NFL: NFC East Preview

Nov 19, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) meets with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL season is drawing closer. The NFC East division is looking very interesting so far as there some new faces, a few changes, and some rough starts. In the last ten years, only two teams of this division have managed to win the Super Bowl. Furthermore, only twice has more than one NFC East team make the playoffs in that ten-year span.

Division Breakdown

Dallas Cowboys: The defending NFC East Champions. Overcoming a 3-5 record to win the division and winning only their third playoff game since 1996 speaks for itself. Howover, there’s no denying that Dallas deserves respect for their run last season. The question is whether or not Dallas can build on their successful 2018 season.

In this year’s draft, Dallas skipped the first round via a trade that sent Amari Cooper to Dallas from Oakland. Cooper made an impact and still has many years ahead, so Dallas deserves credit for that investment. Dallas drafted a few offensive and defensive line just to add some depth. Since Dallas is known for dealing with injuries, it’s standard procedure for them to add depth.

Dallas’ depth chart is well-loaded. Aside from Cooper and Dak Prescott, there’s Michael Gallup and veteran Randall Cobb. Tavon Austin is a cause for concern due to his health and he can be cut anytime. Same thing with Noah Brown. In the runningback position, Ezekiel Elliott is holding out, however, the team just signed veteran Alfred Morris. The runningback depth is deep, as well. As far as Elliott goes, the Cowboys must resolve the holdout issue as quickly as possible.

On a positive note, the Cowboys offensive line will be glad to have center Travis Frederick back. When it comes to the Cowboys’ offense, the offensive line is of great importance. The core of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Frederick is vital to the offensive success. The Cowboys desperately need a healthy offensive line to produce an effective running game and to protect Prescott.

There are quite a few names on the defense to be excited about; Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Jeff Heath, etc. They added another veteran to their defensive line by aquiring Robert Quinn. Quinn alongside Lawrence can very well give Dallas the chance to lead the league in sacks this season. The secondary is and always has been a cause for concern. There’s no telling what the Dallas secondary will do.

Dallas certainly has talent. They have the necessary talent to make a deep playoff run. In the Cowboys’ case, the question isn’t the talent. It’s the mentality. In the past 12 years or so, the Cowboys have had great talent, but their mentality has been the reason of their shortcomings and downfalls. This year, Dallas is hoping to maintain a winning mentality and build on it. If they can, in three years or so, they’ll be Super Bowl material.

Philadelphia Eagles: In March, the Nick Foles party officially ended. In June, Carson Wentz signed a four-year extension, thus picking up where he left off as a rookie. Since winning their first Super Bowl in 2017, the Eagles have really built on it.

The Eagles are looking to keep their winning ways. After winning their first Super Bowl, it was strongly believed that it was the beginning of an Eagles dynasty.  14th in the league last year in total yards(5,845) and tenth in total defense(388 total yards per game allowed). Despite the injuries, Philadelphia overcame insurmountable odds and still managed to make a deep playoff run.

The return of DeSean Jackson can really be a big boost to the Eagles’ offense. There’s plenty to look forward to on the Eagles’ offensive side of the ball; Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, Dallas Goedert, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, and Corey Clement. Darren Sproles returned, however, his health is a cause for concern. With a healthy Wentz, the Eagles can have a top-five offense.

In the draft, the Eagles made useful selections. In the first round, they drafted offensive tackle Andre Dillard out of Washington State. The Eagles made a trade to make this pick. Dillard is regarded as Jason Peters‘ successor. The drafting of wide receiver JJ Arcega and Miles Sanders adds more useful talent to the team. Arcega draws a comparison to Jeffrey. Sanders, on the other hand, just adds more to the already well-stacked running back position.

Malcom Jenkins leads the charge on defense. There’s also Nigel Bradham, Fletcher Cox, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby, and Jalen Mills. Philadelphia is stacked in the defensive back position. The addition of Malik Jackson via free agency can be a big help. Jackson alongside Cox can be dangerous.

The Eagles are looking to pull for a third straight winning season. At the moment, they’re looking to do what they did from 2002-2004; reach the divisional playoffs. The Eagles certainly have a great winning mentality and good chemistry. Furthermore, they have great coaching. They really have what’s needed to begin a dynasty of their own.

Philadelphia has a good chance of making the playoffs. They’re likely to battle with Dallas for the division.

New York Giants: This team hasn’t been the same since their fourth Super Bowl victory in 2011. Since 2011, they’ve only made one playoff appearance and they’ve not won the NFC East. In the past two years, the Giants have amassed a record of 8-24. Long story short, they’ve been in quite a slump and can’t seem to break out of it.

The Giants are already in a nightmare. Sending Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns and losing Landon Collins via free agency stirred up some stress. Furthermore, passing on Dwayne Haskins really stirred up controversy. Drafting Daniel Jones over Haskins adds insult to injury to Giants fans.

On a positive note, New York drafted defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson and cornerback Deandre Baker out of Georgia. In this draft, New York set their sights on defense to boost up the secondary and linebacker core. The Giants received a B for their draft picks.

Furthermore, the defense already has Alec Ogletree, Janoris Jenkins, and Antoine Bethea. Those guys have experience. Jabrill Peppers is also part of the defensive unit. Overall, the Giants have some excitement within the defense. Whether they’re good or not remains to be seen.

The Giants offense is already in question. They’ve already lost three wide receivers. Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman suffered injuries at the beginning of training camp. Golden Tate received a four-game suspension. And the fact that Beckham isn’t there just adds salt to the wound. Eli Manning is still around, but Giants fans are too upset about the drafting of Jones to worry about Manning. In addition, Manning is aging and it’s unclear how much he has left. Saquon Barkley is there, too, but he’s not enough to make the Giants offense exciting. At this point, it looks as though the Giants have no offense at all.

In all seriousness, it really looks as though the Giants have no chance of winning the NFC East or making the playoffs. At the moment, they look as though they aren’t capable of winning more than four games. The Giants have overcome major odds before and they’ve shocked the world before. In other words, when it comes to the Giants, anything can happen.

Washington Redskins: 2018 was just another year, another disappointment for the Redskins. Third consecutive year of missing the playoffs and failing to finishing the season above .500. The injuries, the negative vibe, the lack of concentration. A disaster is an understatement, as far as the Redskins are concerened. However, a new season is coming, and the team is hoping for positive change.

There’s some excitement within the team. The drafting of Dwayne Haskins, as well as the signing of Landon Collins. They signed Reuben Foster, but he’s out for the year. Furthermore, wide receiver Jamison Crowder left to sign with the New York Jets.

With Haskins taking charge at quarterback, the Redskins are hoping that this is the beginning of a new era. They’re hoping an era of success. Furthermore, they’re hoping that the Haskins era goes better than the Robert Griffin III era.

On a positive note, Veteran runningback Adrian Peterson is staying on for another two years. Peterson and Tight End Vernon Davis provide a unique veteran presence to the team. Jordan Reed is another offensive player to be excited about. The quarterback core consists of veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. The future of Alex Smith is unknown as he’s still revovering from a nasty leg injury sustained last season.

On defense, aside from Collins, veteran cornerback Josh Norman will also lead the charge. There’s also Ryan Kerrigan to be excited about as is Quinton Dunbar. Furthermore, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie came out of retirement and joined the team.

There’s certainly some experience on the Redskins defense, which gives them an advantage. The defense finished 26th in total tackles(991), 12th in sacks(44) and 17th in total defense(5654). Overall, that’s average, but there’s room to improve. With some new faces on the team, they have what they need; a fresh start.

In this year’s draft, the Redskins really made an impact. Besides the drafting of Haskins, the selection of defensive end Montez Sweat, wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and runningback Bryce Love really gives the team a boost of confidence. They also added a few offensive linemen. In addition, Sweat draws a comparison to Julius Peppers, according to Norman. The excitement seems to be getting better within the team. The Redskins earned an A+ for their efforts in the draft.

It’s been 15 years since the Redskins have last won a playoff game. In that 15-year span, they’ve only had four winning seasons with two NFC East titles. Since their last Super Bowl win back in 1991, the Redskins’ best regular season record has been 10-6. Since then, the Redskins have been in a nightmare and haven’t been able to snap out of it. There’s no telling what 2019 will be other than they’ll have their hands full with the Eagles and Cowboys.

So who’s winning the NFC East? 

Obviously there’s quite a debate on whether it’ll be the Eagles or the Cowboys. Michael Irvin and Stephen A. Smith can make that statement.

Right now, it’s very hard to decide who the clear favorite is. Dallas has the talent, while Philadelphia has the chemistry, mentality, as well as the talent. It’s fair to say that the Eagles have the advantage. A certain to decide is for one of the two teams to sweep the other this season.

Dallas is known for crumbling under pressure. On the other hands, Philadelphia has found a way previously to fend off pressure.

As far as Washington and New York goes, their chances are super slim, but never say never. If both Dallas and Philadelphia struggle and continue to do so, New York and Washington’s odds will raise.

Official pick: Philadelphia Eagles

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