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2016 NFC East Preview
Who will winn the hard fought NFC East Division Photo courtesy of www.Giants.com

2016 NFC East Preview

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Allen Fields, Bronx, NY

 

 

 

 

 

The NFC East has been a tough division to figure out. Seems like there is a different champion every season so we seem to expect the unexpected. This has become a division of quarterbacks and whichever performs the best, his team will usually win the division. But some returning players from injury and highly touted rookies will have a lot to say about this race. The rivalries are intense and even the fans hate each other. All four teams have quite a history against each other. Expect more of the same this season.

 

 Washington Redskins

Record in 2015: 9-7

Key Player: Running Back- Matt Jones

Player To Watch: Wide Receiver- Josh Doctson

Outlook: QB Kirk Cousins is back armed with a new contract and trying to duplicate the 2015 regular season (4,166 passing yards, 29 TDs and a 69.8 completion rate). All the weapons are in place with an excellent receiving corp of DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed. In order for the offense to reach it’s full potential, the running game must be consistent. That falls on the shoulders of Matt Jones, who must do a better job protecting the ball, now that Alfred Morris and his 751 rushing yards have moved on. But the success of the season will be determined by the defense. Getting corner back Josh Norman will help but 38 team sacks won’t cut it. Pressure must be applied to the opposing QB. Giving up 23.7 points per game (good for 16th in the NFL) just isn’t good enough if they want to be a serious contender. Prediction: 10-6

 

 New York Giants

Record in 2015: 6-10

Key Player: Defensive line

Player To Watch: Wide Receiver- Victor Cruz

Outlook: The offense can score with the best of them, scoring 26.2 points per game (6th in the NFL) in 2015. They just need to avoid the costly turnovers. QB Eli Manning is poised to have an MVP type year, following up on 4,436 passing yards, 35 TDs and 62.6 completion rate. You already know about Odell Beckham Jr. (1,450 receiving yards and 13 TDs to go with many highlight reel catches). All eyes will be on wide receiver (WR) Victor Cruz, who could take the offense to another level if fully recovered from knee surgery. The defense had a major overhaul due to an awful and pathetic year for the defensive unit. Only 23 team sacks, no pressure on the opposing QB left them vulnerable to big plays and late game breakdowns. DE Jason Pierre-Paul has to regain his past form and lead the revamp front seven. They lost too many games in the 4th quarter because they could not protect a lead (six to be exact). On paper, they should be better but that’s why they play the game. Prediction: 9-7

 

 Philadelphia Eagles

Record in 2015: 7-9

Key Player: RB Ryan Matthews

Player To Watch: DE Vinny Curry

Outlook: Now that they have purged the team of all former coach Chip Kelly’s players, they can start over. Overall #2 pick, QB Carson Wentz, was a bold move especially since the Eagles gave up a ton to get him. Projected starting QB Sam Bradford survived and needs to be much better if they want to be competitive (3,725 passing yards, only 19 TDs against 14 INTs). Outside of WR Jordan Matthews (997 receiving yards and 8 TDs) and tight end (TE) Zach Ertz (853 receiving yards), there are not any receivers that can stretch the field. It’s now Ryan Matthews’ job to carry the load after losing running back DeMarco Murray (702 rushing yards) through a trade to the Tennessee Titans. On defense, DE Fletcher Cox is a stud (9.5 sacks isn’t bad for constantly getting double teamed ) and DE Vinny Curry looks like a player but after that, it’s not that much to get excited about though. They will have a hard time stopping opposing teams (26.9 points per game-5th highest in the league last season) and one of three teams to give up over 400 yards per game on defense. Prediction: 5-11

 

 Dallas Cowboys

Record in 2015: 4-12

Key Player: Quarterback- Dak Prescott/Running Back- Ezekiel Elliott

Player To Watch: Linebacker- Sean Lee

Outlook: QB Tony Romo is hurt again (projected to be out 6-10 weeks). Terrible news for Cowboy fans. Now they have to rely on rookie QB Dak Prescott to be consistent enough to not lose games. He does have outstanding WR Dez Bryant (back from injury), WR Terrance Williams (840 receiving yards) and veteran TE Jason Witten (713 receiving yards) to throw the ball to. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was picked 4th overall and big things are expected from him and Alfred Morris should help carry the load. The numbers for the defense were not bad last season, 23.4 points per game-15th best in the league and 347.9 yards per game-16th best in the league. With that said, the defense is in bad shape this upcoming season. The suspensions to DE Randy Gregory, LB Rolando McClain and DE DeMarcus Lawrence really hurt. Linebacker Sean Lee (128 tackles) is the only constant on defense and will have to lead this unit. Other players like CB Brandon Carr and FS Barry Church will need to have monster seasons to even give them a chance. Prediction: 4-12

 

 

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