America’s most popular sport will begin its 95th season next Thursday and for the NFL, the pigskin is soaring through the sky and viewers are watching in record numbers.
Sports Illustrated asks “Where did all the gunslingers go?” The answer is simple: Most of them reside in the NFC, where eight Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks grace this week’s regional covers of Sports Illustrated.
The NFC East cover features Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who will almost certainly do their parts to try get their teams to the playoffs, but the division may be decided on which defense can hold up over 16 games.
OTHER PREVIEW COVERS: Brees-Ryan | Cutler-Stafford | Wilson-Kaepernick
Dallas had a historically bad defense last season, being the only team to give up 400 yards per game. Philadelphia’s pass defense was the NFL’s worst, but was helped by Foles, league rushing champion LeSean McCoy and an offense that scored 27.6 points a game.
PREVIEWS: NFC: East | West | North | South | AFC: East | North | South | West
Foles surprised many people with his play last season, bursting onto the scene and becoming the NFL’s top-rated passer after going 8-2 as a starter. He threw for 2,891 yards with 27 touchdowns and two interceptions.
For more NFL preview coverage, check out the scouting reports for each of the 32 teams in this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
2014 Sports Illustrated Covers