Regardless of last year’s dismal season, there are too many factors that point towards the Dallas Cowboys reclaiming the NFC East title.
Winning cures everything.
That axiom certainly has a lot of truth to it. When you win, depending on the level of which your winning takes you, there isn’t much of anything that cannot be absolved.
If you’re a player and your presence helps the team win enough games, you can be the world’s largest jerk and you’ll keep finding employment. Win a championship, even if it’s your first, and the fact that your entire city hasn’t won anything in 50+ years and it no longer matters.
Make the playoffs as a team and suddenly everyone forgets how putrid your franchise has been over the last two decades.
As such, this week the ESPN NFL Nation writers from each of the four NFC East teams got together and answered questions related specifically to the division. There was plenty enough praise in the answers going the way of the Nation’s Capital.
Question one asked which team added the best player in the offseason.
Three of the four all agreed it was Washington cornerback Josh Norman. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got one vote, from Cowboys writer Todd Archer.
Question two asked who is the rising star in the division. Once again, Archer threw Elliott’s name in the ring while Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan got a mention as well. Once again, it was the Redskins who won this pondering as well as one writer chose quarterback Kirk Cousins, while another chose tight end Jordan Reed.
Let me pause for a minute and just say this
Call me cynical. Call me a homer. Call it however you like, however you can put me on the list of people who thinks that Washington just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Neither the success of last year, nor the moves made this offseason have changed my opinion much either.
Think about it for a second.
The Dallas Cowboys had the year from hell, dealing with wide receiver Dez Bryant missing all the offseason work due to a training camp dispute which ultimately led to himself getting injured in camp, as well as opening night.
Beyond that, there was also the little issue of the best quarterback in the division, Tony Romo, played just two full games.
In Philadelphia, that organization was dealing with the crazy that comes along with giving head coach Chip Kelly too much power. To say that was a dysfunctional situation would be awfully kind.
The Giants, meanwhile, played last year with one of the worst defenses in their franchise history, providing no help to an offense that scored 26.3 points per game and somehow lost ten games.
I think it’s fair to assume that those three teams are not going to all have such epic hurdles to overcome. Throw in the fact that the Redskins won’t have the luxury of playing a fourth place schedule and I would pump the brakes on a back-to-back divisional winner occurring.
Apparently, the writers came around towards the end of the week and seem to be on the same page along with me.
Thursday’s question pondered who will be the division’s most valuable player. Three of the four chose Romo. The other vote went to Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Kind of telling that no one considered Washington’s quarterback Kirk Cousins, eh? Maybe the fact that his own team did not want to pay him big money this offseason or that none of the Redskins’ nine wins were against a winning team says all you really need to know.
Lastly, when the feet were truly held to the fire and it was time to pick this year’s likely divisional winner, it was another 75% in favor of the Dallas Cowboys.
Only the Redskins writer, John Keim, chose his own team. In his own admission though, he does think that the Cowboys are the biggest threat and he ultimately chose the age-old decision maker of a coin flip to finalize his choice.
I’m going to go out on a limb here when I say, there will be no need for that coin. In my opinion, the Redskins will not only avoid the discussion of division champs, but also find themselves back in the cellar in 2016.