The 2015-2016 NFL season is nearly here, and we’re gearing up for fireworks offensively and defensively. You’re going to need to know which teams are prepared to explode this year. Here’s the top 5 NFL rosters teams going into the 2015 season.
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5. Indianapolis Colts
One of the better offenses in the game got even better during the offseason. They already had an elite quarterback in Andrew Luck, two very athletic and solid tight ends in Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, a solid group of receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief; but then they added Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, along with Phillip Dorsett whom they drafted this year. Talk about a talented, explosive, and deep offense. One of the weaknesses on this offense was the pass protection and the O-line. They dealt with injuries to the center positions for most of the season, so finishing as the seventeenth ranked offensive line isn’t completely terrible.
Assuming they don’t deal with as many injuries, and the addition of Frank Gore, who is a really good pass blocking back, this is an area of the offense that should improve. Defensively they’re not quite there yet, but they did add some veterans that can help them improve some of their numbers. They signed linebacker Trent Cole and defensive lineman Kendall Langford to name a few. These guys may not be huge impact players, but they can definitely help trim some of the issues this unit has. Overall the offense is what makes this team so potent, it really makes up for any concerns that they have in their defense. This is a young team with depth and talent. Keep an eye out for them this season and for years to come.
4. Denver Broncos
It’s hard to think defense when talking about the Broncos because of all the talent and weapons on the offensive side. However, if you look at the numbers, their defense is actually really good too. While I don’t consider them a shutdown defense, I do think they could be under appreciated at times because of all of the attention the offense receives. The Broncos allowed the third fewest total yards, the ninth fewest passing yards, and the second fewest rushing yards. Their only issue was that they gave up more points than I’d like for an elite defense. The good news is that they didn’t lose any key pieces. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the offense.
The Broncos parted ways with tight end Julius Thomas as he decided to take his talent to Jacksonville and begin a new chapter of his career. They also suffered a big blow to their offensive line when Ryan Clady tore his ACL and is expected to miss this season. That’s a brutal loss for a team that was already having offensive line issues. I’m also concerned with how Peyton Manning looked at the end of last season. Granted, he was dealing with injuries, but I still think he wasn’t the same quarterback he was in prior years. At the end of the day, he’s still Peyton Manning and he still has an elite receiver in Demaryius Thomas and another good receiver in Emmanuel Sanders. You also have a solid stable of running backs led by C.J. Anderson, who came out the gates in Week 10 of last season and never looked back. Even though they suffered some big losses, there is still enough fire power on this team to be a threat to any opponent.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are hands down the best offense in football, but their lack of defense prevents them from being the best roster in football. They have struggled defensively for many years now. In fact, since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers haven’t finished as a top 10 defense in football once. That being said, they addressed their defensive needs in this year’s draft. With three of their first four picks, they took a defensive player. They drafted two defensive backs, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins in the first two rounds and linebacker Jake Ryan in the fourth. This should help them on the defensive side of things. On offense, they are loaded.
If you go position by position, they only one you may not be thrilled about is the tight end, but I’ve got some faith in Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers. They have two receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, that both had over 1,000 receiving yards and double digit fantasy. Eddie Lacy proved that he’s capable of being a really good NFL back, and showcased his ability to both run and catch effectively. Then you look at some of the younger receivers such as Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, and this year’s third round selection Ty Montgomery, and you have yourself a really solid stable of receivers. Not to mention, the O-line has improved and should continue to improve. If this defensive unit can get it together, this could be one of the better rosters in the game.
2. New England Patriots
The only reason that the defending champs are not first is because they will be Brady-less for potentially the first four games of the season. The four game suspension is pending an appeal, but for now let’s assume he misses 25 percent of the games. I’m also not thrilled about losing Darrell Revis and Shane Vereen, who were two key components to get to the promise land and win. While it may appear that these are huge losses, there’s one thing about the Patriots, they always find a player on their roster to fill the void of another player who is no longer on the team. It’ll be tough replacing Revis and it’s unlikely their pass defense will be a sharp as it was in 2014, but someone will step up and do their job (no pun intended). They did have some line issues on both sides of the ball, but that was addressed in this seasons NFL draft. They took three defensive linemen and two offensive linemen with five of their first six picks.
Oh yeah, and in the second round they took DB Jordan Richards. It’s apparent that their focus was to plug in all the holes and they did just that. Now it’s all about these rookies stepping up and playing up to the expectations. The offense remains the same for the most part, with the exception of no longer having Vereen. However, they still have a first ballot future hall of fame quarterback, Tom Brady, the best tight end in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski, and a group of receivers including Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell who may not be elite receivers, but certainly are efficient. Jimmy Grappolo will likely start in the first couple of games as Brady serves his suspension. He has a strong arm and should be able to run this well-oiled machine for the first quarter of season. Lastly, while he’s not officially part of the roster, I have to give some credit to Bill Belichick who just knows how to make players believe in his system and play hard for him. Sometimes that makes up for some of the missing parts the team has.
1. Seattle Seahawks
The 2013 Super Bowl champs and 2014 runner-ups find themselves atop this list. One of the few holes this team had was a playmaker in the passing game. I don’t mean quarterback, as they have Russell Wilson who has already established himself as an elite quarterback, but I do mean a pass catcher. That was addressed this offseason after the Seahawks shocked us all and traded for Jimmy Graham. They had to give up one of their main pieces to their offensive line, but Graham brings a dynamic weapon that the team has been lacking.
Now you have Russell Wilson at quarterback, Jimmy Graham as your tight end, and Marshawn Lynch carrying the rock. That’s an offense that is diverse and will be difficult to contain on a weekly basis. Granted, their offensive line may need some minor revamping, but every move GM John Schneider has made thus far has panned out. On the defensive side of the ball, they are flat out impressive. It’s been a long time since I purposely fade a defensive unit in fantasy football, and I do just that against this Seahawks defense. They have allowed the fewest yards and points in the last two seasons. If they remain healthy, there’s a good chance we will be seeing this team play in January once again.