The NFC East division was one of the best in the NFL last season as the four teams combined to finish 15 games above .500. Dallas won the division with 13 wins and the Giants also earned a wildcard berth with 11. Since 2004, no club has repeated as the division champions and all four teams have made several postseason appearances.
The cross conference contests against the rugged AFC West may prevent the division winner from receiving a postseason bye. Nevertheless, the East is a talented and competitive division that has a legitimate opportunity to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Final division standings predictions:
1. New York Giants
The G-Men are led by a dominant secondary, with playmaking safety Landon Collins and a trio of cover corners in Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Their defensive backs are complemented by a quality defensive line that boasts Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison. Steve Spagnulo’s defense should be one of the best in the NFC.
New York’s offense relies heavily on the pass. Eli Manning is inconsistent and the offensive line remains a weakness. However, receiving threats such as Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram will form a dangerous combination. Their blueprint for success is clear, hit some explosive passes downfield and let the defense shut down the opposition’s comeback attempt.
Second year head coach Doug Peterson has the Eagles on the rise. Impressive young quarterback Carson Wentz now has free agent acquisition Alshon Jeffery to target, in addition to capable receiver Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz. Philadelphia also possesses a top offensive line, lead by bookend tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson.
On the other side of the ball, rookie defensive end Derek Barnett and penetrating tackle Timmy Jernigan were added Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, which gives the Eagles the makings of a fierce defensive line. Their corners are below average but safety Malcolm Jenkins helps compensate for the weakness. If Wentz can take the next step in his development, Philly should be fighting for a wildcard bid.
Kirk Cousins has an opportunity to cement his place as an elite quarterback in Jay Gruden’s offense. The Redskins offensive line, spearheaded by underrated left tackle Trent Williams, is a bonafide strength. A receiving corps that includes free agent signing Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder is capable of carrying the team.
Washington’s defense is mediocre, but they were able to add rookie Jonathan Allen to provide pressure opposite Ryan Kerrigan. Shutdown corner Josh Norman is a valuable player when used to shadow top wideouts. Overall, the team should be competitive, but their flaws on defense will probably prevent the Redskins from beating the contenders on their schedule.
Dallas had a terrific 2016 season due to rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. However, heavy personnel losses have the Cowboys primed for regression. Dez Bryant is still an elite wideout, but their formerly dominant offensive line lost two starters this offseason.
Beyond linebacker Sean Lee and safety Byron Jones, the defense lacks many playmakers. After losing three starters in the secondary, the Cowboys will find it difficult to slow down dynamic passing attacks. Unless La’el Collins and Chaz Green can replicate the performance of the blockers they are in line to replace, the Cowboys will be an also-ran in 2017.
Who will win the NFC East?
This poll is closed