New faces: S Malcolm Jenkins, RB Darren Sproles, CB Nolan Carroll, QB Mark Sanchez.
Saying goodbye: WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jason Avant, QB Michael Vick,
Projected starting quarterback: Nick Foles. Foles’ second-year stats: 10 starts, 203 of 317, 64.0 completion percentage, 2,891 yards, 9.1 yards per attempt, 27 TDs, two interceptions, 119.2 passer rating.
What they need to learn: Can the overhauled secondary – which allowed the NFL’s most passing yards last season – help the defense catch up to the explosive offense coach Chip Kelly employs?
Did you know? Foles’ ratio of 27 touchdowns to two interceptions is the best in NFL history. His passer rating of 119.2 was third best in NFL history, behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
They’ll challenge for a conference title if: Jeremy Maclin stays healthy and gives them the production of the departed Jackson, and Foles continues to play at a Pro Bowl level.
They’ll fail to repeat in the division if: The defense can’t get off the field on third down and turn the ball over to the explosive offense.
New faces: DT Henry Melton, DT Terrell McClain, QB Brandon Weeden, DE Jeremy Mincey.
Saying goodbye: DE DeMarcus Ware, DT Jason Hatcher, WR Miles Austin.
Projected starting quarterback: Tony Romo.
Romo’s second-year stats: Six appearances, zero starts, no passing statistics.
What they need to learn: Can fourth-round draft pick Anthony Hitchens – or someone else – step up to replace injured middle linebacker Sean Lee?
Did you know? The last time the Cowboys missed the playoffs in five straight seasons was 1986-1990. The team enters this year having missed the playoffs the last four years.
They’ll break a three-year streak of going 8-8 if: New defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can fix a defense that ranked dead last in the league in yards allowed last year.
They’ll be looking for a new coach if: Their trend of folding in December continues. Dallas plays five of its final seven games on the road.
New York Giants
New faces: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DE Robert Ayers, LB Jameel McClain, RB Rashad Jennings, G Geoff Schwartz.
Saying goodbye: DE Justin Tuck, OL Kevin Boothe, WR Hakeem Nicks, DT Linval Joseph.
Projected starting quarterback: Eli Manning. Manning’s second-year stats: 16 starts, 294 of 557, 52.8 completion percentage, 3,762 yards, 6.8 yards per attempt, 24 TDs, 17 interceptions, 75.9 passer rating.
What they need to learn: Do they have any pass rushers? The Giants let Justin Tuck go in free agency. They need Jason Pierre-Paul to regain the form he had before back surgery.
Did you know? Right tackle Justin Pugh started all 16 games as a rookie in 2013, becoming the first Giants player to do that since Lawrence Taylor in 1981.
They’ll fight for a wild card if: Eli Manning puts a forgettable season behind him. Manning’s passer rating of 69.4 was his lowest since his rookie year, and his 27 interceptions were a career high.
They’ll pick in the top 10 if: Building a roster through 16 free-agent signings turns out the way something like that usually does.
New faces: Coach Jay Gruden, WR DeSean Jackson, DE Jason Hatcher, S Ryan Clark, G Shawn Lauvao, CB Tracy Porter.
Saying goodbye: LB London Fletcher, CB Josh Wilson, WR Josh Morgan, S Reed Doughty, TE Fred Davis.
Projected starting quarterback: Robert Griffin III.
Griffin’s second-year stats: 13 starts, 274 of 456, 60.1 completion percentage, 3,203 yards, 7.0 yards per attempt, 16 TDs, 12 interceptions, 82.2 passer rating.
What they need to learn: Is RGIII really healthy? He needs to learn a new system and prove he can become more of a pocket passer, because he took far too many hits his first two seasons on the run.
Did you know? The last time a Washington coach finished his tenure with a winning record was 1991 with Joe Gibbs, who went 124-68 from 1982 to 1991.
They’ll flirt with .500 if: They get off to a 2-0 start against Houston and Jacksonville. That’s a pretty easy opening two games.
They’ll pick in the top 10 if: Gruden made a big mistake in keeping defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. The Redskins last season gave up 478 points. – JS