As the Dallas Cowboys attempt to win their second-straight division title in 2019, they will have to do something that nobody has in 14 seasons. Since 2005, no team has repeated as division champions in the competitive NFC East.
The Philadelphia Eagles won four straight NFC East Championships from 2001-2004. That was the last time a team in our division won even two consecutive titles.
- 2018 – Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
- 2017 – Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
- 2016 – Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
- 2015 – Washington Redskins (9-7)
- 2014- Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
- 2013 – Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
- 2012 – Washington Redskins (10-6)
- 2011 – New York Giants (9-7)
- 2010 – Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
- 2009 – Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
- 2008 – New York Giants (12-4)
- 2007 – Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
- 2006 – Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
- 2005 – New York Giants (11-5)
So unfortunately, if history repeats, it means the Cowboys won’t
But there’s good reason to be optimistic that Dallas will break the cycle. The Cowboys have won the most division titles with five over that 14-year span, and three of those have come in just the last five seasons.
The two years that Dallas didn’t win recently, 2017 and 2015, were seasons marked by unusual circumstances. Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension threw the 2017 season into chaos, and Tony Romo’s injury destroyed the team two years before that.
The Cowboys enter 2019 with the most stability of any NFC East team. Other than a change at Offensive Coordinator, their talent and coaching is carried over from last year’s division champs. If anything, they appear a much stronger and deeper team than last season.
Say what you want about Jason Garrett but he’s owned the NFC East in recent years. He’s a strong 20-10 since 2014 and an astonishing 10-2 the last two seasons. Even when the Cowboys went just 4-12 in 2015, they went 3-3 in division games.
The Eagles project as the next-strongest team for this season but have a big question mark with their starting quarterback. Can Carson Wentz play a full season, and if not, what happens now that Nick Foles isn’t there to save them?
Washington’s has an even scarier situation at QB; Alex Smith’s absence leaves them with rookie Dwayne Haskins, journeyman Case Keenum, and veteran backup Colt McCoy. Haskins will probably start at some point, but this feel like a transition year for the Redskins.
The Giants are beyond transitioning; they’re rebuilding. They lost some of their key talent on both sides of the ball, and how long Eli Manning holds off Daniel Jones for the starting QB job is hard to say.
The NFC East should be a two-horse race between Dallas and Philadelphia. Last year, the Eagles were only one game behind the Cowboys in overall record. If Wentz is back and stays healthy, they will be right on our heels again.
So yes, 2019 looks like a year where Dallas could give the NFC East a rare repeat winner. They’re arguably more talented right now than in either of their last two division-winning seasons.
But like all NFL teams, the Cowboys will need the good fortune of avoiding calamitous injuries or any other issues that have derailed them in recent years.