The 2017 NFL season is closer than you think as all 32 teams are preparing to go after the Lombardi trophy. With eight divisions in the league, the NFC East looks to be a wild division and may be the best in the NFC. Here is a preview from each team in the NFC East in this upcoming season.
Dallas Cowboys: Last season, the Cowboys shocked the World by going an unexpected 13-3, clinching the best record in the NFC behind rookie standouts Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. That won’t be the case this season especially with the news coming out that Elliott will be suspended for the first six games of the season. That is a big loss because Elliot gets the offense started with the run game and took a ton of pressure off Prescott.Embed from Getty Images
Its offensive line also took a hit this offseason when right tackle Doug Free retired, and left guard Ronald O’Leary left to sign with the Broncos. That means Prescott must put the ball in the air more than he did last season, especially with the Elliot suspension.
The Cowboys do have Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and “old reliable” Jason Witten as its receiving core, but with the Elliot suspension to start the season, they won’t have that run game that gets the pass game going and that’s a big reason why the Cowboys were mediocre for so many years.
My biggest concern of the Cowboys is its defense. The team were towards the bottom of the league in sacks last season and its defensive line keeps getting suspended because they can’t stay off the WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDD.
David Irving has four-game suspension and Randy Greggory is suspended for the year. Damontre Moore also has a two-game suspension. Even when they get back, they’ll still struggle getting to the quarterback.
The other major issue however is the secondary. Barry Church and Morris Claiborne left in free agency and the team released Brandon Carr. When you look at this division, the Giants upgraded its receiver core by signing Brandon Marshall to put next to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Sheppard. The Eagles also added Alshon Jeffery and Torrie Smith. The Cowboys will struggle with squad depth and in a grueling NFL season this will cause havoc.
Dallas Cowboys: 7-9: Misses playoffs
NY Giants: The Giants are the most complete team in the division starting with Eli Manning as their quarterback who had an up and down year. Part of the issue was that there weren’t enough weapons aside from Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Sheppard. This offseason, the team added Brandon Marshall to the receiving core. That must be a scary sight with Marshall and OBJ out wide, Sheppard in the slot and newly-drafted Evan Engram to upgrade the tight end spot. Engram should be a weapon in the middle of the field. Now teams can’t double team OBJ or Marshall. Good luck covering the Giants passing game.Embed from Getty Images
The main concerns for the Giants offense is the offensive line and running back position. Can Paul Perkins become a player that they can rely on? Will Shane Vereen be fully recovered from torn triceps? And who is going to step up on the offensive line? Erick Flowers hasn’t been what the Giants thought he would be thus far and their right tackle and right guard positions are need in of an upgrade.Embed from Getty Images
However, they not only have the best defense in the East, but they might have one of the best defenses in the league. Starting with their defensive line, they have Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul on the outside to terrorize the opposing quarterback in addition to Damien Harrison up the middle to stop the run.
The biggest threat to its defense however is the secondary. At the corner spots, the Giants have elite corner Janoris Jenkins, who was huge for the Giants success last year, drafted Eli Apple last year who also made a big impact on the Giants defense and as well as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing slot corner. In the safety spot, watch out for Landon Collins who was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last year. Its defense has everything you need and combine that with the improved offense the Giants offer gives this team a chance to win the division and make a run in the playoffs.
NY Giants: 11-5: Wins the East, Clinches 2nd seed in NFC
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are going to be the most improved team in the division. At quarterback, Carson Wentz surprised everyone in his rookie campaign and showed that he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL and now will have an upgrade in weapons in his second year. The Eagles added Alshon Jeffery and Torrie Smith in the offseason. That will give Wentz a chance ball in Jeffery and a guy who can take the top off a defense in Smith, something that the Eagles didn’t have last year.Embed from Getty Images
The Eagles also upgraded at the running back spot by adding LeGarrette Blount who had 18 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2016 and was a big part in helping the Patriots winning the Super bowl in two of the last three years. Darren Sproles is also coming back for another season and gives a huge spark to the Eagles running and passing game. The Eagles are also loaded at the tight end spot with Zack Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton. The Eagles love playing all three tight ends during the game and it should be no different this time around.
The biggest impact for the Eagles offense will surprise you and that is Lane Johnson who is the teams right tackle. Last year when he was suspended, the Eagles went only 2-8. Wentz faced more pressure when he was out and suffered 12 interceptions. When Johnson was in the lineup, the team went 5-1 and Wentz looked like he was one of the best quarterback’s in the league and only threw 2 interceptions. If everyone can stay healthy and no one gets suspended, this offense can be elite.
Defensively, its front seven is as good as any team in the league with Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry on the outside that created havoc last year. On the inside, the Eagles have one of the best defensive tackles in the league in Fletcher Cox and the team signed Timmy Jernigan away from the Ravens in free agency. Veteran Chris Long will be used in pass rush situations. Joran Hicks will be take place in the middle linebacker spot and he will be next to Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham.Embed from Getty Images
The Eagles also have one of the best safety tandems in the league with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod leading the secondary. One issue however was the corners until they recently trading for Ronald Darby for Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick. Darby is a huge upgrade that will make an immediate impact. New player Sidney Jones looks solid, but he suffered a torn Achilles during his draft day at Washington University.
Youth will be the factor in why they won’t win the division, the Eagles will take a huge jump this year and make a run for a playoff spot.
Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6: Clinches 6th seed in NFC
Washington: Where do I start with Washington? Washington did not have a great offseason. The team did not figure out what to do with Kirk Cousins on a long-term deal meaning he most likely will leave after this year. Losing both Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency doesn’t help as they are 1000-yard receivers.
They did add Terrelle Pryor and have Jamison Crowder in the slot and must hope for Josh Doctson to take a big leap in year two. The running back position is average. The Redskins have one of the best tight ends in the game in Jordan Reed, but he hasn’t played a full season yet as a professional. Veteran Vernon Davis is utilized as a backup tight end who had his best season in years.
Defensively they are good, but not the best. Draftee Jonathan Allen might end up being a steal. Also, the team have Ryan Kerrigan as an outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback. The rest of the front seven is decent, but nothing to be wowed about. Neither is the secondary, however, the team have Josh Norman, but he is vastly over paid. An example of this when he got burned by both OBJ and Dez Bryant last year while accruing a high amount of penalties. Overall, don’t expect too much from Washington heading into the 2017 season.
Washington: 5-11: Misses playoffs
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