The NFL football season is upon and there are going to be many stories made. In the article, we take a look at the NFC East and how I see it ending at the end of the year.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
The Eagles success now revolves around the health of Carson Wentz now that Nick Foles is no longer there as a reliable backup. Assuming the injury issues he has had are not going to pop up this season, the Eagles will be a tough team to deal with. Their offensive line is one of, if not, the best in football, led by their outstanding tackles of Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. The Eagles wisely drafted Andre Dillard at tackle in the first round to provide much-needed depth at the position as the formers have shown a tendency for injury issues. The receiving core is dangerous having brought back DeSean Jackson to go with another speed merchant in Nelson Agholor. Their ability to stretch the ball downfield will allow big-bodied Alshon Jeffery and reliable tight end to Zach Ertz to work the middle of the field. Adding Jordan Howard from the Bears gives this offense a lot of weapons to work with. Defensively, this team is led by their defensive line, anchored by nose tackle Fletcher Cox. Outside of Aaron Donald, Cox may be the best at that position in the league. Adding Malik Jackson makes their interior line very stout. I have a few concerns in the secondary at corner, however. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are coming back from injuries and we will see early in the season if they are back to their old selves. Malcolm Jenkins will continue to provide stellar play at safety. Wentz has to stay healthy, if he does, the Eagles will be dangerous.
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)**
There are a lot of high expectations for the Cowboys this year along with a lot of pressure. I expect the Ezekiel Elliot situation to be resolved before the season. However, id it isn’t, this prediction won’t be accurate. With Travis Frederick looking like he will be back at center and the drafting of Connor McGovern, this offensive line should once again be strong and deep. Dak Prescott will have Amari Cooper for a full season and with the addition of Randall Cobb, it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore opens up the offense. Defensively, this team is strong, especially at linebacker with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch coming into his second year. Their second-round pick, Trysten Hill, has some work ethic questions. If that is solved going along with a healthy Maliek Collins could really open up things for the pass rush of DeMarcus Lawrence and newly added Robert Quinn’s edge rushing. Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods aren’t the best safeties but they are not the worst either. Their corners are solid with Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, and they are the type of corners defensive coach Chris Richard loves. The Cowboys have a couple of harder games this season than the Eagles after having won the division last year. But with four games between Washington and the Giants, along with teams like Miami, Buffalo, and Detroit, Dallas should have the advantage for a wild card spot in a tough NFC.
Washington Redskins (6-10)
Washington comes into this season in limbo. There is high-quality talent on this team at certain positions and the injury bug has hit them hard the last two years. However, I expect this to be a transition into a rebuild mode this season. While first-round pick Dwayne Haskins is their best option at quarterback, expect Colt McCoy to start the season. It will be interesting to see if Adrian Peterson can duplicate last year, but if he can’t, the rest of the backfield is suspect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bryce Love get a lot of carries if he makes the cut out of training camp. I don’t expect Trent Williams to play for this team again, and while guard Brandon Scherff is one of the league’s best, the rest of the offensive line is shaky at best. Tight end Jordan Reed needs to stay healthy because he is their only proven weapon in the passing game. Josh Doctson has not developed into the player they hoped. Defensively this team has some of the best at their position in the league. Ryan Kerrigan (outside linebacker), Josh Norman (cornerback), and free-agent addition Landon Collins (safety) are top-end players. I think Montez Sweat was a steal in the second round, and he will have a lot of opportunities opposite Kerrigan to show what he can do. As I said, there is a lot of talent on this team, but there are just too many holes.
New York Giants (6-10)
I think the Giants will be improved this season, just not enough to be a playoff team. Obviously, the drafting of Daniel Jones that high while keeping Eli Manning is a head-scratcher, and I would expect Manning and this team will not perform to a level to keep Jones on the bench. I think they have upgraded their offensive line and with Will Hernandez (Guard) coming into his second year, they will play much better, I just don’t think Manning has it anymore. He also has downgraded weapons with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. Evan Engram will have to have his breakout year this season at tight end, and of course, Saquon Barkley will get a ton of touches in both the rushing and receiving game. Deandre Baker was a very good pick at corner and he could be an elite performer at that position in years to come. Jabrill Peppers is good but he is a downgrade from Landon Collins, and this team is still without a solid pass rush. Maybe Eli has some magic left and with a good offensive line deliver one more run. I’ve seen too much deterioration over the years to project that though.
There you have it. So, let’s take a seat, enjoy our football games, and see what transpires this NFL season.
**Denotes Wild Card team