We are officially one week away from football season, this weekend will be the last weekend until February without NFL Football. Today is also Day 7 of our Countdown to Kickoff and it is a big one folks. In case you have not heard the College Football season kicks off tonight, so today’s Countdown to Kickoff has been split into two parts. The first part is a continuation of our NFL division previews with the NFC East, while the other part is a preview of the college football season, which will hit the newsstands later today. This blog will follow the usual format of our division previews before I try something new with my college football blog.
The NFC East was among the best divisions in football last year and produced two playoff teams but zero playoff wins. The two teams go into the 2017 season, thinking they can return to the postseason again this year. The other two teams in the division are not bad either, the two teams definitely believe that if everything goes right they will be in playoff contention at the end of the season. After this blog, there is only one division left to preview, so cherish this previews before they are gone.
Finishing fourth in the NFC East will be the Washington Redskins
The Redskins won this division two years ago and had the best quarterback of all teams in the East. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has come into his own and is widely considered as one of the best signal callers in all of football, but he alone cannot guide the Redskins to the promised land. The Redskins had a disappointing season last year, but still went into Week 17 with a chance to make the postseason, but could not do so as Cousins had one of his worst games in the Nation’s capital. The Redskins lost one of their biggest weapons in Desean Jackson to free agency and do not have a healthy tight end in Jordan Reed. The Redskins defense is not capable of bailing out the offense when it struggles, so they will miss the playoffs once again this season. The Redskins are going to be forced to pay a lot of money to Kirk Cousins after the end of the season, so Cousins might just need to have a great season to prove that he is worth the big payday. If Cousins has a great season and can carry the offense in games against the division, than the Redskins might sneak into the playoffs and possibly make some noise once they get there.
Predicted record for the Redskins this season- 5-11
Finishing third in the NFC East will be the Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have one of the best young stars in the NFL on their roster, who has chance to get even better this season. Quarterback Carson Wentz burst onto the scene last season and proved that he belonged in the NFL as a permanent starter for the Eagles. The Eagles made sure to acquire offensive weapons for Wentz in the offseason, and are all in on the Wentz train. I think that Wentz is the best young quarterback right now that has not even come close to reaching his full potential, but still needs a couple of seasons under his belt before he becomes elite. The Eagles will have a decent year this season, but there are two teams in this division that are much better than the Eagles right now. The Eagles’ record might not be the full story on their season, as they could be playing well but still ending up losing games to the Giants and the Cowboys. Wentz and the offense, along with a decent defense will need to play their absolute best to make the playoffs this season and are one injury on the Giants or Cowboys away from getting to the postseason.
Predicted record for the Eagles this season- 6-10
Finishing second in the NFC East will be the New York Giants
The Giants were one of the surprise teams last year that made the playoffs, despite not having a great offense. The Giants did not do much in the off season to fill their biggest hole in the offense, which was their offensive line and are going with the same group that really struggled to protect quarterback Eli Manning last season. The Giants have one trump card that other teams in the division do not have and that is Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is the second best receiver in the NFL and has a chance to turn any play into a touchdown and win the game for the Giants. The one big reason why the Giants will finish in the division is that Beckham might not be able to play in the season opener against the Cowboys due to an injury, without their biggest offensive weapon the Giants have minimal chance of stealing the first game from the Cowboys. The Giants have a great defense that was a major reason for their success last season and it will only get better this season as young stars like defensive backs Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins gain more experience. The Giants had a disappoint playoff game last season and they should be focused on getting back there this season and actually getting the job done this time.
Predicted record for the Giants this season- 11-5
Winning the NFC East will be the Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys were among the best teams in football last season and had a rookie quarterback and running back at the helm. Quarterback Dak Prescott goes into this season as the clear number one signal caller and will not be hearing the whispers of Tony Romo every time he struggles. Prescott will benefit from going through the whole off season as the starter and not having to deal with the constant questions about Romo. Prescott had one of the best seasons as a rookie quarterback and can get only better this season as he gets more season. The Cowboys have great pieces around him with the best offensive line in football, a hall of fame tight end, and one of the best receivers in football. The Cowboys biggest question mark going into the season is what is going to happen with Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot broke all kinds of rookie rushing records last season, but is currently suspended for the first six games for a domestic violence case. Elliot has appealed his suspension, but there have been no inclination as to which way his appeal is going to go. The Cowboys have other running backs on the roster that can get the job done behind the great offensive line while Elliot is suspended. Elliot should be back in the second half of the season and that is when the Cowboys are going to need to him the most as they try to gain home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.
Predicted record for the Dallas Cowboys- 14-2
With that there is only one more division left to preview, the AFC East and that will hit the newsstands on Friday morning. As for the NFC East the Cowboys will once again win the division but the Giants are more than likely to join them in the postseason.
Also be sure to be on the look out for the College Football Preview which should be released around noon today.