In the eyes of most NFL analysts, beat writers, and casual internet bloggers very much like myself, the NFC East is going to boil down to a two-way race for first place. However, very much unlike me, I don’t think the two teams embroiled for the top spot will be the Redskins and the Cowboys.
That’s because the New York Giants will win the NFC East in 2016. Let me explain why.
The Giants offense wasn’t much of an issue last year, they scored more points than anyone else in the NFC East. Eli Manning, while inconsistent at times, is still an asset under center. With a lack of a huge asset at halfback behind him, Eli will need to utilize his wideouts this year if the Giants want to continue to put points on the board. And utilize them he will. With a player like Odell Beckham Jr lining up at wideout, you don’t really need a great quarterback, just someone who can throw the ball in the general vicinity of Odell, who will catch it. And the wideout corps only got stronger over the offseason with the acquisition of rookie Sterling Shepard, a second round pick.
The Giants did, however, struggle on the defensive side of the ball, allowing the most points of anyone in the division. However, the first round pick and very New York Giants-esque named Eli Apple could help some of those problems. Apple has reportedly looked great in camp so far and, while some said taking the Ohio State product at number 10 was a stretch, his size and potential have left a good impression on most.
Darian Thompson, a safety taken in the third round is quickly catching the eyes of the league, as he’s edged out Collins for a starting spot according to initial depth charts. Like Apple, Thompson has reportedly looked great in camp thus far and is in a great position to have a huge impact on the team.
The last, and potentially the most convincing portion of the Giants’ NFC East Championship title quest is the lack of competition. The Eagles, first and foremost, are not a huge concern. They’ve lost more players than they’ve gained over the offseason, and aren’t considered a threat to win the title.
Personally, I’m not convinced that Kirk Cousins has what it takes to succeed past the flashes of brilliance he showed last season. The Redskins are also damned by the fact that no team has repeated as NFC East champ since 2004. The Cowboys, however, are a different story, and are a legitimate contender for the title. However, Dallas’ chances of taking the division could be quickly derailed if Tony Romo’s glass bones shatter at any point in the season.