NFL

Football Insiders’ NFC East Predictions

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The staff at Football Insiders weighed in on who would win the NFC East.  Without any further ado, here are the results:

Devon Jeffreys-

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

The NFC East crown hasn’t gone to the same team in back-to-back years in more than a decade, but the Cowboys will change that this year. It might take a little while for Dallas to find their stride, but their schedule down the stretch is as soft as it’s been quite some time and they’ll come from behind to win a tight race….I’m not confident running back Joseph Randle can handle what he’s about to be asked to do, but with a better defense and a dynamic passing offense, the Cowboys are still the class of this bunch….The Eagles are the league’s biggest boom or bust bet. The backend of the defense should be much improved, making this defense a force to be reckoned with, but I’ll lean toward bust until they prove otherwise because of how much potential there is for disaster within the offense Chip Kelly has assembled….For most of the offseason, the Giants were my sleeper pick, and a month ago I might have elevated them above Philly, but an already thin defense has been decimated by injuries this summer and their offensive line isn’t good enough to follow the Dallas model….Washington’s improved defense might keep them in games, but their quarterback situation inspires little confidence and it’ll take at least a year for Bill Callahan to get the offensive line and running game clicking on all cylinders, so they’re doomed to the basement again in 2015.

I believe the NFC East will be more competitive than last year from top to bottom.  The Eagles have a lot of question marks, but they had a lot last year and still won 10 games.  Sam Bradford is an upgrade over anything they’ve had in the Chip Kelly era, and even if (when) he gets hurt, they still have Sanchez, who led them to the league’s third-ranked offense last year….The Cowboys will take a small step back this year, based on losing DeMarco Murray and facing a first-place schedule….The Giants have Victor Cruz to pair with the great Odell Beckham, but not much else….The Redskins should be a little better and they made some nice improvements on defense, but similar to the Raiders in the AFC West, I don’t see how an improved Redskins team is better than anyone else in the division.

John Owning-

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys used a late-season surge to win this division last year and they should be even better this year. With the addition of players like Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and Byron Jones, plus the return of Sean Lee, the defense should be much better and the Cowboys should be more well rounded as a team. The Philadelphia Eagles should be a threat, but their offensive line took a big hit this year and that should temper their expectations a bit. The New York Giants are a sleeper team and you can never count out Eli Mannings; however, they are too weak on the offensive line and at linebacker to overtake the Eagles or Cowboys. The Redskins are on the right path, but their offensive line and quarterback are too big of question marks for them to be a real threat.

Charlie Bernstein-

1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

I believe the NFC East will be more competitive than last year from top to bottom.  The Eagles have a lot of question marks, but they had a lot last year and still won 10 games.  Sam Bradford is an upgrade over anything they’ve had in the Chip Kelly era, and even if (when) he gets hurt, they still have Mark Sanchez, who led them to the league’s third-ranked offense last year….The Cowboys will take a small step back this year, based on losing DeMarco Murray and facing a first-place schedule….The Giants have Victor Cruz to pair with the great Odell Beckham, but not much else….The Redskins should be a little better and they made some nice improvements on defense, but similar to the Raiders in the AFC West, I don’t see how an improved Redskins team is better than anyone else in the division.  

Mark Gunnels-

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New York Giants
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Washington Redskins

The rest of the field has closed the gap with the Cowboys, however, Dallas hasn’t lost much besides DeMarco Murray and considering how dominant their offensive line is, they should be able to still be productive on the ground, which makes life easier for Tony Romo. New York will compete with Victor Cruz back alongside OBJ, but the uncertainty of JPP hurts and Philly is still a big mystery after all their turnover. Oh yeah, the Redskins will continue to be the Redskins until they find a franchise quarterback.

Michael Lombardo-

1. New York Giants
2. Washington Redskins
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Philadelphia Eagles

This division is about to be flipped on its head. The Eli Manning-Tom Coughlin combination is one of the elite pairings in the game. Manning could be especially dangerous if he enters the season without a contract extension in place … I could see him betting on himself and winning, just as Joe Flacco did in 2012. The Redskins will be more stable in the second year of the Jay Gruden era. I love Alfred Morris and am a big fan of their defensive upgrades (Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Chris Culliver), but question marks at quarterback and the loss of Niles Paul are troubling. The Cowboys will slide back to mediocrity because of the loss of DeMarco Murray and the addition of a bunch of scumbags. In Philadelphia, Chip Kelly will learn that talent is more important than fit in the NFL.

Bo Marchionte-

1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last season on three things that weren’t expected. Two years ago (2013) the Cowboys defense finished dead last in yards allowed (415.3) the only team above the 400-yard mark. Last year unexpectedly the defense finished 19th overall in total defense. Considering the losses they endured through injuries, it was a remarkable job by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to improve the play of the defense while missing some key contributors. Offensively, the Cowboys changed their philosophy and utilized the DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing yards (1,845) and finished second as a team in the same category. The third thing and this may be the most important is the Cowboys did not have lofty expectations being held by many outside their own locker room. The case seems to be that the more pressure on this team the less desirable they perform. Will the defense take a step back? Will not having DeMarco Murray who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles haunt them? Will the typical Cowboys teams we’ve seen in the past surface when good things are expected? A couple of those questions will be answered not in the favor of the Cowboys allowing the Eagles to sneak into the postseason for the second time in three-years under Head Coach Chip Kelly.

Pat Donovan-

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New York Giants
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Washington Redskins

If you believe in things like, “the New York Giants win the Super Bowl every four years with Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning,” it’s pretty clear who you should pick to win the NFC East, but if you follow logical thinking, the Dallas Cowboys should likely repeat. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the division (if not in the NFL), and if Greg Hardy and second-round draft pick Randy Gregory work out, they may just have the best defensive line in the division. If the Giants can get some decent play out of their offensive line, and they can find a couple warm bodies who can be adequate at safety, they could be dangerous with all of the offensive weapons around Eli Manning.  Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles are betting on far too many injury-prone players to believe in that football team over the course of a season, and the Washington Redskins already looked primed for another Robert Griffin, III implosion.

Jeff Carlson-

1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

Chip Kelly’s offense still puts the most pressure on an opposing team’s defense and should take a step up with Sam Bradford at QB, and even if Mark Sanchez has to come to the rescue again.  Tony Romo may still have the ability to lift his team to the division championship with the help of Dez Bryant, but an injury is probably scheduled for him by mid season that will derail it.  Although Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings, I’m not a buyer and don’t think he will lead them back to the top again.  Neither RGIII nor Kirk Cousins will take Jay Gruden’s club near the top.

AFC East Predictions

AFC North Predictions

AFC South Predictions

AFC West Predictions

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.