has matured as the season has gone on his confidence is through the roof. You can also send a lot of praise for his success to fellow rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott and that outstanding wall of an offensive line they have, the defense has been stepped up too. With all that being said, this should be an automatic W in the in win column right? Although I don’t for a second believe it will happen, Dallas could be staring in the face of a trap game this Sunday. Cleveland is 0-8 and  desperately looking for their first win. The game is at home and Dallas will be without two key cogs in their secondary. Barry Church and Morris Caliborne, the latter who has been having a pretty good season so far, will miss at least a month according to Jerry Jones. The Cleveland Browns have been competitive in all of their losses this season and surprisingly good, QB turned WR, Terrell Pryor has become a real threat in the passing game. He put up 101 yards on 6 catches last week against Derrell Revis and Pryor will look to take advantage of Dallas’s banged up secondary.

IT’S WEEK 9 AND THE NFC NORTH IS STILL WIDE OPEN!

Matthew Stafford, Fantasy Football Start or Sit, Detroit LionsI’m sure I am not the only one who thought around this time the Pack will be at least 8-1 and running away with the NFC North as they usually do, but that’s not the case. Also, just when you thought Minnesota’s defense was going to hide their mediocre offensive issues all the way to the first seed in the NFC, they go out and lose two back to back games, one to the hapless Chicago Bears where Jay Cutler threw for 252 yards and a TD and Jordan Howard ran for 153 yards and a TD.Everson Griffen of the Minnesota Vikings sacks of Aaron Rodgers of the ...

All of sudden they don’t look so tough. Detroit is 4-4 and 3rd in the North. A Detroit win in Minnesota on Sunday will put them in a good spot and even better if Green Bay loses to the Colts. From there on they would just have to take care of business on their end facing the Jaguars, Minnesota in Detroit, the Saints, Bears, New York Giants, Dallas, and what could potentially be the battle for the North against Green Bay at home to finish the season. The NFC North could very well send a 10-6 or 9-7 team to the playoffs if the Vikings lose this week and continue to decline. No one in this division have shown any signs of pulling away from the other.

I seriously think you should jump on this wave!

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, before I get started let me tell you that this isn’t a fad that will quickly fade out, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. It’s simple, I am not forcing you or trying to persuade you to do anything. I just want to share with you something that I know sports enthusiasts every where will enjoy and offer you the opportunity to be apart of something or get ahead of everyone else on a trend that is about to take the world by storm. From Football to Cricket we have something every sports will fall in love with. You have two options: Affiliate or Player. I will go in to great detail about both and most importantly the coming of a game changing sports app by United Games that is going to absolutely blow your mind!

Now what we are talking about here is an app that will let you enjoy your favorite sport interactively while watching the game. This app is going to bring a new dynamic way of playing of enjoying sports. It’s not just going to focus on the major sports but every sport.  The point is to get everyone to enjoy sports better, not just the people who have time for drafts and 4 different fantasy leagues or the ones who are good at selecting the right combination of players in order to enjoy the experience.

Now, as I previously mentioned you have two options to join this wave, either as a player or an affiliate. If you want to just be one of the first to enjoy the experience of this game changing app then sign up as a player for free. You will be a pre-registered player and once the app launches within the next 5 weeks you can begin enjoying your interactive sports experience and start earning some rewards and points. I don’t know about you but once I started playing fantasy football and basketball, the game became THAT much more interesting to me. I began to pay attention to things that I didn’t before. This interactive app will award every real sports fan the same experience but much better – did I mention that some of EA Sports former developers are building this thing? – Get ahead of the trend, this app is coming and it’s going to change the way we enjoy sports forever and it will be the first of it’s kind, share it with your neighbors, share it with your family, if they love sports, chances are they will love this!

Now if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of United Games and getting the opportunity to not only get ahead of the trend but earn some money while doing it, then this the route you want to go. Now let me tell you this isn’t a pyramid scheme or something wild like that, if you don’t want to be an affiliate then you don’t have to. We aren’t trying to recruit people for money, we are just offering an opportunity to earn some income based off of people just playing the game. Now when this was brought to me a few weeks ago I had my initial negative thoughts. I was told that I can become an affiliate for free, feel it out see if I like it and if I do I would have to pay a one time fee of $30 to stay an affiliate and $9.99 a month to maintain my affiliate site and if I don’t just simply cancel no harm done. Now I’m no easy person to convince to join things, so I did my own research before I agreed to sign up for anything. Now I hate selling things, I’m terrible at it, so the fact I didn’t have to sell a product and it was an app – I’m a huge tech junkie – helped me decide to really read up on it. So I did my research and found that this app could really be something special and I don’t have to pay my fee until the app launches in 4-5 weeks at the time of this writing. I figured, what can I lose? I can jump on board playing a new fantasy app and maybe earn some money while doing it. Every time you share the app and someone signs up, whether as an affiliate or a player, and starts buying or earning tokens, you get a piece of the pie, NICE! Another selling point for me was the fact that in order for you to earn income you have to fill out tax form 1099. That right there let me know it was legit. Now United Games is offering this opportunity only up until the app launches in 5 weeks. Once it goes live, the affiliate opportunity will be no longer offered. You will only be able to download and use the app.

Whether you sign up to be a player or an affiliate I can assure you that this app is going to change your sporta experience. The point of this blog is to get the word out that a Giant is coming and to offer, what I believe to be a grand opportunity to be apart of the next big thing. If you like what you heard here today feel free to drop a comment, email me (lawrence.edwards115@gmail.com) or if you got here through my Facebook link, just shoot me a DM and I will happily send you a link to be an affiliate or a free player so you will be all set to go when the app launches. Once you click the link there will be more information for you to read through to get an even better understanding. You’re going to love this!

Here is a one page info sheet you can look at to get more information. Feel free to contact me with questions.

 

Hold The Popcorn

Sports Elite 

By Damian Adams

The 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees have been announced and it is a very strong class that includes Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Eddie DeBartolo, Kenny Stabler, and Dick Stanfel. All of these individuals had great careers and are deserving of being in the Hall Of Fame but there is one very big omission from this class. All-time great wide receiver Terrell Owens (better known as T.O.) was not selected to be enshrined in his first year of eligibility.

TO1

 T.O. dominated at small Tennessee-Chattanooga but because he went to such a small school, Terrell fell to the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, he was selected 89th overall by the San Francisco 49ers. This created a huge chip on the shoulder of T.O. and he would take out this anger on the field. Owens’ talent was apparent from the beginning of his NFL career. It didn’t take him long at all to be productive, even playing alongside the great Jerry Rice.

TO2

 Football fans knew about the talented Terrell Owens but he was introduced to the world after making the game winning catch against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. As you can see it was a very emotional moment for Owens. We all knew he was a great receiver in the making but I don’t think anyone knew the type of rollercoaster ride Owens’ career would turn out to be.

TO3

Owens became known for much more than his skills – he became a household name because of his touchdown celebrations. He infamously once pulled a Sharpie out of sock and signed a football after a touchdown. He also once borrowed the pom-poms from a cheerleader and danced after a touchdown among other celebrations. I personally have no problem with him celebrating the way he did but this did rub people the wrong way. There were a few celebrations that even I thought crossed the line, including once against the Dallas Cowboys. After scoring a touchdown he ran back to midfield and stood on the star, which caused a series of events in that game that almost started a team wide brawl. He also taunted Ray Lewis by imitating his dance during a TD celebration (T.O. was on the Eagles when he did that celebration). He was also gaining a reputation for not being the best teammate. He had problems with several teammates including Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Hugh Douglas among others. T.O. would play for several teams because of the problems he would cause in the locker room. He was truly the definition and example of a diva receiver. Owens played for the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals. Terrell was not the only Hall Of Fame-caliber receiver to have issues during his career.

TO4

Hall Of Fame wide receivers, Michael Irvin, Cris Carter, and the forementioned Marvin Harrison, have had their share of off the field issues. The former Dallas Cowboy great Michael Irvin is one of the best wide receivers of all-time but he also one of the most controversial careers. Irvin had several run-ins with the police during his career, including being arrested and convicted of felony cocaine possession, which he served 4 years probation for. Cris Carter struggled with drug abuse early in his career, this caused him to be released from the Philadelphia Eagles. Carter was granted a second chance with the Minnesota Vikings, where he resurrected not only his career but his life and became a Hall Of Famer. 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectee Marvin Harrison was accused of murder. A gun he owned was used to shoot up a man’s car. The man said it was Marvin who shot his car up. This man was killed in Harrison’s hometown of Philadelphia almost a year later. I’m not saying Harrison is guilty because he was not convicted or charged but a lot of people in that community still believe he was responsible for that man’s death. I’m not stating these facts to throw these men under the bus. I am putting this information out there to show that the on the field greatness of these men was enough for Hall Of Fame voters to look past their off the field issues.

TO5

Terrell Owens was a great wide receiver, he is 6th all time in receptions with 1,058, more than Michael Irvin (750). T.O. is 2nd all time in receiving yards with 15,934, more than Cris Carter (13,899), Michael Irvin (11,904), and Marvin Harrison (14,850). Only the great Jerry Rice has more. Owens is 3rd all time is touchdown receptions with 153, more than Michael Irvin (65), Cris Carter (130), and Marvin Harrison (128), only Rice and future Hall of Famer Randy Moss have more. Owens was selected to the NFL All-Pro 1st team 5 times. T.O. has the 2nd most receptions in a game with 20 (Brandon Marshall broke that record in 2009). He has one of the greatest performances of all time. In the Super Bowl, he came back early from a broken ankle to have 9 catches for 122 yards. There are a lot of wide receivers waiting to get into the Hall Of Fame. It’s like a long line at Six Flags but Terrell Owens’ career should of him granted an automatic pass to the front of that line. Owens should have been a first ballot, no-brainer Hall Of Fame selection. The Hall Of Fame is the home of the greatest football players of all time, not the nicest, not the most punctual, not the most professional, but the greatest. It is not a popularity contest (or at least it shouldn’t be). If Terrell Owens isn’t a first ballot Hall Of Fame receiver, then who is?

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2016 NFL Season Preview and Predictions

By Brian Jones

For football fans everywhere there are certain points on the football calendar to look forward to and tomorrow is definitely one of them as training camp for all 32 teams gets underway. Before the first official whistle gets blown, however, I’m going to make some bold predictions and give some random opinions on this upcoming season. The Road To The Super Bowl officially starts tomorrow and only one team will win it all. Here is how I believe things will shake out, starting with the AFC and NFC West Divisions (all divisions in predicted order of finish with record):

AFC West

Oakland Raiders (11-5)

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)

Denver Broncos (7-9)

San Diego Chargers (4-12)

No, that’s no typo and yes, I have Oakland winning 11 games and the division. Seriously. The Chiefs have key injuries on both sides of the ball, a game manager at quarterback and key injuries from players on both sides of the ball. The Chargers are still a mess unto themselves and the Broncos are deciding if Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez or Trevor Simian will be their starting quarterback this season (Von Miller can’t do it all). It all adds up to Oakland taking this division and making their first playoff appearance in 13 years.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals (12-4)

Seattle Seahawks (11-5)

Los Angeles Rams (6-10)

San Francisco 49ers (1-15)

So we got 2 teams that’ll contend for home field advantage and the Super Bowl, one team that’ll contend for pride and little else and one team what will likely be the league’s doormat this season. Seattle and Arizona will fight to see who wins the division while the Rams will look the part of a competitive team but have Jeff Fisher still leading them down the wrong path. Meanwhile, can San Francisco win a game this season (they have a chance to go 0-16)?

NFC South 

Carolina Panthers (10-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

New Orleans Saints (7-9)

Carolina ran away with the division and the NFC last season and still have the pieces in place to make another Super Bowl run as one of the NFL’s more competitive divisions continues to rebuild. Atlanta’s late season nosedive still has me concerned and New Orleans is in a bit of a transition on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay’s successes will hinge on Jameis Winston and his continued development. With everything considered, Cam Newton and Carolina win the division with little trouble this season.

AFC South

Houston Texans (11-5)

Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)

Tennessee Titans (6-10)

This division could go one of 3 ways – the Colts, Jags or Texans could win the division crown. Houston has the most talent and better overall roster (on paper) and they are the pick here. Andrew Luck can’t stay healthy and is turnover prone while Jacksonville has the pieces to win but may not be ready. Tennessee is still rebuilding and won’t be in the division basement for long. Texans should win the division for the second straight season but don’t at all be surprised if Indianapolis or Jacksonville find a way to pull it off.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (11-5)

Minnesota Vikings  (11-5)

Chicago Bears (7-9)

Detroit Lions (5-11)

Another division with 2 playoff caliber teams and 2 doormats. Minnesota is a few players away from becoming a Super Bowl contender while Detroit and Chicago both have gunslingers at quarterback with Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler…but both teams have marginal defenses and little else to fall back on. Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers and that, along with a championship-caliber roster, will keep Green Bay in the driver’s seat in the division but Minnesota will be there all season to contend for the division crown.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)

Cleveland Browns (4-12)

This division is about hard-hitting defenses and explosive offenses and this season will be no different. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco should recover from his ACL injury while Pittsburgh will bring back a healthy roster after injuries hampered them down the stretch last season. Both teams have the defenses and overall talent to win it all in 2016. The Bengals lost a lot of talent in free agency and didn’t do much to replace it. That will show this season as the Bengals will take a step back. Browns fans may want to have the Cavaliers’ championship parade on standby because there’s not going to be a lot to cheer about in Cleveland as another rebuilding project gets underway.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

New York Giants (9-7)

Washington Redskins (7-9)

Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)

Yes, you read that correctly, I said Dallas will win 10 games and the division. Until Kirk Cousins can beat a team with a winning record you can put much stock in Washington’s chances this season. The Eagles are in a full rebuild now so don’t expect much from them either. The Giants made upgrades on defense and possibly have Victor Cruz returning on offense but if Dallas can stay healthy and keep Tony Romo in one piece that will be enough for them to win the division this season.

AFC East

New England Patriots (13-3)

New York Jets (8-8)

Miami Dolphins (6-10)

Buffalo Bills (6-10)

This was the easiest division to predict. Most think that since Tom Brady is suspended for four games the rest of the division will get off to a fast start and take advantage, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. The Jets have all the pieces and no quarterback while the Dolphins don’t have enough talent to keep up. Buffalo has the talent but can Rex Ryan do enough with it to save his job? How will things play out? Brady comes back, plays angry on the way to 13 wins, league MVP and another AFC East division title in his pocket.

So there it is, my fearless predictions on how this season will play out…but before I wrap this up here are my predictions on how the championship games and Super Bowl will play out:

AFC Championship: New England over Houston 35-27

NFC Championship: Arizona over Carolina 38-33

Super Bowl LI: New England over Arizona 37-27 (Tom Brady wins MVP)

I’m aware that most, if not all, of what I’ve laid out here may  or may not come true (that’s why they’re called predictions)…but just to be fair we’ll revisit this the Tuesday after the regular season and the Tuesday after the Super Bowl to see how right (or wrong) I was. Football is FINALLY back and this season promises to be another good one full of big games, interesting storylines and excitement that only the NFL can provide. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how things play out this season.

Terrell Owens: Hall of Fame Bound. 

 

Terrell Owens: Hall of Fame Bound.

Terrell Owens. If you’re a football fan, you either loved or hated the player. Perhaps both, as I did. The flamboyant, sometimes volatile, but dangerously elite wideout was a long and colorful NFL career. Owens was the type of player to obliterate your team’s secondary and dance on your team’s logo with a wide smile under his face mask. Again, you either love him, hated him or both.

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL draft by the 49ers, Owens’ rise to stardom didn’t come until the 1997 NFL season after Jerry Rice went down early in the season with a torn ACL. His first NFL touchdown came on October 20 against the Bengals, and it was off to the races for T.O.

There shouldn’t be any question of whether T.O is Hall of Fame-worthy or not. The controversy might fog it up, but the numbers make it a no-brainer.

We can focus on his meltdowns in San Francisco and Philadelphia. We can talk about him wearing a Michael Irvin throwback jersey while heading to the Eagles’ team plane in 2004, RIGHT after the Eagles suffered a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Or his public bashing of the Eagles’ organization over their failure to acknowledge him eclipsing the 100th TD mark of his career. Or the alleged hydrocodone “overdose” in 2006 while in Dallas, which the Dallas Police Department later determined to be an accidental overdose. And not to mention the numerous… flamboyant… touchdown celebrations that many would consider “disrespectful”. But what (should) overshadow all of this: the numbers. There’s no denying that Terrell was one of the best wide receivers to touch the field. If you have any doubt about my last statement, this is for you:

5 time NFL First Team All-Pro.

3 time NFL receiving touchdown leader.

153 receiving TDs, ranking him 3rd overall in NFL history.

15,934 career receiving yards, ranking him 2nd in NFL history behind Jerry Rice.

Currently, the only player in NFL history to score a touchdown against all 32 NFL teams.

Consecutive seasons with at least 5 or more touchdowns, 2000-2010 (11 touchdowns) tied with Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Don Hutson.

Nine 1,000 yard receiving seasons, including 5 consecutive.

Third all-time in regular season receiving touchdowns behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss.

Second all-time in regular season receiving yards behind Jerry Rice.

I can continue, but won’t. Those statistics alone can’t be disputed. Love him, hate him or both, there’s no denying that Terrell ‘T.O’ Owens will be sporting the golden jacket one day in Canton. And we should all agree that it will be well-deserved.
(Written by Micheal Hester)

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