2021 NFL: NFC East Division Preview

by Sean Murphy

The Dallas Cowboys are favored to win the NFC East Division but there's plenty to be decided in a division that has struggled to produce winning football teams in recent years. Here's a quick look at what to expect from all four squads entering the 2021 campaign.

Odds to win (courtesy of BetOnline)

Dallas Cowboys +160
Washington Football Team +185
New York Giants +325
Philadelphia Eagles +625

Dallas Cowboys

All indications are that QB Dak Prescott is healthy and ready to start the season under center for the Cowboys. The sky is the limit for the Dallas offense with WR CeeDee Lamb well-positioned to ascend to superstar status this season. Of course, Lamb is only a part of an offense that is loaded at all of the skill positions but will have to deal with absences on the offensively line right out of the gate (due to injury and Covid protocols). The hope is that first round draft pick Micah Parsons can solidify a defense that has been porous at best in recent seasons. Dallas' schedule is ranked by most as the second-weakest in the entire NFL. The Cowboys will appear in at least five primetime games, including the Week 1 opener against the defending champion Bucs in Tampa.

Washington Football Team

Is journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to answer for an offense that has plodded along for years now? That's the hope and there's reason to believe he can lift this offense that includes a couple of big-time playmakers in RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin but not much else. If TE Logan Thomas can stay healthy there's reason to believe he can be Fitzpatrick's security blanket, but that's a big if. Defensively, Washington should once again be tough with Chase Young ready to terrorize opposing quarterbacks in his sophomore season. Washington's schedule includes games against six playoff teams from last season. WFT does draw a favorable start to the campaign with consecutive (winnable) home games against the Chargers and Giants to open things up.

New York Giants


The Giants hopes ride on the legs of RB Saquon Barkley as he attempts to make it back to full strength after a devastating season-ending injury early in 2020. The offensive line remains a question mark. If they can give QB Daniel Jones enough time in the pocket, this offense could turn out to be a dynamic unit. If Jones is running for his life and Barkley struggles to find holes to run through, it could be another long season in New Jersey. The defense is mediocre at best and will have a hard time containing some of the league's better offenses. The good news is, the Giants draw the Broncos and Washington Football Team in the first two weeks of the season, giving the defense an opportunity to settle in before facing an explosive Falcons offense in Week 3.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles probably have the widest range of possible outcomes of any team in the NFC East. Is Jalen Hurts the answer at quarterback? Can he even hold onto the starting job with Gardner Minshew being brought in via trade in August? There are so many promising pieces in the Eagles offense but not a lot of proven talent. Philadelphia's defense just hasn't been good enough in recent years and downright awful in the secondary at times. Injuries have certainly played a factor but that's part of football and something Philadelphia needs to figure out a way to overcome. The Eagles did little in the offseason to rectify their defensive weaknesses which means it could be another long year in Philly. Both the offense and defense will need to ramp up in a hurry with a sneaky-tough season-opening matchup against the Falcons on tap in Week 1. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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