Neil Reynolds' Division Preview - NFC East

be an air of familiarity with the same two-team fight for supremacy between Philadelphia and Dallas. Those clubs have alternated division titles over the past four years and are a good place to start when assessing the probable winner this time around.

Neil's Predicted Finish

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • New York Giants
  • Washington

DALLAS COWBOYS

State of the Franchise

A new era kicks off in Dallas with Mike McCarthy taking over from the fired Jason Garrett. Don't expect the former Super Bowl winner in Green Bay to be given time to adjust to life in Texas. Jerry Jones is a demanding owner who wants to win now given that 24 long and sometimes-painful seasons have passed since Dallas last won a Super Bowl. America's Team has the talent to be in the mix in 2020.

Star Man

Dallas are loaded on the league's top-ranked offense with Dak Prescott at quarterback, Ezekiel Elliott at running back and Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup at receiver, but All-Pro guard Zack Martin is the most dominant of the lot and a vital cog.

Secret Superstar

With Byron Jones moving to Miami, a hole in Dallas' secondary will need to be filled. And the versatile Jourdan Lewis (51 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions last year) could be just the man for the task.

By the Numbers

10… Dak Prescott threw 10 touchdown passes when under pressure in 2019 – most of any NFL QB.

21.4… Rookie CeeDee Lamb led all of college football in 2019 with an average of 21.4 yards per catch. He was also second in college football with 26 missed tackles forced.

43… Prescott's receivers dropped 43 passes in 2019 – the most in the NFL.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

State of the Franchise

Injuries and adversity seem to hit this team hard every year and while they are gritty and resilient, the Eagles would rather not have to overcome such bumps in the road every season. Injuries have hit this team hard in the preseason, particularly on the offensive line, but Carson Wentz is an upper-echelon quarterback and Doug Pederson an excellent coach. Those two alone make the Eagles division contenders.

Star Man

With a depleted receiving corps at the back end of 2019, Carson Wentz put the entire team on his back and played like the elite quarterback he is. Strong-armed and mobile, Wentz is the complete package when on top form.

Secret Superstar

After a couple of stop-start seasons in which he flashed potential, look for defensive end Derek Barnett to shine in 2020. He certainly should have an opportunity given how loaded the Eagles are on the D-line.

By the Numbers

8… Carson Wentz has played a total of eight playoff snaps in his four-year NFL career.

47… Eagles cornerbacks have allowed 47 TD passes over the past three seasons (most in the NFL), hence the offseason additions of Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman.

100.8… Wentz posted a QB rating of 100.8 over the final four games of 2019, throwing seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

NEW YORK GIANTS

State of the Franchise

It feels like a long way back to competitiveness for the Giants as they have won just 12 games in the past three years. But there are some bright spots worth building around in quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram. The defense has a lot of catching up to do and this will not be a playoff season in the Big Apple. But some progress would feel good heading towards 2021.

Star Man

Saquon Barkley's ankle injury meant he could not match his 2,028 yards from scrimmage in 2018. But the explosive back still topped 1,400 yards and was at his very best when healthy at the end of the year.

Secret Superstar

New York's offense could be sneaky good in 2020 if Darius Slayton continues to emerge at receiver. He led the Giants with 740 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 and averaged 15.4 yards per catch.

By the Numbers

20… Saquon Barkley has topped 100 yards from scrimmage in 20 games over the past two seasons (second-most in the NFL).

23… Daniel Jones turned the ball over 23 times as a rookie (he fumbled 18 times and lost 11). The turnover total was the second-highest in the NFL.

24… But Jones did throw for 24 touchdowns – a rookie record for the Giants.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

State of the Franchise

It has been a tumultuous offseason in Washington and the job of restoring on-field order falls upon the tried-and-tested shoulders of Ron Rivera. But even the newly-appointed head coach has challenges of his own following an August diagnosis of skin cancer that requires chemotherapy treatment early in the 2020 season. The only way is up in Washington.

Star Man

It took just one season for receiver Terry McLaurin to establish himself as the most important man on Washington's offense. Consistent and explosive, there is much more to come from this blossoming star.

Secret Superstar

Jonathan Allen recorded six sacks on a very good defensive line last season. That unit is stacked in 2020 following the first-round selection of Chase Young. That should open up even more opportunities for Allen.

By the Numbers

16 ½… Rookie defensive end Chase Young led all of college football with 16 ½ sacks at Ohio State last term.

31.9… Second-year QB Dwayne Haskins must improve on deep throws in 2020. He compiled an NFL-low passer rating of 31.9 on throws covering 20+ air yards last season.

50… Terry McLaurin saw 50 of his 58 catches in 2019 go for either a first down or a touchdown.

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