1. Dallas Cowboys
This will be the last and best opportunity for Dallas to win a Super Bowl with this group.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly has total control and more scrutiny will fall upon him if the Eagles flounder.
3. New York Giants
They will be competitive, but too many questions remain on defense with two playoff caliber opponents in the division.
4. Washington Redskins
With three quarterbacks capable of starting there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on who should start.
Head Coach: Jason Garrett
Key Position: Running Backs
The NFL’s leading rusher is gone. DeMarco Murray signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Dallas didn’t see brining him back as a priority. Maybe they’re right to think that with their offensive line. However, expecting the likes of Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle to replicate that kind of production will be hard to imagine for a potential Super Bowl run for this years Cowboys.
Key Acquisitions: LB Jasper Brinkley (Minnesota Vikings), DE Greg Hardy (Carolina Panthers), RB Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders), RB Christine Michael (Seattle Seahawks)
Key Rookies: CB Byron Jones, DE Randy Gregory
Head Coach: Chip Kelly
Key Position: Secondary
The Eagles were next to last in pass defense last year. They also only had 12 interceptions. Their defensive front caused havoc with 49 sacks, but it would be nice to see the Eagles secondary pick up some of the slack. Enter Byron Maxwell who was signed to a big free agent contract to help elevate the Eagles defense to an elite status.
Key Acquisitions: LB Kiko Alonso (Buffalo Bills), WR Miles Austin (Cleveland Browns), QB Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams), RB Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers), CB Byron Maxwell (Seattle Seahawks), RB DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys), CB Walter Thurmond (New York Giants)
Key Rookies: WR Nelson Agholor, CB Eric Rowe
Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
Key Position: Linebackers
Jon Beason is a difference maker when he is healthy. The Giants know that and they are banking on him staying healthy to keep the Giants defense in line. The return of former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo helps, but the players will be the difference. Having Jameel McClain is a good safety net in case of another Beason injury, but having both of them healthy helps the Giants.
Key Acquisitions: WR Dwayne Harris (Dallas Cowboys), T Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati Bengals), DE George Selvie (Dallas Cowboys), RB Shane Vereen (New England Patriots)
Key Rookies: T Ereck Flowers, S Landon Collins
Head Coach: Jay Gruden
Key Position: Defensive Line
The pass rush was coming almost exclusively from LB Ryan Kerrigan last year. His 13.5 sacks led the team and more pressure has to come from other candidates this season for Washington to make a difference in the standings. Jason Hatcher is better than his 5.5 last year and newcomer Terrance Knighton can provide a decent rush, but he will be instrumental in stopping the opponents ground attack.
Key Acquisitions: CB Chris Culliver (San Francisco 49ers), S Dashon Goldson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), DL Ricky Jean Francois (Indianapolis Colts), DT Terrance Knighton (Denver Broncos), DL Stephen Paea (Chicago Bears)
Key Rookies: T Brandon Scherff, LB Preston Smith