First overall picks
The Houston Texans and new head coach Bill O'Brien are trying to become the third straight team to parlay the No. 1 overall draft pick into a playoff appearance. Both the 2012 Colts and the 2013 Chiefs made the playoffs after selecting first overall, marking the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) it had ever been accomplished in back-to-back seasons.
Chip Kelly is entering his second season in Philadelphia after his Eagles led the NFL in rushing last season. However that may not be that big a surprise. The team to lead the NFL in rushing has had a first-year head coach in three of the last five seasons. The Eagles last season with Chip Kelly, the Broncos in 2011 with John Fox and the 2009 Jets with Rex Ryan. All three teams made the playoffs that season with the Jets and Broncos also making the playoffs the following season.
Richard Sherman is coming off back-to-back seasons with 8 interceptions. The last player to have 8+ interceptions in back-to-back seasons was Champ Bailey, who had 8 in 2005 and 10 in 2006 for the Denver Broncos. Bailey had just 3 interceptions during the 2007 season.
The 2014 Carolina Panthers do not have a wide receiver on their roster who caught a pass for them last season. The Panthers were also the only playoff team last season not to have a 1,000-yard rusher or a 1,000-yard receiver.
Jamaal Charles is in the prime of his career, entering his 7th NFL training camp at age 27. Last season Charles became the first running back since Joe Cribbs with the 1983 Buffalo Bills to lead his team in rushes, rushing yards, rushing TD, receptions, receiving yards and receiving TD.
All 4 teams in the NFC West feel they have a legitimate chance to win 10 games this season. However, no division in NFL history has ever produced four 10-win teams in the same season. The most wins for a fourth place team in a division with three 10-win teams was 9 by the 1998 New England Patriots.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady already has 11 AFC East division titles in his career. He and the Patriots are looking to win their sixth straight division title, making them the first team since the 1973-79 Los Angeles Rams (seven straight) and the 1974-79 Pittsburgh Steelers to win six straight division titles. The only season in the past 11 in which the Patriots did not win the AFC East was in 2008 when they still went 11-5 after Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 against Kansas City.
Peyton Manning enters training camp this season after throwing an NFL record 55 TD passes in 2013. Those 55 TD are more than twice as many TD passes as Hall of Famers Roger Staubach (27), John Elway (27), Joe Namath (26), Troy Aikman (23) and Bob Griese (22) ever had in a season.
With his league-leading 27 interceptions last season, Eli Manning is looking to rebound in 2014. The only two players to throw more interceptions in a season over the past 25 years were Brett Favre, who threw 29 picks in 2005 and Eli's brother Peyton, who threw 28 interceptions in his rookie season of 1998. Archie Manning never threw more than 21 interceptions in a season, which he did in 1972 for the Saints.
Adrian Peterson enters his eighth NFL training camp having rushed for at least 10 touchdowns in each of his first seven NFL seasons. The only player who has ever had a longer streak of seasons with 10+ rushing touchdowns is NFL Network's own LaDainian Tomlinson, who did it in nine straight seasons from 2001-09 (all nine seasons he played in San Diego). The only other player with an active streak of even two straight seasons with 10+ rushing TD is Marshawn Lynch, who has done so in each of the past three seasons.
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