The NFC East, made up of the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, is one of the most competitive divisions in all of football. It seems that each year, the division champ is still being figured out late into the last weeks of the season, if not the last game. Last year, The Dallas Cowboys won the division (for the 22nd time) and posted a 12-4 record after going 8-8 the previous three seasons. Who will win it this year? There has not been a team to repeat as Champion since the Eagles won it four times in a row from 2001 to 2004. Can the Cowboys pull it off? Will the Chip Kelly experiment prove to be a success? Can RGIII and Jay Gruden right the ship that is Washington? Can Eli Manning lead the Giants to a division crown and regain his playoff magic? These are all important questions.
The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray, the 2014 NFL leading rusher. Replacing him, or at least getting his production is the number one question mark for this team. They have players who have showcased their talent, but can they provide the punch and demand the respect from opposing defenses as DeMarco did? Joseph Randle averaged 6.7 yards a carry as a back up, but can the Cowboys trust him? Darren McFadden was brought in, but can he stay healthy? His explosiveness and running ability can prove effective behind their offensive line. McFadden played 16 games for the first time in his career last year. While the Cowboys lost two-thirds of their starting linebackers, they look to have Sean Lee back. They are still not sure how many games Greg Hardy will play for, but their pass rush should be improved. The biggest opportunity for them on Defense is in the Secondary. Can Barry Church and JJ Wilcox improve and who will step up at Corner to help Scandrick out? Last year had question marks as well, but the Cowboys found answers. If they can do the same this year, the Division just might be theirs.
Every four years or so, the Giants get on a roll and steam roll into the playoffs and the Super bowl. Can’t count them out. They always have a chance. Odell Beckham Jr had his coming out party and he doesn’t look like he wants to slow down. To maximize on this talent, the Giants need to keep Eli Manning standing strong in the pocket and improve their running game. Defensively, I believe that their LB play needs to get stronger. If these things can happen, the Giants will have their say in who takes this division.
The Eagles on paper have not gotten better, yet. Yes. Kiko Alonso might be a stud, but they lost playmakers on both sides of the ball. Murray will do a good job up there if they don’t get too cute. Similar to him here, he has to be featured. Don’t see that happening. Sproles is electric. In the backfield and in the slot. Sproles is one of the finest weapons in the league. Throw in Matthews who is making a lot of money to be the third running back, and touches could be limited. Bradford isn’t an upgrade. But can Chip work his magic with him? And health is a major concern for almost every FA they picked up. Their chances at winning increases the longer they stay on the field.
The fate of the Redskins lie at the feet of RG3. Can he stay healthy? Can he improve his recognition and feel for the pocket? They have their uncertainties on both sides of ball, but give Jay Gruden time to sort it out. Their Corners should be better with another year under their belt. Their biggest concern is finding pass rush from someone else besides Kerrigan. He can’t be the only force. Jason Hatcher was injured last year, but if he can regain his 2013 form, their Defense could see a tremendous improvement.