2017 NFC East Preview

1. Dallas Cowboys– Who all saw this coming? And if you did, I’ll give you $100. When Tony Romo went down, the Cowboys turned to fourth-round draft pick, Dak Prescott. After losing their first game of the year, the Dallas Cowboys won 11 straight games, that’s two entire months without losing a football game and they did this with a rookie quarterback and rookie running back. They are coming off a 13-3 season, their most victories since 2007 and despite the heartbreaking loss in the playoffs, there’s a lot of upsides and serious promise for the future. The Cowboys did quite a bit this off-season. Tony Romo was released then eventually retired, and a majority of what they lost was on the defensive side of the football. Morris Claiborne is a New York Jet, Brandon Carr now plays in Baltimore, J.J. Wilcox is in Tampa Bay, Terrell McClain plays for the rival Redskins and Barry Church is now in Jacksonville. That’s a lot that they lost on the defensive side of the football that needs to be replaced, especially in Church and Carr who were the top two tacklers last season. The Cowboys haven’t won double-digit games in back to back seasons since 1995-96 and all eyes will be on them to see if they can break the drought.

2. New York Giants– Year one of the Ben McAdoo era got off to a bumpy start with the Giants at 2-3 in their first five games. Then came an eight-game winning streak that had people talking and the Giants were starting to have people wondering would they go on another run again. The offense was extremely up and down all year and nobody outside of Odell Beckham Jr. really had an impact. The defense had a lot of money invested in them to be improved and they didn’t disappoint one bit. For the last two seasons, I’ve been saying that the Giants need that second asset to play alongside Odell and they got it in Brandon Marshall who brings a veteran presence. With Odell, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram, the Giants offense could finally bounce back after some inconsistencies last season and with the defense returning just about everybody who played a part in their success last season, they should be as good once again. The Giants are looking to get back to the playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time since 07-08.

3. Washington Redskins– They have not won double-digit games since 2012 and have a record of 21-26-1 under Jay Gruden in the last three seasons. The Washington Wizards, Nationals and Capitals have all seen its share of success and winning and the fans now need to see this from the football team. The Redskins haven’t won a playoff game since 2005 and after giving Gruden an extension, we need to start seeing the results on the field. Their offense will look a lot different this season. The team lost both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, a duo that combined for 2,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns and losing those guys hurts Kirk Cousins more than it helps them because the franchise is trying to decide whether he is capable of being the franchise quarterback and a big time contract. The defense loses Chris Baker who signed with the Packers. Washington has a respectable defense, and you can win with Cousins, but I don’t think this team is talented enough overall to hang in a loaded division and there are too many questions that are still unanswered.

4. Philadelphia Eagles– The Eagles have finished with a record of 7-9 in back to back seasons and have failed to qualify for the postseason in five of its last six seasons. There were some positives to last season, but knowing how the city of Philadelphia is, they want results fast. This off-season, the Eagles top priority was to give Carson Wentz more help and they did just that by signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, two veteran receivers. Their biggest losses came on defense. Connor Barwin signed with the Rams and Nolan Carroll signed with the Cowboys. The loss of Barwin is the bigger of the two because he was their most consistent pass rusher. They have a brutal schedule that includes games against Denver, Carolina, Kansas City, Oakland, and Seattle.

2017 Predictions
1. Cowboys (11-5)
2. Giants (10-6)
3. Eagles (8-8)
4. Redskins (5-11)

I like the Dallas Cowboys to repeat as champions of the NFC East. I think we are all anxious to see what Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott both do in their second seasons and the defense improved this off-season by adding a pass rusher in Taco Charlton. They can get back to the playoffs by controlling the clock and the offensive line standing by their reputation as the best in the business. I also look for Dak to really develop as a passer