The NFC East Division has more questions going into the season than a high school midterm test. Some teams might not know what they have in rookies and second year players. Other teams are wondering what they have because of contract situations and holdouts.
These teams might answer most of these questions during the preseason. There’s a real possibility that there will be even more questions for them by the time week one rolls around.
Record in 2018: 9-7
Key Player: Middle Linebacker- Jaylon Smith
Player to Watch: Defensive End- Taco Charlton
The Cowboys offense is a bit of an unknown right now. With running back Ezekiel Elliot holding out, they can very well be devoid of a big chunk of their offense for the entire season. The offense should still be good with a plethora of running backs (until Elliot returns), supplemented by a great offensive line.
Dak Prescott will now have a few weapons in the receiving game with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and the return of Jason Witten. The addition of Randall Cobb gives them a shifty slot receiver to run gadget plays and reverses.
Dallas was sixth in total defense last season and they seem to be on that same track this year. Lead by a trio of Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker, it might be very tough to find holes in the defense. With Demarcus Lawrence recovering from shoulder surgery, Dallas will hope guys like Taco Charlton and Robert Quinn can replace that production. Prediction: 9-7
New York Giants
Record in 2018: 5-11
Key Player: Left Tackle- Nate Solder
Player to Watch: Safety/kick returner- Jabrill Peppers
Will it be the Eli Manning farewell tour or a swift kick in the rear out the door. With rookie Daniel Jones waiting in the wings, the Giants will look to improve the rest of the offense this season. Saquon Barkley should only be looking over his shoulders at defenders as he passes them by in his sophomore campaign.
Having tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepherd, the Giants have some options in the passing game. It will be up to the offensive line to keep up the improvement trend they started down the stretch last season.
Defensive end Dexter Lawrence and cornerback Deandre Baker, the Giants first two picks, were brought in to improve one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Jabrill Peppers not only provides much needed safety help but also is a much needed boost on special teams. Prediction 7-9
Record in 2018: 9-7
Key Player: Safety- Malcolm Jenkins
Player to Watch: Wide Receiver- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
Carson Wentz will have a ton to prove this season. Signing a new contract extension and no longer having a safety blanket playing behind him, Wentz will have to be healthy and productive to quell any noise.
Good thing for him, he already has a huge arsenal of skill position players and a great offensive line. The return of DeSean Jackson, the addition of running back Jordan Howard and the drafting of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside gives Wentz even more firepower to attack opposing defenses.
The Eagles defensive front seven is one of the best in the NFL, especially against the run. Led by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the Eagles held opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 10 games last season.
The secondary is a work in progress. Philadelphia was near the bottom of the league in pass yards allowed last season. Malcolm Jenkins will be looked upon to organize the young guys in the defensive backfield. Prediction: 10-6
Record in 2018: 7-9
Key Player: Tight End- Jordan Reed
Player to Watch: Linebacker- Montez Sweat
The Redskins might be the only team to ever have a quarterback controversy inside a quarterback controversy. Should they start rookie Dwayne Haskins or start a veteran? If it’s a veteran, should it be Colt McCoy or Case Keenum?
The Redskins have a stable of running backs headed by Adrian Peterson including Chris Thompson and Derrius Guice but their receiving corps have struggled to make plays in recent years. Tight end Jordan Reed might be their best (only) receiving threat and he will have to prove he can stay healthy.
The defense added a much needed boost in safety Landon Collins to sure up the backside of their defense. Rookie Montez Sweat should add a much needed pass rush, while Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is the team’s best overall player. Prediction: 4-12