The NFC East has long been one of the most competitive and unpredictable divisions in the NFL. As the 2023 season dawns, each team in the division gears up with new strategies, personnel changes, and hopes of a potential playoff berth. With off-field dramas, intriguing roster moves, and the weight of history behind them, the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, and Commanders are all set for what promises to be an eventful year.
The Eagles welcome their new offensive coordinator, Brian Johnson, succeeding Shane Steichen. With one of the best offensive lines in football and a top-tier quarterback, the transition is expected to be smooth. However, any hiccups could trigger murmurs of discontent.
Defensively, the Eagles nearly set an NFL record for sacks last season. With Sean Desai stepping in as the new defensive coordinator, there's intrigue around how he'll handle the young talent on the roster, especially after the departure of some key players.
One of the looming off-field concerns is the potential Super Bowl-loss hangover. The challenge is for the players to maintain their focus and drive, with head coach Nick Sirianni likely emphasizing the details.
The expectations for the Eagles are skyscraper-high. With the talented Jalen Hurts under center, a return to the Super Bowl seems to be the benchmark. Health and consistency will be key to meeting these high aspirations.
Overall, the Eagles are looking strong and well-prepared for a deep playoff run, provided they can evade the post-Super Bowl slump.
The major talking point for the Cowboys is the shift in offensive responsibility from Kellen Moore to the duo of Mike McCarthy and Brian Schottenheimer. This change suggests a more conservative approach, focusing on the ground game with Tony Pollard taking center stage.
Defensively, Micah Parsons remains the fulcrum. By moving him to a dedicated defensive end role, the team aims for even greater impact from their star player. This is complemented by significant new additions like Mazi Smith and CB Stephon Gilmore.
Off the field, the spotlight has been on running back Tony Pollard's franchise tender. Although he's secured for 2023, questions about his long-term future in Dallas loom large.
The key to the Cowboys' success lies in their offensive line's health. Achieving stability there can set them up as a dominant force in the NFC East.
After winning 12 games consecutively for two years and making crucial off-season moves, the Cowboys have positioned themselves as formidable contenders, looking poised for the playoffs and beyond.
New York Giants
The Giants breathed a sigh of relief with Saquon Barkley's recent contract signing. However, the challenge now is to ensure that key players like Barkley and Daniel Jones remain focused and don't feel undue pressure to justify their contracts.
Defensively, all eyes will be on rookie cornerback Deonte Banks. Under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Banks is expected to frequently find himself in high-pressure, man-coverage situations. His performance can significantly impact the defense's success.
From an external perspective, the Giants' arduous schedule is an alarming concern. Facing a majority of their initial games on the road and a packed start to the season is a daunting challenge for any team.
Under head coach Brian Daboll, the Giants will need to adapt to their newfound success and navigate the challenging schedule. This season poses a unique set of challenges that will test the team's mettle.
Despite the hurdles, the Giants' recent performance suggests they'll be playoff contenders. The key will be consistency and learning to handle the heightened expectations.
The Commanders' offense this year poses exciting questions: What influence will Eric Bieniemy exert, and who will be the primary quarterback - Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett? Bieniemy's detailed and disciplined approach is expected to bring positive changes.
On the defensive front, Jack Del Rio's commendable transition of the defense in 2022 sets high standards for the upcoming season. The aim is to maintain their elite defensive status in the league.
Off-field, the change in ownership is the dominant narrative. New ownership often leads to shifts in team dynamics, and head coach Ron Rivera will aim to make a lasting impression to solidify his position.
Breakout Player Alert: Logan Thomas is poised to have a stellar year. Given the tight end's significance in Bieniemy's offensive schemes, Thomas is expected to be a significant influencer in the Commanders' offensive plays.
After an overachievement at 8-8-1 in 2022, the Commanders face the challenge of bettering that record. With a strong defense and potentially rejuvenated offense, they could emerge as the surprise package of the NFC East.