It’s the final countdown. The 2020-21 NFL season is now a few days away, and the entirety of the NFC East has taken significant measures to become a viable threat this year.
There has been a different division champion every year since 2004, and now the question is – will that tradition be broken this year? If you ask a Philadelphian, the short answer is “yes,” and I agree. Taking a look further, below are my NFC East predictions.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — BACK TO BACK DIVISION CHAMPS
A strong team starts with a strong leader, and despite a long run of injuries, Wentz has proven to be just that. In 2019, he returned for a full season, and with 13 injured teammates, he pulled off over 4,000 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. His raw talent is downright impressive, and if he produces his MVP abilities this year, the Eagles will be a dangerous team moving forward.
The offensive line is loaded. The Eagles No. 1 receiving option, Zach Ertz, was targeted 135 times last season, and this year should be no different. Desean Jackson has returned, and rookie Jalen Reagor has been a significant upgrade to a once weak position. Unfortunately, Reagor will not make his debut until Week 3 or 4. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson will return, along with Jason Peters representing his newfound position as left tackle.
The Eagles defense is one of the best in the league with big bodies in Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Javon Hargrave. Darius Slay has given power to the cornerback position; however, the downfall here will be finding equal dominance opposite of him.
DALLAS COWBOYS — A VIABLE CONTENDER
Although I hate to admit it, Dallas will bring a tough battle. Their offseason additions have landed them with the best-ranked roster in the NFC East this season; No. 6 overall in the league.
Dak Prescott achieved his personal best last year with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. He will now be paired with talented offensive options, including, incomer CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott.
They also gained a veteran kicker. Greg Zuerlein, also known as “The Leg,” may be the answer to their preceding kicker problems.
Also new to Dem Boys is head coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy joins the team with playoff experience, as well as a Super Bowl win. He inherits a skilled roster; however, will he know what to do with an abundance of talent? Seeing as most fans from his previous team, the Green Bay Packers, wanted him gone in 2018, this seems a bit weary. He also could be rusty as he sat out for the 2019 season.
NEW YORK GIANTS — YOUTHFUL PROMISE
The Giants finished 2019 with just four wins, and their offseason was just as insignificant. Daniel Jones will enter his second year as quarterback and no longer has to play in the shadow of Eli Manning, which could result in a more confident player. He will rely on superstar running back Saquon Barkley, as well as Darius Slayton and Golden Tate.
They also welcomed new head coach, Joe Judge. Judge spent time with Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and will undoubtedly use those experiences to mold his new team.
Unfortunately, New York had to accommodate for some misfortunes this season. Nate Solder opted-out due to COVID-19, and both DeAndre Baker and Aldrick Rosas were lost to arrests. I’d like to think that the Giants will be better off ditching the drama with the two latter situations.
There aren’t high hopes for this coming season; however, they should prove to be valuable contenders in the next couple of years.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM — NEW NAME, FRESH START
Washington was not a threat last season whatsoever. After losing their first five games, they acquired new head coach, Ron Rivera. Rivera was able to feel things out during the remainder of the season, so he knows what he needs to work on this time around. He has Super Bowl experience and had a great working relationship with former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. That relationship, in turn, will hopefully benefit 2nd-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Although Haskins won’t have much help from a robust offense, Washington’s defense is skilled. Newcomer Chase Young has the ability to become a household name. His talent is joined by Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, and Matt Ioannadis.
If worse comes to worst, they’ll at least have a top pick for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Philadelphia, Dallas, and Washington will play Sunday, September 13, and New York will make their 2020-21 appearance during Monday Night Football.