NFC East projections in July? Okay, it may be way too early to begin thinking about the NFL season, but who else can’t wait until fall? In this way-too-early series, I will give my take on each of the NFL divisions and how I believe they will shape up. Will this season be predicted by these NFC East projections?
Way-Too-Early NFC East Projections
New York Giants (4-12)(0-6)
Losses: at Dallas Cowboys (week 1), Washington (week 4), Minnesota Vikings (week 5), at New England Patriots (week 6), at Detroit Lions (week 8), Dallas Cowboys (week 9), at New York Jets (week 10), at Chicago Bears (week 12), Green Bay Packers (week 13), at Philadelphia Eagles (week 14), at Washington (week 16), Philadelphia Eagles (week 17)
Eli Manning seems to think that the Giants offense is going to score more often now that the team is without Odell Beckham Jr. If the Giants are going to win games this year, it will not be because of Eli, it’ll be because of Saquon Barkley. Barkley is a top running back in the league despite the quality of the rest of his team. Dwayne Haskins was all but guaranteed to go to New York in the 2019 NFL draft until the team shocked everyone and selected Daniel Jones. I understand that the Giants needed to get rid of OBJ, but whenever you trade a top receiver and get Jabrill Peppers in return, fans should really question their General Manager. That already bad secondary got worse. Good luck Giants fans, you may be in for a long decade.
To pair with a weak roster, the Giants drew the short straw when it comes to scheduling. The three best teams outside of their division are Chicago, New England, and New York and they are all on the road. Technically the Jets and Giants share a stadium, but the point remains. Expect the Giants to keep games close against teams with sub-par rush defenses. Teams should pull away from New York late due to their lack of secondary. Watch out, though. If Haskins is the starter for Washington, he may go into the game with a vengeance and try to give the Giants payback for passing over the next franchise quarterback.
Washington Redskins (8-8)(3-3)
Wins: Dallas Cowboys (week 2), Chicago Bears (week 3), at New York Giants (week 4), at Miami Dolphins (week 6), at Buffalo Bills (week 9), Detroit Lions (week 12), at Carolina Panthers (week 13), New York Giants (week 16)
Losses: at Philadelphia Eagles (week 1), New England Patriots (week 5), San Francisco 49ers (week 7), at Minnesota Vikings (week 8), New York Jets (week 11), at Green Bay Packers (week 14), Philadelphia Eagles (week 15), at Dallas Cowboys (week 17)
Low-key, Washington looks dangerous. Dwayne Haskins has the makings of a true franchise quarterback, Derrius Guice will return with Samaje Perine as their one-two punch, and the wide receiver corps is explosive. Tight end Jordan Reed and receiver Josh Doctson return, but watch out for newcomers Terry McLaurin and Paul Richardson. I was extremely high on McLaurin during the draft process. I believe he will make the Washington faithful extremely happy. Washington will overtake and challenge for the division if there is an unexpected shakeup at the quarterback position for two teams projected ahead of them.
Washington will be the most exciting 8-8 team. Their undoing will be their youth and coaching. Jay Gruden is a decent coach, but he is probably not the guy that will lead his team to great success. The schedule will provide plenty of great match-ups outside the division to gauge how good this team is. The most intriguing will be their week three match-up versus the Chicago Bears. This will be the first chance for rookie quarterback Haskins to prove that he is the real deal. Despite the fact that he was projected to go top-five in the draft, Haskins will have to win the quarterback battle with Colt McCoy and Case Keenum. Gruden has not made up his mind yet, but he believes Haskins is talented enough. If they tailor the offense to his strengths, Haskins has a real shot at earning Rookie of the Year honors.
Dallas Cowboys (9-7)(4-2)
Wins: New York Giants (week 1), Miami Dolphins (week 3), Green Bay Packers (week 5), Philadelphia Eagles (week 7), New York Giants (week 9), Minnesota Vikings (week 10), at Detroit Lions (week 11), Buffalo Bills (week 13), Washington (week 17)
Losses: at Washington (week 2), at New Orleans Saints (week 4), at New York Jets (week 6), at New England Patriots (week 12), at Chicago Bears (week 14), Los Angeles Rams (week 15), at Philadelphia Eagles (week 16)
The Cowboys’ window could be closing. Will they sign Dak Prescott to a major deal? Will they sign Ezekiel Elliott to a major deal? Prescott is certainly talented, but he’s faltered the last few years. Elliott is one of the best backs in the league, but he’s proven to be immature. In the realm of things that we do know is the fact that their wide receivers will be solid and Jason Witten is back! Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper are a strong duo outside and Randall Cobb will demand respect inside. The Cowboys also drafted two running backs last year, so don’t be surprised if you see the likes of Tony Pollard and/or Mike Weber on the field. Each provides something different than Elliott and each would do well if given the chance. As usual, Dallas will field one of the best offensive lines in the game.
The Cowboys have to play the four of the best teams in the league in New England, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They do benefit by being in the same division as the Giants and have always played Philadelphia tough. There really is not too much to say about the Cowboys. In terms of talent, they could hang with just about anyone. Will the contract distractions set them back? Since they have to play those four great teams, watch out if they begin to lose toss-up games. This season could very well get away from them.
Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)(5-1)
Wins: Washington (week 1), at Atlanta Falcons (week 2), Detroit Lions (week 3), New York Jets (week 5), at Minnesota Vikings (week 6), at Buffalo Bills (week 8), Seattle Seahawks (week 12), at Miami Dolphins (week 13), New York Giants (week 14), at Washington (week 15), Dallas Cowboys (week 16), at New York Giants (week 17)
Losses: at Green Bay Packers (week 4), Dallas Cowboys (week 7), Chicago Bears (week 9), New England Patriots (week 11)
This year is the year of Carson Wentz. There’s no Nick Foles to come in and win the Super Bowl anymore. Most NFC East projections will have the Eagles at the top and it will hang on whether or not Wentz can truly lead his team. He’s shown that he is great and could even be poised for an MVP-caliber season. Outside, he’s got his usual targets of Nelson Agholor, Desean Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery. Philly did draft JJ Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford who has proven that he can make clutch plays. This off-season, they traded for Jordan Howard as well as used a draft pick on Penn State running back Miles Sanders. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will continue to be reliable when they need them to be.
The Eagles match-ups against the Falcons and Seahawks will test them. Obviously, New England will also provide a measuring stick to allow us to see if the Eagles will challenge for another Super Bowl. I expect them to be good and I expect them to win a lot of games. Honestly, they could be one of the most well-rounded teams. If Wentz stays healthy, this Eagles team could go far.
The Beast of the East
The records may indicate that the Eagles will easily win this round of NFC East projections. If anyone has ever been paying attention to the NFC East, they would know that nothing is easy. Any of the top three teams can make a solid case for a divisional title. Dallas, Washington, and Philadelphia each have what it takes to take the division. Love them or hate them, this division is going to be exciting to watch. Also, Dan Snyder, change the name of your franchise.
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