With the NFL season underway, teams get set to take the field in week one. Although there are 32 teams meaning there are 32 predictions for each team, I’m only going to focus on four teams. The four teams I will discuss each belong in the NFC East. I’m referring to the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants. In this post I will talk about which team has the best chance to win and why the others fall short.
The Philadelphia Eagles, I would be surprised if anyone let alone any Eagles fan expected quarterback Nick Foles to have the year he had. Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for 2,891 yards (according to espn.com). Now as great as these numbers sound, they’re unlikely to happen two years in a row. A couple things benefited Foles last season, the fact that teams had no film on him, having a serious deep ball receiver like DeSean Jackson and finding strengths in Riley Cooper but surprisingly, the offense Chip Kelly ran seemed to fit Nick Foles more than the preseason favorite Michael Vick. Some things I noticed while watching them play is although the offense maintained their fast pace, no huddle flow they definitely ran a different offense when Foles was on the field as opposed to Vick. The offense seemed to fall more into Foles strengths as a pocket passer and using the big tight ends as big targets whereas Vick seemed out of sync and struggled to find a flow in the offense that should of honestly fell right into the quarterback he is regardless of how fragile he is. Regardless, I predict Foles to struggle this year especially when you include the fact that Jackson is no longer on the team and is now a rival. Maclin is back in form this season but there is serious concern on whether or not he can stay healthy.
The defense has to perform better as well this season. Last season the Eagles defense went more with a less complex formation but they still need to add more pressure on the opposing offenses. Their problems were in the secondary when the defensive line and linebackers would constantly blitz. Adding Malcolm Jenkins will help as far as leadership but I still find the offense strong enough to win the NFC East once again.
Although I don’t see Nick Foles having the year he had last year, he still has enough options to get things done and I haven’t even mentioned the back field yet. The Eagles quite possibly the best running back in the game right now in LeSean McCoy and with the addition of Darren Sproles, the run game is guaranteed positive yardage on every run along with every pass in the back field.
Chip Kelly has found a way to revamp this Eagles team and not only win, but make them exciting to watch, he has brought the same style of offense he ran at Oregon which may be a negative. It gives opponents more film to review and even though the talent differs between the two teams (Oregon and Philadelphia) it could bring exposure.
Another team in the NFC East is the Washington Redskins. A team that has brought a lot of hype after Robert Griffin III’s rookie season, but after his knee injury it has begun to die down. RGIII has not looked the same since his rookie season and has really struggled, he has become less and less of a threat on the ground and his pocket passing ability has really been in question. It’s tough to put all fault on one guy when referring to an entire team, but when you name a rookie a captain a lot goes with that and speaks on what the team had in hopes for RGIII.
DeSean Jackson was a good pick up for the team but I don’t think his talent is enough to put the Redskins at the top. The others receivers are not enough of a threat to leave Jackson deep and I see Robert having a tough time finding Jackson in their offense. Alfred Morris remains in the backfield and has been consistent the last two seasons but isn’t the type of running back that can carry the load.
The team made a change in the head coaching position with the addition of Jay Gruden which will be interesting this season since this will be his first season as a head coach in the NFL so there will be a lot of questions on weather or not be can get out of the arena football style of offense.
The Redskins look like a team bound to struggle this season, they will have identity issues with a new head coach and haven’t been much of a defensive threat for a while.
The New York Giants are another team bound to struggle. Eli Manning hasn’t found his grove and with the defense disappearing year after year and becoming less and less of a factor, the Giants need to revamp themselves into the team that won two Super Bowl in a span of four years. They took a chance with getting a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo and so far, it doesn’t seem to be a good move. Eli seems frustrated in what McAdoo is asking and in general, plays aren’t being executed.
The Giants hold a threat regardless of their talent because also seem to get things done when it matters most, but I don’t believe that will happen this season. The two years they won the Super Bowl, they were a sleeper through the whole playoffs but the one thing they had in their favor was a defense and like many analysts say, defense wins championships. The Giants don’t have enough on defense to oppose a threat.
The last team in the NFC East is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are one of the most talked about teams in the NFL and understandably, they have an owner in Jerry Jones that likes to keep his team relevant regardless of their talent or record. They have a quarterback who has the best comeback record but the worst post season record in the NFL.
The Cowboys are arguably the most talented offenses in the division but also the weakest defensively. They have a star in Dez Bryant and a strong running back in DeMarco Murray along with a strong tight end with Jason Witten but always seems to fall apart at the worst times and that is credited to Tony Romo, he is known as the world class choke artist. Looking that their schedule, it’s tough for a team trying to lead the division and I see them getting lucky to finish with another 8-8 season.