Last season, the NFC East wasn’t exactly a powerhouse division.
The Redskins, lead by Kirk Cousins, finished atop the division with a 9-7 record. They were the only team in the division with a record better than .500. And this year, it might not get any better.
In fact, it will more than likely get a whole lot worse. There is no one team that stands out as outstanding in the division–no team that will likely run away with the title and go on to dominate the postseason.
The Skins are coming off a season in which they barely squeaked into the postseason, but whether he likes it or not, Kirk Cousins has yet to establish himself as an elite NFL QB. Keep in mind that, just two seasons ago, Washington finished 4-12 with a whopping -132 point differential. While many positions have been shored up since then, Cousins under center, Matt Jones (if he’s healthy) at running back and a so-so receiving corps doesn’t spell a successful season in Washington.
A good number of people had the Cowboys winning the division last season, coming back from an abysmal 4-12 record to top one of the weakest divisions in football.
After all, Tony Romo would be back, finally healthy, and Zeke Elliot would be lined up behind him to take the brunt of the work at running back with a formidable backup in Alfred Morris there just in case. What many people forgot, though, was about Tony Romo’s glass bones and the Cowboy signal caller’s penchant for shattering one or two every season, leaving him on the sidelines. And, almost on cue, Tony Romo went down with an injury–this time to his back–that will sideline him for 6-10 weeks, according to the Cowboys. This leaves rookie Dak Prescott to step into the starting roll, and leaves a huge hole in the Cowboy’s plan to win the division.
The Eagles are, in and of themselves, a question mark. Will Bradford or Wentz be starting by the end of the season? Will Ryan Matthews stay healthy? Will Nelson Agholor learn how to catch the football when it’s thrown in his general direction? Will Dorial Green-Beckham live up to the potential that many thought he had when he was drafted by the Titans?
After a fairly mediocre season last year, the Eagles haven’t done all that much to improve their chances this year. They didn’t sign any big-name offensive free agents. They (arguably) downgraded at running back by getting rid of Murray. Lane Johnson and Dennis Kelly, two members of one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season, are gone.
And the Giants are hard to have faith in on any given day. Some days, Eli Manning plays like a Hall of Fame QB, while others he plays like the backup to a Junior Varsity QB thrust into the NFL spotlight. Luckily, he’s got a solid receiving corps around him to throw to, namely in Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. However, it may be hard to find openings if defenses are dropping back into coverage constantly, not particularly afraid of the G-Men rushing attack.
None of the teams in the NFC east stand out as the clear frontrunner–it’s almost as if it’s an entire division full of teams you’d expect to finish 2nd or 3rd in any given year. But maybe that will make this season all the more exciting.