With week 1 quickly approaching (come on Sunday!), it’s time to take a look at the state of the NFC East. Can any of these teams make a run at the Cowboys in 2015?
Preseason Record: 1-3
Key injury: Orlando Scandrick (Out for Season)
The Cowboys’ preseason offered little glimpse into what we should expect on Sunday, similar to when the team failed to win a preseason game prior to 2014 – going on to win 12 games and the NFC East.
The recent trade for Christine Michael all but confirms that Dallas will use a “back by committee approach”, which should lead to a more explosive offense.
Each back adds a different element to the offense, who’s primary focus must once again be on controlling the time of possession.
Wide receiver Terrance Williams is entering his third year, statistically a peak year for the position. He will be playing across from Dez Bryant, as well as with training camp stud Cole Beasley.
Defensively, Rod Marinelli used this preseason to evaluate the depth he had at each position. Often using a dizzying amount of players, there is some uncertainty but excitement as to who will see the field Sunday night.
Two players, draft picks Byron Jones and Randy Gregory, will certainly be out there and should greatly improve the defensive line and secondary.
The sky is the limit for the 2015 Cowboys – entering week 1 optimistic and, more importantly, healthy.
New York Giants
Preseason Record: 2-2
Key injury: Jason Pierre-Paul
Giants’ fans are optimistic that the offense will return to normal in 2015, playing with a healthy Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. However, they will need to protect Eli Manning (in a contract season) and establish a running game to be successful.
They will enter the season with Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings in the backfield, as well as free agent pick-up Shane Vereen. Anchoring the offensive line will be first round draft pick Ereck Flowers.
Jason Pierre-Paul should be ready for week 1 following his fireworks incident, and the team will need its usual dominant defensive line to help out a weak secondary. New York allowed 831 passing yards this preseason.
Predictions are often worthless when the Giants and Cowboys get together, so it should be an interesting start to the season for both teams on Sunday night!
Preseason Record: 3-1
Key injuries: None
Chip Kelly’s preseason fun has come to an end, and it’s time to see if his 53 man roster can actually produce in 2015. New quarterback Sam Bradford had some success in Kelly’s hyper-spread offense this preseason, and the focus must be on keeping him healthy.
The Philly running backs are likely the best core in the NFL, with former Cowboy DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews and speedster Darren Sproles.
If all three stay healthy, the Eagles offense will be firing on all cylinders – also playing with Jeremy Maclin clone and first round pick Nelson Agholor.
The question will be if the improved Eagles’ defense of Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso can hold up with this style of offense. Whether after a score or not, Bradford and Co. will be off the field quickly and the defense will be often tested.
The Cowboys will visit the Eagles early in week 2, in what could be a measuring stick game for both teams.
Preseason Record: 3-1
Key injuries: None
The Robert Griffin III era is over in Washington, and Kirk Cousins will take over one of the most dysfunctional teams in recent history in 2015. He will not go without his weapons to work with, as the team still has DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon – as well as Alfred Morris.
Ryan Kerrigan will lead a revamped defense that has been a lone bright spot for the team in the past years. However, a battered secondary will not fare well against the passing attacks of Dallas, New York, and Philly – and another last place finish for Washington is likely.
They will open against the Dolphins on Sunday.
How do you see the NFC East stacking up? Let me know below or on Twitter @ShoreSportsNJ!