SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives New York Giants

The Cleveland Browns had appeared to be the primary target for the next series of HBO's "Hard Knocks," but according to sources, the Browns balked at the idea, in part due to quarterback Johnny Manziel's rehab treatment.

With Cleveland out of the running, four teams -- the Bills, Texans, Giants and Redskins -- are the rumored favorites to be featured on the hit show.

With all of them boasting the requisite star power and affable personalities to captivate audiences -- unlike last season's Falcons -- we assess the entertainment value of each rumored "Hard Knocks" finalist:

Houston Texans

• Pretty much everything J.J. Watt does ends up on a highlight reel, or trending somewhere, such as his faux breaking news, attending the NCAA basketball tournament with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, and especially when his thigh injury resembles the meat Rocky sparred with. If the NFL All-Pro and all-around showman is involved, trust us, people will tune in.
• The Texans don't have a sexy quarterback camp battle, but it remains sports' most glamorous position, and the competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett should be a fierce one.
• Texas is BBQ country, so here's hoping jovial big man Vince Wilfork cranks up the old grill for more of this:

A video posted by Bianca Wilfork (@mrs75) on



•       •       •      

Buffalo Bills

"Let's go get a god damn snack!" is an iconic Rex Ryan quote that resides near the top of the pantheon of "Hard Knocks" quotables. With the bombastic coach now calling Buffalo home, fans would certainly welcome some fresh Rexims.
• Chip Kelly canceled the LeSean McCoy show in Philly, but the running back's silky smooth game and penchant for expressing whatever's on his mind makes his Buffalo reboot must-see TV.
• A cameo from Buffalo legend Jim Kelly will display the human element of football, as his battle to overcome cancer was truly inspiring to the team and fans across the world.

Note: A Bills source told ESPN.com's Mike Rodak that the team is not interested in the show, but we can still dream, can't we?

Rex RyanAP Photo/Bill Wippert

New York Giants

• Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. just exudes swagger and is in the midst of an NFL takeover that has seen him reel in the catch of the year and land the "Madden 16" cover. Next, America gets an inside look at his meteoric ascent and all the insane grabs previously not privy to cameras.
• How red can Tom Coughlin's face get? We're sure to find out as rookies bungle drills and draw the ire of the fiery coach.
• Manning face! Manning face! And more Manning face!
Odell Beckham Jr.Jordan Strauss/Invision for NFL/AP Images

Washington Redskins

• Think Shady had some heat for his former coach? Wait until DeSean Jackson, who was released by Kelly, gets miked up.
• Jon Gruden has a knack for saying something that will leave you scratching your head. Here's hoping his brother Jay shares that enigmatic factor and continues the NFL's version of the "Odd Couple" with his co-star and starting QB -- for now.
• This may be Robert Griffin III's final shot at re-capturing the hearts of fans in the nation's capital? We're not sure how he'll look in camp, but an appearance by his adorable new baby girl, Reese Ann, will surely help his cause:

Note: A high-ranking Redskins official told ESPN.com's John Keim that the team is not a possibility to appear on the show, but again, we can dream, right?

Comment »

Comment »

Comment »

Getty Images

Your 2014 NFL predictions?

The 2014 NFL season kicks off Thursday night, with the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers in the first of what should be many intriguing games in this wide-open league. What will happen this year? Read our experts' NFL preview, then cast your votes below!

More: Predict: Over/unders | Your Power Rankings? | Rank: #NFLRank top 20

  • Which team will win the NFC East?

    •  
      72%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 44,162)

  • Which team will win the NFC North?

    •  
      68%
    •  
      16%
    •  
      11%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 44,040)

  • Which team will win the NFC South?

    •  
      74%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      8%
    •  
      3%

    Discuss (Total votes: 42,837)

  • Which team will win the NFC West?

    •  
      74%
    •  
      20%
    •  
      4%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 43,068)

  • Which team will win the AFC East?

    •  
      88%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      4%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,981)

  • Which team will win the AFC North?

    •  
      20%
    •  
      56%
    •  
      19%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,981)

  • Which team will win the AFC South?

    •  
      85%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      3%
    •  
      3%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,111)

  • Which team will win the AFC West?

    •  
      86%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      2%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,142)

  • Which team will finish with the NFL's best record (assuming there are no ties)?

    •  
      36%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      9%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      16%

    Discuss (Total votes: 40,206)

  • Which team will finish with the NFL's worst record (assuming there are no ties)?

    •  
      17%
    •  
      29%
    •  
      32%
    •  
      8%
    •  
      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 39,799)

  • How confident are you feeling about your favorite NFL team heading into the 2014 season?

    •  
      41%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      18%

    Discuss (Total votes: 74,222)

  • Who will win NFL MVP?

    •  
      9%
    •  
      12%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 47,552)

  • Which rookie will have the biggest impact in 2014?

    •  
      17%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      7%
    •  
      13%
    •  
      22%

    Discuss (Total votes: 46,508)

  • Which team will win the NFC?

    •  
      14%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 38,001)

  • Which team will win the AFC?

    •  
      50%
    •  
      11%
    •  
      24%
    •  
      15%

    Discuss (Total votes: 37,231)

  • Which team will win the Super Bowl?

    •  
      18%
    •  
      6%
    •  
      10%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      41%

    Discuss (Total votes: 203,542)

Comment »

REUTERS/Mike Stone

Giants sign Josh Freeman

Eli Manning's hold on the Giants' starting quarterback position just got a little less secure. The Giants have agreed to a deal with former Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman to be Manning's backup, but given Manning's poor performance last season -- only 16 touchdowns against 27 interceptions -- and recent ankle surgery, this signing might be more than just insurance in case Manning goes down. Freeman has struggled in his career after a hot start, but if Manning starts this season off with a bushel of interceptions, he could find himself with an opportunity to restart his career.

  • Who should start at quarterback for the Giants?

    •  
      13%
    •  
      87%

    Discuss (Total votes: 19,335)

  • What chance do you give Josh Freeman of becoming the Giants' primary starting quarterback this season?

    •  
      6%
    •  
      36%
    •  
      58%

    Discuss (Total votes: 18,771)

  • Is Eli Manning still an elite quarterback?

    •  
      36%
    •  
      64%

    Discuss (Total votes: 162,443)

  • Which team will win the NFC East this season?

    •  
      12%
    •  
      53%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      20%

    Discuss (Total votes: 18,015)

Comment »