As the 2017 offseason is in full swing, let’s make predictions for the NFC East. This offseason has been rather interesting for the Dallas Cowboys with a number of departures in free agency, rather low-key acquisitions and the Tony Romo situation. The division rivals have also laid claim to the offseason game with big wide receiver additions in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Terrell Pryor. For how competitive and talented each team in the division is, it is surprising to see that the only teams to advance past the divisional round in the last ten years are the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 and the Super Bowl winning Giants in 2007 and 2011. While the NFL draft remains a key component to franchise development, the other piece, free agency, nears completion. Knowing what we know now, let’s take a look at what the NFC East has in store for us this season.
The chaotic team in Washington has not disappointed this offseason. While they made a splash with a team-friendly contract signing of Terrell Pryor, they have had a series of gaffes in the front office. They fired their general manager Scot McCloughan and essentially forced their star quarterback to re-sign another franchise tag deal despite his open attempts to seek refuge in San Francisco. With all the turmoil, look for the Redskins to finish last in the NFC East this season.
The Philadelphia Eagles are essentially the poor man’s Dallas Cowboys entering the 2017-2108 season. Their sophomore rookie has Dak-like expectations and their new wide receiver in Alshon Jeffery already has made Super Bowl predictions on behalf of his former team, the Chicago Bears. The Eagles will play better on offense with a more experienced Carson Wentz along with his new weapons. On the other hand, the Eagles will continue to struggle in this division without their former starting cornerbacks, Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll and other holes on defense that have yet to be filled. Look for the Eagles to place third this season and miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
New York Giants
Eli Manning enters his 14th season as the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. As has been documented in the past, he remains one of the more enigmatic players in the NFL as he can string together an unbelievably cold streak with a series of Hall of Fame caliber games. There has been a particular emphasis for the Giants to keep Manning’s Super Bowl window open as long as possible, as evidenced by its signing of Brandon Marshall. The addition of Marshall with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard gives the Giants the best trio of receivers in the NFL. This potent offensive attack combined with an extremely talented defense gives the Giants the best shot at de-throning the Cowboys this season. Expect the Giants to go 11-5 but have the tie-breaker go against them.
The Dallas Cowboys enter this season as the defending NFC East champions. The last time this happened, the Cowboys suffered through the most painful season (2015-2016) in recent memory. A lot has changed since that season as the new crop of stars hopes to continue their path towards more division titles, ideally ending with conference or league championships. The 2017-2018 schedule is stiff with non-divisional games against the Packers, Seahawks, Chiefs, Falcons, Broncos and Raiders but I still have the Cowboys going 11-5. This will be sufficient for the Dallas Cowboys to repeat as NFC East Champs.
Washington Redskins: 6-10
Philadelphia Eagles 8-8
New York Giants 11-5
Dallas Cowboys 11-5
Ok, BTB, let’s hear your predictions for the season for each NFC East team in the comments.