When the casual NFL fan thinks about who will win the NFC East, without much thought they say the New York Giants or the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants spent a bunch of money on their defense about two seasons ago, sadly if you’re a Giants fan the product hasn't quite lived up to it’s sizable price.
Not only do the Giants have an overpriced defense that almost allows 20 points per game, according to NFL.com , but the Giants also lack a running back they could count on. It doesn't matter who your running back is when the offensive line struggles significantly. Pro Football Focus ranked the Giants as the 28th offensive line out of 32 teams.
Enough with the negative, here is why the Giants could be great this year, the offense. The Giants have quarterback Eli Manning, 36, at the helm. Manning has the best weapons of his career in wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. Wisely the Giants also drafted tight end Evan Engram. The Giants will use Engram as a wide receiver as well, he is a quite versatile pass catcher.
The Giants have a great offense, but the offensive line and the incosistent defense makes me believe they'll finish 9-7.
Eleven straight wins, that’s what rookie sensations Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys pulled off last season.
The Cowboys lost key members of their offensive line, which Pro Football Focus now ranks them as the 9th best o-line, while last year the group was ranked 2nd by PFF.
Cowboys are still searching for a defense, it is widely considered the weakest group of the Cowboys.
Prescott played the best football of his career last year, he will regress. Prescott played incredible last year, but now the NFL has a year of tape on him, we may have seen Prescotts' ceiling.
While Elliot is most likely heading towards a suspension, Prescott may even regress more than I project, which obviously will hurt the Cowboys.
Because of the offensive line losing key pieces, Elliot heading toward a suspension, the defense looking worst than last years, and banking that Prescott will regress toward the norm.
I see the Cowboys going 8-8.
The worst team in the NFC East would happen to be the Washington Redskins. Their franchise quarterback repeatedly gets called ‘Kurt’ instead of his name, ‘Kirk’ by the organization.
Kirk Cousins has few weapons, his primary pass catchers Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon left in free agency, but the Redskins’ do have a solid offensive line, it falls just out of the top ten in PFF ranking.
Their defense is a question mark according to PFF their D line ranks at 21st overall.
It appears to be Cousins last year with the Redskins, and it may not end well.
I see the Skins finishing at 6-10
A team that has been flying under the radar are the Philadelphia Eagles, and they're my pick to win the NFC East. In my opinion the Eagles are the most complete team in the NFC East.
Many argue that the most important parts of an NFL team is their quarterback, offensive line, and defensive line.
Pro Football Focus ranks the Eagles with the #1 offensive line going into the 2017-2018 season. Pro Football Focus also ranks the Eagles as having the 3rd best defense line going in to the upcoming season.
Eagles have a defense worth taking note of, their only question mark remains at corner back which is a big question mark, but they did draft some good young corners.
Now on the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles have no question marks in my mind.
Philly signed wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. They also signed running back LeGarrette Blount.
Quarterback Carson Wentz, who is entering year two, showed his superstar potential. the 6-foot-5 240 Wentz can make all the throws as well as lead an NFL team.
Last year Wentz had little to no help, so the Eagles had to make a splash in free agency, and they did. With the moves they made Wentz may be in MVP talk, I know that sounds like a stretch, but the 24 year old from North Dakota has that 'IT' factor..
Head Coach Doug Pederson made some questionable moves last year, but with year one under his belt he’ll have much more experience. Pederson seems like a terrific head coach and has recently said “I look back at my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs and those Super Bowl runs there, and do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?”
NBA champion Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. This must've shocked many people, myself included.
Irving is tired of being the second option to the best player in the NBA, Lebron James.
This really surprises me. James is widely considered the best teammate in the NBA, because of his talent to gets guys involved and elevate his teammate's games.
If you play with James you're going to the NBA finals, to me Irving seems like he loves winning, if he leaves Cleveland he will most likely not go to the NBA finals.
I believe Irving requested a trade because he was tired of how James ran the organization, and he wanted more of a say.
Another possibility is that Irving is aware that James will be leaving Cleveland after this year, therefore wants to leave now before he is trapped on a losing team.
I believe the only two teams who can make an offer that Cleveland would except are the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Why on Earth would the Cavs trade Irving to the Celtics, the only team who has any chance of taking down Cleveland in the East.
Irving is used to having James handle the ball, Irving can be very effective as an offguard.
The Lakers would be the perfect fit for Irving, Lonzo Ball would run the point and Irving would become the two guard.
These two guards are not terrific defenders, but they could coexist together and win games.
The Lakers could offer Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
I believe the Cavaliers would except, King James would not like this trade and he would leave immediately after this year, but it gives the Cavaliers good young assets.
In the Western Conference I believe the seeding will be:
1. Golden State
2. San Antonio
4. Oklahoma City
I do not have Utah making it after losing Hayward. I do not have the Clippers making it, because Chris Paul is gone. Paul, the Clippers leader and best player elevated Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan's games tremendously. I do not have Memphis making it either, although they'll fight hard for the 7-8 seed. I do not have the Lakers making it, even with Lonzo Ball. Dallas, Sacramento, and Phoenix will be unable to compete this year, because the West is so impressive.
In the Eastern Conference I think the playoffs will look like:
The Pistons will just miss out on the 8 seed. The Nets will look better than last year with Dangelo Russell leading the way. The Pacers, Bulls, Hawks, and Knicks are rebuilding. And the Magic seem to be in an abyss, since they never take a step forward
When Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant split up, Shaq joined the Heat and won a championship. Kobe was left on a very mediocre LA Laker team, and was a volume shooter who was even called a 'ball-hog.'
Similar to that scenario is when Durant and Westbrook split up, because Durant joined the Golden State Warriors and Westbrook was left with a very average OKC team.
Durant went on to win a championship while Westbrook averaged a triple double and won the MVP. I'm not predicting Westbrook to be a 5x NBA champion like Bryant, but to me Westbrook is a better player than Durant.
Next year, I believe Westbrook will again have a better year than Durant,
Paul George is a better fit for Westbrook and it's simply because George knows it's Westbrook's team.
Westbrook and Durant were clearly unable to distinguish who should've been at the helm.
Now that is not a problem, because George is aware he is joining the Westbrook led Thunder. I believe the two stars will co exist, win a minimum of 50 games, and possibly reach the Western Conference Finals.
I believe the Rockets will not get past the second round because of Mike D'Antoni, not Chris Paul and James Harden battling for point guard duties.
I've came to this thought because when D'Antoni was coaching the Suns he was terrific, and that was because he had one star in his offense, 2x MVP Steve Nash.
D'Antoni was even last year's Coach Of The Year, that is because his offense had one star, which was MVP runner-up Harden.
In New York D'Antoni only looked impressive during Linsanity. When Carmelo Anthony and Jermey Lin took the court together, the Knicks fell apart.
In LA when D'Antoni coached the Lakers and had Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash his offense looked awful.
Gasol wasn't even seeing the court, because D'Antoni could not make it work with more than one star.
With that being said I believe Mike D'Antoni is only a great coach when he has one star for his offense.
If the Rocket land Anthony they'll do even worse.
I still do not love the Dangelo Russell Brook Lopez trade, since I believe Russell will become an All Star.
However, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka drafted very well their first year on the job.
Laker's rookies Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Thomas Bryant look great in the NBA Summer League.
Lonzo is showing he has rare court vision as well as having command over the offense. Ball is a true floor general, who loves passing and every Laker on the summer team is passing without thought.
Kyle Kuzma looks like a steal at #27 overall, Thomas Bryant a center who can shoot the 3, also looks like a good pick.
Second year player Brandon Ingram is showing the work he put in during the off season.
Ingram showed his superstar potential when he looked like a man amongst boys, in the Lakers first summer game.
As of now it appears the Lakers have a full roster, but they only have one point guard.
Lonzo Ball is the only point guard the Lakers have, that's if the roster is what I think it'll be.
I believe the Lakers will carry these 13 players:
Larry Nance JR
It is possible the Lakers keep Vander Blue or Alex Caruso on their roster, but I'm not sure who they would drop for those players. Possibly Bryant or Hart.
Because the West is so tough, the Lakers will be lucky to win 30-39 games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the Jimmy Butler Trade, obviously.
The T'Wolves dealt Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the 7th overall pick. In return the Bulls traded away the 16th overall pick and Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls drafted Lauri Markkanen with the 7th overall pick, and the Bulls took Justin Patton 16th overall.
The T'Wolves added Jimmy Butler who is a top 10 player, and kept a pick in the 1st round.
The Bulls received probable role players in Dunn and Lavine, which puts Chicago in rebuild mode.
The T Wolves have a very good big three in Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler they will most likely be a top 5 team out West.
The Clippers are officially in rebuild mode.
With Chris Paul being traded to the Rockets for Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, and a 2018 1st round pick I can't imagine Blake Griffin staying with the Clippers.
Even though some say Griffin and Jordan did not like Paul's drill sergeant leadership, which makes them think Griffin and Jordan will stay. I don't. I think both guys want to win.
So I believe now the Clippers will also look to trade Deandre Jordan and really commit to a rebuild process.
Both LA NBA teams are in the same boat, although the Lakers may be a step ahead in the process because they have drafted players like Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.
Will James Harden & Chris Paul play well together, we'll have to wait and see.
My initial reaction was no. I thought this because both players are ball dominant and need the ball to be affective.
Will CP3 handle the point guard duties and Harden stands on the wing , or will Harden handle the point gaurd.
They might just take turns bringing it up the court, but based on talent alone this could be the greatest backcourt of all time.
The Rockets are still a piece away, if they want to beat Golden State.
Houston may want to go after Carmelo Anthony or somehow trade for Paul George.
If they don't I see the Rockets being fun to watch, but exiting in the 2nd round.
Because the Clippers lost CP3, they lose the trade.
The Brooklyn Nets won this trade. Since the Nets have no draft picks or good players honestly, they desperately needed good young talent with upside. They got that in Russell.
The move we just witnessed makes the Lakers WORST than they were last year, talent wise at least.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are already looking like the wrong guys for the job.
But, they're not to blame completely.
Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss made such inadequate signings in Timofey Mosgov and Luol Deng, that the Lakers had to get rid of a valuable young asset to gain anything valuable in return.
I understand that the Lakers will save money over the next three years, getting rid of Mosgov's contract and picking up Lopez's expiring one, but I still do not like the trade.
Instead of having a backcourt with Lonzo Ball and Dangelo Russell, the Lakers trade Russell for an old and injury riddled Brook Lopez.
To me LA gave up a young guard with a lot of potential.
I believe the Lakers should have kept Russell, Randle, Ingram, Zubac, and the number two pick.
I would be completely fine with the Lakers trading away Clarkson or Nance, or the 28th pick.
My main problem with the trade was giving away a young guard with a lot of potential to simply dump a bad salary.
I believe there was a better deal out there, that wouldn't have taken giving up Russell.
It is possible the Lakers did not like Russell's attitude or work ethic, maybe Russell wasn't good in the locker room.
I believe those opinions are a stretch.
Watching the Lakers closely over the last few years, I did find myself thinking 'do Clarkson and Russell have a passion for the game of basketball, or do they enjoy the NBA player lifestyle more than the game.'
That could be what Magic Johnson was thinking, when he dealt Russell.
I'm starting to think the Lakers are now gearing up to get Paul George or Jimmy Butler THIS summer.
By possibly trading away the 27th and 28th picks and a player like Nance or Clarkson.
I again would not deal: Ingram, Randle, Zubac, or 2nd pick.
Thinking on the bright side: the Lakers will get a new point guard with the #2 pick.
Brook Lopez will be a great mentor for Zubac.
As well as Lopez's contract expiring after this year, while Mosgov's doesn't expire for another 3 years.
Giving the Lakers more flexibility and enough money to get 2 max players NEXT summer.
Paul George will not be a Pacer next year.
After George told the Pacers he will leave after this year and reports surfaced that the Pacers are in trade talks with the Cavs, it's a done deal.
Although George told the Pacers he prefers the Lakers, I believe he will end up in Cleveland.
Simply because Lebron has 1 year left, and George will try to join the Cavs in a win or bust type year.
After next year George will join the Lakers.
And James may leave the Cavs as well, after next season.
Kevin Love has 2 years remaing on his contract, while Geroge has 1 year left on his.
The Cavs will trade Love for George.
The Cavs will try to revamp and take down Golden State by adding George, who is a better and quicker all around player than Love.
With Larry Bird gone from Indiana's front office, nothing will seem to slow George from leaving the Pacers as soon as he can.
Titans signing ofWR Eric Decker is a nice add.
The Titans are a team who I believe will win the AFC South.
I thought that even prior to this move.
Another pre season NFL thought is that, Eagles QB Carson Wentz will be an MVP candidate.
Watching and listening to him, he seems to have IT mentally and physically.
Just seems like a winner, who works hard at what he loves to do, which is football.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are down three games to none for a number of reasons, and the GSW talent is not the only reason why.
Lebron James for the most part was absolutely great, we are all witnesses. The other guys like Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and the role players were not able to be counted on.
In games 1&2 Irving was just not playing like himself. Irving's shot was off, and he did not seem totally engaged in my eyes.
Love in game 1 rebounded but that was all. In Game 2 Love woke up and scored the ball very well. If Irving had a 'Kyrie Irving' like game in game 2 the Cavs would've been tied 1-1.
In games 1&2 the Cavs role players were no where to be found. It could be that role players play better at home.
In game 3 Lebron James and Kyrie Irving were spectacular, but Love was not he constantly missed open shots which obviously hurt the Cavs very much.
SOME of the Cavs role players played better in game 3. I believe Kyle Korver and JR Smith stepped up offensively, while Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson gave hustle on defense.
Deron Williams was so bad, it hurt to watch. But Williams play did not hurt as much as Triston Thompson's play.
Triston Thompson is the one that the people of Golden State should be writing thank you letters to. His play was so small that I did not know who I was watching. Thompson was missing all series, who I expected to have a huge part of the Cavs winning this series. Thompson did not score, rebound, or defend.
Although it is hard to criticize James, he did make two plays down the stretch of game 3 that made me sick.
In the fourth quarter, with 1 minute left, Lebron gave his haters new fuel. Draymond Green who had five fouls was in front of Lebron and instead of driving, he decided to fade away and miss the shot.
The second play under a minute was when Lebron was at the rim, but decided to sling a pass to Korver in the corner. Lebron HAD to go to the hoop and get a lay-up or a foul. Lebron has to trust himself more than Korver.
Something else to consider; Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green are all in their prime. Although I still believe James is the best player in the NBA today, he is not as athletic and sound defensively as he once was.
At this point, I'm hoping the Cavs can at least get 1 win. I believe the Cavs will win game 5 simply because Lebron and Kyrie are to prideful.
Game 1 of the NBA finals was Cleveland's worst game of the season. All the Cavs including Lebron, played unlike themselves.
Every bounce went the Warriors way. The GSW only had 4 turnovers as a team, while Lebron had 8 turnovers to himself.
In total the Cavs had 20 turnovers and had nearly 20 less shot attempts than GS.
Lebron, Kyrie, and Love all shot less than 50% while Curry and Durant shot 50% or better.
Klay and Draymond played incredible defensively.
I do not believe that Durant, Curry, Klay, and Draymond will all be on offensively, not against the Cavs.
I think 2 out of the 4 stars will continue to be hot while the other two do other things to impact the game.
The Cavs role players played pretty poor, Kyle Korver, Triston Thompson, and Deron Williams all had 0 points. While JR Smith had 3 points.
Korver and Williams will be better since they got their first NBA finals game over with.
Triston Thompson must get more than 4 rebounds and give the Cavs second chances on offense. He must play like he's capable of for the Cavs to have a chance, 8 points and 12 rebounds would be ideal for Cleveland.
I think the Cavs defense will be better as well as their role players. I also think Lebron will give us an incredible performance and take care of the ball.
Therefore I expect game 2 to be very competitive and entertaining.
I believe the Cavs will win in a very close game 2.
Daniel Farr. Journalist. Sports fan. Santa Monica College student.