NFC East Opponents: Players Needing to Step up in 2015
Offense- Sam Bradford
The offensive line has some changes but should be good enough still. The running backs should be fine. The receivers are a huge question mark but going to go with the non-surprising choice of Bradford. So far any QB who has played under Chip Kelly in Philly has been able to move the ball. The problem has been with Mike Vick and last year Mark Sanchez if they can protect the football. Bradford hasn’t been a turnover machine but is just brittle. He needs to stay on the field and prove Kelly right or the Chip Kelly GM experience could be short if the whole Philly community turns on him.
Defense- Byron Maxwell
He has the cash of a number one corner but he has never experienced the pressure of being one. He will now and he will do it in maybe the most critical town in the NFL. Nnamdi came to Philly with a better resume and he was a disaster. Maxwell struggles and he could be heading down the same road. And the NFC East brings Dez, Beckham Jr. and former Eagle DeSean Jackson to line up against six times.
Offense- Whoever is in the back field come September
Maybe it will be a group effort since they aren’t getting Adrian Peterson but whoever it is they will need to produce. Maybe it’s Joseph Randle, maybe it will be Darren McFadden. If Randle can’t step up in year three and the Cowboys depend on McFadden it could be a long year of Romo dropping back 50 plus a game. I don’t think he would mind but his back has to still be a question. And we saw what Brandon Weeden brought in his 2014 start.
Defense- Brandon Carr
Could go Greg Hardy or Randy Gregory but Gregory is a rookie and who knows when Hardy will be in uniform. I think that the Cowboys secondary is still ripe to be lit up every week. They drafted a corner but that hasn’t worked out so far the last time they did that. Carr got paid just like Maxwell and hasn’t been a number one guy at all. It looks like it could be his final run in Big D and they are going to need him to do something versus the opponent’s wideouts.
New York Giants:
Offense- Eli Manning
Could it be Eli’s final season with the Giants? I don’t see it happening but the Giants could have a tough call to make after the season. I doubt the Giants let Manning walk after what he has done and still having something left. But no one expected his brother to be anywhere than Indy. Manning had a minor resurrection in 2014 once Beckham Jr. got on the field and I expect the two to continue to produce touchdowns. But he is going to have to work Victor Cruz back in to the Giants back to the playoffs.
Defense- Jason Pierre Paul
JPP bounced back last season with 12.5 sacks and was smacked in the face with the franchise tag. Much like the Redskins did to Brian Orakpo, the Giants pretty much said to Pierre-Paul do it another season if you want to get paid long term. Good news for JPP is if he improves on his 2014 it could not only help the Giants but his pockets as well. Being that Orakpo even got paid after 0.5 sack season it bodes well for Pierre-Paul next Spring. But the Giants need him to be a force and at least get the final run out of him in case he does leave.
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