The “Sports Page 1 Elite” Staff Writer’s NFL Preview: NFC East 

The first week of the 2016 NFL preseason has kicked off. On our road of division-by-division reviews and predictions, we’re stopping at the wildly unpredictable NFC East division. Where will each team stand by the end of December? 

Washington Football Franchise

Richard Wehrle prediction 10-6, division champs

I never thought I would write this but the Redskins seem like the most stable team in the NFC East this season. Kirk Cousins took control of the offense during the offseason for the first time as a starter. Stability at the quarterback position will help the Redskins take a step forward this year. Their defense was upgraded this offseason with the addition of Josh Norman and players like S’ua Cravens. If they are to make some noise this year they need to focus on running the ball and stopping the run. I am not sure if this will be evident the first few games of the season but I believe they will ultimately figure them out. The Redskins finish at 10-6 this year making the playoffs for the second year in a row. Richard Wehrle

Scott Browns prediction 10-6, division Champs

​The Washington Redskins were 9-7 last season and won the division. In the off season they improved their secondary by picking up Josh Norman (Panthers) when he became available. The run game had issues last year, some due to offensive line injuries, some due to second year and probable starter Matt Jones dropping the ball. And their wide reciever corps is one of the best in the league if DeSean Jackson can stay healthy. They will be tough this season, winning the division with a 10-6 record. Scott Brown

J.Russell Zinn’s prediction 10-6, division champ. 

I have faith in captain Kirk. Right now he is the best and healthiest QB in the division. The D is solid and Jay gruden is proving to be a pretty damn good coach. J.Russell Zinn

Kip ambrose prediction 10-6, division champs.

Finally having a reliable quarterback under center should do huge things for this franchise. The receiving corps becomes loaded after drafting Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft. By far the biggest get for them this offseason was Josh Norman, arguably one of the top 5 corners in football. I do worry that he might get exposed a lot more than usual this season, as the Redskins pass rush is decent at best, which will give the quarterback a lot more time to throw. Norman, or any corner for that matter, can only hold out in coverage for so long. Ryan Kerrigan has been a fringe-elite pass rusher thus far in his career, and he’ll need to step up to the next level if the Redskins pass rush actually wants to pose a threat. The schedule that they face is decent, with games against the Bengals, Packers, Steelers, and Cardinals showing up, but I expect the to end with a winning record. Kip Ambrose


Antwon Smiths prediction 9-7 2nd in the division 

Kirk Cousins can finally move on as the teams starting QB without having to deal with any kind of controversy. Washington spent their 1st round pick on WR Josh Doctson to give Cousins another target to stretch the field with Jackson, Garçon and Reed, which could make them one of the scariest units in the NFC. The Skins’ have a young defense and that could be the question mark of how their season will play out, but Preston Smith could be a bright spot that may be something to build around. Antwon Smith

Micheal Eccleston prediction 10-6 division Champs.

Washington is the most complete team in the NFC East. The offense is led by a much improved Kirk Cousins at quarterback, and with weapons such as Matt Jones, Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, the potential is there for a big year. The defense wasn’t very good last season, but the addition of top cornerback Josh Norman will help sure up the secondary. They will still struggle putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but as long as Cousins plays well, which might be the biggest “if” going into this season, the Redskins will finish atop the division. Micheal Ecceleston

Brian Jones prediction. 7-9, 3rd in the division.

Kirk Cousins still hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record and is facing questions on whether or not he is a long-term solution. The defense, additions withstanding, can’t do it all and will have to carry the team this season. Their running game and defensive line have questions and their schedule does them no favors. Look for last season’s division winners take a step back this season. Brian Jones.

Micheal Hesters prediction 5-11, last in division.

Why such low expectations for the Redskins. They will have another offensively explosive year but the fact that they didn’t beat a single team above the .500 mark in 2015 speaks volumes. Kirk Cousins’ mediocrity will shine. Defense has holes in the secondary, even with the addition of Josh Norman. And it gets even gloomier when you realize they’ll be facing several explosive offenses in 2016. (Bengals, Steelers, Giants, Panthers, Cowboys to name a few) Micheal Hester


New York Giants

Scott Browns prediction 7-9, 3rd in division.

The New York Giants finished last season 6-10, ushering in the end of the Tom Coughlin era for the team. The fact that they got rid of Coughlin and kept most of his staff indicates that in the front office’s mind he was the problem. We will see. They made huge improvements to their pass rushing, run stopping and secondary on defense but their offensive line is atrocious. The Giants will do better than last year, but still miss the playoffs. Scott Brown 

Micheal Eccleston prediction 9-7, second in the division.

The Giants are definitely the most improved team in the NFC East. Last season, New York had a historically bad defense, and they were still right in nearly every game until the very end. This past offseason, they signed three of the best free agents out there in defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Strong safety Landon Collins looks to improve in his second full season in the league. Rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard joins a receiving core led by star Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz who is trying to come back after missing most of the past two seasons. Quarterback Eli Manning is coming off two of his best statistical seasons behind center. This team has potential. Michael Ecceleston

J.Russell Zinn’s prediction 9-7, second in division.

The G-men. They have the most exciting player in the game the must see ODB jr. Eli is a gamer who may have his career year this year. Problem is who’s running the ball? Will the retooled d gel? Can it stay healthy? How will they react now that they are out of the highly controlling Tom Coughlin watch. Will they implode with freedom or blossom without the pressure?  J.Russell Zinn

Richard Wehrle predicts 6-10, third in the division 

The Giants had a rough season last year. They upgraded their defense significantly spending a ton of money in free agency. I like the addition of Eli Apple through the draft, he could be a stud for many years to come. The Giants have a first year head coach in Ben McAdoo and when he and Eli Manning are on the same page their offense can be scary. McAdoo is still a first year coach though and I expect more of the same this season. The Giants finish with a 6-10 record this season. 

Micheal Hesters prediction 10-6 2nd in the division.

The New York Giants will be a toss-up team. They have an offense that can light it up, Eli should be locked in to McAdoo’s West Coast offense and they have revamped their offense. All of those reasons I just mentioned though, could also be New York’s downfall in 2016. Odell Beckham and Eli Manning could be the next, hottest QB/WR combo in the NFL. But can the Giants improve their running game woes and get some consistency in the trenches. (Offensive line/defensive line) Eli Manning has broken away from his 2013 self, which saw him lead the league in interceptions. With a good run game and some consistent play from his line, the Giants offense can be a lethal, volume scoring machine. With the additions of Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison on the defensive line to aid the pass rush and run support, this Giants team could find itself as division champs if all the cards align properly. Micheal Hester

Brian Jones Prediction 8-8, 2nd in division 

Although almost $200 million was spent on defense last season it’s going to be the offense that will hold the G-Men back in 2016. They don’t have much of a running game, Eli has a propensity to throw picks by the bunches and Odell Beckham, Jr. can’t do it on his own. The Giants won’t have the firepower to keep up this season. Brian Jones

Kip Ambrose’s prediction 9-7, 2nd in division.

The Giants are definitely the most improved team in the NFC East. Last season, New York had a historically bad defense, and they were still right in nearly every game until the very end. This past offseason, they signed three of the best free agents out there in defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Strong safety Landon Collins looks to improve in his second full season in the league. Rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard joins a receiving core led by star Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz who is trying to come back after missing most of the past two seasons. Quarterback Eli Manning is coming off two of his best statistical seasons behind center. This team has potential. Kip Ambrose

Antwon Smith predicts 10-6. Division champs

The G-Men are looking to regain control in the East as they have revamped their defense and put in some key pieces on offense as well. Eli Manning is coming towards the end with the Giants so it’s win now or bust, so with new coach Be McAdoo it’s all about winning. The Giants are healthy for the first time in a long time and that could spell trouble for the rest of the divisSmithon. Olivier Vernon, Jenoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison bring much needed fire power along with rookies Eli Apple and Darian Thompson, they should be heavily revamped and ready to go. Sterling Shepard could step in right away and fill the shoes of Victor Cruz who is yet to show traces of his former self. Antwon Smith


Philadelphia Eagles 


Micheal Eccleston prediction 6-10 last in the division 

They most likely have the most talented defense in the NFC East, but there are too many holes here. Offensively, their wide receivers are below average at best. Jordan Matthews has proven to be a solid number 2 option, and he needs to be a number 1, which is a problem in itself. Nelson Agholor will need to step up big time, and Reuben Randle is not much of an upgrade. Ryan Mathews hasn’t proven himself to be a reliable starting runningback in this league. Then at quarterback, well, let’s just say number 2 pick in this year’s draft, Carson Wentz, will be behind center by Week 8. If you add the fact that the offensive line is going to struggle protecting the quarterback, this just isn’t a formula for success. 2016 is a transition year in Philadelphia. Michael Eccleston

Richard Werhle prediction 4-12,

 

last place

The Eagles enter the season with a first year head coach Doug Pederson after Chip Kelly completely destroyed their team over the past couple of seasons. Under the watch of Kelly many good football players were released in order to fit his “system.” I think that the Eagles will suffer from that for a few more years to come. Carson Wentz starts 8 games for the Eagles this year and they finish 4-12 at the bottom of the NFC East. 4-12 Richard Werhle

J.Russell Zinn’s prediction 5-11, 3rd in division.

I don’t understand Philly. You think you need a new voice so you can Reid. You decide you want to think out of the box. You hire chip Kelly. You see how he’s alienating his players, but you double down and let him rebuild the team as frankenteam.” The moment you let him do that you had to commit to letting him finish the experiment. You knew he was losing the team, why did you let him do it then?  You had to either stop him before he started making frankenteam or commit to letting him finish. Now this abomination of a team will take some time to rebuild. I like Doug Pederson and think he will be a great coach. I don’t think he will be the coach of Philly anymore when they finally are ready to be good again. J.Russell Zinn

Antwon Smiths prediction 6-10, 3rd in division

Philly is on the road to redemption with new coach and former Eagles QB Doug Pederson at the helm. They have a controversial QB decision to make with veteran Sam Bradford and incoming Rookie sensation Carson Wentz moving forward. Fletcher Cox leads a good defensive line unit that will need help from the rest of their youth at linebackerand in the secondary as they may struggle on D for at least one more season. If the Eagles can get steady play on defense and make plays to put up points, they could sway my prediction. Antwon Smith

Scott Brown’s prediction 9-7, second in division. Wildcard playoff.

The Philadelphia Eagles ended last season at 7-9. The Chip Kelly era ended and the team unloaded some of his failed acquisitions changinging the whole flavor of the draft in the process. They also strengthened their secondary with Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, who are both familiar with the defensive schemes of Jim Schwartz from their time in Buffalo together. Schwartz is the best pick up the team made this year and the defense is going to be a beast. I’m not sure that will compensate for the lack of talent and depth on the offensive line. The Eagles will improve to 9-7 and possibly sneak into the playoffs with a wild card spot. Scott Brown


Dallas Cowboys 

Micheal Hesters prediction 11-5, division champs 

The Cowboys’ formula is 2014 was simple and successful. Getting back to that formula will be easy and can make them successful again. Throw out the hype, all of it. Let’s talk real football: the Cowboys have possibly the best offensive line in the NFL. Five maulers upfront combined with the power/elusive blend of first rounder, Ezekiel Elliott and the bell-cow running of former Redskin, Alfred Morris, can make Dallas’ offense one that’s almost impossible to stop. More importantly, it should keep their deadly-when-healthy quarterback, Tony Romo, upright and give him the pleasure of not having to sling the ball as much yet again. Add in a now healthy Dez Bryant, who’s only two years removed from leading the league in touchdown receptions, along with the ageless Jason Witten and upcoming weapons like Wes Welker-ish Cole Beasley, and the Cowboys offense can be a vicious one. Like their NFC East counterparts, their questions are on the defensive side of the ball. But unlike their NFC East counterparts, they have an offense that  can literally control the game clock and keep Rod Marinelli’s ever-hustling defense off the field and with fresh legs. Micheal Hester

Kip Ambrose prediction 8-8, 3rd in division

Talk about a roller coaster ride. This Cowboys offense has the potential to be the best in all of football if they can stay healthy. Both quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant are coming off injury-plagued seasons. Kip Ambrose 

Antwon Smiths prediction 4-12, last in division

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys may have one of the toughest roads in the teams storied history and under Mr. Jones. Tony Romo has been held back by injuries the last couple of seasons and may be making his last run in the Big D, but he isn’t the only big name player looking to get his swag back as Dez Bryant tries to put last season behind him also and to do that they must work as a unit to get the boys out of this hole. Garrett has even more problems on defense as he has to deal with suspensions and a slew of new faces to piece together a defensive unit that lacks experience which could make it hard for them to gel as a unit. I don’t see them making much noise but the rivalries in the division could help them out if they are to stay afloat.

Brian Jones prediction 10-6,  division champs
.

This prediction, obviously, is predicated on Tony Romo’s health. I’m not as concerned with the defense as most people are, I think they’ll be just fine. If Romo stays healthy they win this division easily. If he’s not healthy, they can look forward to another top 5 pick. Brian Jones

Micheal Ecceleston predicts 8-8, 3rd in division.

Talk about a roller coaster ride. This Cowboys offense has the potential to be the best in all of football if they can stay healthy. Quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant are coming off injury-plagued seasons and even though I expect them to perform well, the Cowboys’ defense is suspect at best. Rookie runningback Ezekiel Elliot is also dealing with a hamstring injury which is definitely worth monitoring throughout the season. Dallas has a wall of an offensive line that should be able to keep Romo upright. The offense can be great, but the defense is far from great. Michael Ecceleston 

Scott Brown prediction 3-13, last in division.

The Dallas Cowboys were 4-12 last year. Nothing is going to change. Tony Romo will get hurt. They have no pass rush. Their secondary is questionable. I like their first round draft pick, Ezekiel Elliott, but so what?
 

Richard Wehrle predicts 7-9, 2nd in the division.

The Cowboys finished 4-12 last season which was last in the NFC East. The Cowboys have had a lot of ups and downs this offseason. They start the season with three defensive starters on the side line due to off the field issues. They should have a solid one-two punch with Elliot and Morris in the backfield. It all comes down to whether or not Romo can stay healthy this season. I think he starts no more than 6 games and the Cowboys finish 7-9. Richard Wehrle

J.Russell Zinn’s prediction 3-13. Last in division.

It’s possible they could be better then this. They have the top o-line in football. They have (when healthy) a top 10 QB, a hof te, and a top 6 wr. That shouldn’t be this bad. Except they have no pass rush, no defensive secondary. Tony Romo’s bones have been replaced with peanut brittle. Dez is always just a video on a phone away from jail. I can’t guarantee that Ezekiel Elliot will be the biggest bust in the draft….but I saw him and Melvin Gordon III on the same field in college and Ezekiel isn’t half the back mg3 is. The same mg3 who averaged 2.7 yards per carry last year. This will be the year that Ole Jerra changes coaches again. If by pattern of the last few it will be after their blow out loss to Green Bay. J.Russell Zinn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s