The NFC East is the most successful division in NFL history, and all four teams are looking to add to that success. One team has a new regime in charge, one has a new name, another added major talent, and the last lost some talent. This sets up for an interesting race for the title of NFC East champion. Let’s take a look at all the changes, and how that impacts their seasons in this NFC East preview.
NFC East Preview
4. New York Giants
Key losses – CB James Bradberry, S Logan Ryan, TE Kyle Rudolph, S Jabrill Peppers, RB Davontae Booker, OG Will Hernandez, TE Evan Engram, OLB Lorenzo Carter
Key additions – HC Brian Daboll, OL Jon Feliciano, QB Tyrod Taylor, OG Mark Glowinski, TE Jordan Akins, RB Matt Brieda, P Jamie Gillan, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, RT Evan Neal, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, OG Joshua Ezeudu
It was an abysmal season for the New York Giants last season, as they finished 4-13, last in the NFC East. It was Joe Judge’s last season in the Big Apple, as the Giants decided to move on from him. Brian Daboll was brought in to help change the culture and bring a winning team back to New York. However, it’s going to be another rebuild year — but hopefully with some bright spots.
Last year’s Giants offense was a train wreck. They finished 31st in total offense, as they couldn’t do anything right. This means this is most likely Daniel Jones’ last chance as the Giants long-term option at quarterback. His supporting cast won’t help much either. The Kenny Golladay signing is proving to be a mistake and Saquon is still trying to get back to form.
However, there are two weapons that will be interesting to watch: Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson. The two young wideouts are looking to prove their worth in Daboll’s new offense. With two young tackles, the offensive line will look to improve, but the rest of the offensive line is weak. It’ll be another tough year for Giants fans watching this offense. They will look to see if Daboll can bring a spark to this offense.
As bad as the offense was, the defense was a little better. However, it still ranked 21st in total defense. They added rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to create an up-and-coming pass rush. The interior of the defensive line will be looking for the young edge rushers to make the unit a major threat.
After recently releasing linebacker Blake Martinez, the linebacker corps is one of the worst in the league. Once you get past the defensive line, teams could have a field day running the ball. In the secondary, they have Adoree’ Jackson to lead. Even though the secondary had a solid season last year, losing James Bradberry will hurt. The youth in this secondary will be tested a lot this season. I expect this defense to have another year towards the bottom of the league.
After a season with only four wins, I expect the Giants to have another rough season. I have them going 3-14 and 2-4 against the NFC East. Rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight, so Giants fans will need to be patient.
3. Washington Commanders
Key loses – DL Matt Ioannidis, DT Tim Settle, S Landon Collins, OG Brandon Scherff, OG Ereck Flowers, WR Deandre Carter
Key additions – QB Carson Wentz, OG Andrew Norwell, OG Trai Turner, DE Efe Obada
Re-signed – WR Cam Sims (1-year), K Joey Slye (1-year), RB J.D. McKissic (2-years), S Bobby McCain (2-years), S Troy Apke (1-year)
Extensions – WR Terry McLaurin (3-years, $71 million)
The 2021-22 Washington Football Team didn’t get a lot of attention last year around the NFL, but it wasn’t a horrible season. They went 7-10, finishing 3rd in the NFC East. With five one-score losses, this team could’ve had a chance at the playoffs. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin had another fantastic season, and now he has an upgrade at quarterback. This will be a big year for head coach Ron Rivera, as he tries to lead them back to the playoffs.
Last season’s offense ranked 21st in total offense with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, creating higher expectations now with Carson Wentz. They have a great duo at receiver with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. This should open the field up for tight end Logan Thomas as he looks to show his worth again coming off of a season, where he played just six games.
The running back room looks solid as well, with Antonio Gibson leading the way. Horrible news broke that rookie running back Brian Robinson had been shot in an armed robbery. We’ll have to wait and see if he plays this season at all. The group protecting Wentz is borderline top ten line with two new acquisitions, Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell, as the guards. This offense will look to improve, and I believe it will finish in the middle of the league this season.
The defense ranked one spot worse than the offense, which ended up being 22nd. They lost some key defensive linemen in Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis, but this defensive line is still a threat. Chase Young and Montez Sweat on the edge will bring the pressure with Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen plugging up the middle. It is easily a top five defensive line.
Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis need to improve, or it could be a long year for the linebacker group. The secondary should improve this year with William Jackson III in his second year with the Commanders, as well as Kendall Fuller being an underrated cornerback in this league. I am looking to see this defense get back to being a top 10 force, but the lack of offense could keep them on the field a lot this season.
While I believe this team has some good talent, I am not a huge fan of Ron Rivera. That causes them to lose more games than they should and go 5-12, and 2-4 against the division.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Key loses – WR Jalen Reagor, CB Steven Nelson, DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton, FS Rodney McLeod
Key additions – WR A.J. Brown, DE Hassan Reddick, CB James Bradberry, DT Jordan Davis, FS C.J. Gardner-Johnson, LB Nakobe Dean, C Cam Jurgens, LB Kyzir White, WR Zach Pascal
Re-signed – DT Fletcher Cox (1-year), RB Boston Scott (1-year), DE Derek Barnett (3-years)
Extensions – WR AJ Brown (4-years, $100 million)
The Eagles snuck into the playoffs last season at 9-8, before losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are looking to do better this year, as they might’ve added the most talent out of any team this offseason. They finished last season winning four out of their last five games, so they’re hoping to keep that momentum going into this season. It should be a new look for the Eagles in 2022-23.
The offense was majorly run heavy, as they led the league in rushing yards per game. The passing side was not ideal, as they ranked 25th in the league. With Jalen Hurts having a new weapon in AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith going into his sophomore season, the passing game will come down to the decision making of Hurts. Tight end Dallas Goedert will also be key, coming off of a season where he took over for former Eagle Zach Ertz.
The run game looks to be amazing again, as they paired Hurts’ legs with running backs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell. Pair them with arguably the best offensive line in football, and they should be on their way to leading the league in rushing again. After finishing 14th in total yards last season, the Eagles could be a top ten offense.
The Eagles defense last season finished 10th in total defense and got a lot stronger. The front four added rookie Jordan Davis in the first round of the NFL draft, and Hassan Reddick as they look to be dominant up front.
The linebacker corps is going to come down to the impact rookie Nakobe Dean will have, alongside Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards. Their lives will be made easier with improvements in the secondary. Adding James Bradberry creates one of the best cornerback duos in the league. Add in Avonte Maddox in the slot and this could be the best cornerback trio in the league. They didn’t stop there, as they added safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, a huge pick-up that helps the Eagles become one of the scariest defenses in the league.
While the Eagles improved a lot, I need to see more from Jalen Hurts this season. He’s the x-factor that will make or break the Eagles success. I have the Eagles finishing 9-8 and going 4-2 against the NFC East.
1. Dallas Cowboys
Key loses – OT La’el Collins, OLB Randy Gregory, WR Cedrick Wilson, C Connor Williams, K Greg Zuerlein, SS Keanu Neal, WR Amari Cooper
Key additions – DE Dante Fowler Jr., OLB Anthony Barr, WR James Washington, OT Tyler Smith, Edge Sam Williams, WR Jalen Tolbert
Re-signed – DE Dorance Armstrong (2-years), S Jayron Kearse (2-years), P Bryan Anger (3-years), LB Leighton Vander Esch (1-year), TE Dalton Schultz (Franchise Tag)
Extensions – WR Michael Gallup (5-years, $62.5 million)
The winners of the NFC East last season, the Cowboys are coming off a 12-5 record. After losing in the first round to the 49ers, quarterback Dak Prescott is now 1-3 in the playoffs. He is looking to improve that postseason record as well as make a case for a contract extension this season. Head coach Mike McCarthy is also trying to stay off the hot seat with a strong season in 2022-23.
Dallas ranked #1 in the NFL in total yards last season behind almost a 4,500-yard season from Dak Prescott. Now without wide receiver Amari Cooper (traded to Cleveland), and two of their top offensive linemen, this offense has a new challenge.
Prescott still has wideout Ceedee Lamb and will eventually get back Michael Gallup for a solid receiving duo. They have one of the top eight tight ends in the league in Dalton Schultz, so the passing attack should be just as dangerous. The running game could take a small dip from being ranked 9th in the NFL. The duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard has proven to be reliable, and should still be ranked in the top half of the league in yards.
The defense had a tough season last year, ranking 19th in total defense. Losing Randy Gregory will hurt, especially when they didn’t add a great replacement. The defensive line is below average, but has help from Micah Parsons, who is an elite pass rusher as a linebacker. Parsons leads the Cowboys on defense and creates a top ten linebacker corps in the league.
While the Cowboys led the league in interceptions last year, they still have an average secondary. Corner Trevon Diggs is back, and while he looks to replicate his interceptions, he needs to cut down on yards given up. It is unlikely that we see the same turnover efficiency this season, so I expect a just below average defense from Dallas this season.
While Dallas got worse this offseason, they have a favorable schedule. I predict they will go 11-6 and 4-2 against the NFC East. It will come down to coaching, as Mike McCarthy could see his last season as a head coach if he doesn’t get the job done.