Monday, August 21, 2017

NFL 2017 Preview, part 3

Today, we're taking a look at the NFC East & North.

NFC East:

As expected, Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott, as reported the other day, is appealing his 6 game suspension for domestic abuse off the field. The Cowboys have enough weapons surrounding QB Dak Prescott anyway, including veteran backups at RB in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, so they should be okay. If the appeal isn't heard until after September 10, then Elliott will be in the lineup for the opener vs. the Giants. Big Blue poached receiver Brandon Marshall and QB Geno Smith from the Jets, but don't expect Smith to be on the field any time soon. In his first preseason series vs. Pittsburgh, Smith threw an interception. I don't think he's going to be around too long. Marshall, meanwhile, figures to be the kind of veteran mentor that 4th year receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. needs, not only as on-field protection, but also as a locker room counselor.

A few years back, Philadelphia let Albany Academy grad Dion Lewis get away, and he won a Super Bowl with New England. Well, turnabout is fair play, as the champs let LeGarrette Blount walk, probably after a CIA-style debriefing from Bill Belichick. Anyway, Blount now is in Philly, which makes the Eagles a threat for the division title. 2nd year QB Carson Wentz seems to be the real deal, but it's just unfortunate that he's in the same division with Prescott and vets Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins. Translated, he's not going to be getting much respect from the media outside Philadelphia. Speaking of Cousins, the Washington Trumpets should've locked him up in a long term deal before preseason, but Napoleon Snyder still hasn't figured out how much value skill position players have. They're better served if no one sees America's Oldest Spoiled Child in attendance at FedEx Field. Yet.

Projected order of finish:

1. Dallas.
2. Giants.
2 (tie). Philadelphia.
4. Washington.

NFC North:

The Jay Cutler era is over in Chicago (Cutler is now in Miami), and the media fawned on rookie Mitch Trubisky after his first preseason game. Apparently, ex-Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon stunk up the joint, so they're hoping Trubisky gets to be the starter. They've been rebuilding in the Second City. Over in Green Bay, it's business as usual for the Packers, even though it was a struggle last year. Packer Nation is hoping 2016 was an aberration, not a sign of things to come. Minnesota cut its ties with RB Adrian Peterson (New Orleans), which will prove costly to the Vikings. As for Detroit, their strength lies in their defense more than with QB Matt Stafford. Just sayin'.

Projected order of finish:

1. Green Bay.
2. Chicago.
3. Detroit.
4. Minnesota.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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