According to more than one sportsbook, the NFC East will be decided between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles are just slightly favored, but the odds have both teams at practically the same odds. Last year, both were in the playoffs until the Divisional Round, when the two teams were sent home defeated by the L.A. Rams and the New Orleans Saints, who would battle it out in the NFC Championship Game.
On paper, both the Cowboys and the Eagles justify being the division’s top dogs. They have plenty of talent both on offense and defense and promising young quarterbacks to lead their respective franchises in the future. Dallas has won the divisional title twice in the last three years. The one year they didn’t, the Eagles did and went on to win the first Super Bowl in their history.
Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants find themselves rebuilding their teams. Both spent first round draft picks on quarterbacks for the future and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be serious contenders in the 2019 season.
But are we underestimating them? They might not be as strong as the Cowboys and Eagles look right now, but there’s a case to be made for both teams being tougher than expected. Let’s take a look at each team.
Last year, when the Cowboys were crumbling, the Redskins had a clear lead in the division. Prior to week 10, the Redskins were 6-3. Then Alex Smith suffered a horrible injury on week 11 versus the Houston Texans, and the team finished the year with only one more win (7-9). This time though, it won’t be Smith at the wheel.
Instead, we’ll likely see the Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins in at quarterback. Washington also added Case Keenum in the offseason, but I doubt he gets the job over the first round rookie. Even if he does, he’ll likely lose the job eventually. RB Derrius Guice missed his rookie season last year but should be back for 2019. Along with Adrian Peterson, this is a team that could have a decent running attack to help the rookie.
As far as the defense is concerned, I believe their defensive line is quite strong. Montez Sweat, another first round pick, will complement a group that already has Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and one of the league’s most underrated pass rushers, Ryan Kerrigan.
The Redskins are far from having the talent the Cowboys and Eagles have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they become some sort of headache in the upcoming season. Of course, they’ll have to heavily rely on Haskins having a very strong rookie year.
New York Giants
It can’t get any worse for the Giants than it did a year ago, can it? With Eli Manning at QB, who knows. The thing is, New York also selected a rookie signal-caller in Daniel Jones. I don’t believe we’ll see much from him this season unless at some point on the year, the Giants decide they have no shot at a winning season and decide to test their future QB.
The selling point for the Giants has to be an improved offensive line. With the addition of G Kevin Zeitler and a more experienced version of La’el Collins, the unit doesn’t look that bad anymore. We know what Saquon Barkley did with a terrible group blocking for him, he’ll be an exciting player to watch with better offensive linemen. Manning hasn’t been great in recent years, but with the right talent around him, he could do better.
Just like the Redskins, the Giants are not close to being the team Dallas and Philadelphia have. But it’s worth keeping in mind that their offensive line has improved and that will lead to an even better year from Barkley. Defeating the Giants may not come as easy as some may think.
I believe the NFC East will indeed be battled between the Cowboys and Eagles and no one else. Philadelphia won’t be easy to defeat in a heated race for the division title. On recent years, Dallas has had success against Philly but that shouldn’t make Cowboys Nation feel comfortable. They’re a pretty good football team. Fortunately, the Cowboys are too.