This season, the Washington Football Team seeks to become the first team to repeat as winners of the NFC East since 2004. This is a tall task with each team in the division making significant moves in the off-season. However, with Washington’s key off-season additions and the unpredictable nature of the NFC East, the Washington Football Team is in an excellent position to defend their crown.
Why the Washington Football Team Will Win the NFC East
An Offensive Upgrade
In 2020, Washington ranked near the bottom of the league in total yards per game on offense, averaging 317.3 yards per game. The team looked to address this in the off-season by signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick along with wide receivers Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries. Pairing these additions alongside third-year wide receiver Terry McLaurin and tight end Logan Thomas will round out a passing attack averaging 216.6 passing yards per game last year.
Washington should compete with the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs in terms of ball control on offense. Second-year running back Antonio Gibson is a dual threat out of the backfield. He hopes to help the offensive line improve on last season’s 100.7 rushing yards per game.
The Unpredictable Nature of the NFC East
Last season, the NFC East was the only division featuring a division winner with a losing record. The division referred to by some as the NFC ‘Least’ was a combined 23-30-1 last season. This was the lowest combined win total for any division in the league.
The Dallas Cowboys
With the return of Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys are in contention for the NFC East crown. Prescott was admittedly impressive in his performance against the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, Ezekiel Elliott was not. The Cowboys running back rushed for 33 yards on 11 carries while Prescott threw for 403 yards on 58 passing attempts. As the year goes on, the Cowboys cannot rely solely on Prescott’s arm. If the lack of production in the running game continues, it will ultimately spell doom for the Cowboys.
The New York Giants
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley have not become the dynamic duo the Giants hoped they would. Jones has shown less than a handful of glimpses of why he was drafted sixth overall in 2019. He has a career record of 8-18 as a starter. Barkley’s 2020 campaign was cut short with a season-ending knee injury and he is listed as questionable for Week 1. With the addition of pass catchers like Kenny Golladay, John Ross, and tight end Kyle Rudolph, the Giants have more offensive firepower than they have in years. That said, the play of Jones and Barkley will determine whether or not Joe Judge’s team can be a true contender in the NFC East.
The Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are the last NFC East team to repeat as division champs. The Eagles dominated the division in the early 2000s, winning the division four consecutive years (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004). In 2021, the Eagles look to first-year head coach Nick Sirianni and second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts to bounce back from a 4-11-1, last-place finish in the division last season. The verdict is still out on how effective Hurts can prove as an NFL passer. In relief of Carson Wentz, Hurts went 1-3 as a starter, completing only 52 percent of his passes. After trading Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in the off-season, the Eagles will fly or fall with Hurts under center.
The Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles all have major questions to answer at the start of the season. Washington addressed their off-season needs on offense and even bolstered an already formidable defense. Their NFC East opponents still having questions to answer paves the way for the Washington Football Team to repeat as NFC East Champions.
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