Its been four seasons since an NFC East team won a postseason gameand that has been the Eagles double-doink game in Chicago. But that streak is going to be broken this season in a wide-open NFC. This division now boasts two teams with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and two other people who profile as sneaky wild-card contenders.
The Cowboys, who won the division this past year, are favorites to repeat because of the talent on both sides of the ball, even with the increased loss of left tackle Tyron Smith to a torn hamstring. Their turnaround last season, from 610 to 125, was because of the return of quarterback Dak Prescott, who missed 11 games in 2020, however the young defense that became popular under first-year coordinator Dan Quinn was in the same way impactful. The former Falcons head coach, who also coordinated Seattles Legion of Boom defense, had Dallas playing fast and causing chaos, having an NFL-best 34 takeaways this past year. The key may be the pass rush, spearheaded by Defensive Player of the entire year candidate Micah Parsons (13 sacks as a rookie in 21), which created opportunities for the secondary, led by third-year cornerback Trevon Diggs (11 interceptions in 21, probably the most by any NFL player in 40 seasons).
Needless to say, a deep playoff run will demand better postseason play from Prescott. His team led the NFL in scoring with 31.2 points per game, but he handled a number of ailments in 2021 and struggled down the stretch, including an unhealthy performance in the Cowboys 2317 home wild-card loss to the 49ers. Prescott is currently just 13 in playoff games, and that record is a popular talking point come January.
The Eagles were a surprise playoff team last season, with a diverse running game built around first-year starter Jalen Hurts at quarterback. Its unclear whether Phillys front office views Hurts as its QB into the future or perhaps a stopgap before next guy (the Eagles own two first-round picks, like the Saints, in what is actually a QB-rich 2023 draft). But with the acquisition of A.J. Brown, arguably among the NFLs five best receivers, from Tennessee, Hurts is currently surrounded by talent, which season gives a defining continue reading his long-range potential.
Washington includes a new name (Commanders) and a fresh quarterback (Carson Wentz, acquired from Indianapolis) but nonetheless figures to play exactly the same make of football it gets the past two seasons (ugly). It starts four first-round picks on the defensive line, but unfortunately the very best of the bunch, DE Chase Young, is returning from the torn ACL in November and may be out until midseason. Needless to say, the largest question mark is Wentz, who was simply an MVP candidate in 2017 with the Eagles but has had franchises give up him in back-to-back years. This may be the last opportunity for the 29-year-old showing he is able to lead a team.
After another disappointing season, the Giants went upstate to get new leadership. They hired Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their new coach and Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen as their new GM. This appears like a transition year for Big Blue. But any hope NY has of succeeding in 2022 rides on whether Daboll can unlock the potential of fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones as he did with Josh Allen in Buffalo, and in addition whether he is able to make better usage of talented but oft-injured running back Saquon Barkley, who has missed 18 games in the last 2 yrs.
SIS PROJECTED STANDINGS
1. Dallas Cowboys: 116
Best Case: Prescott finds another gear late in the growing season, and CeeDee Lamb establishes himself as a superstar at wide receiver in his third year. Dallas makes a set you back the Super Bowl for the very first time because the Troy Aikman era.
Worst Case: The long season proves to be an excessive amount of for a once-dominant-but-now-aging offensive line, which struggles without stalwart left tackle Tyron Smith. A banged-up team limps in to the playoffs as a wild-card entrant following a December swoon. Prescott shrinks in January again, and Mike McCarthy has gone out as coach.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 107
Best Case: The passing game expands behind the Hurts-to-Brown connection, but its the infusion of speed on defensethanks to new edge rusher Haason Reddick and rookie linebacker Nakobe Deanthat launches the Eagles past Dallas for the division crown.
Worst Case: The Eagles obtain answer on Hurts; he remains effective along with his legs but inconsistent along with his arm. The reinforced defense still gets diced up by quality QBs since it did this past year. Philly misses the playoffs and heads in to the offseason searching for a new quarterback.
3. Washington Commanders: 710
Best Case: The defense may be the amount of its impressive parts, with the line wreaking havoc and Young back at full strength. The Commanders are in their finest in the December slop, with Wentz avoiding big mistakes because the team rides a low-scoring winning streak to a wild-card berth.
Worst Case: The defenses back seven doesnt endure its end of the bargain. An offensive line weakened by the losses in free agency of Brandon Scherff and Ereck Flowers leaves Wentz under fire and making the type of bad decisions that wore out his welcome in previous stops.
4. GAMBLING: 611
Best Case: The offense is revived as Daboll emphasizes Joness mixture of pocket presence and athleticism; Barkley tops 1,500 yards as a rusher and receiver; and WR Kenny Golladay plays around his four-year, $72 million contract. Big Blue plays meaningful January football.
Worst Case: A defense doesnt deliver in new defensive coordinator Wink Martindales complex system. Are you aware that offense, its back again to the drawing board: Jones does not remove and the Giantspicking in the very best five againlook for just one more QB into the future.
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