deep dive

Lions and Life After Suh

A year ago the Lions rode Matthew Stafford’s late-game heroics and a dominating defense to the playoffs. Stafford and a potentially high-powered offense return, but Detroit’s defense is in deep trouble after losing the one man who made them go against the run and the pass

The Evolution of Big Ben

With the defense in a transition state, the Steelers are relying heavily on an offense that's transformed into the league's best. At the helm is QB Ben Roethlisberger, who guides a unit teeming with young, rising stars

Maxwell? Smart

The Eagles’ man coverage was exposed last season, so Chip Kelly turned to the guy who gave Philly’s offense fits. Here’s why Byron Maxwell, a former sixth-round pick, became one of the NFL’s highest-paid corners

Rex Ryan Has Found the Next Darrelle Revis*

* For now, Revis remains in a class of his own. But our prediction for the 2015 season: Stephon Gilmore will prove to be one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks and the cornerstone of the Bills’ defense

Chiefs Getting Wide Right

After trotting out the worst receiving corps in football last year, the Chiefs finally made the move to add a legitimate No. 1 wideout (Jeremy Maclin) to Alex Smith’s underrated stable of weapons

Philip Rivers Plays QB in Its Purest Form

Though he lacks the playoff pedigree, the Chargers quarterback is a top-tier talent who can take an NFL franchise to the Super Bowl. It all starts with his magical footwork in tight spaces

On Bill O’Brien and Those Overachieving Texans

No coaching staff got more out of less last year than that Texans. But with Arian Foster out and still no clear answer at quarterback, is a great scheme plus J.J. Watt enough to earn a Wild-Card spot?

Fixing Colin Kaepernick

The 49ers’ QB has fundamental flaws in his game. If he can’t take the next step, he may end up joining the mass exodus in San Francisco

What Suh Will Do for Fins

The next Albert Haynesworth? Highly unlikely. Big-ticket free agent Ndamukong Suh should be worth every penny... as long as the Dolphins let him do what he does best

The Evolution of the Saints Passing Game

Jimmy Graham is gone, and while many won't admit it Drew Brees’ arm strength is starting to tail off. Their roster changes hint at the inevitable: The Saints plan to move away from the vertical passing game that has defined the Payton-Brees era

Minnesota Is a Machine, But Is Its Motor Dependable?

The Vikings have an elite running back, wide receiver and a defense full of ascending talent. But whether the team can reach its first postseason in three years will come down to how QB Teddy Bridgewater steers the ship

Transcending ‘The Catch’

One play defined Odell Beckham Jr.’s rookie season in a big way. The rest of his game is about to make him more than a superstar

The Falcons Will Go as Far as Quinn Can Coach ’Em

New coach Dan Quinn inherits an Atlanta team that put up double-digit loss totals for two straight seasons. Putting together a winner starts on defense, where the ex-Seahawks coordinator will put a Seattle stamp on the unit. Just don't expect success and Super Bowls to happen overnight

Chicago’s New Regime Should Rely on an Old Stalwart

Matt Forte has been the Bears’ best offensive player for seven straight seasons, and don’t expect new coach John Fox and coordinator Adam Gase to deviate from that in 2015. Get ready for the veteran running back to be QB Jay Cutler's best friend in a revamped, quick-strike scheme

Todd Bowles Has No Limits

Even more than Rex Ryan, the new Jets coach is a defensive maverick who might be crazy enough to turn things around in New York. Of course, the “new” cornerbacks are a huge plus

RG3 & Co. Relying on Bill Callahan’s Magic

Washington is hoping its offensive line coach can get the team back in contention, which is exactly what he did for the Cowboys last season

The Raiders Are Finally In Good Hands

You have to go back to the days of Tim Brown and Jerry Rice to find the last time the Raiders’ receiving corps was anything but a glaring weakness. But after drafting Amari Cooper and signing Michael Crabtree to catch passes from rising star Derek Carr, the Oakland offense might finally be headed in the right direction

Pressure Builds in Jacksonville

Two years after an organizational overhaul and one summer after a free agent spending spree, the Jags should be on the road back to respectability. But do GM Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley have the right pieces in place around QB Blake Bortles? Owner Shad Khan will know soon