NFL WTS Moments

The case for 16-0: NFC East

A perfect regular season in the NFL is one of the rarest things in sports. Yes, it has happened before, unlike a 162-0 MLB season, which will never happen. (Don’t tell Nick from New Jersey)

On the flip side, you are just as likely to go 0-16 in the NFL. The Detroit Lions did it in 2008, landing them Matt Stafford. However, let’s see if the NFC East has teams have what it takes to emulate the Patriots of 2007.*

Let’s go in order from least likely to most likely:

Washington Redskins

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The team from Washington D.C. Landover, Maryland is in a tough spot. Their front office is a mess, as they still don’t know whether Captain Kirk is their franchise QB (yet they use the “franchise” tag on him). Let’s look at their team:

Roster

They’ve lost their *best* receiver in Desean Jackson, but don’t worry, they signed a quarterback to replace him in Terrelle Pryor. One of the most versatile weapons in football, Jordan Reed, can’t stay healthy, but if he does, look out. America’s favorite running back Robert “Fat Rob” Kelley is surprisingly agile, given his name. Rookie running back from Oklahoma, Samaje Perine, will prove to be a solid change of pace back who might win the starting job eventually. Their offensive line is very capable, assuming Trent Williams can “STAY OFF THE WEED.”

Defensively, they have the best MMA fighter at cornerback, Josh Norman. Rookie Jonathan Allen should help Ryan Kerrigan on the pass rush, and D.J. Swearinger can lay the boom. They have a lot of talent, and with everyone healthy they can be very dangerous.

Coaching

Jay Gruden is a fine head coach, even if he’s the second-best Gruden who has coached in the NFL. As long as he fights the urge to randomly start Colt McCoy in meaningful games, he’ll continue to bring Kirk Cousins success. Jay, quick hint: don’t run Spider 2 Y Banana, your brother already told the entire country about that one.

Dallas Cowboys

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Jerry’s World is full of surprises, so it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world if a 13-3 team made that jump to the elusive 16-0. However, The Court System (everyone’s favorite team) has made their season debut. Thus, Cowboys Nation will have to hold their breath for a perfect season.

Roster

Dak Prescott had the best season of any rookie quarterback ever, yada yada yada*falls asleep writing that sentence.* It’s an indisputable fact that Dak didn’t have to do a ton last year. Everything the offense ran was based on the opposing defenses selling out to stop the run. Once the ground game went cold (see games vs the Giants), he was uncomfortable carrying an offense. Second-year quarterbacks often make a big jump, so maybe he will really prove he’s an excellent quarterback.

Zeke will apparently play Week 1, and now maybe the entire year. Honestly, at the moment it seems he might not serve his suspension this year. To go 16-0, they will need him.

Dez, when healthy, is a fantastic weapon. He’s a beast in the red zone, which will net him another double-digit touchdown season. Jason Witten is the most consistent tight end in the game, as he’s been in the league for 35 years. The offensive line is unbelievable, and it’s even better with the addition of La’el Collins.

Dallas’ problem is the same it’s been for a long time: defense. Their front seven has trouble getting to the quarterback on Ereck Flowers, much less a capable offensive line. Their secondary gets torched by even the worst of offenses. Their defense needs to take a big leap if they want any chance.

Coaching

After seeing what he did last year with rookies at the helm, I can’t knock Jason Garrett. He’s proven to be a good, if not great, coach. Their assistants are among the best in the league: Scott Linehan has created a great offensive system in Dallas behind that offensive line. He’ll have a challenge ahead of him with Zeke’s legal issues, but he’s up to the task. Rod Marinelli is a great defensive coordinator, but with little talent on that end he might be the scapegoat for the faults of the front office. Overall, they have one of the best staffs in the league.

Philadelphia Eagles

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The defending champions have a very solid team again this year (Wait, we’re talking about the Eagles? I thought we were talking about the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League). Their defense is great and they’re led by a young quarterback in Carson Wentz who is full of potential.

Roster

The aforementioned Wentz can make the second-year jump to stardom. They signed LaGarrette Blount to beef up their short-yardage offense. Wentz is very happy about this, as he doesn’t have to run a read option of fourth and two anymore!

http://www.giants.com/videos/videos/Giants-defense-stops-Wentz-on-fourth-down-attempt/5f35b4ae-f47a-4f2f-a43b-ea3352fdbeeb

The Eagles led the NFL in drops last year, so they brought in Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith. With an improved Nelson Agholor and a healthy Zach Ertz, Wentz will have plenty of options. He’ll also have plenty of time to throw behind this massive offensive line. Don’t forget Darren Sproles, who NEEDS to use this as his touchdown dance.

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Defensively, they’re loaded at every position. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham terrorize opposing quarterbacks on the defensive line. Their front seven is rounded out by an excellent linebacking corps, headlined by Nigel Bradham. In the secondary, they traded for pro bowl CB Ronald Darby who will lock down receivers. Their special teams seemingly scores a touchdown every other game, and it’s always at the top of the league.

Coaching

He’s only in his second season, so we can’t truly judge Doug Pederson just yet. He made some questionable calls last year, possibly costing his team a couple of games. Jim Schwartz never had much success as a head coach, but he’s one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. He routinely calls up blitz packages that leave even the most polished quarterbacks confused.

New York Giants

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The Giants may be the most complete team in the NFC. The only team that really holds a candle to them is the Seattle Seahawks. They were 11-5 last year with no offense to speak of. Who knows what their ceiling is with a high-powered attack.

Roster

He’s shown signs of regression over the past year, but he’s still Eli Manning. Top 10 in every major passing category, 2 Super Bowl Rings, Eli has put together quite a resume. Paul Perkins should be even more efficient than he was last year with an increased workload. Shane Vereen holds the record for most catches in a Super Bowl. If Tom Brady trusts someone that much, everyone should do the same. In Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and rookie Evan Engram, they have arguably the best and most versatile receiving corps in football.

The offensive line was a big issue last year, but good thing Jerry Reese spent all that money to bulk it up. *checks depth chart* Nope, the Giants have a bold strategy working in which they don’t change their weakest link at all.

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Ereck Flowers is a human windmill, so unless he improves they don’t have any shot at sustained success. They added Rhett Ellison, a do-it-all player who will see time at tight end, h-back, fullback, and possibly as a 6th offensive lineman.

Defensively, their top-three unit returns almost everyone and improves where there are newcomers. Darian Thompson, out all of last year with an injury, will start opposite Defensive Player of the Year candidate Landon Collins. With Thompson, Collins, and their assortment of cornerbacks, they have the best secondary in football. Their front seven has dynamic rushers in Jason Pierre Paul (the man of 7 ½ fingers) and Olivier Vernon. Snacks Harrison eats up running backs, and he’s Pro Football Focus’ number one rated run stopper.

Coaching

Ben McAdoo had a successful season, winning the imaginary Rookie Coach of the Year. McAdoo has been an offensive mind his entire coaching career, working with the Packers as the quarterback coach for Aaron Rodgers (ever heard of him?). He then came to the Giants as an offensive coordinator before becoming the head coach. He still calls the plays now, which is why it’s disconcerting that the team ranked among the bottom of the NFL in points per game. Steve “Spags” Spagnuolo finds a way to bring out the most of his Giants’ defenses. It’s a shame (unless you’re a Giants fan) that he failed so much in St. Louis and New Orleans.

*That season wasn’t perfect in the end. They lost the Super Bowl to the Giants, people forget that*

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