NFL Predictions: NFC East

I hope everybody is staying safe while protesting for our human rights. We have a long journey ahead of us to turn the tides and eliminate racism all together. I truly believe more people are listening than ever before, and we can remove some of the ugliness in the world we live in.

After postponing Vitale Talks for a week to focus on helping to fight for human rights, it’s exciting to be back in business and create my content. I feel more motivated than ever before. With that, the first article after postponing is my predictions on the NFC East.

Right now, the NFC East is a wide open division, that could really go anywhere. Trying to imagine the outcome of this division was about as easy as guessing where the little metal ball will land when you play roulette. The NFC East is packed with tremendous young talent, and if these athletes fulfill their potential, this division could skyrocket into one of the strongest in the NFL. But for now, the NFC East is a toss up, and I only see one of these four teams making playoffs this year.

The Dallas Cowboys have a stacked roster, and on paper, they look like an early Super Bowl favorite. However, with Dak Prescott’s contract situation looming over the franchise, and having a new HC and DC, it’s really hard to see which direction this team goes in 2020. The Eagles had one of the more confusing drafts this year, but walked away with a nice looking roster. I’m hoping Carson Wentz can stay healthy for a full year to give this team a real chance at making some noise. The NY Giants have a ton of talent on the offense, but this roster is one of the younger lineups in the league. Washington will have a bunch of new starters on the depth chart this season, and has a defense that could be more dangerous than people think.

Beast of the East

Dallas Cowboys

After research and considering the state of the NFC East, I have the Cowboys winning this division this season, which means I believe they will be playoff bound. Currently, Vegas has “America’s Team” winning 10 games this year.

Offensively, what more could you want? Ezekiel Elliot is a top 5 RB in the NFL, who runs behind arguably the best O-line in the league. The WR group is deep, as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup proved to be a fantastic 1-2 punch through the air. This franchise added rookie WR CeeDee Lamb, after he somehow slipped to the ‘Boys at the 17th pick overall. With so much going right, why does it still feel like this organization isn’t ready to take the next step? The Cowboys haven’t really been all that great for quite some time now, and at the moment, Dallas has another contract looming over the franchise before the start of the season. QB Dak Prescott reportedly turned down an offer that would have made him the 2nd highest paid QB in the NFL. Considering that Dak is closer to the 10th best QB than the 1st, the contract offer seemed more than fair for Prescott. Also factor in COVID’s impact on the league, we’re not even sure if player’s will be getting big offers like this next season. Luckily for the Cowboys, they signed the Red Rocket, Andy Dalton as the backup QB. He’s not the best by any means, but if Prescott’s contract negotiations don’t go through, the Dallas offense should be operating at a high level anyway. With or without Dak Prescott, this offense SHOULD (we’ll see what happens in the season) be one of the best this year.

In addition to the strong offense, the Cowboys defense is nothing to over look. This is a stacked group across the field. Demarcus Lawrence and Gerald McCoy lead the way on the D-line, who are two athletes that give the Cowboys a dominant pass rush AND rush defense, which is something most teams wish they had. Dallas also has a great LB core, led by Leighton Vander Esch, who has emerged as a top LB in the NFL. Not many people know his name, but if you’re a Cowboys fan, you know he’s been dominant since his rookie season. Don’t forget about the Dallas secondary either. Sure, they lost Byron Jones in free agency, but the front office replaced him with exciting rookie CB Trevon Diggs (brother of WR Stefon Diggs). The Cowboys also have Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who, despite playing on a different team almost every year, is a tremendous talent in the secondary. Dallas will be playing the 2020 season with a new DC, which could cause some hiccups early on, but considering how talented this unit is, they should learn and adapt quickly enough to terrorize opposing offenses all season long.

Mark this down as yet another offseason where the Cowboys look like the best team in the league on paper. For whatever reason, Dallas hasn’t been able to get back to the Super Bowl since 1996. Jerry Jones is hoping the hiring of Mike McCarthy as the HC pushes this team over the edge to make their comeback. Based on this team’s history, I don’t see them taking over the league next year, but they should be able to win the NFC East this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made the playoffs in 2019, and were bounced out in the Wild Card round. Even though they’ve made some nice acquisitions, I’m not sure this squad has it in them to win out the NFC East for a playoff spot again. It’s going to be hard for them to make the playoffs in the Wild Card this year, as the NFC in general is stacked throughout the conference. They should be competitive though, as Vegas has Philly winning 9-10 games.

Philadelphia had one of the most confusing drafts this year. First, they selected WR Jalen Reagor in the first round, who is a guy that most teams had going in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft. The front office followed that up by selecting QB Jalen Hurtz in the second round. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really like Hurtz, and I think he has a bright future in the NFL, but considering the holes Philly needed to fill, it didn’t make a ton of sense for them to select a QB in the second round. The Eagle’s front office JUST gave QB Carson Wentz a fat contract, so you’d think the team would want to give their QB they view so highly of, more weapons on the offense to utilize. Instead, the front office decided to select a backup QB. Sure, it makes sense as Wentz has gone down with an injury almost every season, especially when it comes to the playoffs. But taking a high profile name in the 2nd round of the draft, kind of makes it looks like the organization doesn’t believe in their starting QB anymore. Hurtz poses a threat to Wentz’s starting spot on the roster, as Jalen Hurtz is very capable of learning quickly and taking over the starting role. Despite all that, Philly ended up having a pretty good looking offensive roster. The O-line is above average (could be better), and they have a plethora of WRs. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are still viable targets, and will be great veteran leaders for the rest of the WR group. Reagor does bring some serious speed to the table, and Marquise Goodwin is an under rated acquisition that bolsters up Philly’s passing game. I also really like RB Miles Sanders, as he looks to become the Eagles bell cow in 2020 after having a great rookie season. I’m predicting the Eagles score plenty of points, as they should finish in the top half of the league in scoring.

Image of Darrius Slay

On the defensive side of the ball, the front office made a fantastic decision in trading for standout CB Darrius Slay. This guy is one of the elite CBs in the league and should make an immediate impact for this secondary. I also like Nickell Roby-Coleman, who is one of the best Nickel CBs in the league. Match this strong secondary with the D-line, which includes super star Fletcher Cox, and new addition Javon Hargrave. Philly should be able to force some turnovers this year, and get to the QB, making them an under rated defense. Where their weakness lies however, is in the LB position. The LB core is rather thin, and you can expect opposing teams exposing that in 2020. When a RB is able to get through the D-line, it’s going to be difficult for Philly to prevent long runs.

Overall, the Eagles have a nice roster, and are aiming to make a repeat appearance in the playoffs. You can just as easily argue the Eagles win the East over the Cowboys, as Philly has a phenomenal coaching staff top to bottom. For 2020, I’m not sure they have enough fire power to take down the Cowboys this year, but Philadelphia will be very competitive throughout the season.

New York Giants

I have the G-Men finishing in 3rd place in the NFC East, and ultimately have them missing the playoffs this season. They have a nice young, talented roster, and a very dangerous looking offense, but this team is just not quite ready to take that next step just yet, especially when you factor in they have an entirely new coaching staff. The odds are against them, as Vegas only has the Giants winning 6-7 games.

This offense is likely the most under rated in the entire league, as the front office has done a great job in building around the QB position. 2nd year QB Daniel Jones will have the protection he needs to be successful, as New York has a great O-line, and is easily the most under appreciated group in the NFL. They made the O-line even stronger this offseason after drafting rookie RT Andrew Thomas in the first round. Saquan Barkley is a physical specimen who has the potential to finish as a top 3 RB next year, as he has the talent and the athleticism to do it all. I also love TE Even Engram, as he has emerged as one of the top talents at the TE position, and is a fantastic safe option for Daniel Jones. At the moment, NY doesn’t necessarily have a true WR1 on the roster, which is a weak spot on this offense. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are both great WRs, but neither player has ever been that standout WR teams across the league are looking for. However, this Giants offense has enough fire power to surprise opposing defenses next season.

The Giant’s defense is probably in the middle of the pack when compared to other teams across the league. Leonard Williams has never lived up to his full potential, but is still a very capable player on the D-line. He should have an easier job this season, as DT Dalvin Tomlinson is a guy who should make massive improvements from a year ago. The Giants should be a tough team to run the ball against this year, especially after the front office snagged ILB Blake Martinez out of free agency. Martinez has led the Packers in tackles the last 3 years in a row, and should be able to continue that performance now that he’s in NY. As for the secondary, it’s a real shame CB Deandre Baker allegedly committed robbery with Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar, as Baker has (or had) the potential to be a top contributor for this team. However, Safeties Jabrill Peppers and rookie Xavier McKinney should be a dominant duo in stopping the pass. So, although the G-Men took a hit in the CB position, this defense has the potential to be a surprise unit in 2020.

Giants fans should be through the roof with excitement for this squad, as the roster looks great throughout. However, this team is very young, and very inexperienced, and the coaching staff is completely new. New York should make some improvements, and have a better record than last year, but it likely won’t be enough for them to be fully competitive. This franchise has a bright future ahead of them though, and will demand more attention in 2021.

Washington Redskins

Washington should finish last in the NFC East, as they have the most blaring holes to fill than their division rivals. They’ve made some nice acquisitions this offseason (especially in the coaching department), and their defense should be a nice surprise for Redskins fans. However, they just don’t have enough talent yet to really make some noise this year. Vegas seems to agree with me, as they have Washington only winning 5 games next year, which is tied for 2nd worst in the league.

Like the Giants, the Redskins have an entirely new coaching staff as well. Long time HC Ron Rivera comes back after being fired from the Panthers, and hopes to get back on track with a new team. The offense has some nice talent, as Dwayne Haskins starts as the QB in his 2nd year of his career. I really liked Haskins in college, and I think he has the potential to be something special in the league. However, it’s going to take some time, as the Washington offense just isn’t ready to take it to the next level. WR Terry McLaurin was, and still is, the best part of this offensive unit. McLaurin was spectacular last year in his rookie season, and will likely improve his skill set. He’s a guy that is capable of becoming a true WR1 for this franchise, which is something Dwayne Haskins is going to need to be successful. Outside of these two, the Redskins offense doesn’t quite have that much going for them. The O-line will be very average (at best), and Washington’s run game is nothing to be all that excited about. Adrian Peterson is not the RB he used to be, and Derrius Guice hasn’t been able to stay healthy so far in his career. The offense will likely struggle throughout the season.

The defense is by far the strongest asset of this Redskins team, especially after they drafted Rookie Edge Rusher, Chase Young out of Ohio State. This dude is a freak athlete, and has the potential to become the best defensive player in the NFL one day. He’ll likely make an immediate impact for Washington, as the defense has a sturdy front seven built around him. Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan will both be coming off the edge attacking the QB, while Da’ron Payne and Jonathan Allen will fill up the middle to stop the run. With a D-line like this one, the weak LB group should be able to play better than expected, as these guys will make their jobs much easier. Also don’t forget about Landon Collins, who plays at an incredibly high level, and is one of the most under rated Safety’s in the league. Factor in CB Kendall Fuller, who is also an under rated CB, this defense may shock some opposing offenses next year.

Considering how good this defense might be, Washington could be competitive in more games than people think. However, the offense will be average at best, and will have a hard time scoring points. This team kind of reminds me of the Raiders when I was in high school, all defense and not much offense. It’ll be hard for Washington to win many games this season, as their offense just isn’t ready to be competitive in 2020.

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