Jul 21, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) talks with tackle Tyron Smith (77) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFC East Preview: Can Dallas Win It All?


After three games in the books for the Dallas Cowboys and two for the rest of the divisional foes, I thought now would be a great time for a preview of the division for the upcoming season.  The last few years have not been kind to the Cowboys, especially within the division.  In each of the last three seasons, a different team, besides Dallas has won the NFC East.  To make matters worse, Dallas has played the final game of the season the last two years with a “win and in” scenario and lost to a divisional foe.  The first time to the New York Giants and last year to the Washington Redskins both on the road.  Can 2013 be the Cowboys year?  Well, if that last game is any indication, the answer is a quite possible yes.  This year, Dallas plays their final game in front of the home crowd against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Speaking of Philly, they lead off this divisional preview as we start the look down the road to the playoffs.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) returns a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


2012 Record/Finish – 4-12, 4th in NFC East
Key Additions - Coach Chip Kelly, OT Lane Johnson (draft), LB Connor Barwin (FA), CB Cary Williams (FA), S Patrick Chung (FA)
Key Subtractions - Coach Andy Reid, WR Jeremy Maclin (IR), CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DT Cullen Jenkins
Offensive Ranks - 29th (scoring), 18th (total yards), 13th (passing), 13th (rushing)
Defensive Ranks - 29th (scoring), 15th (total yards), 9th (passing), 23rd (rushing)

2012 was a nightmare of a season for the Eagles. Their offensive line was decimated by injuries while their high-priced, big name defense was shredded week after week. All of this saw Philadelphia finish with their worst record in 14 years leading to massive overhauls throughout the organization. The new year will see a new coach and probably six new starters on the defensive end. Is it enough to get out of the cellar? I don’t think so. For one, the injury bug has already bitten the Eagles hard as they have lost their best receiver in Jeremy Maclin for the year and another back up in Arrelious Benn both to blown ACL’s. Another receiver gave us the controversy of the offseason and there seems to be a circus around which of the three quarterbacks on the roster will be the full-time guy. While Philadelphia certainly needed to change the look of their squad, I think the first year of all this upheaval and a strong division will once again seal their fate.

Predicted Order of Finish 6-10, 4th place

NEW YORK GIANTS

Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) fights for the goal line after a catch in the third quarter against New York Giants safety Stevie Brown (27) and linebacker Keith Rivers (55) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


2012 Record/Finish – 9-7, 2nd in NFC East
Key Additions - TE Brandon Myers (FA), OT Justin Pugh (draft), DT Cullen Jenkins (FA)
Key Subtractions - RB Ahmad Bradshaw, DE Osi Umenyiora, DT Chris Canty, LB Chase Blackburn
Offensive Ranks - 6th (scoring), 14th (total yards), 12th (passing), 14th (rushing)
Defensive Ranks - 12th (scoring), 31st (total yards), 28th (passing), 25th (rushing)

Last year marked the third season in the last four that the Giants missed the playoffs. Amazing what a Super Bowl victory can do for your perception, right? The 2012 Giants were largely done in by their defensive ineptitude, allowing 67 total points in back to back late season losses and an inability to win away from home, posting a 3-5 road record. The offense was typically mediocre to good and certainly not flashy statistically. In 2013, the Giants hope to improve their defense by going much younger at the linebacker spot but they did nothing to improve their secondary which was the biggest issue from last year. Offensively, they allowed their best running back to walk, thinking that last year’s rookie David Wilson is ready for the full-time load. While the Giants are clearly making an attempt at getting younger, while still trying to be a playoff contender, that is a difficult balance to achieve.

Predicted Order of Finish – 8-8, 3rd place

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) carries the ball as Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) chases in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 28-18. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


2012 Record/Finish – 10-6, 1st in NFC East
Key Additions - S Bacarri Rambo (draft), S Phillip Thomas (draft)
Key Subtractions - TE Chris Cooley
Offensive Ranks - 4th (scoring), 5th (total yards), 20th (passing), 1st (rushing)
Defensive Ranks - 22nd (scoring), 28th (total yards), 30th (passing), 5th (rushing)

Washington came out of nowhere to surprise everyone and win the division in 2012, largely due to two rookies who exceeded expectations and powered their league best rushing attack. QB Robert Griffin, III and RB Alfred Morris combined for over 2,400 yards and 20 touchdowns to give the Redskins their first winning season in five years and their first division title since 1999. The only black cloud that emerged from their season was the torn ACL that Griffin suffered in their home playoff loss to the Seahawks. This will undoubtedly be the story of their 2013 season. Can Griffin be as dynamic and dangerous as last year? Washington is banking on this, along with the additions of players lost to injury last year as they were very quiet in the free agent process. The same team, by and large, is returning from last year, will they see similar results? I think Washington can contend but ultimately they will fall short of last year’s success.

Predicted Order of Finish – 8-8, 2nd place

DALLAS COWBOYS
2012 Record/Finish – 8-8, 3rd in NFC East
Key Additions - C Travis Frederick (draft), S Will Allen (FA)
Key Subtractions - RB Felix Jones
Offensive Ranks - 15th (scoring), 6th (total yards), 3rd (passing), 31st (rushing)
Defensive Ranks - 24th (scoring), 19th (total yards), 19th (passing), 22nd (rushing)

The Cowboys finished 8-8 for the second straight season, losing yet another opportunity to get into the playoffs on the last day of the year.  The 2012 version of this team was racked with injuries and futility in the run game.  The defense did the best they could do but lost six starters to season ending injuries and could not hold down the fort.  Their 2013 season will likely come down to health as well.  If Dallas can stay healthy across their offensive line and get any success running the football, this offense could be unstoppable.  As for the defense, a change in philosophy and coordinators could be the answer to providing the potent offense with an equal capable running mate.  The main question for the defense will be whether the inexperience in the defensive backfield will hold it back.

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) during the 2013 Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As previously stated, I really feel like it’s the Cowboys turn in this division.  The Eagles are a couple of years away.  The Giants seem to be on the decline and the Redskins have health issues with their most electrifying player.  The only thing left to do is to get out on the field and prove it.

Predicted Order of Finish – 10-6, 1st place

Tags: Dallas Cowboys New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles Travis Frederick Washington Redskins Will Allen

  • Patrick Cardenas

    The way the offense played yesterday (16 yards rushing?) and all the turnovers?

    Not at all. 7-9, 8-8 best case.

    Looking like another year of great talent and no rhythm. O line has to be the priority next year. I’m even hoping if we’re gonna suck, suck bad so we can get good drafts on the line.

    • Raymond Tippett

      what! no bro no worried about the run are you ,im going to tell you this right now when the first game starts there going to run that rock right down the g girl throat bet on it , this is pre season , its more for evaluating then winning , they have got evaluate tanney the tightened and the rookie receiver they know what we got in the backfield so don’t be so concerned with the run just yet , they have to see what the rookies got more then running the rock .look to see that this week against cinci and the reason for it is cinci has got a great run defense so look to run this week more then Arizona game we ran a lot in Miami for the same reason

      • Patrick Cardenas

        hope you right.

  • ctcowboy1968

    As you stated, for the Cowboys and so many other teams, it comes down to injuries. On paper, the skill players are unstoppable. But are stopped by our OL. If this team can be focused from the opening whishle, which is JG’s job, Leary gettings healthy, and the run game emerges, then this team should win the East. The D must get pressure up front.
    The Cardinal game showed a sloppy O and a D that got pushed around until their backs were against the goal line. The O could not run. Fitzgerald was having his way with the secondary.
    I don’t believe that the first O unit has scored a TD yet. Unacceptable. Dez and Dunbar have been the stars.
    BTW, the loss of Felix is really an addition by subtraction. If this team gets its poop together, I agree that they go 10-6 and win the East.

  • David Kerr

    Hey Patrick… Shut up

    • Patrick Cardenas

      As long as I see crap like that. I won’t.

  • Patrick Cardenas

    I hope you all are right. And I’m completely wrong. And no David I won’t shut up. I’ve been a fan since childhood. One thing that is really f***ing annoying is when other fans get upset if someone criticizes the Boys. If I were saying something that weren’t true, and attacking character or something irrelevant, you could tell me to shut up. I’ll tell you what. If we get to the playoffs you can say whatever you want.

  • Holiday

    Funny, because this has been the ONLY article that has Dallas finishing any higher than 2nd. The article that had them finishing 2nd basically said the Giants & skins would need meltdowns for Dallas to even come close. You have some talented skilled positions, but O’line has concerns (not that they were great last year either) and you cannot get a good rush on Def up the middle to make anyone avoid pounding rock up the middle to set up play action.
    Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Case in point – Romo winning a clutch game. You’ll have a good season if you finish over 500, but wont win division.

    • Lonestar

      I wonder if this article will say the same thing next year at this time when they again fail to win div by 1-2 games at the end?

    • Patrick Cardenas

      I agree, but be careful speaking your mind here. Evidently some jackasses feel the need to tell people to shut up if fans point out what we’ve known for what, 20 years now?