The NFC East statistically was the best division in football in 2016 with the teams in the division combining for 39 wins and 24 losses, averaging a stellar 62% win percentage. The Dallas Cowboys won the division by two games over their rival the New York Giants. The Philadelphia Eagles were the only team in the division to finish the season without a winning record. Will the east be dominated by the Cowboys again this year? The simple answer is simply no.
New York Giants (Prediction for 2017 record: 12-4)
The Giants finished the 2016 season with an 11-5 overall record, but finished the season on fire, winning 9 of their last 11 games. The Giants defense found their form in the second half of the 2016 season and handed Dallas two of their three losses on the season.
Look for the Giants defense to be one of the best in the league this season. The Giants only allowed 25 touchdowns to opponents in 2016. That was the best in the NFL, with the Denver Broncos allowing the second least 28 touchdowns.
The Giants offense this season should only improve with the addition of veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall has been a target monster his entire career and should help add a red zone presence to the Giants. Look for Eli Manning to have one of his best seasons as he has the best offensive weapons he has ever had in his career. The running game still needs to be figured out, but Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen should be able to add valuable rushing and receiving yards out of the backfield.
Dallas Cowboys (Prediction for 2017 record: 10-6)
The Dallas Cowboys had a fantastic 2016 season finishing with a 13-3 overall record. The Cowboys three losses came to their divisional foes Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants (twice). As stated earlier, the NFC East was the most competitive division in the NFL.
The Cowboys were led by their two rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. Elliott led the league with 1,631 rushing yards. Elliott is still under league investigation for a possible domestic violence case that could result in multiple-game suspension. With his off-the-field issues looming along with the loss of two offensive linemen, look for Elliott’s number to decline from his stellar rookie season.
The Cowboys did nothing to improve their already poor defense. The defense played better than expected in 2016, but do not look for that to continue as the Cowboys have targets on their back since they were the best team in the NFC (record wise) last year. With multiple player suspensions, and one still looming, look for the Cowboys to be competitive again this year, but not world beaters like they were in 2016.
Washington Redskins (Prediction for 2017 record: 7-9)
For the second year in a row the Washington Redskins have placed a franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins threw for 4,917 yards and 25 passing touchdowns in 2016. Both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson went over the 1,000 receiving yards mark on the season. That will have to change in 2017 since both Garcon and Jackson have moved on to other teams via free agency.
In 2016, the defense ranked 28th overall. The Redskins defense will have to improve if they want any chance at competing with the Giants and Cowboys in the east. Josh Norman will have to step up his game this season as he led the Redskins with only 3 interceptions in 2016.
The Redskins added Terrelle Pryor via free agency who should be a big target for Cousins near the red zone. This should only help Cousins touchdown total rise this season. There still seems to be a big question mark at the running back position. It has been that way in Washington since Gruden took over. Look for Jamison Crowder to have a breakout season for the Redskins. Also look for the Redskins to score a lot of points and to give up a lot of points in 2017.
Philadelphia Eagles (Prediction for 2017 record: 7-9)
The Philadelphia Eagles started the 2016 season with a bang! The Eagles won their first three games of the season before hitting their BYE week and then losing 9 of their final 13 games. Led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles offense sputtered down the stretch of the season. In Wentz’s first three games as a pro, he threw for 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The last 13 games Wentz threw for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Now with a year behind him, Wentz looks to improve upon his rookie campaign. The addition of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery should help a weak receiving corps. If Jeffery can stay healthy, he should be able to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. The leader of receptions for the Eagles in 2016 was tight end Zach Ertz with 816 yards.
The defense is led by defensive guru Jim Schwartz. The defensive coordinator is entering his second season with the Eagles and looks to improve upon a defense that showed glimpses of promise last season. Look for Wentz to improve upon his stats in his second year, but the backfield still seems like a mess according to Fantasy Fumble writer Eric Sanino. Read his article about the Eagles disastrous backfield.
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