The Dallas Cowboys look to repeat as NFC East Champions for the first time in over 20 years. In fact, no team in the NFC East has repeated since the Eagles in the early 2000s. The Cowboys’ offense will likely have to overcome the looming suspension of Ezekiel Elliott, putting even more pressure on Dak Prescott in his second season.
The defense said goodbye to four contributors in their secondary, but drafted defensive players on six of their first seven selections in the 2017 draft. They’ll also see what they have in 2016 second-round pick Jaylon Smith, who claims he’s 100% ready going into training camp.
The New York Giants bring back most of their defense in 2017, which was amongst the best in the entire league in 2016. They allowed only 15 passing touchdowns and 284 total points (both second-fewest in league), despite struggling to sack the quarterback.
They went 8-3 in one-score games, including 4-1 in games decided by a field goal or less. The Giants need to improve on offense, and that starts up front. Their offensive line needs to improve, as does their running game. They added Brandon Marshall in free agency and Evan Engram in the draft — their ariel attack should be one of the best in the NFL. It’ll only get better with a formidable running game and better protection for Eli Manning to sit in the pocket.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a team that’s presumably on the rise. They finished 2016 with a 7-9 record despite starting the year 3-0. I think we need to give Carson Wentz a little more credit — it was a learning year for him, and his receivers didn’t give him much, if any, help. That should change with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
The defense played well in 2016 under first-year DC Jim Schwartz, and it should be even better in 2017. Their defensive line is one of the best in the league on paper. Guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry will be joined by FA additions Timmy Jernigan and Chris Long.
The Washington Redskins’ offseason was a mess. They fired their GM Scot McCloughan, and their quarterback took notice. Kirk Cousins’ side didn’t even bother to give an offer to Washington — he’d rather wait it out and explore his options next season. That sounds like Cousins is probably gone after next year, and he’ll play this season under the franchise tag for the second straight year.