With questions surrounding each team in the division, are the Dallas Cowboys best equipped with the most answers while being forced to navigate a difficult schedule?
The time is finally here. In just two days, the 2017 NFL season will kick off. Per usual, Dallas Cowboys fans will have to wait all the for Sunday night before seeing their team take the field. Now the games finally mean something.
As such, this seems to be the perfect time to break out our future-beholding goggles and make some predictions. You don’t need to read tea leaves to see that each one of the teams in the NFC East has at least one glaring issue.
Couple that with the fact that this division has a brutal schedule to navigate and things will certainly be interesting. Which team will be able to rise above all of this and get to the postseason?
Let’s start with the team I’m predicting to finish last place in this always competitive division…
2016 Record/Finish: 8-7-1, 3rd in NFC East
Offensive Ranks (2016): 12th (scoring), 3rd (total yards), 2nd (passing), 23rd (rushing)
Defensive Ranks (2016): 19th (scoring), 28th (total yards), 25th (passing), 24th (rushing)
Free agent additions: WR Terrelle Pryor, Sr (CLE), DT Terrell McClain (DAL), WR Brian Quick (LA)
Free agent losses: WR DeSean Jackson (TB), WR Pierre Garcon (SF)
Key draft picks: DT Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau
Toughest multi-game stretch: Weeks 12-17 (vs. NYG, at DAL, at SD, vs. AZ, vs. DEN, at NYG)
Vegas Over/Under for wins: 8
Projected 2016 record: 6-10
If one thing seems to stay constant in the Nation’s capital, it’s change. Last year, under offensive coordinator Sean McVay, the Redskins had the second best passing offense. This year, McVay is the head coach for the Rams.
They also have completely changed out their receiving corps. Gone are long time options Jackson and Garcon. In their place are Pryor and Quick. Last year, they thought they had found their Tyrann Mathieu clone in rookie Su’a Cravens. This year, he’s contemplating retirement.
Defensively, Washington used their first three draft picks to address a team that gave up yards too freely. While the rookies may have talent, adjusting to the NFL game will take time. With the changes to the offense, expect Washington to struggle early.
That’s a recipe for disaster for a team facing a final six weeks like the Redskins. All six opponents could very easily have double-digit wins at the end of the year. Because of that, optimism should be low in D.C. in 2017.