Pickwatch 2021 NFC East Predictions
How will the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Football Team fair in 2021?
Before the start of the NFL season, we’re going to go division-by-division for some more in-depth looks at the teams we previously called shots on in our preseason power rankings.
Washington Football Team (11-6)
Ranked eighth in my preseason power rankings, I am clearly bullish on Football Team—and not just for getting to call it Football Team. Winners of the NFC (L)East in 2020 with a 7-9 record, they also famously gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as much of a test as anyone in their 31-23 playoff loss.
Adding linebacker Jamin Davis and cornerback Benjamin St-Juste via the draft as well as William Jackson III in free agency puts some real playmakers behind an insanely talented front four. The offense won’t need to win games of its own accord, but simply stay out of the way. They have more than enough talent to do so, and the addition of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will make this team less one-dimensional.
Dallas Cowboys (10-7)
Ranked only two spots lower in my initial power rankings than WFT, the Cowboys also boast one of the “most-improved” rosters in 2021, and it’s almost solely because QB Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line is healthy. Throw in a revamped defense under new Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn, and things are looking up for America’s Team.
The Cowboys spent their first six draft picks on that defense, ranked fifth-worst in the NFL last season, allowing 29.6 points per game. They also added a trio of talented safeties in Damontae Kazee, Malik Hooker and Keanu Neal (who has transitioned to linebacker), which will impact both how teams game plan for Dallas and also how wide receivers limp out of the locker room after the game.
READ MORE: 2021 NFL Season Pickwatch Predictions
New York Giants (7-10)
Winners of only six games last year, I have the Giants as slightly improved this season, but it is unlikely to make too big of a dent in their win-loss record. Despite the addition of wide receiver Kenny Golladay and the return of RB Saquon Barkley, this is still very much a team that will be dependent on the unproven Daniel Jones at QB and a troubling lack of talent on the offensive line in front of him.
How can the G-Men prove me wrong and overperform this third-place finish? Jones has to do a whole lot better than he’s done in his young career (and, frankly, better than many including myself ever felt he could do) and the defense needs to equal last season’s Top 10 finish and not regress in any way.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-13)
Of all the teams near the bottom of my initial power rankings, the Eagles are one of the teams that I absolutely believe could prove me wrong. They have one of the easiest schedules heading into 2021 (although, those rankings are just offseason barometers) and they have a solid amount of talent that could easily overperform to the tune of 4-5 extra wins over the course of the season and put them in the playoff hunt.
QB Jalen Hurts is incredibly unproven and there’s a reason he fell all the way to pick 53 in the second round. His decision making has always been problematic from the pocket and while he often won with his feet at the collegiate level, those runs are going to punish him in the NFL. Look for the Eagles to lean on their run game and quick pass game, but in a division that is tougher this season, it won’t be enough.