NFC East Q&A: Who wins the division? Bet big on Dallas Cowboys - ESPN
This article includes a poll about which team will win the East. 47% of ESPN readers said they expect the Cowboys to win the division, 23% like the Giants, 20% like the Redskins, and 11% gave the Eagles their pity vote. The NFC writers explain:
Dan Graziano, New York Giants reporter: Dallas comes roaring back from last year’s pothole and edges out defending champion Washington in a tight two-way race.
Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles reporter: As much as it galls Eagles fans, I think the Cowboys are in position to win the division title this season. If Romo and Bryant are healthy and Ezekiel Elliott is the player everyone expects, the Cowboys immediately become the class of the division.
Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys reporter: The Cowboys won the division in 2014 with that formula, and they will do it again. And they will be the only NFC East team to qualify for the postseason.
Pro Football Future Sportsbook Odds - VegasInsider.com
The Washington Redskins are the defending NFC East champs, but the Vegas futures suggest the Cowboys are poised to take the NFC East crown in 2016, and that's not necessarily a knock on the Redskins. Repeating as division champs is no small task. No team has repeated as NFC East Champion since the Eagles did it in 2004.
The latest Super Bowl odds from VegasInsider.com:
Sunday Morning Must Reads
NFL Summer Games, offensive line: Tyron Smith > Joe Thomas - NFL.com
As it's an Olympic year, NFL.com replaces its regular offseason ranking exercise with a medal competition at nine key positions to determine the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners. The medal winners for the offensive line are Tyron Smith (40 total points), Joe Thomas (27), and Trent Williams (13). In addition to Smith an Williams, two other NFC East player make the list: Zack Martin (4 points), and Jason Peters (2). No mention of anybody out of New York.
NFL Fantasy LIVE's top 50 - Alex Gelhar, NFL.com
NFL.com finishes another countdown, this time ranking the top fantasy players for 2016 from a list compiled using the aggregate ranking from their panel of analysts. Ezekiel Elliott comes in at No. 9, Dez Bryant at No. 11. Gelhar adds some commentary on both:
Ezekiel Elliott: I'm still a bit surprised by how many people are against taking Ezekiel Elliott in the first round. He's an elite talent about to be running behind the league's best offensive line while inheriting a substantial workload. Over the last three years the featured back in Dallas has averaged 332.7 touches per year. Of course, that's skewed by DeMarco Murray's monstrous 2014 campaign, but even when we take that out the number only drops to 274.5. That total would have ranked in the top 10 in total touches among running backs in 2015. Elliott is more talented than Darren McFadden, who posted a career year in this offense in 2015 without a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to keep defenses honest. Everything is lining up for a massive rookie season for Zeke, so throw out your personal rookie bias and get on board with taking him in the first.
Dez Bryant suffered a broken foot in Week 1 of the 2015 season and was never himself the rest of the year. And let's not even mention that he was attempting to catch passes from players like Kellen Moore late in the year. But the good news for 2016 is Dez is back to full strength and gets a healthy Tony Romo as well. From 2012 to 2014, Bryant averaged 91 catches, 1,311 yards and 13.7 touchdowns per year (209.1 fantasy points in standard leagues). There's really nothing else to say about Dez -- he's a WR1. If you're too scared to draft him because Romo "might get hurt," well, then enjoy drafting in fear and missing out on an elite player.
Undrafted Benson Mayowa could benefit from suspensions along Cowboys' defensive line - David Moore, SportsDay
Mayowa will be the go-to guy for the Cowboys in the first four games, even if his preparation hit a bump.
Mayowa was making strides during the offseason program but injured his left knee and underwent a scope during minicamp. The Cowboys are optimistic he'll be cleared to open training camp. Even if he's not, the delay won't be long enough to negatively impact his push to open the season as a starter.
Lynch suspended for violating substance abuse policy - NFL.com
San Francisco will be without its leading pass rusher for the first four games of the season, as outside linebacker Aaron Lynch has been suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. These first four games include the Week 4 matchup against the Cowboys.
Film Room: Kirk Cousins - Cian Fahey, Football Outsiders
This one is not going to go over well in Washington. Fahey draws an interesting comparison between Nick Foles (who had a stellar year in 2013) and Kirk Cousins (who had a pretty good year in 2015).
When Nick Foles was thriving with the Philadelphia Eagles, he was doing so in this fashion. His floating passes that would arrive slightly off target on a regular basis didn't matter in Chip Kelly's scheme behind a dominant offensive line with receivers who could comfortably adjust at the catch point. Foles could make reads from spacious pockets, while he was rarely forced to throw into tight windows downfield because of the design of the offense and the execution around him. Over the second half of last season, all of these elements could be seen in Washington.
Cousins was propped up by the talent around him and the absence of talent across from him. To what degree and for how long this is sustainable is unclear. It wasn't sustainable for Foles because the Eagles couldn't maintain an offense with 10 above-average starters playing around him. [...]
It's hard to put a positive spin on Cousins' propensity for throwing interceptable passes. Some quarterbacks throw a lot of interceptable passes, but they aren't awful throws straight to defenders so they aren't regularly caught. Other quarterbacks throw fewer interceptable passes but their throws are so poor that it's often easy for the defensive back to pull them in. Cousins combines the worst of both worlds, throwing awful interceptable passes at too high of a rate. It's possible that he will outgrow this trait and benefit from the smart scheming that Gruden can build around him, but rationally projecting success based on his whole career to this point is very difficult to do.
Why Deflategate was about money and control, not air pressure - Dieter Kurtenbach, FOX Sports
Kurtenbach explains that Deflategate had nothing to do with deflated footballs. Instead, it was all about a power struggle.
That's because the legal war had nothing to do Brady's alleged involvement in the possible deflation of footballs — it was about if the commissioner of the NFL could suspend him for four games for any reason he wanted.
And it also put Patriots owner Robert Kraft back in his place.
It was Patriots owner Robert Kraft who broke the deadlock [during the 2011 lockout], pushing forward to get a 10-year CBA passed, saving the 2011 regular season. There was an undercurrent of resentment then — though it wouldn't come out until years later — that Kraft conceded too much to the players to get the league running again. The players would have cracked, eventually. Where else were they going to play football?
This resentment was compounded for some owners. There was a pervasive belief among owners and executives that Kraft — Goodell's closest confidant of all the team owners — was receiving favoritism from the commissioner. Kraft had an unofficial nickname around the league: "The assistant commissioner."
Dear @SI_PeterKing, I finished the marathon otherwise known as "writing the MMQB column." If you ever ask me to do it again, I'll kill you.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 16, 2016
Always knew you were afraid of hard work, Florio. https://t.co/kxdfmwAiB2— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) July 16, 2016
And here's a little something that happened in Munich, Germany, something you've never seen happen in England, despite the NFL having played umpteen games there.
And in case you're wondering what the name of the local American football team in Munich is, it's the Munich Cowboys of course.