The NFL is around the corner and, in recent years, the NFC East has been the butt of the NFL’s jokes. However, the Eagles are turning around, the Cowboys were hot last year, the Commanders might be turning around and the Giants are not too far off from getting back on track. Check out where your favorite teams landed last season and how they might do in 2022.
New York Giants
The New York Giants have a medium-sized road ahead of them on the path to being a playoff contending team.
Earlier in the season, the Giants faced the New Orleans Saints and pulled out a win in overtime, 27-21. Quarterback Daniel Jones had 28 completions for 402 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. This game is an example of how a team, like the Giants, did more with less. They had ten less minutes with the ball, and still managed to put up great stats.
Though the defense, in my opinion, slacked in this game, the offense made up for it and helped them win the game. It’s fair to say that this is a common theme throughout the NFC East where the offense and defense flip-flop, but when the two sides actually come together, then you have a dominating team.
There are times when a team just doesn’t show up, and it can really be a worse loss because of it. A week before the season closer, the Giants played the Chicago Bears, who won the game, 29-3.
This was not a good day for the Giants as they had -6 in passing yards which means they had 155 total yards. Quarterback Mike Glennon threw 4-of-11 for 24 yards and two interceptions, a rough showing for the fill-in quarterback. Running back Saquon Barkley put in work with 21 carries for 102 yards, but not enough to help the team out. The Giants had only a few seconds less with the ball than the Bears, but the sacks and interceptions added up.
This offseason, the Giants have drafted exceptional talent as well as signed FAs to their team that could help turn things around in 2022. If you want to turn around a team and rebuild them, I think it starts at the top, and so do the Giants. The Giants added General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll to the organization. The team also added several veterans for depth, so we’ll have to see how these decisions play out next season.
Key Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 5: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon.
- Round 1, Pick 7: OT Evan Neal, Alabama.
- Round 2, Pick 43: WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky.
Last season was pretty rough for the Commanders, but they also had glimmers of a good team. Much like the Giants, I do not think the Commanders are too far off from being a contending team (minus the name.)
The Commanders didn’t have any devastating losses to any teams last season, but one game I felt they really lacked going into the second half was their Tuesday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles. For context, the Commanders had pretty much all of their team on the COVID-19 reserve list, so the game got pushed to Tuesday night to try to salvage the team. For a team that was pretty much secondary against the Eagles starting offensive and defensive, they were doing pretty good. The team took a lead early on, which showed that they do have a promising secondary in case anyone should go down.
However, right before the half, the Eagles took that momentum (maybe the rain woke them up) and ran with it to win the game, 27-17. It’s a very basic thought to have, but you NEVER led up on a game, especially if you’re winning comfortably. This is how the Eagles were able to gain some traction and take the lead and never look back. On the Eagles’ end, because of the COVID situation, the team should have made moves earlier to take the lead, so for the Commanders to do that early, that’s pretty good.
A few weeks earlier, the Commanders really looked like a different team. (because they were, but in a metaphorical sense, too.) They took on and won against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the only team in the NFC East to do so, 29-19. The Commanders practically did everything right, including having a strong defense in that game. By keeping the ball away from Bucs quarterback Tom Brady for a whole 19 more minutes, that was less time he had a chance to score. Part of that success counted on the two interceptions that Brady threw in the game. Instead, Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw 26-of-32 for 256 yards and one touchdown.
It’s safe to say the biggest offseason moves to happen for the Commanders is the recent extension for wide receiver, Terry McLaurin and the signing of the quarterback who will once again return to the NFC East, Carson Wentz.
Some of the offseason moves that the Commanders made are interesting. To be honest, I want to see them succeed next season. I want to see them fight for the NFC East title. I don’t know how Wentz will do, but I’m confident in Coach Rivera’s leadership ability to put the team in a good position to win.
Key Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 16: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State.
- Round 2, Pick 47: DL Phidarian Mathis, Alabama.
- Round 3, Pick 98: RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama.
The Dallas Cowboys were on a hot streak, and as much as it pains me to say it, they really did play good football for a large part of the season. They not only clinched but swept the NFC East, and pretty much did everything right in terms of dominant football.
It was hard to pick just one time where the Cowboys were dominant this season, but one particular game was against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cowboys absolutely won this game, 43-3. Everything went well for Dem Boyz, including quarterback Dak Prescott, who went 24-of-31 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys offense was just all over the place (in a good way) and totaled 431 yards. The defense wasn’t too spectacular, with Micah Parsons really being the dominating factor this past season, but the defense still managed to hold the Cardinals to 214 yards. What was really effective for the Cowboys was creating that pressure to make the Cards throw an uncharacteristic three interceptions and allow two sacks.
It wasn’t always a great day for the Cowboys, especially when they faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs and lost, 19-9.
Though the Cowboys had about a minute less with the ball, the Chiefs defense took advantage and created the same pressure that the Cowboys were known for all last season. The Cowboys allowed five sacks, two interceptions and one fumble lost. They were also held to only 276 total yards. Though the Chiefs are one of the “good teams” in the NFL, if the Cowboys want to contend for another Super Bowl, they’re going to have to work to beat some of these better teams, too.
They have their work cut out for them, mentioned by Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice Eagles writer. The wide receivers are no longer threateningly good as the team lost some key offensive pieces. They’re fastly approaching a rebuild that no one wants to talk about. To add salt to injury, they also have some tough opponents again this year. I don’t think these issues are going to fully expose the Cowboys as a bad team but I do want to see these issues fixed before or early on in the season.
Key Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 24: OT Tyler Smith, Tulsa.
- Round 2, Pick 56: DE Sam Williams, Ole Miss.
- Round 3, Pick 88: WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama.
The Philadelphia Eagles. What a season. It was a season of firsts with a new head coach, practically still new quarterback and three first round picks. This was a team that was supposed to only get four wins. It was really frustrating to watch this team for half of the season for one specific reason: they refused to run the ball. Their quarterback, Jalen Hurts was the top rusher. Even though they had running backs who do the exact same thing.
The discussion about what took the team so long to run is a whole separate conversation, but I have a core memory of one Eagles loss that I need to touch on. Let me set the scene for you.
October 24, 2021. I broke my fibula. I had to be rushed to the ER and sat for two hours before (and into) the game. When I got home with my shiny new boot and sweet pair of crutches, I began watching the atrocity that was the Eagles versus the Raiders, who won, 33-22. I specifically remember saying, “I know I broke my fibula, but there was nothing more painful than watching that Eagles-Raiders game,” and it was true.
By the second quarter, the Raiders were up by two touchdowns and a field goal. They just kept adding on into the third quarter and topped off their win with a field goal in the fourth. The Eagles came scrambling back in the fourth to try to win, but they had three other quarters they could have done that in. The team fumbled the ball, allowed sacks and their quarterback accounted for less than half of the rushing yards. It was a hot mess. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was spot on throwing 31-of-34 for 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It was a common theme for the opposing quarterbacks to have great numbers throughout the season.
Not all hope was lost, however, as the team came back together to beat the Denver Broncos, 30-13, just a few weeks later. By now, the team established a little more of a run game, but it was still subpar. The team put up 216 rushing yards while only holding the Broncos to 96. Because the Eagles came out hot in the first half, it set the tone for them to continue that heat throughout the game. Jordan Howard, Eagles running back, was the highest rusher with 83 yards in 12 carries. Besides penalties, any mistakes the Eagles made throughout the season thus far were getting cleaned up, a great sign for a rebuilding team.
Howie Roseman, Eagles general manager, has had one heck of an offseason. He brought in Temple’s own Haason Reddick to go along nicely with rookie Nakobe Dean, both linebackers. Roseman also traded a first round pick in the draft to bring in an incredible wide receiver from the Titans, AJ Brown. They also brought in Olympic track-and-field star, Devon Allen, who’s having his own incredible sports season before suiting up in the midnight green. The Eagles got creative in the offseason, but if all goes as planned and they can still attack some of the penalty and run game issue they had last season, then the team could really return to their “underdog” status next season.
Key Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 13: DT Jordan Davis, Georgia.
- Round 2, Pick 51: C Cam Jurgens, Nebraska.
- Round 3, Pick 83: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia.
Who is winning the division? It’s a serious toss up between the Eagles and Cowboys if they get their stuff together.
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