After looking at the other three divisions in the NFC we finally find ourselves back east. The eighth and final division is the hotly contested NFC East. Perhaps no division is harder to call for all the wrong reasons. Each team could potentially win the division and they each could end up having the worst record in the league. If there was a division winner that could finish the season with a losing record the odds-on favorite would be the NFC East. How they will stack up at season’s end is anyone’s guess, but let’s try anyways.
The Cowboys most likely would’ve gone on to win the division last season if QB Dak Prescott didn’t get injured last season. It remains to be seen how Dak will do a year removed from his leg injury. Getting back to last year’s level of play is vital for this team’s success. If Dak can reach that level again then the Cowboys should be the favorites in this division. Dak is flanked by game changing weapons. Zeke Elliott, Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper are all looking to make a big impact. When this offense is clicking, they can put up a bunch of points.
It’s a good thing that the Dallas offense can score a lot of points because the defense loves to give up a lot as well. Only a handful of teams gave up more points than the Cowboys last season. Add to the fact that they played 6 games against subpar offenses and you have reason to worry. Dallas did try to address the issue this offseason in the draft. Taking defensive players, including first rounder Micah Parsons, with their first 6 picks. While the injection of some new blood should help, it also leaves the possibility for growing pains. We’ll find out soon enough if this defense will sink or swim. That being said, the division is weak enough that Dallas should stand at the peak when the dust settles.
Washington Football Team
Remember how I said this division was the odds-on favorite to have their champion with a losing record? Well, that happened last season and Washington was the lucky team to do so. They have a new QB this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick earning the job. The journeyman has bounced around the league and Washington is hoping he can be the answer this season. Antonio Gibson is a name to keep an eye out for. He had a good campaign last season and is poised for an even better year. Other than Gibson there aren’t too many other weapons on this team. As expected, offense might be hard to come by for this team.
If Dallas is all offense with little defense, then Washington is its complete opposite. The real anchor on this team is its defense. Washington boasts one of the best defensive units in the league. This defense is led by Chase Young who already looks like a future superstar for years to come. Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen are just a few of his defensive buddies looking to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Washington’s success will mainly depend on how well the defense plays this season. If they play at their menacing best then this team could shock a few. The two matchups against Dallas should have a huge impact on who reigns supreme in this division.
New York Giants
A late surge last year ultimately ended up not being enough in an overall disappointing season. This is certainly a make-or-break season for starting QB Daniel Jones. The New York media is unforgiving and serious questions are being asked about Jones’ future in the organization. He will be boosted by the fact that RB Saquan Barkley will be back after going down with injury early last season. The front office also made it a point to give Jones some more weapons in the passing game. Signing Kyle Rudolph and Kenny Golladay should help ease the burden. However, it also means that there are no excuses this season. If the offense falters again it won’t be long before we start hearing about potential replacements.
I mentioned the Giants late surge last season and a lot of the credit goes to the defense. After a slow start the defense really picked it up as the season progressed. They caused problems and relatively shut down top offenses like Seattle and Cleveland. This offseason the front office arguably improved on the defense. Signing Adoree Jackson gives them another starter-quality corner to slow down opposing receivers. In the draft they took Azeez Ojulari who should be able harass opposing QBs. This unit isn’t as good as the one that Washington has, but they aren’t far away. Ultimately it will be up to the defense to keep this team afloat while the offense finds themselves. If Jones can save his job by playing well, this team has an outside shot at making the playoffs. Once there, anything can happen.
The era of Carson Wentz is over and while they did win a Super Bowl while he was on the team it was time to move on. The hopes and dreams of Eagle fans now rest on the shoulders of Jalen Hurts. He will be learning under new Head Coach Nick Sirianni who will be eager to turn around a 4-11-1 record from last season. The offense will no doubt go through some growing pains as they try to rebuild. Hurts will at least have a go-to receiver after the franchise used its first pick on stud receiver DeVonta Smith. He looks every bit of a future star and the sooner those two can build a connection the better. In the meantime, development is the name of the game.
The defense is a far cry from the units Philadelphia used to employ back in the late 90s and early 2000s. That being said this defense is far from being the worst in the league. As of right now the Eagles defense would probably classify as \”below-average to average\” at best. With the Eagles rebuilding, and the defense aging, look for the franchise to start giving opportunities to younger players. The results might end up causing the defense to take a step back in the short term, but the benefits should be reaped in future seasons. If you haven’t guessed already, this season will undoubtedly be about developing a young core. The Eagles might find themselves finishing third in this division, but more likely as cellar dwellers.