FourVerts’ 2017 NFC East preview

The NFC East is the premier division of the NFL and last season they showed us why.  After a dismal 2015, The East had three teams with winning seasons and some exciting new stars that emerged in the division last year.The Cowboys shocked the NFL world by winning the division with their dominate OL and their and their two young stars in Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. The Giants had a slow start to the season but went 9-2 in their remaining games to clinch a playoff spot. The Eagles were on the rise in their first three games, but their inexperience showed. Lastly, The Redskins would’ve clinched a playoff spot if it wasn’t for a franchise-clinching INT by the “$24 million man”. Here are my predictions on how the NFC East will play out this season.

1. Dallas Cowboys  13-3, first in the NFC East, Lost in Divisional round 

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Key additions: DT Stephen Paea, CB Nolan Carrol, DE Taco Charlton (R), CB Jourdan Lewis (R), DE Chidobe Awuzie (R)

Key losses: T Doug Free, G Ronald Leary, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, S J.J Wilcox. 

The Cowboys shocked the NFL world with their surprising run last season. After losing the opener against New York, Dallas went on a 11 game winning streak and beating playoff teams such as Green Bay, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. They were led by two rookies who established their own stardom in the league, QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott who got help from All-Pro WR Dez Bryant, WR Cole Beasley, Future Hall of Fame TE Jason Witten and a dominant OL with Pro Bowlers from left to right. After the unforgettable season, Dallas is looking a little bleak heading to the season. With Zeke’s suspension and a young and inexperienced defense, Dallas will have an uphill battle to remain at top of the East. 

Best W-L record: 10-6 

Worst W-L record: 6-10 

2. New York Giants  11-5, second in the NFC East, Lost in Wild Card round. 

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Key additions: WR Brandon Marshall, OL D.J Tucker, TE Evan Engram (R), DT Dalvin Tomlinson (R), DE Avery Moss (R). 

Key losses: WR Victor Cruz, K Robbie Gould 

 

After their week 5 loss at Green Bay, New York was sitting at 2-3 and many were calling it a lost season. The Giants went on a 9-2 run to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011 (they won the Super Bowl that year). Their dominance last year came out of their defense which included second year stud S Landon Collins, DT Damon Harrison, Pro Bowl CBs Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rogers-Cromarite and the $85 million dollar guy, DE Olivier Vernon. Even with their dominant D, New York still found consistency with their offense which included All-Pro Odell Beckham Jr and rookie Sterling Shepard. New York is looking to take the next step this season with adding future Hall of Fame WR Brandon Marshall and boosting their defense through the draft. The Giants could be Super Bowl contenders if Eli Manning can be productive throughout the season and if the injury bug misses them. New York is already knocking on the Super Bowl door this season. 

Best W-L record: 12-4 

Worst W-L record: 8-8 

3. Washington Redskins  8-7-1, third in the NFC East, Missed Playoffs 

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Key additions: WR Terrelle Pryor, DT Stacy McGee, DT Terrell McClain, S D.J Swearinger, DL Johnathan Allen (R), OLB/DE Ryan Anderson (R), CB Fabian Moreau (R), RB Samaje Perine (R)

Key losses: GM Scot McCloughan, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Pierre Garcon. 

After the soul crushing INT that ended Washington’s chance of advancing to the postseason, they entered the offseason with a bizarre feel at Ashburn. First the team fires their beloved GM after “rumors” circulated of his past demons, the team two best WRs (Jackson, Garcon) headed into FAs and signed with other teams (Tampa Bay, San Francisco) and they still couldn’t sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal. Even with these huge headlines, Washington has maybe their best roster in the last decade. With the additions of Alabama defensive stars Johnathan Allen and Ryan Anderson, UCLA stud Fabian Moreau from the draft and signing FAs Zach Brown and D.J Swearinger to help with the lackluster defense from last season. Even with improvements on defense, Washington’s offense is still lethal with Jordan Reed, Terrelle Pryor, Rob Kelly, Rookie Samaje Perine and Jamison Crowder. Even with the messy offseason, Washington still a contender in the NFC this season. 

Best W-L record: 11-5

Worst W-L record: 8-8 

4. Philadelphia Eagles 7-9, fourth in the NFC East, Missed Playoffs 

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Key additions: WR Alshon Jeffery, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Torrey Smith, DE Chris Long, DT Timmy Jernigan, CB Ronald Darby, DE Derek Barnett (R), CB Sidney Jones (R), RB Donnel Pumphrey (R). 

Key losses: WR Jordan Matthews, DE Connor Barwin, DT Bernie Logan, CB Nolan Carroll, CB Leodis McKelvin. 

After the Chip Kelly era ended in a somewhat “meh” way, Philly was looking for a new identity and might have found it last season. With North Dakota State gunslinger Carson Wentz under center, The Eagles flew to a 3-0 start early in the season before stumbling to 4-9 record to finish the season. Even with the losing record, Philly fans still have reasons to be excited about this team. In Free Agency, The Eagles build their momentum by signing star WR Alshon Jeffery from the Windy City including proven veterans such as LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Chris Long and getting for young defensive stars such as Ronald Darby, Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones and Timmy Jernigan to boost their good but inexperienced defense from last season. Philadelphia still a young football team, so we’re not expecting them to make any huge noise this season but if they can sneak into the playoffs then the city of brotherly love will be happy for “once”. *joking* 

Best W-L record: 9-7 or 10-6 

Worst W-L record: 7-9 

 

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