2023 NFL PREVIEW- NFC EAST

2023-09-03 · 6 min read · NFL/Football
Luke Schoonmaker and Rashaad Penny

Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports | Steph Chambers/Getty Images

At the end of the 2022-23 regular season, the NFC East was the only division in the league where no team had a losing record, with three clubs (the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants) all qualifying for the postseason.
The Eagles, on paper, look like the team to catch; however, the Cowboys could be nipping at their heels, New York thinks they found a long-term quarterback, and Washington finally got Dan Snyder out of the owner’s box.
In each of the past three regular-season campaigns, we have seen a new team claim the NFC East crown, while no one has won this division on consecutive occasions since the Eagles from 2001-2004.
There’s a lot to dive into regarding this division, so here is a look at each team heading into the 2023 campaign and where I believe they will finish.
Washington Commanders
Key Additions
  • Jacoby Brissett- Quarterback- Cleveland Browns
  • Andrew Wylie- Offensive Tackle- Kansas City Chiefs
  • Nick Gates- Center- New York Giants
Key Subtractions
  • Taylor Heinicke- Quarterback- Atlanta Falcons
  • Carson Wentz- Quarterback
  • Bobby McCain- Safety- New York Giants
Biggest Strength
Jack Del Rio is an aggressive smash-mouth style coach, and the Commanders’ defensive unit emulates their defensive coordinator in many ways.
In 2022 the defence was the backbone of this team, ranked third in the NFL, allowing an average of 304.6 total yards per game.
The defensive line, which features a pair of Pro Bowlers from last season in Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, had 43 sacks as a team in 2022, and they should be equally as tough to slow down this season.
Biggest Weakness
The quarterbacking room in 2022 wasn’t all that spectacular, and it doesn’t look much better heading into this season.
Jacoby Brissett did an admirable job filling in for the suspended Deshaun Watson in Cleveland last year, but I don’t know if he or Sam Howell are ready to take this offensive unit to the next level.
Perhaps Eric Bieniemy can draw up some plays to make this offence look better than what we see on paper, but he’s working with a group that is far inferior in every way to what he had in Kansas City.
Prediction- Third in NFC East
Defensively this group should be able to keep their games close, and I think there’s more healing that needs to be done in the wake of a new owner; plus, that offensive unit isn’t nearly as convincing as what some other teams in this division possess.
Dallas Cowboys
Key Additions
  • Brandin Cooks- Wide Receiver- Houston Texans
  • Stephon Gilmore- Cornerback- Indianapolis Colts
  • Luke Schoomaker- Tight End- Michigan
Key Subtractions
  • Dalton Schultz- Tight End- Houston Texans
  • Ezekiel Elliott- Running Back- New England Patriots
  • TY Hilton- Wide Receiver
Biggest Strength
Dan Quinn’s defensive unit is as difficult to contain as any in the NFL, putting up the third-most sacks in the 2022 regular season (54), led by the robust, fast and versatile linebacker Micah Parsons; this group should be a handful in 2023.
They should also be improved in the secondary with the addition of Gilmore, but I believe they’ll force the opposition into numerous third-and-long situations this season.
Biggest Weakness
They parted ways with Brett Maher after his awful kicking display in the Wild Card Round last season versus Tampa Bay.
I’m not sure Brandon Aubrey is up to the challenge of handling the kicking duties, seeing as this will be his first NFL experience.
Prediction- First in NFC East
This will be a tough division to call, but I believe an already formidable defensive unit got better this offseason, while Prescott has a lot of speedy and dependable receivers to work with, while Tony Pollard looks ready to be the #1 guy out of the backfield.
Philadelphia Eagles
Key Additions
  • D’Andre Swift- Running Back- Detroit Lions
  • Rashaad Penny- Running Back- Seattle Seahawks
  • Marcus Mariota- Quarterback- Atlanta Falcons
Key Subtractions
  • CJ Gardner-Johnson- Safety- Detroit Lions
  • Miles Sanders- Running Back- Carolina Panthers
  • Javon Hargrave- Defensive Tackle- San Francisco 49ers
Biggest Strength
Jalen Hurts is unquestionably a star who will be the focal point of this team for years to come, but that defensive line is scary good and even without Javon Hargrave, having Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter, Brandon Graham and Haason Reddick bearing down on you is bound to strike fear in any opposing QB.
Adding a versatile veteran like Myles Jack doesn’t hurt either, and I believe pound-for-pound, this group which led the NFL in sacks last year (70), could be just as difficult to contain this season.
Biggest Weakness
How do you pick a weakness on a team that has virtually none, alas that’s the situation I find myself in, so I’ll take a stab at it.
The running back position, I think, is the most significant question mark for Nick Sirianni’s crew with the departure of Miles Sanders, who was fourth in rushing yards last season (1,269).
Boston Scott is a dependable back, but he was primarily employed for goal line or short-yardage situations last year, while Swift Penny has yet to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
Hurts showed that he can be a running option, and by committee, I think they’ll be fine, just maybe a little less dangerous without the presence of Sanders.
Prediction- Second in the NFC East
I was very tempted to have the Eagles at the top of the division, and I certainly think on paper they may be the team to beat; however, I look at the recent history of division winners, along with the Eagles losing a quality cover man like CJ Gardner-Johnson, and I see the Cowboys narrowly nipping them for the NFC East crown.
New York Giants
Key Additions
  • Darren Waller- Tight End- Las Vegas Raiders
  • Bobby Okereke- Linebacker- Indianapolis Colts
  • A’Shawn Robinson- Defensive End- Los Angeles Rams
Key Subtractions
  • Julian Love- Safety- Seattle Seahawks
  • Nick Gates- Guard- Washington Commanders
  • Richie James- Wide Receiver- Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Strength
Daniel Jones earned himself a big payday with his play last season but make no mistake, this offensive unit, for my money, will live or die with its run game, led by Saquon Barkley.
The Giants versatile running back stayed healthy for a change, putting up the fourth-most rushing yards in the 2022 regular season (1,312), while also finishing fourth on the team in receiving yards (338).
His speed and power will be critical if this team is to make the playoffs in consecutive campaigns.
Biggest Weakness
The Giants paid a lot of money to bolster their linebacking corps and defensive line, but on offence, losing Nick Gates makes a poor O-Line, which gave up the fifth-most sacks in 2022 (49), even worse.
Prediction- Fourth in NFC East
Brian Daboll had a terrific rookie campaign in the Meadowlands, but Barkley doesn’t look happy in New York right now, and I think a lot of their money spent during the offseason were desperate moves with a lot more risk than reward.
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By: Joel Lefevre

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