Hungry Cowboys and Eagles heavy favourites among rest of rebuilding NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) in action with the ball. Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars play in the NFL London Games at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday, October 28th photo: Jed Leicester/NFL

It’s been one of the busiest off-season’s in recent memory, following up on an NFL season for the ages. Contenders have been bolstering their rosters while the bottom of the league has committed to their rebuilding process’. 

So who is coming out on top this year in the NFC East? Let’s find out.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys came out on top of an always ruthless NFC East last season, finishing 10-6. Dallas continued their moderate playoff success, beating the Seahawks before falling to the eventual NFC Champ LA Rams. 

Dak Prescott improved after a frustrating sophomore season but remained inconsistent. The Cowboys truly hit their stride last season when they traded for all pro receiver Amari Cooper, filling the deep threat void as well as the position of safety blanket left by future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. 

Speaking of the long-time Cowboys tight end, his time in the booth as a commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football has come to an end so he can rejoin Dallas. Although he may not be the same player he was in his prime, at age 37 Witten should still contribute to a continuing improving Cowboys offence. 

Along with All-Pro running back Ezekial Elliot (who avoided another suspension after a brief incident at a music festival) Ex Packer star Randall Cobb, and the versatile Cooper, Witten, Prescott and the Cowboys are looking to be as consistent on the offensive side of the ball as they are on defence. 

For good measure, they signed Demarcus Lawrence to a long term deal and hired Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator, who’s being spoken very highly of around the league. The Dallas Cowboys appear to be stronger on paper in 2019, but are they the favourites of the NFC East?

Philadelphia Eagles

If there is a team that has anything to say about who is favoured to win the NFC East, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles. The Super Bowl 52 Champs got off to an up and down start last season, even when Carson Wentz came back from his season-ending knee injury. Unfortunately for the 2017 MVP candidate, 2018 wouldn’t be too kind to him or the Eagles in the first half of the season.

Even with a solid stat-line, his season wasn’t enough to keep Philadelphia at the top of the division. After a season-ending back injury, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles was able to come off the bench and help his team, and his starting Quarterback, yet again. 

The Eagles made the playoffs after rattling off win after win down the stretch, beating eventual playoff teams such as the Rams and Texans, and even winning as many playoff games as their rival Cowboys in a stunning victory over the Chicago Bears, eventually falling to the New Orleans Saints in heartbreaking fashion.

So what is next for Philadelphia? Well for starters, they have been active and aggressive this offseason through both Free Agency and the 2019 NFL Draft. After re-signing All-Pro Jason Peters, the Eagles feel they have drafted his future replacement in Washington State’s Andre Dillard. 

They plan on filling the void at running back after trading for Chicago’s Jordan Howard, as well as drafting Miles Sanders from Penn State. The Eagles should only be more explosive from the outside, trading for DeSean Jackson and drafting Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Jackson, who is coming over from Tampa Bay, is playing for Philly for the first time since 2013.

Although re-signing Brandon Graham as well as swiping playmaking Defensive Lineman Malik Jackson are also key to the Eagles success, it cannot be stressed enough that signing Carson Wentz to a long term deal was paramount, and they got it done.

Making it clear that Wentz was the quarterback of the future was a priority, signing him to a four-year deal. Though this does bring the Nick Foles era to an end, an era in which Foles was responsible for five playoff victories and the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

As Foles continues his storied journey as the new franchise quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles will not only be NFC East contenders going into next season but contenders for the entire NFC as well. There might be another Lombardi Trophy in Philadelphia’s future. If so, it will be Carson Wentz’s to win. 

Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins seemed poised for a spot in the playoffs in 2018. At 7 wins and 3 losses and newfound veterans Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson establishing solid offensive success, the defensive-minded squad was ready for a playoff push. 

Welcome to the National Football League, where one week you’re a division favourite, and the next you’re on your third-string QB. 

After both Smith and long-time reliable back up Colt McCoy went down with the same leg injury, Washington was forced to turn to Mark Sanchez. He was exiled to the bench for another journeyman, Josh Johnson. By that point, the season was all but lost.

The offseason has been an intriguing one for Washington. After flirting with the idea of trading up in the Draft for Kyler Murray, they remained patient and drafted Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State. Along with Haskins, they signed All-Pro Safety Landon Collins away from the Giants.

The core of the Redskins has remained intact for the most part, and everything seems to hinge on the health of a veteran squad and how quickly the rookie quarterback can develop. Washington’s defence is top-notch, but the Eagles’ and Cowboys’ roster upgrades might prove to be too much.

The Washington Redskins seem to be closer to competing than they are rebuilding, yet only time will tell how competitive they will be. They look to improve on a 7-9 record from last year.

New York Giants

If you’re a Redskins fan concerned of the direction of your organization, your qualms are understood. However, there may not be a more concerned, frustrated fanbase than the New York Giants.

The bottom dwellers of the NFC East finished 5-11 in 2018 behind a stunning combination of flash and mediocrity. Rookie Pro Bowler Saquan Barkley was the singular bright spot, smashing Giants records all season long.

Saquan and Odell Beckham Jr. were not enough to help the floundering and continuously declining Eli Manning. With two Super Bowl MVPs far back in the rearview, Eli and New York have struggled mightily. Unlike the Redskins, the Giants are seemingly accepting of the rebuild.

After another tumultuous year of football, General Manager Dave Gettleman is turning the page. Some believed the first step would be an immediate transition at the QB position, which was surely achieved when the giants used their 6th overall pick on a Quarterback.

Dwayne Haskins was on the board, but the Giants had their eyes on another prospect. They chose Daniel Jones from Duke University. Although he was not the most sought after QB from general managers or scouts alike, Gettleman and the Giants believe their young core will lead to Jones having a speedy. development

It is still unclear who will start under centre day one. Around the league, the question will undoubtedly be how long is Eli’s leash with the rookie waiting in the shadows?

And that is what surrounds the New York football Giants this season more than anything else, questions. The most pressing question though will define the organization for years to come, that question being did the Giants with the OBJ trade?

Back in March, only seven months following a massive contract extension, the Cleveland Browns traded defensive standout Jabril Peppers, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick for Odell. New York’s cornerstone, superstar receiver was gone. 

This trade is puzzling for several reasons, no more apparent than simply what direction are the Giants taking? Are they rebuilding or trying to win now? If the Giants are trying to rebuild, then why spend a considerable amount of money on a veteran receiver like Golden Tate? 

Why let Landon Collins walk away at only 25 years of age? Adding insult to injury, Collins wound up staying the division after signing with rival Washington. 

Serviceable draft picks with a lot to prove, Gettleman and the New York Giants are banking on the development of first-round picks Dexter Lawrence, Deandre Baker and of course Daniel Jones. Saquan Barkley feels like a can’t miss prospect, but is there enough around him to give the Giants a fighting chance in the NFC East? Difficult to say.

Predictions

Andre Dixon:

Philadelphia Eagles 

NY Giants

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins

 

Paulie Fiorentino:

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants