NFC East Q&A: Who will win the division, and how many teams will make the playoffs?

July, 14, 2017

ESPN's NFC East reporters expect a highly competitive fight for the division title, but the Dallas Cowboys appear to be the team to beat.

Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys reporter: It would be wise to say anybody but the Cowboys, considering that there has not been a repeat winner in the NFC East since the 2003-04 Eagles. But I’m not that wise. The Cowboys have the most complete offense in the division, thanks to the best offensive line in the game. They have a defense that will not wow you but will do enough to win games. I just don’t believe the rest of the division has closed the gap enough from 2016 to 2017. It’s closer -- I don’t think the Cowboys go 13-3 again -- but we are closer to seeing the NFC East be what it was back in the day. Last season, the Cowboys and New York Giants made the postseason. I think you will see the same two teams make the postseason in 2017.

Byron Jones, Jeff HeathBruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsWill the Cowboys be celebrating another division title at season's end?

Jordan Raanan, New York Giants reporter: It’s going to be a very competitive division, with all four teams between seven and 10 wins. I’m picking the Giants to win the division because they have the best defense. I’m picking the Cowboys as the wild card because they have the best offense. I’m picking the Eagles and Redskins to miss out because the schedule (playing the NFC West and AFC West) is too difficult to get another team into the playoffs. Regardless, the NFC East might be the league’s best division. It’s one of the few divisions in which all four teams have quality quarterbacks.

Tim McManus, Philadelphia Eagles reporter: The Cowboys remain the team to beat, despite significant turnover on defense. There are some legit questions facing them, such as how they’ll generate a consistent pass rush, if their corners are good enough and whether quarterback Dak Prescott will experience a sophomore slump. But the Cowboys' identity as a dominant, run-based offense remains intact, and that provides endless benefits. So long as they have a top-shelf offensive line paving the way for star back Ezekiel Elliott, they’re going to be tough to stop. The NFC East should be highly competitive and highly entertaining this season (just ask Josh Norman). All four teams have a legit shot to make the postseason. That level of parity makes the division a little tough to predict, but we’ll say two teams -- the Cowboys and the Giants -- end up in the playoffs.

John Keim, Washington Redskins reporter: Two teams will make the postseason. Good luck picking which two, because every team in the division can legitimately contend for a spot. The NFC East has done a good job of retooling since it had only one team finish above .500 in 2015 (Washington). Improved quarterback play overall has helped the turnaround. Washington’s defense should be improved, but how soon will that occur? The Redskins also have questions that must be answered at receiver. If all goes well, the Redskins could be a surprise team, but a lot of teams will enter with that description. The Giants, however, because of their defense, additions to the passing game and the evolution of running back Paul Perkins, will walk away with the title.



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