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In Depth 2015: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle looked to have it made. The defending champs were one yard away from taking the lead from New England in-depthwith less than a minute left in the Super Bowl and there was little doubt the Seahawks were about to have their repeat.

Then the interception happened, saving the Patriots and sending Seattle home disappointed.

The Seahawks have spent the offseason retooling at a few positions, particularly in the secondary, the offensive line and at tight end, where Jimmy Graham arrived in a trade for center Max Unger. So can the Seahawks put the disappointment behind them and make another run at the Lombardi Trophy? Or does the last-second letdown linger, creating an opportunity for someone else to jump in and take the NFC’s spot in the Super Bowl? Keith Myers, an editor with 12th Man Rising, shared some thoughts.

Zoneblitz: Seattle was one yard away from a second straight Lombardi Trophy, but lost in stunning fashion. Looking back now, how do you assess the season? Continue reading

In Depth 2015: Green Bay Packers

The 2014 season came to a brutal end for Green Bay Packers fans, who watched in horror as the team was on the in-depthwrong end of one of the best comebacks in NFL postseason history. But the loss to Seattle couldn’t dampen the exciting run that got them to the NFC Championship.

An elite offense coupled with an improving defense to run roughshod over most of the league for the final three-quarters of the regular season. And much of the core is back. So can the Packers make another run into the deep postseason? Or will a hangover from 2014’s rough ending scuttle any chance of a repeat run? Ray Rivard, editor of Lambeau Ave., shares his thoughts.

Zoneblitz: Green Bay rolled through the regular season and into the NFC Championship game where everything was going right until the last minutes when the Super Bowl slipped away. How would you assess the season? Continue reading

In Depth 2015: Indianapolis Colts

in-depthEver since Andrew Luck joined the Colts in 2012, Indianapolis has made the playoffs. And each of those seasons the team has advanced one step further than the year before.

If that holds true to form in 2015, Indianapolis will be playing in the Super Bowl. But can the Colts improve on three straight 11-5 seasons enough to make that next step? There is a lot of talent on this team and some newly added veteran leadership in Trent Cole, Frank Gore and Andre Johnson.

But the Colts also eschewed greater perceived needs on the offensive line and the defense on draft day, instead selecting Phillip Dorsett, another weapon for an already loaded offensive arsenal.

Evan Reller, editor of Horseshoe Heroes, gives us his thoughts on what has gone right and wrong over the offseason and on how the team is stacked for a run at the Lombardi Trophy.

Zoneblitz: The Colts went 11-5 for the third straight year under Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck. And they made another step in the playoffs, reaching the AFC Championship game, but were handled by the Patriots. How do you assess the season? Continue reading

In Depth 2015: Denver Broncos

Denver has won 38 games over the last three regular seasons, often looking dominant in doing so. But while that part of the schedule has produced success, each of the postseason runs associated with those seasons has ended in disappointment.

After another early post-season exit to Indianapolis, John Elway made some major changes. Gary Kubiak replaces in-depthJohn Fox as the head coach. Several key contributors on the field – including WR Wes Welker, TE Julius Thomas and DT Terrance Knighton – have moved on, as well.

But future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning returns for at least one more run. He looked bad while playing through injury the last month-and-change of 2014, but the first part of that season and the entirety of 2013 give at least some hope that he’s still got enough left in the tank to make one more run. Is 2015 the year Peyton rides off into the sunset carrying a Lombardi Trophy?

Sayre Bedinger, editor at Predominantly Orange, shares his thoughts.

Zoneblitz: Denver had another top-notch regular season at 12-4, but missed the mark in the postseason. How would you assess the season? Continue reading

In Depth 2015: Dallas Cowboys

Dallas faced low expectations heading into 2014, but the Cowboys made in-depthclear from the outset that they planned to exceed them. The ‘Boys started 6-1 and dominated the NFC East, claiming a playoff spot for the first time since 2009. They finished the season by scoring 165 points in the final four regular season games, won a matchup against Detroit in round one of the playoffs and played right with Green Bay before bowing out in controversial fashion in the division round.

In order to repeat, the 2015 Cowboys will have to do so without 2014 All-World RB DeMarco Murray. The team let him go in free agency, going instead – at least to this point – with Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and a collection of backups who to this point in their careers have not shown a lot. So the team is banking on an also All-World offensive line to prove the offense can stay as real this year as it was last year.

Dallas also could use continued improvement from a defense that picked up the pace in 2014 with a group built more on enthusiasm and chips-on-the-shoulder rather than talent.

So can this bunch stage a repeat or take it a step further? Or was 2014 the mirage to be followed by a disappearing act in 2015? Steven Mullenax, editor of The Landry Hat, returns to share some insights.

Zoneblitz: Well, with expectations relatively low in 2014, Dallas went 12-4, then won a playoff game and was narrowly and controversially knocked off in a second. What brought on the turnaround and how would you assess the season? Continue reading

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