2019 NFL Predictions: NFC East

Although the Dallas Cowboys won this division last season, the Philadelphia Eagles are eager to make their way back to the top of the NFC East. The Washington Redskins and New York Giants both missed the playoffs last season, but will be looking to get back to the playoffs after making some key moves this offseason. How does each team stack up heading into Week 1?

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Dallas Cowboys Randy Gregory – Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Last season’s record: 9-7

Postseason Result: Lost to Saints in Divisional Round 20-14

Offseason Acquisitions:

Singed:

  • DT Malik Jackson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • WR DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • LB L.J. Fort (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • DE Vinny Curry (Tampa Bay)
  • RB Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears)
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway (Indianapolis Colts)
  • DE Eli Harold (Buffalo Bills)
  • QB Josh McCown (New York Jets)

Drafted:

  • OT Andre Dillard (22nd)
  • RB Miles Sanders (53rd)
  • WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (57th)
  • DE Shareef Miller (138th)
  • QB Clayton Thorson (167th)

Offseason Departures:

Waived CB Elie Bouka, LB Asantay Brown, G Kaleb Johnson, CB Chandon Sullivan, WR Johnny Holton and S Tre Sullivan, released QB Nick Foles, S Chris Maragos, DE Kasim Edebali, DE Eli Harold, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Orlando Scandrick and TE Will Tye and WR Charles Johnson injured.

The big question:

This is not an attack to take lightly. After last season’s hiccups, the Eagles have been keen to have ample resources in the event of injuries, as the signings of DeSean Jackson and Howard signal. There is the uncertainty to if the injury plague hits again, can the Eagles’ draft picks step up? However, the bigger question would be if quarterback Carson Wentz can stay healthy. Every time he’s been unable to play, Nick Foles graciously stepped up, but Foles is now in Jacksonville. How will their backups play if Wentz goes down again?

Prediction: 10-6

2. Dallas Cowboys

Last season’s record: 10-6

Postseason Result: Lost to Rams in Divisional Round 22-30

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Signed:

  • WR Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)
  • RB Alfred Morris (San Francisco 49ers)

Drafted:

  • Trysten Hill (58th)
  • Connor McGovern (90th)
  • Tony Pollard (128th)
  • Michael Jackson (158th)
  • Joe Jackson (165th)

Offseason Departures:

Waived LB Justin Phillips and WR Lance Lenoir. Released WR Allen Hurns and OL Larry Allen Jr.

The big question:

The Cowboys are hoping to have a repeat of last season, so it’s clear as to why they weren’t too active in free agency. They’ve added to an already stout offense with the signings of Cobb and Morris. The focus will be on stars RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott to deliver and lead by example. It’s also dangerous to assume that the Cowboys will automatically at least get second place in the NFC East. f Washington or New York all-of-a-sudden are able to perform, how will Dallas cope with that? Can Elliott & Prescott stand up and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs?

Prediction: 9-7

 

3. Washington Redskins

Last season’s record: 7-9

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Acquired:

  • QB Case Keenum (Denver Broncos)

Signed:

  • S Landon Collins (New York Giants)
  • OT Donald Penn (Oakland)
  • DB D.J. White (Indianapolis)

Drafted:

  • QB Dwayne Haskins (15th)
  • EDGE Montez Sweat (26th)
  • WR Terry McLaurin (76th)
  • RB Bryce Love (112th)
  • G Wes Martin (131st)
  • LB Cole Holcomb (173rd)

Offseason Departures:

Released LB Zach Brown, DL Stacy McGee and LB Mason Foster and waived DB Alex Carter, G Kyle Fuller, OT Darius James, WR Tre McBride, RB Russell Hansbrough and LB DeMarquis Gates.

The big question:

The Redskins had a team who led the NFC East last season before Alex Smith went down. They had a great defense, and they made an improvement to that defense by adding S Landon Collins. After Smith was injured, the offense was the problem. That’s why they added Case Keenum and drafted Dwayne Haskins. Although they drafted Haskins in the first round, will he take over as their starter this season? This dilemma can make or break the success of Washington’s offense this season.

Prediction: 6-10

 

4. New York Giants

Last season’s record: 5-11

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Acquired:

  • S Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland Browns)
  • G Kevin Zeitler (Cleveland Browns)
  • WR Da’Mari Scott (Buffalo Bills)

Singed:

  • WR Golden Tate (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • RB Rod Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
  • OT Mike Remmers (Minnesota Vikings)
  • WR T.J. Jones (Detroit Lions)
  • TE Eric Tomlinson (New York Jets)

Drafted:

  • QB Daniel Jones (6th)
  • CB Deandre Baker (30th)

Offseason Departures:

Traded WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LB Olivier Vernon, waived WR Quadree Henderson, WR Jawill Davis, DE Alex Jenkins, TE Eric Dungey, TE Isaiah Searight, WR Da’Mari Scott and LB B.J. Goodson, DE Nate Harvey and WR Corey Coleman injured and released DB Tony Lippett. Lost S Landon Collins to the Redskins.

The big question:

It honestly isn’t looking good, is it? The Giants did away with Beckham Jr., Vernon and Landon Collins. With that being said, the Giants have made some good signings and they are nurturing a new, young defense. Another place to look at is the QB spot. It seems pretty obvious that QB Eli Manning would start, but what if draft pick Daniel Jones is able to get some game time? Could he prove to be good enough for New York?

Prediction: 4-12

 

Predicted Division Standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
  3. Washington Redskins (6-10)
  4. New York Giants (4-12)

Cowboys are right where Eagles want them

A lot of people associated with the Dallas Cowboys were bouncing off the walls in excitement when they witnessed their beloved team beat the NFC’s best, New Orleans Saints. They all watched their better than advertised defense shut down the NFL’s best offense, holding them to their lowest offensive output all season.

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Dallas Cowboys” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I am not going to lie, the Cowboys were impressive. I watched Leighton Vander Esch become a household name overnight, and Jaylen Smith showed the world he is back to form, maybe even better than he was before his horrific knee injury while at Notre Dame. For all the slack I have given Jerry Jones for his decision making while drafting, he has for now built a formidable defense that cannot be ignored. It made me regret my prediction last week that the Cowboys will once again collapse and ruin their chances of obtaining a playoff spot.

That regret was short-lived, and though the Cowboys looked good, I still have no faith in them winning the NFC East. In actuality, I have more faith in the fact that Dallas will find a way to play them themselves out of a playoff spot.

I am doubling down on my prediction. Below are my thoughts and reasonings to why I still stand behind my convictions and why I think in the end, the Cowboys will miss the playoffs.

We saw a mediocre team Thursday night that played like they were in a Super Bowl.

In my experience, I always side on the air of caution when I witness David going up against Goliath and David plays like he is in the Super Bowl, especially when David is playing at home. I value the eye test a lot, but football is a game of emotion, and that emotion can play a lot into a team’s success. Dallas was the underdog, was given no chance by many to win, and they used that to catapult their team to play the best of their ability. Every person that played a part in that game knew they had a great platform to prove to the nation they are for real.

But what happens when they play a game where that emotion, that factor that motivates a team to do their best is not there?

Teams across the league have had major, disappointing hangovers the week after an important, emotional win. The Jaguars and Titans went into their games against the Patriots with massive chips on their shoulders and wanted something to prove. Both teams went on to have a massive hangover and lost their next game following the win over the Patriots.

Jacksonville went 2-8 in their next 10 games following their convincing victory over New England. Pittsburgh came back in dramatic fashion in an emotion-filled rematch from last year’s playoffs against the Jags. They dropped the next two. Cleveland beat up their former head coach in their matchup against Cincinnati and followed it up with a horrific display against the Texans.

Dallas has to follow up their big win against the Eagles at home. A huge game in the grand scheme of things against the defending champions. I will be interested to see if the Cowboys come out hungover in a game where a victory all but clinches the NFC East. I tend to tread on the side of history here, where the Cowboys are never good in these types of games under Jason Garrett and honestly think the Eagles come out victorious in a big way.

The Cowboy’s head coach is Jason Garrett.

 

Speaking of Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett has done nothing to prove to me he can win in the big games consistently. He is clearly riding the coat-tails of the talent that takes the field every Sunday, and I seriously believe he has little to nothing to do with this massive turn around in Big D.

That feeling I think was proven on the field last Thursday night. In a big drive, the Cowboys were about to march into the end zone for a possible game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter, or at the very least, put up three points to make the Saints score a touchdown for the win. On the six-yard line, Garrett and his staff call for a pass on third and five with the second best running back in the backfield and relied on their offensive line to hold up a pass rush that already sacked Prescott six times up to that point.

That was shocking to me. The Saints only had one timeout at that point and a run that didn’t even get the first down, put pressure on the Saints to make a decision on time management. Yes, Garrett got bailed out by his defense, but he ultimately gave Drew Brees a shot at a comeback, which is not a sound strategy when you look at it. I do not believe in Garrett’s ability to coach when it matters, he has never shown it on a consistent basis in years past and will once again show it when it matters the most.

This point was backed up by many people I know who are Dallas fans, but hate Jason Garrett. Even in this stretch of success they still want him out of Dallas. It makes me wonder if the only way to save his job in the eyes of the fans is a Super Bowl victory.

Dak Prescott and his:

Let’s hope Prescott bought Jourdan Lewis dinner this entire week, because he saved Prescott big time. Soon after Dak coughed up the ball and gave the Saints another chance at the win, Lewis picks off Brees and sealed the victory.

Overall, Prescott made some really impressive plays that kept their lead intact, but when it mattered the most, he could not protect the ball and gave it back to the hands of the most dangerous player in the NFL. This isn’t a fluke either. So far, Prescott has let the ball go a total of eleven times this season. This is unacceptable.

Behind Garrett, Prescott is the biggest liability to the chances of the Cowboys winning the NFC East. Prescott has slowly regressed since bursting onto the scene two years ago and really has been treading water this season with the help of a dynamic running game. Prescott’s numbers show he is a game manager at best (20th in attempts, 19th in yards and 23rd in TD’s), but with his history of putting the ball on the ground (24 times in his career), it gives his opponent an open door to turn the course of the game, which is the total opposite of an effective game manager.

Now I totally understand the likelihood of what I am saying to come true is slim to none. That one win against the Saints puts the Cowboys in the driver’s seat and they really control all the momentum. But my father taught me about history, and how it always repeats itself even in the most untimely of moments. So yes, the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat, but if history has taught me anything, for me to be right, that is exactly where I want them to be.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC East

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Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Joel Deering

The NFC East is one of the most well known divisions in the NFL. It currently holds the reigning Super Bowl champions in the Philadelphia Eagles. It also holds the team literally every fan base in the NFL loves to hate, the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t forget about two time Super Bowl champion QB Eli Manning and his Giants and the Kirk Cousin-less Washington Redskins. Last season the Eagles dominated their division, winning the NFC East crown with ease. Now they have a target on their backs and the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins will be coming for the division title. Will the Eagles win the division race easily again this year, or will another team challenge them for the title of NFC East champs?

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 13-3

Postseason Result: Without starting QB Carson Wentz, the Nick Foles led Philadelphia Eagles overcame all the doubters and went on to win the Super Bowl after being named underdogs in every playoff game.

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • WR Mike Wallace, WR Markus Wheaton, TE Richard Rogers, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Corey Nelson, and LB Paul Worrilow all signed with the team in free agency.
  • Traded for DE Michael Bennett.
  • Through the draft, the Eagles added TE Dallas Goedert, OT Matt Pryor, OT Jordan Mailata, DE Josh Sweat, and CB Avonte Maddox.

Offseason Departures:

  • Cut TE Brent Celek and DE Vinny Curry.
  • Traded WR Torrey Smith to the Panthers.
  • Released P Donnie Jones and LB Mychal Kendricks.
  • Their former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, left to become the head coach of the Colts.
  • RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Trey Burton, DT Beau Allen, CB Patrick Robinson, and S Jaylen Watkins all left in free agency.
2018 Preview/The Big Question

The Eagles are entering this season as the defending Super Bowl champions. Everyone expects them to be contending for another Super Bowl this season, especially after how they’ve reloaded their roster. The strength of this team last season was their defensive line, and they’ve only made their strength stronger. After winning the Super Bowl with backup QB Nick Foles, many expect the Eagles to be back in the Super Bowl after getting QB Carson Wentz back. While getting Wentz back is expected to make the Eagles even more of a threat, getting him back is also a question for this team. How long will Carson Wentz take to get back to his old self? He’s looked good working his way back from injury, but at the same time, he hasn’t been out there running around or taking hits from anyone. The Eagles should still be one of the better teams even if Wentz does take some time to adjust, but when Wentz gets back to his old self they’ll be that much better.

Prediction: 12-4

 

2. Dallas Cowboys

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 9-7

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • After releasing WR Dez Bryant, Dallas signed WR’s Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in free agency.
  • Dallas also signed FB Jamize Olawale, OL Cameron Fleming, and LB Joe Thomas in free agency.
  • As part of their draft, the Cowboys selected LB Leighton Vander Esch, OL Connor Williams, WR Michael Gallup, DE Dorance Armstrong, TE Dalton Shultz, QB Mike White, LB Chris Covington, WR Cedrick Wilson (Will miss season), and RB Bo Scarbrough (has since been released).
  • Dallas also made a trade to acquire WR Tavon Austin from the Rams.
  • There were several coaching changes made, but the most notable were the additions of Paul Alexander (Offensive Line), Sanjay Lal (WRs) and Kris Richard (Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs).

Offseason Departures: 

  • WR Dez Bryant was released and TE Jason Witten retired.
  • WR Brice Butler, LB Anthony Hitchens, RB Alfred Morris, OL Jonathan Cooper, DE Benson Mayowa, OL Byron Bell, RB Keith Smith, and LB Kyle Wilber all left in free agency.
  • WR Ryan Switzer was traded to the Raiders during the NFL Draft, and has since been traded to the Steelers.
  • Dallas lost several coaches. The list includes Wade Wilson (QB Coach), Derek Dooley (WR Coach), Steve Loney (TE Coach), Frank Pollack (OL Coach), Matt Eberflus (LB Coach), and more.
2018 Preview/The Big Question

Dallas heads into 2018 with several questions, but the biggest question of them all has to do with these receivers. WR Dez Bryant was released by the team, and TE Jason Witten decided to retire. Bryant and Witten were two of Dak Prescott’s top targets. Dallas added receivers Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Tavon Austin, and Michael Gallup, but we don’t know who will emerge as the number one receiver. With so many new receivers, how will Dak Prescott adjust? The good news for this team is that RB Ezekiel Elliott is back and hasn’t had any problems this offseason. He should be with them for a full season again, which means their running game will be one of the best in the league. In previous years when the Cowboys have had one of the top running games in the league, they went 12-4 and 13-3. Last season they went 9-7, almost making the playoffs with an average running game and without several of their best players for a good portion of the season (LB Sean Lee, RB Ezekiel Elliott, LT Tryon Smith). I can’t forget to talk about the defense. The starting defense has looked great in the preseason. They haven’t played a ton, but that’s still an encouraging sign. Kris Richard, who was a big part of the Legion of Boom’s success in Seattle, has come over to help this defense take the next step. With key players back and a defense that looks to be improved, I expect Dallas to be better than they were a season ago.

Prediction: 10-6

 

3. Washington Redskins

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 7-9

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Traded for QB Alex Smith.
  • Signed WR Paul Richardson and LB Pernell McPhee in free agency.
  • Drafted DT Da’Ron Payne, RB Derrius Guice, OT Geron Christian, S Troy Apke, DT Tim Settle, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, CB Greg Stroman, and WR Trey Quinn.
  • Signed RB Adrian Peterson after rookie RB Derrius Guice went down with a season ending injury in his first preseason game.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost Kirk Cousins in free agency (I don’t think they were too sad about it since they traded for Alex Smith).
  • Lost DE Trent Murphy, C Spencer Long, WR Ryan Grant, CB Bashaud Breeland, and LB Junior Galette.
  • Traded CB Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the Alex Smith deal.
2018 Preview/The Big Question

Washington decided to move on from QB Kirk Cousins when they traded for former Chiefs QB Alex Smith. When a new quarterback comes to a new team with new players surrounding him, of course there’s going to be questions about how the offense will perform. Many have compared this Redskins offense to that of the offense Alex Smith had in Kansas City last season. Jordan Reed is a pro bowl caliber TE, much like Travis Kelce. The problem for Reed has been staying healthy, which is likely going to be a problem again this year. The Redskins signed WR Paul Richardson in free agency, who has been drawing comparisons to WR Tyreek Hill. Richardson is one of the fastest players in the NFL, so people expect him to be Smith’s deep threat. The Redskins drafted RB Derrius Guice to play the Kareem Hunt role for Smith, but Guice was injured in his first preseason game and is out for the season. To make up for the loss of Guice, the Redskins signed RB Adrian Peterson. Not quite sure exactly how much he still has left in the tank, especially over a full season. These names all seem nice for Alex Smith, but remember, he is on a new team with a new running back and new receivers. How long will it take for Smith to click with his new offensive weapons? That could determine the success of this team in 2018.

Prediction: 9-7

 

4. New York Giants

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 3-13

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Signed OT Nate Solder and RB Jonathan Stewart in free agency.
  • Traded for LB Alec Ogletree and signed LB Kareem Martin.
  • Traded for P Riley Dixon.
  • Drafted RB Saquon Barkley, G Will Hernandez, LB Lorenzo Carter, DT B.J. Hill, QB Kyle Lauletta, and DT RJ McIntosh.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost C Weston Richburg and G Justin Pugh in free agency.
  • Lost LB Devon Kennard and LB Jonathan Casillas.
  • Cut CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and lost CB Ross Crockwell in free agency.
  • Cut P Brad Wing
  • Released WR Brandon Marshall and cut WR Dwayne Harris
2018 Preview/The Big Question

Eli Manning threw 19 touchdown passes last season. That’s a significant drop off from the 35 he threw in 2015 and the 26 he threw in 2016. By the numbers, it looks like Eli Manning is declining as a starting caliber QB in the NFL. Was Eli Manning’s bad play last season really his fault though? Part of the reason why Eli Manning had a bad performance and the Giants were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season is because they got bit badly by the injury bug. The main injury was to their star WR Odell Beckham JR., but they had several other injuries holding them back also. With no Odell Beckham, no Brandon Marshall, no running game, and a weak offensive line, it was obviously hard for Eli Manning to perform well. The Giants went into this offseason looking to change things. For starters, they have Odell Beckham back. That always helps. They addressed some of their offensive line problems by signing Nate Solder away from the Patriots, who is an established LT in the NFL. Perhaps their best move of the offseason was drafting RB Saquon Barkley. Barkley brings a running back talent to the Giants which they haven’t had in a long time. Many expect him to be the next rookie RB to lead the NFL in rushing yards. At this point in Eli Manning’s career, he needs that. He can still play well, but their offensive focus should be more on the running game instead of having Eli throw 1,000 passes a game.

Prediction: 8-8

 

PREDICTED DIVISION STANDINGS:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
  3. Washington Redskins (9-7)
  4. New York Giants (8-8)