Who will win the NFC East in 2016?

The NFC East stunk in 2016. Three of the four teams had losing record. The Washington Redskins fell into the top spot and clinched the division late in the year. Significant improvements were made to all four teams in this division. Expected to be better in 2016, who will rise to the occasion and actually claim the east?

The New York Giants are in position to win the NFC East in 2016.

The New York Giants suffered from an unfortunate season in 2015. Several fourth quarter collapses and underwhelming performances against inferior competition told the story. The Giants finished with a 6-10 record. It could have easily been the other way around.

New York made significant improvements in the off-season. The talent is there for the Giants to take the next step and become NFC East champions.

The offense played well in 2015. Quarterback Eli Manning performed at a top-tier level for a second consecutive season. Manning threw for over 4,400 yards and 35 touchdowns. He still has the accuracy and wherewithal to continue playing at this elite level.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the NFL’s best. Beckham Jr. delivered another spectacular season in 2015. He is clearly Eli’s favorite target in the passing game. The returning receiver Victor Cruz will be an x-factor. This duo can do damage.

The running game did not perform well in 2015. Running back Rashad Jennings led the team with over 850 rushing yards. New York needs more out of Jennings this season. The offense needs to be more balanced. If they get more out of Jennings, the Giants could have an elite offense. Tight end is also a concern. Not a lot of production comes from this position.

The defense stunk in 2015. New York ranked in the bottom five in points allowed, passing yards allowed and sacks. The Giants spent over $200 million to improve this side of the ball in the off-season. The NFL Draft also played an important role in the rebuilding of the defense.

This unit looks more formidable heading into the 2016 season. Expect significant improvements from “Big Blue.”

With a new head coach and system in place, things shape up well for the New York Giants in 2016. This looks like a team good enough to win the NFC East. Win-loss prediction: 10-6

The Washington Redskins will make it interesting, but it will be too little too late.

The Washington Redskins surprised the nation with a late season NFC East championship surge in 2015. “YOU LIKE THAT” became the rally cry for a fan base and organization that struggled with optimism through the first three quarters of the season.

The offense performed at a top-tier level. The Redskins ranked 10th in the league in scoring last season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end Jordan Reed rejuvenated the passing attack and led Washington on their division clinching run. The running game did suffer from inconsistency, however.

The defense struggled early. They improved by the end f the season, ranking 17th in the league in points allowed. Washington’s defensive unit played well enough to hold onto late leads.

Redskins fans enjoyed 2015. 2016 is going to be a tougher year.

The offense will garner most of the attention this season. Cousins, Reed and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon will make for an effective passing game. Running back Matt Jones will take over the reigns as the featured back for a struggling rushing attack. The release of Alfred Morris will put more pressure on Jones to become the player Morris began his career as. Washington’s offensive line is solid. They will continue to improve in run blocking this season. Pass protection is good.

Changes were made to the defense in the off-season. The Redskins signed cornerback Josh Norman. Norman’s addition will provide a much needed swagger to the secondary. Pass coverage will likely improve, also. Stopping the run could potentially be a problem in 2016. This was a sore spot in 2015. The pass rush played decently last year. 38 total sacks is decent, but this number needs to increase in 2016.

The defense has talent. Holes still exist. Washington’s unit will be average to slightly above average this season.

The Redskins will be interesting to watch. This team will hang around the division race. They will ultimately be relegated to fighting for one of the two wild card spots. Win-loss record: 8-8

The Dallas Cowboys are in a world of trouble without Tony Romo.

2015 proved to be a disaster season for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys’ high expectations quickly disappeared due to bad injuries and inconsistent play. Dallas won their first two games. They lost 12 of their final 14.

2016 is not starting off well for Cowboy nation. Quarterback Tony Romo suffered a severe back injury in a preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Romo is likely out for half of the upcoming campaign. Quarterback controversy is going to plague the Cowboys in 2016.

The running game, on the other hand, is going to be the strength of the Dallas offense this season. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot is coming into his first season with high expectations. Having Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden as backups only sweeten the deal. The Cowboys’ running game could be the best in the NFL. A main reason for that, other than the talented running backs, is because of the dominant offensive line.

The passing game will take a step back without Romo under center. Quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Dak Prescott will fight for the starting gig. Wide receivers Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Terrence Williams will make life easier. Hall of fame tight end Jason Witten adds more firepower to an already solid receiving core.

Things will still be tough with these two quarterbacks at the helm. Sanchez already has a reputation for being “the ultimate accident waiting to happen.” Prescott is an unproven rookie. It will be interesting to see who gets the job and how they do.

The defense is troublesome. A ridiculous amount of suspensions on this side of the ball is going to make life easier for opposing quarterbacks. The depleted front seven will not have defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and linebacker Rolando McClain.

The secondary’s slight improvements are noticeable. The lack of a pass rush, because of these suspensions, means trouble for a still mediocre back four. Dallas ranked 17th in the NFL in points allowed in 2015. It could improve, but probably won’t, in 2016.

A season defined with high expectations might turn into another implosion for the Dallas Cowboys. Too much is working against the Cowboys. They will likely finish under .500 again. Win-loss prediction: 7-9

The Philadelphia Eagles are still getting the “Chip Kelly smell” out of the room.

The 7-9 record does not indicate how bad the Philadelphia Eagles were in 2015. Head coach Chip Kelly lost control of the locker room. The fan base quickly turned on him. Players phoned it in by Thanksgiving. It was an absolute mess.

The Eagles were projected to win the NFC East in 2015. That clearly did not happen. Kelly was shown the door. Several players followed suit. 2016 is going to be a rebuilding year with new coach Doug Pederson.

The offense severely regressed in 2015. Changes were inevitable. Philadelphia drafted rookie quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 first round pick and 2018 fourth round pick. Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was acquired to begin the reconstruction of the receiving core.

Running backs Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews will compete for the starting spot. Tight end Zach Ertz flashed potential in 2015. Ertz will be an important piece to the puzzle in 2016. The offensive line stunk last season. Drastic improvements will likely not happen this year. They will not be as bad, however, this time around.

The Eagles look solid on defense. The same could be said last year. That did not turn out well. The front seven does have talent along the defensive line and at the linebacker spots. The secondary possessed a few play-makers. The defensive statistics should improve in 2016 simply because they will not be on the field as long. Kelly’s system is defunct. Life will be easier for the defense this season.

The Philadelphia Eagles are focused on progression in 2016. The record is not going to be good. That does not matter. The future is more important. Win-loss prediction: 5-11

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