Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

2018 NFC EAST PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

The NFC East has been arguably the most volatile division in the NFL for quite some time. Seemingly every year we have a worst to first occurrence, which is an amazing contrast to some of the dominance we’ve seen in recent seasons by New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta & Seattle. While every division has been owned to a degree by a particular team (especially the Patriots owning the AFC East!), the NFC East is a stark contrast in that every team seemingly has a chance to win the division.

The 2004 Eagles finished 1st & then last in 2005. The 2006 Eagles finished first and then finished last against in 2007!
The 2011 Redskins finished last in 2011, 1st in 2012, then last in 2013 & 2014 before finishing 1st in 2015!
The Cowboys finished 1st in 2014 and then bottomed out in 2015 before finishing 1st again in 2016!
The Eagles finished last in 2012 before winning the division in 2013.
The Eagles also finished last in 2016 before winning the division and the Super Bowl in 2017!

Since the beginning of the 8-division format in 2002, the only time the NFC East has seen a repeat division winner was from 2002-2004 when the Donovan McNabb/Andy Reid Eagles won the East three consecutive years. Unfortunately for Dallas, New York and Washington, the Eagles look poised to go on another dominant run atop the division. I don’t think there is a chance for the Giants to make a “worst to first” comeback in 2018 as Philadelphia once again easily has the best roster of any team in the division and possibly any team in all of football. The conventional wisdom is that Super Bowl winners sometimes have a let down the season after because they are the hunted rather than the hunter, but I don’t see that happening.

That leaves the rest of the division in limbo. The Cowboys are entering a new phase of their passing offense without Dez Bryant & Jason Witten.  Can Sean Lee stay healthy for an entire season to fortify the defense? What plagues the Cowboys most of all could very well be distractions either on the field or off the field. The Giants are banking on one last hurrah from Eli Manning by getting healthy at receiver & drafting Saquon Barkley. The Redskins made a change at QB going from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith, but they also hopefully improved their running game through the draft with Derrius Guice. Can the defense stay healthy & effective? I like the Redskins the most between them, Dallas and New York, but there are certainly avenues for each team to compete for the Wild Card. While the Eagles are the hands down favorites to win the division, the other 3 teams should be in the Wild Card hunt.

# TEAM NFC EAST
1 Computer Hope I’m not sure there has been a recent team outside of New England more likely to repeat as Super Bowl champions than the Eagles. There wasn’t a weakness to this team last season except possibly the secondary but with Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones 100% this season, Philly looks to make their only weakness a strength. You might believe there could be a Super Bowl hangover for the Eagles, but listening to Jason Kelce’s parade speech or realizing that Carson Wentz did play in the Super Bowl should put that notion to rest. The Eagles might actually be the first Super Bowl champion with a huge chip on their shoulders.
2 Computer Hope Alex Smith has been an underrated QB his entire career and this Redskins team is flying a little too below the radar. Derrius Guice gives the Redskins their first true 3-down back since Clinton Portis left town. He’ll immediately make the offense better. Smith doesn’t turn the ball over so the Skins can look forward to winning the TO battle. Adding Paul Richardson is going to help things at receiver as well. Defensively Ryan Kerrigan is the biggest defensive superstar you’ve never heard of. I think pairing 1st round pick Da’Ron Payne with a healthy Jonathan Allen is going to improve the interior D-line significantly. The Hogs are back!
3 Computer Hope The Cowboys have the feel of a team that needs to be blown up. There is simply too much drama surrounding the team. Whether it’s Dez Bryant being let go, or Ezekiel Elliott missing time, or Jason Garrett being on the hot seat or questions regarding whether or not Dak Prescott can lead the Cowboys to the promised land, are they going to trade for Earl Thomas, there are questions lurking around every corner. It’s impossible to understand where Jerry Jones is going with this team, but whether or not Jerry or Jimmy Johnson deserves credit, Jimmy built 3 Super Bowl teams & Jerry hasn’t. He hasn’t built one either in 2018.
4 Computer Hope The Giants don’t deserve to finish in last, but they play the toughest schedule by far of any other team in the NFC East, and the other teams are far too good to imagine New York going from 3-13 in 2017 to being exceptionally competitive in 2018. The Giants went all in on Saquon Barkley, drafting the Penn St. RB with the #2 overall pick & forgoing an opportunity to grab their QB of the future. New York is hoping that Eli Manning still has some magic with Barkley, an improved O-Line and receivers that are actually healthy this season! The Giants will be MUCH BETTER this year, but so is the division & that makes all the difference.
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August 7, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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