The NFL’s offseason is at a conclusion as teams start to have an eye towards camp. Some teams want to wash the bitter taste of last season out of their mouths while others want more than the sweet appetizer they experienced. The Philadelphia Eagles hope to get comfortable at the head of the table in an all-out buffet.
Yes, it is an exciting time in around the NFL as everyone is undefeated at 0-0. With that being said, let’s take a look at both Eastern divisions in the league.
2017 Record: 9-7
Key Addition: Tremaine Edmunds
Notable Loss: Tyrod Taylor
Key an eye on…: Kelvin Benjamin.
After being traded from the Carolina Panthers last year, much to the chagrin of Cam Newton, Benjamin will come into training camp as the primary receiver for rookie quarterback Josh Allen or AJ McCarron. If Benjamin can prove to be the offensive threat he was in Carolina, then the Bills have a good chance of making the playoffs for a second straight year.
2017 Record: 6-10
Key Addition: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Notable Loss: Mike Pouncey
Key an eye on…: Frank Gore.
The Dolphins had a stud running back in Jay Ajayi, but they traded him to the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles. Now, the Dolphins will look to Gore for a consistent veteran presence alongside the promising youngster Kenyan Drake. Gore and Drake will be battling back-and-forth this preseason for the bulk of carries during the regular season.
New England Patriots
2017 Record: 13-3
Key Addition: Jordan Matthews
Notable Loss: Nate Solder
Key an eye on…: Sony Michel.
Very rarely does Bill Belichick draft first-round position players well. However, in a running back rich draft, the Patriots couldn’t pass up on the explosiveness of Michel. He, along with James White could provide a necessary running game for Tom Brady and their restructured offensive line. If Michel blows away from White in the preseason, expect Michel to be the number one option for Belichick and Brady.
New York Jets
2017 Record: 5-11
Key Addition: Trumaine Johnson
Notable Loss: Matt Forte
Key an eye on…: Sam Darnold.
Although the Jets have stated their desire to be cautious with Darnold’s progression, they won’t hold him back if he’s ready. Darnold has shown strong signs in competing for the first-team quarterback position, even with the incumbent Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater both vying for the spot. If Darnold can connect with the Jets’ primary receivers better than the other two quarterbacks, he will have a chance to start in Week 1.
2017 Record: 9-7
Key Addition: Leighton Vander Esch
Notable Loss: Jason Witten
Key an eye on…: Terrance Williams.
Williams had a nightmare of an offseason after several reckless driving incidents. The talented receiver’s spot on the team has never been in more jeopardy coming into this preseason. Williams will have to battle it out with Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin and rookie Michael Gallup. The field will be crowded and Williams will have to stand out or else he risks getting cut from the team.
New York Giants
2017 Record: 3-13
Key Addition: Saquan Barkley
Notable Loss: Jason-Pierre Paul
Key an eye on…: Odell Beckham Jr.
Speaking of an eventful offseason, Beckham has had his fair share of controversy over the last few months. However, there is no denying that when healthy, Beckham Jr. is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Coming back from a gruesome ankle injury, all eyes will be on him to see if he can produce some more magic with Eli Manning. If his ankle is fully healed, expect to see plenty of highlight-worthy catches by OBJ. during training camp.
2017 Record: 13-3
Key Addition: Michael Bennett
Notable Loss: Torrey Smith
Key an eye on…: Mike Wallace.
At this point, the Eagles are simply looking to bolster their already-loaded roster that beat the Patriots with their back-up quarterback. With Carson Wentz returning from injury, it will be interesting to see if Wallace can make an impression on this team.
2017 Record: 7-9
Key Addition: Alex Smith
Notable Loss: Kirk Cousins
Key an eye on…: Derrius Guice.
Another explosive running back from this year’s draft, Guice will be looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow LSU alum Leonard Fournette and try and ease from the SEC to the NFL. Of all the rookies, he may have the biggest workload coming into his first season with the Redskins. If he and veteran quarterback Alex Smith can mesh behind their offensive line, then the Redskins will look much more improved heading into the season.
Both the AFC and NFC East should be intriguing divisions to examine throughout the preseason. Heading into training camp, there are many rookies and newcomers looking to make a mark on their teams.
While the Jets, Bills and Dolphins are still a ways away from competing with the Patriots for the division crown, all three teams hope that they can dethrone the longest lasting dynasty in the NFL. In the NFC, everyone is chasing the Super Bowl champion Eagles, but there is reason for optimism for the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins. In the end, the Eastern divisions should provide entertaining football and developing story lines.