Here’s an early look at the NFC East.
Philadelphia: Can they do it again back-to-back? Not something that has been done very often in this division.
The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles will try to get past three teams that may not look great on paper but any of them could surprise. The last team to win the NFC East in consecutive seasons was actually Philadelphia. They are the odds-on favorite to win the East this year.
We all remember what Nick Foles did in the Super Bowl. He was amazing in relief of Carson Wentz, who most likely would have been the League’s MVP had he not gotten hurt. Wentz will be back and no one knows for sure if Foles will be traded or not. It’s still a long way till opening day and many uniforms will change.
The problem for the rest of the division is the Eagles should be as strong or even stronger this year. Good luck, Dallas, New York and Washington trying to derail them.
Dallas: Are they still America’s team? Not in my book. This is a money burning group that has been fan favorites for so long, they often are overrated. That leaves the door open for sharp bettors to take advantage, especially when laying points at home. I only mention this because when the public gets too hyped up in the Jerry Jones media blitz, the sharps take advantage and the public pays the price. Beware my friends.
The Cowboys look to be solid in many areas. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is not dealing with suspension and QB looks to be solid with Dak Prescott. Gone is wide receiver Dez Bryant and I say, it’s about time. Unfortunately, also gone is Jason Witten, who always was a class act, on and off the field.
I know there are many here in Vegas who believe Dallas is the stronger contender to the Eagles this year but I disagree. Jason Garrett, in my opinion, is a middle of the road head coach, so I can’t get too excited with him at the helm.
NY Giants: There are a lot of questions but most clubs have issues to deal with. Some folks think the G-men will be vastly improved and those question marks loom large.
Let’s start at the QB position. Eli Manning with his two Super Bowl rings certainly has the tools and experience to win the big one but age (37) does come up in conversation. Father time is undefeated you know. By no means am I saying Eli can’t get it done but he will need more help than management has been giving him recently.
Let’s look at what the Giants did to help themselves. They made a big splash in the NFL Draft by taking Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. I think this is a great move. Frankly, I feel those teams that passed over Saquon did themselves a disservice, and because none of the top QB’s in the draft were a guaranteed winner. Also, the addition of OG Will Hernandez will mean a great deal for the OL.
On defense the addition of defensive coordinator James Bettcher, with what he did at Arizona on his resume, should really help. With Eli and Odell Beckham Jr. still in the fold, along with Barkley and what sure looks like an improved offensive line, I think the Giants will be the biggest challenge to the Eagles.
Washington: Enormous difference in QB styles for the Redskins. Switching from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith will certainly give the Skins more consistency at the position. Kirk is a bit more of a gunslinger and Alex is more of a surgeon.
Lots of work needs to be done on defense, since the Skins were 28th in the NFL in points allowed. This stat could be helped quite a bit if the offense improves by not turning the ball over. With Smith at QB that could very well happen.
With an improved running game with Derrius Guice and upgrades on defense, this team could salvage a .500 season. I just think the rest of the division is too tough to expect much better.