After a shoddy 2015 season, the NFC East returned to its sound style of winning. Having two of its teams advancing to the playoffs, the Cowboys and Giants were looking primed for an extensive run in the playoffs. Unfortunately, both teams had an early exit with the Cowboys losing in the Divisional round and the Giants in the Wild Card; however, it’s only looking up for the NFC East coming off a strong 2016 season. How can these four teams trudge towards their winning ways and make a push for the Super Bowl?
Let’s break it down.
Philadelphia Eagles (7 – 9 2016 | 7 – 9 2017)
Even though the Eagles finished under .500 for the second year in a row, they made some decent free agency acquisitions to help boost their struggling offense. Signing Torrey Smith and, Alshon Jeffery will give a boost to Carson Wentz’s confidence coming off a mediocre 3,782 yard 16 touchdown and 14 interception season. Smith and Jeffery offer Wentz better downfield threats, stretching the field vertically. He is still developing as a quarterback but he is young and showed potential to be a solid player in this league. Philadelphia’s downfall will be their defense. The Eagles lost Connor Barwin, and also lost two of their starting cornerbacks in Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll. Drafting Derek Barnett, Tennessee’s all-time leader in sacks, Sidney Jones and Rasual Douglas to fill those holes on defense will be tricky but, in the long run could benefit this team. The Eagles ranked 13th in allowed passing yards and will try improve upon that in 2016. Having young players occupying the cornerback position will be their biggest weakness come the 2017 NFL season.
My 2017-2018 prediction for the Eagles: 8-8. (Last in the NFC East)
Washington Redskins (8 – 7 – 1 2016 | 10 – 6 2017)
Washington failed to make the playoffs following a dreadful 8-7-1 season. A few returning players from injury and some solid free agency pickups should help the Redskins get to the playoffs and, hopefully make an extensive push. Key returning injured players, Junior Galette and Su’a Cravens, will help the Redskins get over their defensive woes from the past season. Su’a Cravens playing both the safety and linebacker position will add that explosiveness and playmaking ability. He reminds me of LaRon Landry when he played safety and would come down into the box to add pressure to the line of scrimmage. Junior will finally make his anticipated debut after two achilles season ending injuries. His pass rushing ability along with Ryan Kerrigan will look to be an unstoppable force to the league. Also adding veteran D.J Swearinger gives Washington that leadership they need in the secondary.
The offense lost two key weapons in Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson; however, replaced them fairly quickly this offseason with the additions of Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick. Josh Doctson will be making his long awaited debut alongside emerging star, Jamsion Crowder. The Redskins ranked second in passing yards last season and that was much impart to contributions of tight end, Jordan Reed. Limited to injuries, he managed to put up a Pro Bowl season. A healthy Jordan Reed along with a consistent receiving corp can aid Kirk Cousins into another great season and a big contract.
My 2017-2018 prediction for the Redskins: 10-6 (Third in the NFC East)
New York Giants (11 – 5 2016 | 12 – 4 2017)
The New York Giants have come off an impressive 11-5 season making the playoffs in 2016 losing in the Wild Card to the Green Bay Packers. The Giants looked pretty decent on both sides of the ball. Odell Beckham Jr lead the way with another all pro season. The defense stepped up big with strong efforts from Landon Collins who put forth his best season thus far. How can the Giants continue their playoff push?
Adding Brandon Marshall alongside Odell and a developing Sterling Shepherd. Brandon Marshall adds that veteran leadership to the Giants receivers that is needed for Odell and Sterling Shepherd. He adds that maturity and experience to New York that can lead to a possible Super Bowl berth. The Giants selected Melvin Ingram in the first round of this year’s draft. This adds another playmaker to the mix. A speedy tight end will make this Giants offense deadly.
On the defensive side of the ball, drafting defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson makes sense due to the fact of Johnathan Hankins departing to Indianapolis. The Giants haven’t lost very man key defensive players this past offseason. They still have Landon Collins, Janoris Jenkins, and Keenan Robinson. I don’t see the Giants taking any steps backward. The Giants will progress their 2016 season and win the division.
My 2017-2018 prediction for the Giants: 12-4 (First in the NFC East)
Dallas Cowboys (13 – 3 2016 | 10 – 6 2017)
The Dallas Cowboy’s 2016 season came as a shock to everyone as they had a 13-3 season led by two rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot who had two of the best rookie seasons of all time. The defense stepped it up only allowing 19 points a game. An impressive season was brought to an end in the divisional round of the playoffs. Will the Cowboys continue their magnificent 2016 season dominance?
The biggest need for the Cowboys in the 2017 season is defense. Defense had plagued the Cowboys for years. 2016 was the year in which the defense got it together. Rallying around Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys propelled to elite status. Unfortunately losing a lot of key defensive members will lead to a decline this year. Losing starters in JJ Wilcox, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, Terrel McClain, and Jack Crawford will return the Cowboys to mediocre play in 2017.
The offense hasn’t lost many players. Coming off spectacular rookie seasons, Dak and Zeke has caught the attention of the rest of the NFL and has now placed a target on their backs. It is up to them to continue to lead the Cowboys and avoid that sophomore slump.
My 2017-2018 prediction for the Cowboys: 10-6 (Second in the NFC East)
The NFC East is headed on a path to be the dominant division in the NFL. With great drafts and offseasons, each team is looking to be a force and hopefully make that push to the Super Bowl.