The NFC East contains last year’s #1 scoring offense, a rare run-first playoff team from last season, a team on the rise with a new quarterback, and a historic franchise looking to put the pieces back together with a new head coach and new general manager.
The Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, and New York Giants have some of the strongest fan bases in the NFL, resulting in some of the most heated rivalries in the league.
Last season, Dak Prescott led Dallas’ high-scoring offense to a 12-5 record and NFC East crown. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles also made the playoffs, at 9-8, after heating up in the season’s second half. Washington was lackluster on both offense and defense last year but still managed a respectable 7-10 record. Daniel Jones and the Giants had no such luck, finishing 4-13 with one of the worst offenses in the league following a myriad of injuries.
Who will win the NFC East in 2022-23? How many teams will the division send to the playoffs? Read on for my predictions, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any predictions, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
1. Dallas Cowboys (11-6)
The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last season with a series of accolades: the #1 offense in the league (31.2 PPG,) the second-best passing offense and ninth-best rushing offense in the NFL, the second-best point differential in the league (+172,) the only team with a perfect 6-0 divisional record, and the strongest intraconference record in the league (10-2.)
While the Cowboys roster did take a couple hits with the losses of Amari Cooper, La’el Collins, and Randy Gregory, there’s still a ton of talent in Dallas. Even if Dallas falls from their slots as the first-ranked offense and seventh-best defense in 2021, the Cowboys will still be above average in both categories, particularly offense.
Dak Prescott has been a passing machine for the Cowboys, and is one of the best and most dependable quarterbacks in the league. Ezekiel Elliot may be past his peak, but he’s still one of the league’s best running backs. And even without Amari Cooper, the Cowboys receiving corps includes CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and tight end Dalton Schultz. Even without La’el Collins, the offensive line still features Tyron Smith and Zack Martin. And even without Randy Gregory, you guessed it, there’s still defensive standouts like DeMarcus Lawrence, Anthony Barr, Micah Parsons, and ball hawk cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Dallas should have no problem putting points on the board in 2022. The Cowboys roster might be just a tad weaker than last season, but I still see them as the clear NFC East front-runner and a viable team in the NFC playoffs. While they might not be my first choice to come out of the NFC, a Super Bowl appearance is certainly within reach for this team.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)
The Philadelphia Eagles went 9-8 last season, earning a wildcard spot in Jalen Hurts‘ first season after finishing the regular season on a 7-2 tear. The Eagles improved their roster in the offseason, but much like the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East, I think Philadelphia will be a fundamentally better team, while not necessarily adding much in the win column.
It’s important to note the Eagles didn’t beat a single team that made the playoffs last season, and only earned the conference’s final wildcard spot via a head-to-head win over a Trevor Siemian-led New Orleans Saints team.
I’m not trying to rag on the Eagles, but rather put my prediction in context: last season, Philadelphia had the talent of a seven-win team, but lucked out and finished 9-8. But this season, the Eagles offseason additions, namely wide receiver A.J. Brown who should help improve Philadelphia’s 25th-ranked passing offense, make the team more talented: a nine-win team on paper. If the Eagles exceed expectations once again, they could be looking at ten or eleven wins, a wildcard spot, and maybe even a shot at the NFC East title.
Hurts (and one of the best backups you can ask for, Gardner Minshew) have a solid array of offensive receiving options, from second-year wideout DeVonta Smith to tight end Dallas Goedert, running back Miles Sanders, dependable depth receivers Jalen Reagor and Zach Pascal, and as mentioned, big-bodied former Titans receiver A.J. Brown.
Philadelphia’s below-average 18th-ranked ranked defense is also looking stronger with the addition of sixth-year linebacker Haason Reddick.
In my projected standings, the Eagles 9-8 record causes them to miss the playoffs by just one game: meaning that if Philadelphia wins just one more game or another NFC team loses one more game, the Eagles could easily be a playoff team once again.
3. Washington Commanders (8-9)
The Washington Commanders also overachieved in the win column last season despite some dubious accolades. While Taylor Heinickie wasn’t a bad option at quarterback, the offense ranked 23rd in points scored (19.7 PPG,) and 21st in passing yards per game. Washington’s defense was atrocious, ranking 25th in the league and allowing 25.5 PPG. With below-average outputs on both offense and defense, Washington Football Team was outscored by 99 points last season, ranking 25th in the league in point differential.
And yet, Washington had a shot at the postseason, with a 6-6 record heading in to a gauntlet of five straight NFC East matchups, and finished 7-10, a pretty solid record considering the statistics.
So again, to set the stage: even though I’m only projecting an 8-9 record for Washington, they are going to be a better football team.
In addition to gaining an actual team name, Washington acquired Carson Wentz from Indianapolis after reportedly doing their due diligence on bigger names like Russell Wilson. Wentz will walk in and immediately improve the offense, which also received reinforcements in the form of drat selections Jahan Dotson (WR, Penn State), Brian Robinson Jr. (RB, Alabama), Cole Turner (TE, Nevada), and also a potential future quarterback option in North Carolina QB Sam Howell.
Terry McLaurin is a borderline Top 10 wide receiver, and Antonio Gibson is a super solid young running back. The defense has some brought spots in Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and William Jackson III, but Washington spent most of their assets this offseason improving their offense.
Ultimately, the offense will be better, as will the overall team, but without a solid defense, it’s hard to see Washington making too significant of a step forward in 2022.
4. New York Giants (6-11)
The New York Giants are entering their fourth season with Daniel Jones: a quarterback who has never held a winning record at any point in his career (12-25 currently,) a quarterback with 45 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns against 29 interceptions and 36 fumbles, and in my humble opinion, a quarterback who had no business being taken sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In Jones’ defense, the Giants head coaching situation has been a mess in the former Duke quarterback’s tenure with the team, the rosters he’s been handed haven’t exactly been great, and his offensive weapons have had bad luck with injuries.
You’ll notice throughout my predictions I seldom mention coaching staffs, as I’m more player-oriented in my picks. But I absolutely love New York’s hirings of both new head coach Brian Daboll and new general manager Joe Schoen, both coming over from the Buffalo Bills.
Daboll will be tasked with improving last season’s 31st-ranked offense, 31st-ranked passing attack, 24th-ranked rushing game, and 23rd-ranked defense. It’s a tall order, but roster reinforcements include:
- Top 10 Draft Picks Kayvon Tibodeaux (DE, Oregon) and Evan Neal (OT, Alabama)
- More picks in the second, third, and fourth rounds: Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson, North Carolina OG Joshua Ezeudu, LSU CB Cordale Flott, San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger, and Iowa S Dane Delton
- Star running back Saquon Barkley returning from injury, as well as last year’s first-round pick Kadarius Toney (eventually)
The Giants should easily improve on their 4-13 record from last season, and even have Tyrod Taylor as their backup if things go South with Jones or he gets injured again. But while some optimistic New York fans are thinking, six or seven wins seems more realistic for this Giants team.
2022-23 NFL Predictions
Previous NFC East Predictions
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- NFL 2021: Playoff Bracket and Super Bowl 56 Matchup
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- New York Giants Fire Joe Judge After Two Seasons, 10-23 Record
- One-Year Prediction: Top Ten Super Bowl 56 Contenders
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
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