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2023 Best-Case/Worst-Case: NFC East Edition


Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Dallas Cowboys


Arrivals

  • WR Brandin Cooks

  • CB Stephon Gillmore

  • RB Ronald Jones

  • OC Brian Schottenheimer

Departures

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott

  • OC Kellen Moore

Notable

  • CB Trevon Diggs signs a five-year extension

  • RB Tony Pollard placed on franchise tag

Impact Draft Picks

  • DT Mazi Smith – Rd. 1 (#26)

  • LB DeMarvion Overshown – Rd. 3 (#90)


Best-Case: 12 - 5, 1st in NFC East


No team lives in the public eye more than the Dallas Cowboys, and that can lead to a lot of fatigue. But make no mistake, the Cowboys have serious talent. Quarterback Dak Prescott might not be in that upper-echelon of signal-callers, but he’s more than capable of putting up monster stats, especially with weapons like receivers CeeDee Lamb and the newly acquired Brandin Cooks. Tony Pollard is as explosive as it gets from the running back position, and the offensive line is stout. The defense, led by Micah Parsons – arguably the best defensive player in the NFL – and ball hawking corner Trevon Diggs, should remain a dangerous and opportunistic defense. The Cowboys have serious star power, and in the best-case scenario, they could easily be the class of the NFC East.



Worst-Case: 7 - 10, 3rd in NFC East


Head coach Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat after another early playoff exit, and with scapegoat offensive coordinator Kellen Moore kicked to the curb, he’s quickly running out of excuses. Plus, it’s not like the Cowboys offense was putrid or anything. Moore might not have been all that popular in Dallas (or maybe it’s just McCarthy that wasn’t a fan) but statistically, he was one of the most effective offensive coordinators in the league. Given Prescott’s propensity for turnovers and Pollard returning from injury, a step back for this offense could be devastating to this team’s 2023 aspirations. The defense is probably too talented to fall off a cliff, but relying on an aging Stefon Gilmore at corner and rookie Mazi Smith at defensive tackle will strain this unit. The Cowboys probably won’t bottom out in 2023, but a losing record and a 3rd-place finish is entirely possible.


Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


New York Giants


Arrivals

  • DT A’Shawn Robinson

  • TE Darren Waller

  • LB Bobby Okereke

  • DT Rakeem Nunes-Roches

Departures

  • WR Kenny Golladay

  • C John Feliciano

Notable

  • DT Dexter Lawrence signs four-year extension

  • QB Daniel Jones signs four-year extension

  • LT Andrew Thomas signs five-year extension

  • RB Saquon Barkley placed on franchise tag, eventually signs one-year contract

Impact Draft Picks

  • CB Deonte Banks – Rd. 1 (#24)

  • C John Michael Schmitz – Rd. 2 (#57)


Best-Case: 11 - 6, 2nd in NFC East


The 2022 NFL Coach of the Year Brian Daboll demonstrated quickly why he was such a hot coaching-commodity by immediately turning quarterback Daniel Jones’s career around. Jones was a player many wrote off for good – now, he’s the owner of a brand-new extension and fresh off of helping the Giants win their first playoff game in ten years. The Giants spent much of the offseason extending or retaining several of their most important players, but when they did dip into the free agent market, it was to beef up a defense that was surprisingly effective last year. If the offense can maintain its level from 2022 (and with running back Saquon Barkley now back in the fold, that task becomes a lot easier) and if the defense improves, the Giants will be back in playoff contention – and this time, with designs on going much further than the divisional round.


Worst-Case: 5 - 12, 4th in NFC East


The Giants were overachievers last year. They started the year 6 - 1 and won those six games by a combined 25 points. They finished the year with a negative point differential, and even though they defeated the Minnesota Vikings (another team that overachieved last year) in the Wild Card round, they were absolutely steamrolled by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional round. Jones was competent last year, but competent isn’t always enough in the NFL, especially now that the Giants won’t get the support of a fourth-place schedule. The wide receiver unit is still barren and Darren Waller – while a nice upgrade at tight end – hasn’t stayed healthy in two years. If the defense can’t maintain its 2022 form and if Saquon Barkley isn’t the dynamo he was last year, things could fall apart for the Giants in a hurry.


Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Philadelphia Eagles


Arrivals

  • RB Rashaad Penny

Departures

  • OC Shane Steichen

  • DC Jonathan Gannon

  • DB Chauncy Gardner-Johnson

  • DE Robert Quinn

  • RB Miles Sanders

  • OG Isaac Seumalo

  • DT Javon Hargrave

Notable

  • QB Jalen Hurts signs five-year extension

  • CB Darius Slay signs two-year extension

  • CB James Bradberry signs three-year extension

  • QB coach Brian Johnson promoted to OC

  • Sean Desai hired from Seattle to be DC

Impact Draft Picks

  • DT Jalen Carter – Rd. 1 (#6)

  • DE Nolan Smith – Rd. 1 (#30)


Best-Case: 13 - 4, 1st in NFC East


There might not be a better roster, top-to-bottom, in the NFL than the Philadelphia Eagles. General manager Howie Roseman deserves major credit for quickly dismantling and then reassembling a winning roster after a fourth-place finish in 2020. Jalen Hurts was fantastic last year, and with weapons like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith and an innovative head coach like Nick Siriani, the offense should remain a pain for defenses to deal with against the run and the pass. And while the defense is going to look much different after witnessing several departures, the draft investment on that side of the ball over the last two seasons should start paying dividends. Defensive tackle Jalen Carter, especially, should be a player to look out for. He was widely considered the best defensive prospect in the draft, and if he can live up to that billing, the Eagles will be in great shape. A repeat of their magical 14 - 3 season last year is unlikely, but winning the NFC East and being a major Super Bowl threat? No problem.



Worst-Case: 8 - 9, 3rd in NFC East


Every year, players from the two Super Bowl representatives are picked away by other teams. Whether it’s because they’re actually talented, or just adjacent to success, is still TBD. But regardless, the Eagles saw significant talent drain in the offseason. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave has been one of the most disruptive interior defensive players in the NFL for years, and versatile defensive back Chauncy Gardner-Johnson was a vocal and emotional leader for this team. Linebacker has definitely been a position that’s experienced waning importance in the modern NFL, but losing both starters will hurt – even if in-house replacements are adequate. Most of all, losing both offensive and defensive coordinators Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon, respectively, is a crippling blow.


Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Washington Commanders


Arrivals

  • OC Eric Bieniemy

  • RT Austin Wylie

  • C Nick Gates

Departures

  • QB Carson Wentz

  • RB J.D. McKissic

  • OG Andrew Norwell

Notable

  • Dan Snyder is gone!

  • Daron Payne signs four-year extension

Impact Draft Picks

  • CB Emmanuel Forbes – Rd. 1 (#16)

  • S Jartavius Martin – Rd. 2 (#47)


Best-Case: 11 - 6, 2nd in NFC East


No fanbase in the NFL had a better offseason than Commanders fans, and it had exactly nothing to do with the on-field product. Instead, people in the DMV area were celebrating because finally, incredibly, impossibly Dan Snyder was finally selling the team. The Snyder Stink is finally gone. By virtue of his leaving, Commanders fans have already won.


The team on the field, though, has significant sleeper potential. Quarterback Sam Howell is unknown, but he was a highly touted college prospect who had a horrible senior season at North Carolina and fell to the fifth-round. If he can demonstrate those skills that had him in the top-pick conversation back in 2020, the Commanders will be in good hands. His receivers are excellent, with Terry McLaurin, one of the most underrated players in the league, leading the way, and running backs Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson providing an excellent one-two punch. The defense should continue to be tough on opposing QBs too, and if defensive end Chase Young (who played in only three games last year) can remind people of why he was the #2 pick back in 2020, there won’t be a better pass rush group anywhere.



Worst-Case: 4 - 13, 4th in NFC East


Unfortunately for Howell, the success rate for fifth-round QBs isn’t great. Odds are, he’s probably in for a rough season – and by extension, so could the Commanders. The offensive line has been reshuffled too, which could cause even further headaches for a first year QB. Head coach Ron Rivera is on the hot seat too after three consecutive non-winning seasons. Given the depth of their opponents in the NFC East, 2023 is not the year to be breaking in a new starter at the most important position in the game. A last-place finish and a shot at college football sensation and likely #1 pick Caleb Williams is definitely in play for Washington.


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