1. Philadelphia Eagles
If they weren’t in a stacked conference, they would be easy favorites to repeat.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Not having Dez Bryant and Jason Witten means they will lean heavily on Ezekiel Elliott.
3. New York Giants
In Eli they trust as the Giants selected RB Saquon Barkley with their first pick as opposed to a QB.
4. Washington Redskins
Replacing Kirk Cousins with Alex Smith isn’t a bad consolation prize. They just needed to do more this offseason.
Head Coach: Doug Pederson
Key Position: Defensive Line
If there was area of weakness, it was the pass rush. Losing Vinny Curry in free agency wasn’t a bad thing since they traded for Michael Bennett. And signing Haloti Ngata will mean even more one on one matchups for the pass rushers. Consider this so-called problem solved.
Key Acquisitions: DL Michael Bennett (Seattle Seahawks), DT Haloti Ngata (Detroit Lions), TE Richard Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), WR Mike Wallace (Baltimore Ravens)
Key Rookies: TE Dallas Goedert, DB Avonte Maddox
Head Coach: Jason Garrett
Key Position: Defense
It’s now more important than ever that this unit starts to become an elite core. DE Demarcus Lawrence lived up to his potential with 14.5 sacks. When LB Sean Lee is healthy he is among the best linebackers in the league. There needs to be a playmaker in the secondary. One has to emerge this season.
Key Acquisitions: WR/RB Tavon Austin (Los Angeles Rams), WR Allen Hurns (Jacksonville Jaguars), FB Jamize Olawale (Oakland Raiders)
Key Rookies: LB Leighton Vander Esch, OL Connor Williams, WR Michael Gallup
Head Coach: Pat Shurmur (Minnesota Vikings)
Key Position: Defense
All the attention will be on QB Eli Manning, but the front office gave him lots of help. The defense saw a lot of departures, but acquired a potential leader in LB Alec Ogletree. They’re switching to a 3-4 defense and that means the established starters in DT Damon Harrison, S Landon Collins and CB Janoris Jenkins need to help shoulder the learning curve.
Key Acquisitions: DE Mario Edwards (Oakland Raiders), LB Kareem Martin (Arizona Cardinals), LB Alec Ogletree (Los Angeles Rams), G Patrick Omameh (Jacksonville Jaguars), T Nate Solder (New England Patriots), RB Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)
Key Rookies: RB Saquon Barkley, OL Will Hernandez, LB Lorenzo Carter, DL B.J. Hill
Head Coach: Jay Gruden
Key Position: Running Back
Alex Smith has almost always had success with a consistent rushing attack. The Redskins looked to have that solved this year when they drafted RB Derrius Guice out of LSU in the second round. Unfortunately he tore his ACL in the preseason. Now it’s either Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine or recently signed Adrian Peterson that need to step up. Chris Thompson is an excellent third down back, but he’s recovering from a season ending injury last year.
Key Acquisitions: LB Pernell McPhee (Chicago Bears), WR Paul Richardson (Seattle Seahawks), QB Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs)
Key Rookies: DT Da’Ron Payne