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2018 NFL Predictions: NFC East

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)

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. RM37 says:

    Love the predictions. The Cowboys might surprise!

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    […] Joel’s NFC East:                                         Mickayeen’s AFC East: […]

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