With veterans due to report to training camp this week, Stats & Info takes a look at the top stats to know for each team heading into camp. On Monday, we took a look at the teams in the AFC. Today, we'll take a look at the NFC.
The Cowboys hope to have a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, after the two were on the field together for only 123 of the team’s 969 offensive snaps (12.7 percent) in 2015. Dallas is 23-11 the past three seasons when Romo starts but 1-13 with any other quarterback. The Cowboys led the NFL in team Total QBR in 2014 but had the second-lowest QBR in the league last season, largely because of the absence of Romo.
The Giants signed Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison to contracts that included $105.3 million guaranteed on the first day of free agency; that's more guaranteed money than the team spent on all free agents in the previous five years ($85.1 million). The Giants also drafted cornerback Eli Apple 10th overall after allowing a franchise-record 420.3 yards per game in 2015, the most in the NFL.
The Eagles traded up in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Carson Wentz second overall, after signing Sam Bradford to an extension and Chase Daniel to a three-year deal this offseason. Of the 29 quarterbacks with at least $12 million guaranteed in their current contracts, three are on the Eagles. Sam Bradford had a Total QBR of 42 last season, third-lowest in the league. The Eagles haven’t had a quarterback start all 16 games since Donovan McNabb in 2008.
The Redskins gave Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for 2016, which guaranteed him a cash value of $19.95 million. That’s a 2,923 percent increase over his 2015 cash value of $660,000. Cousins threw 11 of his 29 touchdown passes to tight end Jordan Reed, and from Week 14 to Week 17, he completed 29 of 31 passes (93.5 percent) to Reed with five touchdowns.
The Bears did not retain Matt Forte this offseason and will likely rely on three running backs in Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers, who have a career total of 2,011 rushing yards, to carry the load. Jay Cutler enters his eighth year as Bears quarterback, and despite a 6-9 record as a starter last season, he had one of his best passing years with the team. Cutler posted his best touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.91) and his most yards per attempt (7.6) in a Bears uniform. He had his second-best completion percentage (64.4 percent) and Total QBR (60.7).
After the retirement of 30-year-old Calvin Johnson (the Lions’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns), the team added Marvin Jones, Jeremy Kerley, Andre Roberts and Andre Caldwell to help bolster its receiving corps -- but the combined receiving yards of those four last season were less than Johnson’s. Quarterback Matthew Stafford posted career bests in completion percentage and Total QBR last season, including a 68.3 Total QBR after Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator for Joe Lombardi in Week 8.
The Packers enter the season with seven consecutive playoff appearances, the longest streak in franchise history and tied with the Patriots for the longest active streak in the NFL. Green Bay has lost on the final play of the game in each of the past three postseasons, including overtime losses the past two.
The defending NFC North champions benefited from an imposing defense last season. They ranked fifth in points allowed and posted their lowest average (18.9 points per game) since the 1998 season (18.5). On offense, 31-year-old Adrian Peterson enters his 10th season. Peterson ranked first in the NFL in rushes, rushing yards and rushing yards after contact in 2015. Teddy Bridgewater will be entering his third season at quarterback. Bridgewater’s Total QBR last season was 62.7 (it was 56.9 in his rookie season), and his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 14-9 (14-12 in his rookie season).
Julio Jones finished the 2015 season with the second-most receptions (136) and receiving yards (1,871) in a single season in NFL history. He had the highest percentage of the team’s yards from scrimmage among wide receivers, at 31 percent. To give Matt Ryan more options, the Falcons signed Mohamed Sanu and let go of Roddy White, who is first in team history in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Cam Newton won the NFL MVP award last season, after becoming the first player to throw for 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 touchdowns in a season. He has been the most-contacted quarterback each season since he entered the NFL in 2011. His 43 career rushing touchdowns are tied with Steve Young for the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). Newton leads a Panthers offense that scored touchdowns on 68 percent of its red-zone possessions last season, second in the NFL.
Drew Brees is entering the final season of his contract, which is carrying a $30 million cap hit, the largest cap charge for any player since at least 2000. Brees enters this season at age 37 and is the only qualifying quarterback with at least a 70 Total QBR in each of the past three seasons. Brees has thrown for 4,000 yards in an NFL-record 10 straight seasons, which accounts for his career in New Orleans (since 2006).
Jameis Winston enters his second season after becoming one of three rookies to throw for 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns (Cam Newton in 2011 and Andrew Luck in 2012). Winston gets to throw to Mike Evans, who had the second-most receiving yards among players 6-foot-5 or taller last season, with 1,206. Last season, the Buccaneers had four players 6-foot-5 or taller with 20 receptions, most in the NFL (Evans, Vincent Jackson, Cameron Brate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins).
The 49ers hired offensive-minded Chip Kelly as their new head coach after they ranked last in the NFL in scoring in 2015. However, both Kelly’s Eagles and the 49ers' offense have been in decline since 2013. The Eagles ranked first in yards per play in 2013 and 24th in 2015. The 49ers ranked 12th in yards per play in 2013 and 30th last season.
With Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of 2016, Russell Wilson has the most wins in the NFL over the past four seasons among expected Week 1 starters. Wilson recorded 24 passing touchdowns, one interception and a Total QBR of 91 in his final seven games of the 2015-16 regular season.
The Cardinals have improved each season under head coach Bruce Arians, culminating in a franchise-record 13 wins and a franchise-record 489 points in 2015-16. This season, the Cardinals will look to make the playoffs for the third straight season for the first time in franchise history.
The Rams (and the NFL) return to Los Angeles in 2016 for the first time since 1994. The franchise has a .549 win percentage in Los Angeles and an NFL title in 1951. The Rams had a .406 win percentage in Cleveland from 1937-45 and a .424 win percentage in St. Louis from 1995-2015.