Now that we’re back into the swing of things, it’s time to take a look at the NFC in our early NFL Power Rankings based on division — I’ve gone through the AFC, so it’s time to make a flip over nad start with the NFC East. I’m taking into account where the teams ended last season, their off-season moves, draft picks and coaching changes, as well as the competition they are going to be playing. This is always one of the most competitive divisions in football with any of the teams having a chance to win it each year. Each team has a strong quarterback, but there are some factors that could make things extra interesting this year.
Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys have one of the best quarterback stories going as fourth round pick Dak Prescott stepped up last season as a rookie and took his team to the playoffs. The fact that he had another extremely talent rookie in Ezekiel Elliot standing right behind him carrying the rock helped too. In truth, the Cowboys have been nailing it in the draft of late, along with the two mentioned they’ve also pulled Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Byron Jones. But their best moves might have been the ones they didn’t make by not drafting Johnny Manziel or Paxton Lynch. Now the team needs to find a consistent pass rush and hope the overhauled secondary can come together so the defense can pull their own weight. Things will likely be more difficult for Prescott now that the league has a better idea of what he can do, so he’ll need to rely on Elliot even more in their sophomore seasons.
New York Giants – On paper the Giants look good. They have a strong pass rush and a fast secondary that should be able to shut down just about any team. They’ve got some top notch receivers and a veteran quarterback that can hit them in stride. But where things fall apart is the offensive line, which for the last couple of years has been offensive. Their rushing game is anemic at best and they did nothing to address their desperate need at tackle. 3.55 years per rush was one of the worst in the NFL and if your opponent isn’t concerned about your running game, then their pass rushers can pin their ears back and head straight for the quarterback. As good as Eli Manning can be, he doesn’t do well when he’s constantly being pressured. It leads to sacks, interceptions and rushed throws. You can have Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram out there, but if Manning doesn’t have a pocket to throw from their never going to see the ball.
Philadelphia Eagles – The upside for Eagles fans is definitely Carson Wentz. Though his play was inconsistent at times, the young quarterback showed the skill set and poise to be a franchise QB of the future. The down side is on defense where the teams hope at corner lie with second round pick Sidney Jones and third round pick Rasul Douglas. Jones is coming off an ACL tear and they’re not sure when he’ll be ready to go, and the team needs both of them to step up as they just don’t have anyone else on the roster to match up with some of the big receivers in the division. The jury is still out on former NFL quarterback Doug Pederson as the teams new head coach. He should be able to help bring Wentz along, but does he have what it takes to improve both sides of the ball enough to make a playoff run?
Washington Redskins – There is an old term that some might consider offensive, but it’s very appropriate here. It is time for the Redskins to $#!t or get off the pot when it comes to quarterback Kirk Cousins. How much disrespect can you give a guy for him to be on his second franchise tag, and the team is till not sure about him as the quarterback of the future. There’s a team in San Francisco that would’ve taken him in a heart beat, but Washington’s president, Bruce Allen, couldn’t even get the kids name right. He called him Kurt Cousins in an interview. The guy throws for 4,900-plus yards, completes 67 percent of his passes and averages 8.1 yards per attempt. Those numbers aren’t easy to replace. The uncertainty of the situation will negatively effect everyone on the team from the 8 man practice squad to Jay Gruden, the head coach. This needs to be addressed before this team will ever improve.