Byron Jones: In or Out?

This encroaching off-season will be a very stressful one for the Dallas Cowboys. They have some big names looking for some big contracts and they’ll need them if they want a Super Bowl LV run. One of these names is cornerback, Byron Jones. But does the Cowboys No. 31 deserve to sit at the table with Jerry first? Alex Lewis (@alexlewis226) takes a look..


Why Byron Jones deserves his big money in (31)0 words.


Byron Jones from the second that he was seen at the combine, has consistently demonstrated his unique and impressive athletic ability. Able to set a world record standing long-jump of 12”3’ and recording a 4.36 in his 40-yard dash, Jones has never been needing for athletic confidence. When pairing this demonstration of prowess in the gym to the various measurable’s that Byron Jones is considered “perfect” for, like height and hand size, it’s not particularly shocking that he was drafted in the first round.

Image result for byron jones combine
Julio Cortez/AP

2019 for Jones, considering it being just his second season as a cornerback, was a highly impressive campaign for the UCONN alum. Despite missing the first game of his entire career in Week 17, Pro Football Focus ranked him the number one defensive free-agent prospect back in December. Jones faced just 64 targets on the year, which can be easily attributed to his impressive coverage ability, and allowed just 395 passing yards, a similar yards-per-target to DPOY winner Stephon Gilmore.  

During his time with the Cowboys as a cornerback, No. 31 has been asked to play a lot of press-bail coverage in cover 1 or cover 3. Not only has this made it hard to rack up the turnover numbers expected but playing cover 1 can lead to cornerback’s being on islands. Given this challenging scheme fit and the top receivers he has faced in his contract year like, Michael Thomas, Stefon Diggs and Kenny Golladay, Byron Jones can definitely consider 2019 a job well done.

The defensive situation outside of Texas could easily end up helping Byron Jones’ prospects of a long-term deal with the Cowboys. This years draft and free-agency period are both far deeper in top-quality safeties than high level cornerbacks and this should increase the urgency on the Cowboys side to get Jones signed up and bought in, rather than wait.


Why the Cowboys should move on from Jones in (31)0 words.


Byron Jones’ chance to stay on this Dallas Cowboy’s roster for the long-term has been severely hurt by his inability to come up with turnovers, recording just two interceptions in 79 games. This is many ways has become a microcosm for the ‘Boys defence who rank 26th in total turnover’s on the season and failed in big situations to come up with the ball. It is true to say that grading Jones shouldn’t come down to purely his takeaway potential, and that is correct, but it is definitely part of the bigger picture.

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Jones has also struggled because of the changes that the Cowboys have seen on the defence since he entered the fold in 2015. Deciding whether he would be better suited to corner or safety took the team until 2018 to decide on, with Jones playing at free safety until then. This switching between where he played has meant that Jones only has two proper years of statistics to analyse when making the decision on his contract, and it doesn’t help that during those years Jones has gone from DC to DC, with Rod Marinelli, Chris Richard and now Mike Nolan. This lack of secure and consistent coaching may cause the current regime to doubt the numbers that the cheque book would require to hold onto Jones for a long time.

Although not his fault, Jones has also faced a continuously rotating and revolving backfield of team-mates to play alongside, which hasn’t lent itself to consistent play that the position requires. Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claibourne and Orlando Scandrick to name just a few. The great defences of NFL history often have uniformity at the core as they develop over seasons, and while I’m in no way suggesting the ‘Boys are that, Byron Jones case for a contract has not been helped by a lack of stability.  


To sign or not to sign; that is the question!


The obvious answer on how to deal with Byron Jones is to franchise tag him, and by pure chance with the turn of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Cowboys will have use of both the Franchise tag and the Transition tag for this season. This should help to alleviate some of the pressure on the Jones family with both Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott looking for new deals. Byron Jones has obvious raw talent, with refinement coming since he was committed to the position and this is only going to get better. With a new system and co-ordinator on the horizon again, I would implore Jerry to get the long-term deal done and trust in the process.

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AFC South Breakdown

By Adil Khan Deshmukh (@dillytoon)

Last Season
Texans 11-5

Colts 10-6

Titans 9-7

Jaguars 5-11

Houston Texans:

Draft Selections: Tytus Howard OT (1.23), Lonnie Johnson Jr. CB (2.22), Max Scharping OT (2.23), Kahale Warring TE (3.22), Charles Omenihu DE (5.22), Xavier Crawford CB (6.23), Cullen Gillaspia FB (7.06)

Off-season key additions: Tashaun Gipson FS, Bradley Roby CB, Matt Kalil LT, Duke Johnson RB (traded from Browns)

Off-season key departures: Tyrann Mathieu FS, Kareem Jackson CB, Kevin Johnson CB

Super Bowl Odds: 40/1

Analysis:

The Texans won the AFC South title last season with their stellar 11-5 record, however they were swept aside by the Colts in the Wildcard game 21-7 at NRG Stadium. However, DeAndre ‘big hands’ Hopkins ended the season as probably the most feared WR in the game and their defensive line is not too shabby either. The Texans decided to let the ‘Honey Badger’ Tyrann Mathieu leave to the Chiefs and they also lost their premier CB (Kareem Jackson) to the Broncos. At the time, GM Brian Gaine (now with the Bills), had tried to fill the gaps in the secondary with Tashuan Gipson (from Jacksonville), Bradley Roby and 2nd round draft pick Lonnie Johnson Jr. It’ll be interesting to see whether the secondary is effective as last year, but they sure can rush the opposing QB with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. On the offensive side of the ball, they will run through messrs Deshaun Watson and Hopkins. Following D’Onta Foreman’s release, they acquired Duke Johnson in a trade with the Browns and he will provide a decent foil for Lamar Miller in the backfield. The biggest bug bear for most Texans fans was their inability to protect the QB, with their offensive line giving a league high 62 sacks and 126 QB hits. They’ve attempted to bolster their line with first round pick Tytus Howard and the acquisition of Matt Kalil (1 year deal).

Look out for: The ongoing saga that is franchise tagged DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney has reached three successive Pro Bowls and wants to ‘get paid’ just like other elite defensive linemen. It will be interesting to see whether the Texans do indeed canvass the league for a trade. The most likely destinations from a cap space point of view are within the AFC South so it’s unlikely they’ll want to bolster their division rivals. As far as retaining their AFC South title, much will depend on how they deal with their difficult road start, with their first three away games against the Saints, Chargers and Chiefs. Additionally, they also have their first trip across the pond to the mighty Wembley Stadium.

Indianapolis Colts

Draft Selections: Rock Ya-Sin CB (2.02), Ben Banogu LB (2.17), Parris Campbell WR (2.27), Bobby Okereke LB (3.25), Khari Willis S (4.07), Marvell Tell III S (5.06), E.J. Speed LB (5.26), Gerri Green DE (6.26), Jackson Barton OT (7.26), Javon Patterson C (7.32)

Off-season Key Additions: Justin Houston DE, Devin Funchess WR, Spencer Ware RB

Off-season Key Departures: None

Super Bowl Odds: 16/1

Analysis:

The Colts came into the 2018 season off the back of an abysmal 2017 season and questions over how well Andrew Luck would play following a year on the sidelines. Fast forward a few months and Luck had answered that question with being awarded Comeback Player of the Year but that didn’t tell the full storyline. The Colts opened the season 1-5 and subsequently went to win 9 out of the next 10. The backbone of that charge was the offensive line, holding opposing defences to a league-best 18 sacks in the regular season. This offensive line is still intact for this season and the ‘pancake monster’ Quenton Nelson will only get better in his second year. When you add a top pass rusher in Justin Houston to the extremely impressive Darius Leonard, the limit could really be the sky for the Colts this season. It goes without saying that Andrew Luck and T.Y. ‘the Ghost’ Hilton are the elite skill position guys on offense. When you add the plethora of Tight Ends (TD magnet Ebron, Doyle, Alie-Cox), WR Devin Funchess and the potential of Parris Campbell and Deon Cain; Luck certainly has a lot of weapons to play with.

Look out for: We are in the midst of another Andrew Luck off-season injury drama. Luck has been struggling with a calf/high ankle injury of some sort which has inhibited his lateral movement. Colts fans are all too familiar with off-season injury drama regarding their franchise QB and it is still undecided whether he suits up for the season opener against the Chargers. As far as backup QBs go, Jacoby Brissett is a capable player, but he’s no Andrew Luck. Keep your eyes peeled on this situation as the Colts season completely depends on Luck’s fitness.

Tennessee Titans

Draft Selections: Jeffery Simmons DT (1.19), A.J. Brown WR (2.19), Nate Davis G (3.18), Amani Hooker S (4.14), D’Andre Walker LB (5.30), David Long Jr. LB (6.15)

Off-season Key Additions: QB Ryan Tannehill, Rodger Saffold G, Adam Humphries WR, Cameron Wake DE

Off-season Key Departures: Josh Kline G, Brian Orakpo (retirement), Quinton Spain G

Super Bowl Odds: 66/1

Analysis: 

To say that the Titans have been consistent over the last three seasons would be an understatement. They have been distinctly just above average by obtaining a 9-7 record in each of the seasons. The latter part of the 2018 season paved the way for Derrick Henry to break into the history books and it’s likely the Titans will try and rely on him as a workhorse back. They brought in free agent WR Adam Humphries to play the slot and we will see if he makes another stepped improvement from the 800+ yards he accrued last year. The quarterback position (as of this article being written) appears to be still up for grabs following the Titans’ trade for Tannehill from Miami. If we make the assumption that Mariota keeps the starting job, you just need to look at his stat line from last season – 2528 passing yards. This was the lowest of his career, and whilst he was marred by multiple injuries (nerve endings affecting hand / neck), he’s currently a middling quarterback at best. On the defensive side of the ball, they have a good pass rusher in Jurrell Casey and have added the well experienced Cameron Wake. Their first round draft pick Jeffery Simmons tore his ACL, compounding the loss of Brian Orakpo to retirement, thus the interior of the D-line is a bit weak. 

Look out for: The QB battle in Nashville should be clearer come Week 1. However, Mariota is on the 5th year of his rookie contract and neither him or Tannehill have managed to set the NFL on fire. It will be interesting to see if Mariota is able to stay healthy this year but one should not hold their breath. The benefit for the Titans fans is that once he does go down injured, they don’t have to rely on a QB like Blaine Gabbert. Unfortunately for the Titans, they just don’t have enough elite talent to get excited about for this coming season. 

Jacksonville Jaguars 

Draft Selections: Josh Allen OLB (1.07), Jawaan Taylor (2.03), Josh Oliver TE (3.05), Quincy Williams LB (3.35), Ryquell Armstead RB (5.02), Gardner Minshew QB (6.05), Dontavius Russell DT (7.21)

Off-season Key Additions: Nick Foles QB, Jake Ryan ILB, Chris Conley WR

Off-season Key Departures: Malik Jackson DT, Tashaun Gipson FS, Donte Moncrief WR, Ereck Flowers RT, TJ Yeldon RB, Blake Bortles QB

Super Bowl Odds: 50/1

Analysis: 

All aboard the change train at the Jags with them spending the big bucks on Super Bowl MVP and future-HOF (I jest on the second bit) Nick Foles; we mark the end of the Bortles era in Northern Florida. The Bortles era ended in a flop with the team being rock bottom of the division having only just been in the AFC Championship Game in 2017. Foles is a significant improvement on Bortles and the team has talented receivers that need to push on during their second (DJ Chark) and third seasons (Dede Westbrook / Keelan Cole) in the league. The question in the backfield will be whether Fournette succumbs to another injury (and subsequently ruins fantasy seasons for people). On the defensive side of the ball they have lost top players in Jackson and Gipson but they did draft Josh Allen. Their corners are still lock-down with AJ Buoye and Jalen Ramsey arguably being the best pairing in the league. As with every year, the Jags will make the trip over to Wembley and it will be interesting to see whether Foles continues the Bortles Wembley Magic!

Look out for: Major improvements in the passing game, one of the receivers from this corps could well have a break-out year as is common with third-year receivers. However, the Jags fans will be feeling Blue after the inevitable injury that will beset Leonard Fournette; turning their offense into one that is pass-heavy.

2019 Season Predictions
Texans 11-5

Colts 10-6

Titans 7-9

Jaguars 6-10

*Ratings created with assumption that Andrew Luck is healthy

NFC East Breakdown

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Last Season 

Dallas 10-6

Philadelphia 9-7

Washington 7-9

NY Giants 5-11

Dallas Cowboys:

Draft selections1st Round traded last season for Amari Cooper WR (via LA Raiders), Trysten Hill DT (2.26), Connor McGovern G (3.26), Tony Pollard RB (4.26), Michael Jackson Sr CB (5.20), Joe Jackson DE (5.27), Donovan Wilson S (6.41). Mike Weber RB (7.4), Jalen Jelks DE (7.27)

Offseason key additions: Alfred Morris RB, Jason Witten TE (came out of retirement), George Iloka S, Randall Cobb WR/RET,

Offseason key departures
: Allen Hurns WR, Scott Linehan Offensive Co-ordinator, Geoff Swain HB, Cole Beasley WR

Super Bowl odds: 20-1

Analysis:

Offense
The Cowboys rose to the top of a murky NFC East bloodbath with a second-half surge, winning seven of their last eight regular season games by just 35 points in total. This was the Zeke Elliot show most of the season as he led the league in rushing. If Zeke can tear himself away from the fajitas and Margaritas in Mexico then he stands a decent chance to repeat this feat. If Zeke is still holding out in September then the Cowboys will lean on rookie Tony Pollard. Dallas’s greatest strength is the offensive line, stacked with Pro Bowlers and led by All Pro Tackle Tyron Smith. The biggest in-season trade last year saw Amari Cooper move to Dallas, and he immediately made an impression, leading the team in receiving yards five times in the second half of the season. With a full off-season in Texas under his belt Cooper is primed to have his best output ever as a pro. Elsewhere Jason Witten has un-retired and will continue his journey to Canton with another season at tight-end. His return will stunt the growth of Blake Jarwin who looked a potential breakout candidate. The Cowboys defense is jam-packed with studs and if the core group can stay healthy this is going to be the first time the Cowboys can legitimately return to the Super Bowl since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

Look out for:  The unfolding situation regarding Zeke holding out. This is nothing to worry about now, but if this is still the case in two weeks then start praying to the fantasy gods. If the Cowboys start 3-1 they have the tools to go to the Big Dance. Rookie running back Tony Pollard, a fourth round pick, will be well worth monitoring in the pre-season. A dark-horse tip for fantasy success is Randall Cobb, who can suck up all the slot catches. Demarcus Lawrence is an unadulterated beast and will be pushing for an All Pro season.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Draft selectionsAndre Dillard OT (1.22), Miles Sanders RB (2.21), JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR (2.25), Shareef Miller DE (4.36), Clayton Thorson QB (5.29),

Offseason key additions:  Desean Jackson WR (returning back), Eli Harold DE, Jonathan Cyprien S, Zach Brown LB, Jordan Howard RB, Malik Jackson DT, Andrew Sendejo S,

Offseason key departuresGolden Tate III WR, Nick Foles QB, Jordan Hicks LB, Jay Ajayi RB.

Super Bowl odds: 14-1

Analysis: The talisman is gone, Nick Foles earned himself a monster monster FA deal in the sunnier climate of Jacksonville, leaving Carson Wentz atop the depth chart with no real challenge (backup Nate Sudfeld broke a bone in his hand in pre-season week 1). The Eagles went for a future replacement for stud T Jason Peters in round one, but the biggest impact rookie will be second-rounder Miles Sanders who will fight tooth and nail with FA signing Jordan Howard for starting snaps. The Eagles have quietly added to their defense with some solid but not headline grabbing signings. Malik Jackson will compliment All-World DT Fletcher Cox, and Zach Brown is a tackle magnet who the Redskins will sorely miss. Zach Ertz is arguably the best TE in the league as long as you are not a Chiefs or 49ers fan. Ertz will not match his 2018 output as Dallas Goedert will be looking to establish a bigger target share. The Eagles weakness is the secondary that will be a mixed bag in 2019, after suffering more injuries than a Saturday night at Holby City Hospital. Philly used 15 defensive backs last season and whilst Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby return they are not a top 10 pairing.

Look out for: Desean Jackson will be tearing down the flanks and will be odds on to lead the NFL in yards per catch as well as being a YAC (yards after catch) madman. Providing the chemistry with Carson Wentz melds together early this could be enough to win a few games alone. The way that Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders work together will be key, and expect both on the field at the same time in certain situations. The season will rest on Wentz staying upright, and that is where the offensive line will determine their destiny. Lookout for a swansong from pocket rocket Darren Sproles, who has the biggest heart in the league.

New York Giants:

Draft selectionsDaniel Jones QB (1.6), Dexter Lawrence DT (1.17), Deandre Baker CB (1.30), Oshane Ximines DE (3.31), Julian Love CB (4.6), Ryan Connelly LB (5.5), Darius Slayton WR (5.29), Corey Ballentine CB (6.7), George Asafo-Adjei OT (7.18) Chris Slayton DL (7.31).

Offseason key additions: Golden Tate WR, Markus Golden LB, Jabrill Peppers S, Kevin Zeitler G, Antione Bethea S, Cody Latimer WR, Olsen Pierre DT, Rod Smith RB.

Offseason key departures: Odell Beckham Jr WR, Landon Collins S, Connor Barwin LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Is it finally here? Is the Eli Manning era finally over when the Giants controversially selected Duke’s Daniel Jones at 6th overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones looked efficient in his pre-season debut against the Jets, but this is not real football. We all know RB Saquon Barkley will be over-worked like an Egyptian donkey but he simply cannot take defensive snaps and is powerless for half of every game. The Giants must have a curse over their pass catchers as Golden Tate is suspended four games (pending an appeal), Corey Coleman is lost for the season with injury and Sterling Shephard has a broken thumb. And some other no-name guy left to go and work in a dog pound. The best option Manning has is to find TE Evan Engram early and often (after all he is on my Full 10 yards staff fantasy roster). The Giants went heavy on defense in the draft with a DT and CB in round one. Both will likely move into early starting roles. This is not a dominant defense by any means, arguably one of the weakest in the NFL, with no big names and two new safeties in the form of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea. If you play the Giants go deep and do it often.

Look out for: The betting line is not going to be about wins in the Big Apple, it’s going to focus on the week that Daniel Jones gets the starting gig. The Giants and Redskins will compete for overall ineptitude in the entire NFC conference, so apart from Barclay I can’t see much to get excited over. After all who drafted Wayne Gallman, Rhett Ellison, Russell Shepherd or Bennie Fowler onto their fantasy rosters – nobody !

Washington Redskins:

Draft selections: Dwayne Haskins QB (1.15), Montez Sweat EDGE (1.26), Terry McLaurin WR (4.10), Bryce Love RB (4.10),  Wes Martin G (4.29), Ross Pierschbacher (5.15), Cole Holcomb LB (5.35), Kelvin Harmon WR (6.34). Jimmy Moreland (7.13), Jordan Brailford EDGE (7.39)

Offseason key additions: Landon Collins S, Case Keenum QB, Jon Bostic ILB, Dominic Rogers-Cromartie CB, Ereck Flowers OT, Donald Penn OT.

Offseason key departuresZach Brown LB, Preston Smith OLB, Jamison Crowder WR, Ty Nsekhe OT, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix S, Maurice Harris WR, Mason Foster LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Remarkably just after the half-way point of the 2018 season the Redskins were 6-3, leading the NFC East, watching two grizzled veterans (Alex Smith QB and Adrian Peterson RB) having outstanding seasons, and then one missed assignment and one hit later and the whole season went to hell in a handcart. Once Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg break the season went on a downward spiral that would have even been too much for Jamie and his magic torch (look him up on YouTube). Two new quarterbacks, Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, will battle it out for starts during the season, but the bigger problem is who will be catching the ball. The Redskins probably have the weakest set of wide outs in the entire NFL, and will be hoping rookies Terry McLaurin or Kelvin Harmon can step up. The offensive line is currently without All Pro Trent Williams who wants to leave, and the running game is questionable with projected starter second-year back Derrius Guice yet to take a regular season handoff. Jordan Reed at tight end simply can’t stay on the field, but at least the supporting cast of Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle offer some hope. The mega-bucks signing of safety Landon Collins from the Giants will be under the spotlight. Collins grew up loving former Redskins superstar Sean Taylor, if he can be a quarter as good as #21 then this is a winning move. The Redskins traded back up to the end of the first round to grab Montez Sweat a DE/OLB hybrid, who will learn a lot about how to survive in the NFL from Ryan Kerrigan.

Look out for: This season should hold no expectations for Redskins fans as the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon will be playing their first games in the pros. Late round fantasy tip is Trey Quinn WR, one of my slot machines. CB Josh Norman is now Josh Normal at corner, and S Landon Collins is new and will need to make a big impression in his first month to garnish fan respect. The defensive line is the Redskins only real strength, with high profile draft picks Jonathan Allen and Darron Payne looking for end of season award recognition. Look out for the lesser known DT Matt Ioannidis, he is emerging as a star and has 10 sack potential.

2019 Season Prediction

With the offensive line intact, and the cornerback duo of Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, along with Demarcus Lawrence wreaking havoc and Leighton Vander Esch tackling everything in sight I simply cannot look beyond the Cowboys, who I can realistically see representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. This only happens if Zeke Elliot is back, and if Dak Prescott keeps his focus. The Cowboys got off to an awful start last season and they cannot afford to do the same this time. The Eagles will be a quality team again, but Carson Wentz simply cannot stay fit for 16 games. Philly’s running game will be a nightmare for fantasy owners and the pocket rocket Darren Sproles will want to go out on a high. The Giants will wrestle between giving Eli a respectful farewell tour or giving Daniel Jones regular season game reps. I suspect Jones will be starting by Week 10 at the latest. The Redskins will simply be a hot mess. This is one of those years that you simply have to take on the chin if you are a Washington supporter. With no proven wide receivers, a brittle tight end and an offensive line whose best player (Trent Williams) may be gone before the end of pre-season don’t expect a 6-3 start like 2018.

Dallas 12-4* (* = with Zeke from Week 1)

Philadelphia 11-5 (Wild Card)

New York 4-12

Washington 3-13

AFC West Breakdown

Last Season 

Kansas City Chiefs 12-4

L.A Chargers 12-4

Denver Broncos 6-10

Oakland Raiders 4-12

Kansas City Chiefs

Draft selections: 

Round 2 – Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia & Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia 

Round 3 – Khalen Saunders, IDL, Western Illinois

Round 6 – Rashad Felton, CB, South Carolina & Nick Allegretti, IOL, Illinois

Offseason key additions:

Tyrann Mathieu – The Honey Badger came over after playing just the single season in Houston, signing a 3 year, $42m contract with the Chiefs.

Emmanuel Ogbah – The Nigerian defensive end came over in a trade that say safety, Eric Murray go in the opposite direction, to Cleveland. One of two defensive ends that came through the door to cover the loss of Dee Ford to the 49ers. The other addition was…

Alex Okafor – The veteran pass rusher will replace Dee Ford as the Chiefs primary speed rusher off the edge after signing a 3 year, $18m dollar deal to join Kansas City.

Offseason key departures:

Justin Houston – Franchise legend Houston was allowed to walk in free-agency. However, he still found his way on to a contender, signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

Eric Berry – Berry has yet to find another team since being released by the Chiefs and perhaps it’s questionable whether he will do considering he suffered a ruptured Achilles in 2017 and was subsequently diagnosed with Hugland’s deformity in his heel following the injury. 

Super Bowl odds: 8/1

Analysis:

It’s all going to be on Mahomes and the offense but are the Chiefs better on the whole than they were in 2018? I’m not certain. Fans are putting enough money on them to make them favourites for the Superbowl but how much is that off the back of the hype and media love-in that we’re seeing for Patrick Mahomes? I think that’s definitely playing a part, personally.

Bottom line is that the Chiefs will be a good team and probably pretty fun to watch if you like watching lots of points being scored.

Look out for: 

Points! I think the Chiefs will be involved in a lot of shootouts this coming season and I feel that they’re actually going to be pretty comfortable with that given the offense they have. They know they have the real deal in Patrick Mahomes under center, they have the offensive mind of Andy Reid on the sidelines and r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶l̶y̶ ̶o̶r̶ wrongly they will have Tyreek Hill suit up from week 1 and even side from him, they have one of, if not the best tight end in the game, who like all the best tight ends, is a mismatch nightmare.

Flip it over to the defense and I don’t see how this defense is much better than last year. They might be more opportunistic, with Thornhill and Mathieu on the back end and with the pass rushers that they’ve added but I strongly believe that they still won’t be a “good” defense.

However, in the modern NFL that’s more than passable when you have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with anyone. All the Chiefs need to do is put the ball back in Mahomes’ hands one more time than the opponent and that could be enough.

To sum up,as I’ve said, I think the Chiefs will be good again and will win 10 or more games but I’m reluctant to go further than that, given how lopsided their team is.

Los Angeles Chargers 

Draft selections:

Round 1 – Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame

Round 2 – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Round 3 – Trey Pipkins – OT, Sioux Falls

Round 4 – Drue Tranquill – LB, Notre Dame

Round 5 – Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State7

Round 6 – Emeke Egbule, LB, Houston

Round 7 – Cortez Broughton, IDL, Cincinnati 

Offseason key additions:

Thomas Davis – The veteran linebacker comes in from Carolina to give the Bolts some big time leadership. That said, Davis may be in his mid 30’s but he can certainly still play. Davis signed a 2 year, $10.5m contract with the Chargers to become one of only two free agency acquisitions. 

Offseason key departures:

Darius Philon – I was surprised when the team allowed Philon to walk in free agency. He’s entering his prime, the team had developed him from a 6th round flier to a very useful defensive tackle who was a key part of their rotation in 2018. Philon chipped in with 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons and brought some real energy and urgency to the defensive line. I guess what we can say is that this was a nod towards the selection of a defensive tackle in the early part of the draft – Which obviously came to fruition with the selection of Jerry Tillery, someone who should go on and become a better player than Philon if all goes well. Nevertheless, I am sad to see Philon go and wish him well in Arizona.

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

I feel like the Chargers are primed for a big season and to have a big run at winning a Lombardi. The team is very talented and the roster is one of the most balanced in the NFL, with young stars and top class veterans on both sides of the ball. Let’s not forget that this was a team that was a late season implosion against the Broncos away from being the #1 seed in the AFC. I feel that there’s a chance that they can get the #1 seed this year which will mean that opponents are travelling cross-country to play in L.A. and that they will get that all important week of rest before the playoffs begin; two things that the Patriots had to their advantage before the Divisional matchup in January.

Look out for: 

What happens to Melvin Gordon? The only dark cloud hanging over the Chargers at the moment in the contract dispute they have with their star running back. Will Melvin Gordon sign? Will he be traded and if he does get traded, where to and what’s the compensation going to be? Or, will he appear for the Chargers mid season (probably week 10), with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove? Personally, I have no idea, I change my mind every time I read something about it… However, as a Chargers and Melvin Gordon fan I will say this; neither side is in the wrong here and both sides are making business decisions that they feel are the right thing to do. There’s no ill feeling towards either side on my part and that will remain the case no matter the outcome… Well unless he gets traded for a dirisory compensation, then I’ll have something to say.

Denver Broncos

Draft selections:

Round 1 – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Round 2 – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State & Drew Lock

Round 3 – Dre’Mont Jones, IDL, Ohio State

Round 5 – Justin Hollins, LB, Oregon

Round 6 – Juwann Winfree, WR, Colorado 

Offseason key additions: 

Bryce Callaghan – A lot of fans may ask who on earth is Bryce Callaghan? Well, as we all know, I’m a sucker of defense and especially defensive backs and to me, Bryce Callaghan is one of the best slot corners in the game right now. Callaghan arrives from Chicago where he worked in, now Denver Head Coach, Vic Fangio’s system, on a 3 year, $21m deal which may well turn out to be one of the most shrewd pieces of business in the league this off season.

Ja’Wuan James – Probably the best right tackle available in free agency was Ja’Wuan James and provides some insurance against growing pains that rookie tackle, Dalton Risner may experience, since we know how difficult the transition into the pros can be for young linemen. James could also start alongside Risner should Risner start his Broncos career inside at guard.

Joe Flacco – The writing was on the wall when Lamar Jackson was drafted in Baltimore – The Flacco era was coming to an end. The Broncos QB situation was in limbo so the chucked the Ravens a 4th rounder for the pleasure of having the veteran QB bridge until the Drew Lock era commences in the near future.

Offseason key departures:

Shaq Barrett – The Broncos lost a decent depth piece from their pass rush rotation when Barrett went to Tampa Bay.

Shane Ray – Ray has signed with the Ravens. See the Barrett, Shaq for the analysis.

Bradley Roby – The Broncos and the Texans switched former first round corners in free agency as Roby went to Houston and Kareem Jackson joined Denver.

Super Bowl odds: 66/1

Analysis:

Denver should get better on defense with the fantastic mind of Vic Fangio now running the show but in his 60’s, is it too late to be a first time head coach? I’m skeptical on whether there’s enough talent on the defense to be successful with Fangio’s system and whether Rich Scangarello is experienced enough to get a tune out of the Broncos offense, which like the D, has some talented players but probably not enough. I think overall, even if Fangio is a success, the Broncos are still another good draft/offseason away from being a really good team again.

Look out for: 

The development of Drew Lock. Lock is the next swing from the fences that GM, John Elway has taken in search for his QB in Denver but the signs thus far aren’t good. After the Hall of Fame game, Fangio said that he expected more from Lock but wasn’t surprised [at his lackluster performance]. That, boys and girls, ain’t good. Flacco obviously isn’t a great QB anymore, if he ever was so it’ll be interesting to see whether Fangio turns to Lock at any point during the season, especially if Denver aren’t in the playoff hunt. Subsequently, how will Lock do if he does indeed make it on to the field. If it doesn’t go well or if he sits on the shelf all season, Elway’s seat may become a little warmer.

Oakland Raiders

Draft selections: 

Round 1 – Clelin Farrell, Edge, Clemson, Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama & Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Round 2 – Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

Round 4 – Maxx Crosby, Edge, Eastern Michigan, Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston, Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

Round 5 – Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson

Round 7 – Quenton Bell, Edge, Prairie View A&M 

Offseason key additions:

Mr. Big Chest – Antonio Brown was banished from Pittsburgh to Oakland. Does he still have the ability to be an excellent addition to the Raiders? Yes. Does he have the appetite? This is where it gets questionable. Yes, AB has an unbelievable work ethic but in Oakland he has no chance to win a championship whereas he did in Pittsburgh for much of his time there. I wonder how much the imminent move to Las Vegas had a bearing on this move… I’m sure AB will love the bright lights and what it could do for his personal brand.

Trent Brown – Brown is a solid tackle who had a lot of success in New England. Now, I’m not saying he’s a bad player because he’s not but how much of that was down to Dante Scarnecchia? Who is regarded as the best offensive line coach in the NFL. We’ll see… Brown got wildly overpaid so it could look like a bad signing, quickly if he doesn’t perform.

Tyrell Williams – Tyrell is a good receiver who was a WR3 in L.A. who wanted to be paid like a WR2 and deployed like a WR2. He’s gotten his wishes but I wonder about the fit. Derek Carr doesn’t go deep very often, less often than any QB in the league. Williams is best of deep routes… you see where the problem lies, don’t you?

LaMarcus Joyner – The feisty and diminutive safety comes over from the Rams since they couldn’t afford to keep him. Joyner definitely raises the level on the back end for the Raiders.

Offseason key departures:

Kelechi Osemele – Remember a few years back when Oakland had one of the better offensive lines in the NFL? Osemele was a huge part of that at the time but his play fell off recently and that unit it being rebuilt with younger bodies. He now finds himself at the Jets.

Super Bowl odds: 66/1

Analysis:

There’s been a heck of a lot of changes and there will be even more as the franchise moves cities and Gruden constructs his roster alongside Mike Mayock. All of which has resulted in me not really being sure if Oakland have actually gotten any better for it all. The Raiders are tough to call but as you’ll see in my oeductiom below, I’m siding with my doubt and my feeling that there will be some growing pains in 2019 and perhaps beyond.

Look out for: 

Drama. Gruden, Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Mike Mayock as GM and an imminent move of city. It’s going to get really, really interesting for Raiders fans and we’ll potentially get a peek into that throughout Hard Knocks. 

2019 Season Prediction:

L.A Chargers 13-3

Kansas City Chiefs 11-5

Denver Broncos 7-9

Oakland Raiders 3-13

NFC North Breakdown

by Trevor Griswold – 7/8/2019

Last Season

Chicago 12-4

Minnesota 8-7-1

Green Bay 6-9-1

Detroit 6-10

Chicago:

Draft selections: David Montgomery (3.9), Riley Ridley (4.24), Duke Shelley (6.32), Kerrith Whyte Jr. (7.8), Stephan Denmark (7.24)

Offseason key additions: CB Buster Skrine, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB Mike Davis

Offseason key departures: CB Bryce Callahan, S Adrian Amos, RB Jordan Howard, K Cody Parkey

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

The Bears had a breakout season last year led by the addition of Khalil Mack. The defence rocked opponents to the tune of a divisional crown. After a successful season the DC Vic Fangio departed for a head coaching position in Denver. Chicago did a wonderful job in replacing him and the rest of the players lost in free agency. Chuck Pagano will have reinforcements in the names of Buster Skrine and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The key to defending the North will be to continue shutting down opponents and grinding out the clock on offense. If David Montgomery has a fast start it will be a long year for the rest of the division.

Look out for:

Mitch Trubisky. He must continue to improve as this team is beginning to look like the Jaguars of a couple seasons ago. In order for this team to be a legitimate super bowl threat Trubisky must progress into a franchise QB.

Detroit:

Draft selections: TJ Hockenson (1.08), Jahlani Tavai (2.11), Will Harris (3.17), Austin Bryant (4.15), Amani Oruwariye (5.8), Travis Fulgham (6.11), Ty Johnson (6.13), Isaac Nauta (7.10), PJ Johnson (7.15)

Offseason key additions: EDGE Trey Flowers, CB Justin Coleman, WR Danny Amendola, TE Jesse James, RB C.J. Anderson, DT Mike Daniels

Offseason key departures: EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Nevin Lawson

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

Analysis:

Head coach Matt Patricia is trying to emulate the New England Patriots, his old employer. By signing several ex-Patriots to the roster this team is equivalent to a New England Patriots B squad. Last season was a disaster in Detroit as it was riddled with injuries and losses. Detroit fans are growing restless with GM Bob Quinn and Matthew Stafford as the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992 and has never won the NFC North division. However, some may say Coach Patricia is re-aligning the ship towards calmer seas as this offseason looks promising. Key additions of Trey Flowers and Justin Coleman should help limit opponents scoring opportunities. Jesse James and first round draft pick TJ Hockenson should help in both the run and pass game this Fall.

Look out for:

This season will be the best ground game in Detroit since the great Barry Sanders danced around the field. Wit the addition of two new tight ends and a new offense coordinator that likes to run Kerryon Johnson may put up monster numbers this season.

Green Bay:

Draft selections: Rashan Gary (1.12), Darnell Savage Jr. (1.21), Elgton Jenkins (2.12), Jace Sternerger (3.11), Kingsley Keke (5.12), Ka’dar Hollman (6.12), Dexter Williams (6.21), Ty Summers (7.12)

Offseason key additions: S Adrian Amos, EDGE Za’Darius Smith, EDGE Preston Smith, G Billy Turner

Offseason key departures: EDGE Clay Matthews, LB Jake Ryan, WR Randall Cobb, CB Bashaud Breeland, EDGE Nick Perry, DL Muhammad Wilkerson

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

Green Bay has underperformed the last few seasons and Aaron Rodgers can’t seem to stay healthy. Matt Lefleur is now the man in charge in Green Bay. After an offseason of adding talent and protection for Rodgers there is no excuses to miss out on the playoffs once again. This team is built to win now, only time will tell if they do.

Look out for:the health along the offensive line. There is little depth behind the starting line. If one gets injured Rodgers may have to do a lot of running once again this season.

Minnesota:

Draft selections: Garrett Bradbury (1.18), Irv Smith Jr. (2.18), Alexander Mattison (3.38), Dru Samia (4.12), Cameron Smith (5.24), Armon Watts (6.17), Marcus Epps (6.18), Olisaemeka Udoh (6.20), Kris Boyd (7.3), Dillon Mitchell (7.25), Olabisi Johnson (7.33), Austin Cutting (7.36)

Offseason key additions: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen

Offseason key departures: DT Sheldon Richardson, C Nick Easton, RB Latavius Murray, RT Mike Remmers, G Tom Compton, S Andrew Sendejo, S George Iloka, CB Marcus Sherels

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

Analysis:

Last year there were incredibly high expectations for the Vikings. After signing Kirk Cousins to a massive deal the Vikings were unable to keep up with the NFC North darlings in Chicago. This offseason Minnesota was unable to resign many of their playmakers who helped them reach the NFC championship game two seasons ago. There is no more pressure than ever on Cousins to live up to his massive contract to fight for the division crown. With many holes left unfilled it will be a hard task.

Look out for:With a lot of losses in the defensive backfield I predict a regression as Harrison Smith struggles to cover the whole field. The defence as a whole will not be as intimidating after losing a lot of depth from a year ago.

2019 Season Prediction

Green Bay 10-6

Detroit 9-7

Minnesota 8-8

Chicago 7-9

Where Do They Go From Here; SF 49ers

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the San Francisco 49ers.

Don’t forget to check out the podcast where we talked to Mia and got their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

All eyes were on Jimmy G and Jerick McKinnon coming in to the season. Seemingly the weight from those collective eyes caused them to both buckle. McKinnon went down with ACL tear prior to the season starting. Furthermore, the winning streak was lost in week 1 at Minnesota (played well though). Things just got worse from there; A close fought win vs the Lions followed by a season ending injury on an innocuous play made by the QB at Kansas killed the 49ers season.

From then on, it was QBs CJ Beathard, Nick Mullens who collectively had about as much presence as Stephen Mulhern in the green room of Britain’s Got Talent. To be fair, Mullens did his future aspirations no harms with some of the performances he put including a beatdown bestoweth on the Oakland Raiders on the tellybox.

Matt Breida was questionable to play more times than Darren Anderton was in his career and you can understand why the 49ers were sniffing around AB and OBJ this offseason with George Kittle, the Tight end almost having half of the teams receiving yards of the teams pass catchers (not including RBs here, wanted to make it sound amazing…). WR with the most receiving yards was Kendrick Bourne, a guy no one has on their fantasy rosters with 487. Dante Pettis had himself a few highlight reel games and catches though.

On the defence, Buckner had a 12 sack season, but this was a pass defence ranked top 5 worst in the league in terms of points allowed and worst in turnovers created.

All in all, too many holes on both sides of the ball meant a 4-12 record and an early draft pick in a few days time.

Housekeeping

49ers pick from the 2 spot and have a decent amount of cap space with around $34m at this precise moment.

Outgoings

Not too many casulaties due to the lack in depth of this squad. Pierre Garcon will not be bringing his zimmer frame back to the Bay Area. Some are surprised they hold all of these Rbs but I would expect 1 to get cut at least.

Incomings

Whole lotta shake up here! Some splash signings makes you wonder how they still have cap space left but Linebacker Kwon Alexander comes over from the Bucs, Defensive Lineman Dee Ford comes over from the Chiefs, Jason Verrett will hope for a better bill of health coming over from LA which could be a nice compliment to Sherman on the back end and Tevin Coleman is 2019’s Jerick McKinnon signing in the backfield, albeit for a lot less.

Outlook for Next Year

With it looking likely Nick Bosa or a stud defensive lineman will be joining them, there is plenty of optimism in San Francisco, but I think there could be a lot of pressure on this team despite not getting the rub of the green with injuries.

Kyle Shanahan will be expected to submit a decent return this year so it will be interesting to see if all things are as rosy as they seem on the west coast. The NFC West will be as tough as it usually is (except the Cardinals, obviously) and the 49ers face the AFC North and NFC South, not the easiest of divisions to negotiate.

They need to sort out their backfield depth chart and acquire someone to add to the WR core because Kittle can’t (well he probably can) do it all on his own again.

The defence shouldn’t be too far away with the addition of a stud from pick 2 in the draft and should be competitive in most games.

Prediction

Kyle Shanahan will have his work cut out trying to muster a winning season but will probably end up with about 7 or 8 wins.

Jimmy G will be an above average quarterback and I can’t see the 49ers losing many games by more than a score. Whether that will be good enough for Shanahan to keep the job it remains to be seen. 4 of their first 6 games away from home and a week 4 is not the easiest of starts either. Neither is the run in of Packers, Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Rams and Seahawks. Yikes.

Fantasy Football

Jimmy Garoppolo – later round QB – low QB 1

Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida/Jerick McKinnon/Jeff Wilson/Colonel Mostert – Yeah, good luck with that. Get a pin, close your eyes and pick one.

Marquise Goodwin – many burnt hands here from last year – double digit rounds, if that. WR4 at best

Dante Pettis – will be a hipster pick this year and probably overdrafted in redraft leagues- mid rounds WR 2 upside perhaps?

Richie James – No

Kendrick Bourne – Close, but still no

George Kittle – back of 2nd round – TE1 if not THE TE1

Where Do They Go From Here; LA Rams

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Los Angeles Rams.

Don’t forget to check out the NFC West podcast where we talked to a fan from each team and got their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

It’s hard to determine whether or not this was a successful season or not. I guess with a gun to my head that you’d have to call the season disappointing overall despite the Super Bowl appearance. The reason I call it a failure is not only the performance in the Super Bowl, but also the luck involved in getting them there (more on that shortly) and the fact that they pushed all their chips into the middle for this season with their signings on defence.

Suh, Talib et al were all drafted in to make a Madden Ultimate Team in effect and just came up short. Yes, they’ll be among the favourites again in 2019 but you wonder if this was their boat sailing? Sometimes, you only get one chance.

Let’s rewind back to the regular season, stormed out to an 8-0 record before their humbling by the New Orleans Saints in a high scoring 35-45 affair with nearly 1000 yards of offence in the game (not one for Lee). Other season highlights was of course the week 11 slobber knocker in LA (which should have been in Mexico) which had over 100 points to its name.

There was a slight wobble after the bye in weeks 14 and 15 with losses @Chicago and at home to a Nick Foles led Eagles, costing them the #1 seed. None the less, a #2 seed and a 1st round bye, they proved too strong for the Cowboys (though you have to wonder whether if Zeke converted on that 4th down, how it may have played out).

The NFC title game will forever be remembered for the non PI call which would’ve let New Orleans run the clock down to a few seconds and Lutz to kick a chip shot, but that is now why coaches will be able to challenge these calls in 2019. Some like it, I hate it but it’s happening. Make your own judgement call on whether it is good for the game.

The main storyline over the latter part of the season on top of the charge to the biggest game of them all was Todd Gurley’s injury niggles. CJ Anderson was signed from week 15 and produced a stand out performance in his absence which trickled in to the post season. His rumbled over Dallas with a 100+ yd performance and a couple of touchdowns which leave many scratching their heads as to why he wasn’t re-signed. It was later released that Todd Gurley has arthritis in his left knee and we all knew that the Rams were playing it down and Todd Gurley telling a few white lies about him playing soft. No-one ever really bought it though because it told on the field with the amount of snaps CJ Anderson saw. It remains to be seen what lie ahead for the highest paid RB in the game in terms of next season’s workload. Dynasty owners, hold your breath.

Housekeeping

The Rams own pick number 31 for being Super Bowl runners up.

They hold no 2nd round picks but 2 3rd rounders (pick 99 is compensatory) along with a pick in rounds 4,5,6 and 7.

The Rams’ pursestrings are a bit tight with around $5m cap space at this moment.

Outgoings

LaMarcus Joyner, Roger Saffold, Mark Barron and Ndamukong Suh and the main names out the door.

Incomings

Replacing them are Green Bay legend with the long golden locks Clay Matthews, Eric Weddle and his great beard and clearly the biggest signing of them all, Blake Bortles. You watch him get turned into Dan Marino by McVay.

Outlook for Next Year

Pretty much as you were for the Rams with a few pieces being changed. The Rams will be expecting to visit the big one again and go one better.

Cooper Kupp, who seemingly was the glue that kept this team together should be back and raring to go and a lot of eyes will be on Todd Gurley and his knees. Expect a top offence once more with plenty of points to go around everywhere. The Rams will play a winners schedule as well as the NFC South and AFC North. Added on top, a trip to London to take on Zac Taylor who was employed by the Rams in 2018.

Prediction

There may well be stiffer competition in the NFC West in 2019 with the Seahawks and also Jimmy G being welcomed back by Kyle Shanahan. Should be another division title for the Rams but the division plays hard. Another season of double digit wins if Gurley’s war wounds are nothing too serious and Sean McVay does Sean McVay things on the Rams offence. To the post season, the Rams will once again be a juggernaut to stop, but someone will.

Fantasy Football

Jared Goff – later rounds – low QB1

Todd Gurley – 1st round pick (buyer beware) – RB1, if fit and firing.

Brandin Cooks – 3rd/4th Round pick – WR2 – potential bargain

Cooper Kupp – 5th round – low WR2 – PPR machine

Robert Woods – 4th round – WR2

Tight Ends – no chance!

Where Do They Go From Here; Denver Broncos

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Denver Broncos.

Don’t forget to check out the AFC West podcast where we talked to Sam Lane and Stocks from 5yardrush and got their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

The Case Keenum experiment didn’t bear all the fruits for John Elway and Broncos Country.

They put themselves in a position for a wildcard berth at 6-6 but 4 straight (humiliating) defeats to 2 teams picking in the top 4 of the 2019 draft and 2 divisional rivals cost them. What else cost them was a 3-6 start before their bye week giving them too much to do in hindsight.

Bottom half in the league in terms of yards and points on offence tells you how well Case Keenum’s Broncos did. Only scoring more than 25 points twice all season against an out of sorts week 1 Seattle Seahawks at home and the Cardinals –  a team who were the worst in football. Keenum himself has a season QB rating just pushing over 80…not the Minnesota Case Keenum, that’s for sure.

A bright spot on offence was the running backs, where Philip Lindsay burdst on to the NFL scene as an undrafted rookie. Bumping out draft pick Royce Freeman and dust collector Devantae Booker to surge to the top of the depth chart. Anyone taking a punt on him in the early weeks of fantasy football waiver wires were beaming.

Emmanuel Sanders had a good season despite his age nearing the number where father time comes calling. Injury curtailing his career so I guess in a way, father time caught up. It remains to be seen whether he will be the same again in 2019. Draft picks Courtland Sutton and DeSean Hamilton showed flashes at times to the point where the Broncos were happy enough to send Demaryius Thomas to the Texans for a bag of dust.

The defence looks a shadow of it’s former Super Bowl winning self and home field advantage is ever present at mile high. That said their first round draft pick Bradley chubb had himself a good season (I guess you should being picked at no.5 overall) and allowed Von Miller to continue doing his thang. The pair combined for 26.5 sacks in 2018, breaking Broncos records all over the shop.

Housekeeping

The Broncos own pick 10 in the draft but it’ll be decent odds they pick from that spot come the end of April. Elway loves a case of the itchies.

The Broncos also own picks 41, 71, 125, 148, 156, 182 and 237.

Cap wise, the Broncos have around $11m available at this moment.

Outgoings

As mentioned, Demaryius Thomas was let go for that bag of dust which has now flown away to New England via the Texans (and a trip to the hospital).

The Case Keenum project was shut down after 1 year and other names that have left Mile High include Center Matt Paradis, corner Bradley Roby and TE Matt LaCosse

Incomings

If you ask Elway, Joe Flacco is entering his prime so is a massive upgrade on Keenum in that respect (ooook). Kareem Jackson comes over from Houston along with CB Bryce Callahan and RT Ja’Wuan James

Outlook for Next Year

The young pieces on offence will be hoping Joe Flacco is that upgrade on Case Keenum ad many will look to Sutton and Hamilton to come to the fore in the passing game and for Lindsay not to be hampered by his serious arm injury that curtailed his impressive 2018 rookie year.

Surely though, the pairing of Miller and Chubb on the edges of the defence will be the cornerstone to the Broncos winning games. A tough division, a tough schedule too with the AFC South and NFC North not making things too easy in their quest for a wildcard berth (nor does their 3rd place finish giving them the Browns and Bills (away) as their other fixtures outside their division). Sorry fans.

Prediction

For me personally, I am not sure how the Broncos will be contenders again under Elway whilst he keeps whiffing at the GM position.

For 2019, this division is going to be too hot for Denver with KC and LAC in prime position for an assault on the Lombardi Tophy. With Oakland being a wildcard and making some positive moves, don’t be surprised to see the Broncos bottom of this division and picking top 10 again in 2020. Once again, sorry fans.

That being said, their home field is decent enough advantage for a few wins a season and whilst the Broncos may not be on primetime much this season, we see them first up in the HOF game vs Atlanta.

I think they max out at 7 wins, and that’s generous of me. Be thankful.

Fantasy Football

Joe Flacco – Joe Flacc-no

Philip Lindsay – likely to be overdrafted but unsure what round – injury dependant.

Royce Freeman – potential hold in dynasty if Lindsay struggles to return.

Emmanuel Sanders – mid to late rounds (injury dependant) – WR 2 ceiling

Courtland Sutton – Later rounds – WR3

DeSean Hamilton – shallower league perhaps undrafted – WR4 with upside.