2022 NFC East Preview

September 6, 2022

Getty Images/Scott Taetsch

For the overall 2022 NFL Preview click here, and see the links below for the rest of the previews.

AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West

NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

Overview | Playoffs | Awards

Eagles 12-5

Philadelphia, somewhat quietly, has stacked up a roster that has them tempting the fates by again proclaiming themselves a “Dream Team,” like Vince Young infamously did more than a decade ago.

The success of this season relies on the development of quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Eagles traded for A.J. Brown, all but ensuring the end of the league’s longest drought without a 1,000-yard receiver. Jason Kelce came back to be the linchpin for a solid, veteran offensive line. Last week, Trey Sermon basically fell in their laps. There’s no reason this offense should be anything less than consistently productive, if not dynamic.

The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat champion since Philadelphia’s own run of four straight division titles from 2000-04. If the Eagles can overcome their schedule — the five short weeks are tied for the most in the league this season — and the James Bradberry acquisition helps improve 2021’s middle-of-the-road pass defense, count on Philly keeping the title for at least another year.

Cowboys 11-6

The team known by the silver star is trying to have a golden year.

The facts say it’s unlikely.

The days of Dallas having a dominant offensive line are long gone, especially while Tyron Smith is on the shelf for much of the season. Every receiver not named CeeDee Lamb is a huge question mark. A defense that relied so heavily on takeaways last year now has to be better than their 2021 ranking of 19th in total defense.

Plus, the Cowboys under Mike McCarthy have consistently beaten themselves, committing an NFL-worst 266 penalties over the last two seasons. Their first-round pick this year, Tyler Smith, was a penalty machine at Tulsa, with 16 flags (12 for holding) in 12 games. Nice fit.

So even if they have “more will than skill,” there’s no reason to abstain from my usual process with Dallas: Pick how many wins they should get and subtract two, since they inevitably undermine their own best efforts to get the “gloryhole” their owner so desires.

Washington 7-10

Could the 33rd time be the charm?

Carson Wentz is Washington’s 33rd starting QB since the franchise won Super Bowl XXVI 30 years ago — and maybe the worst bet yet.

When Wentz starts Week 1, he’ll become the first quarterback since 1950 (when the records were first tracked) to start on opening weekend for three different teams in three years before turning 30. That’s not a stat typically affixed to a franchise quarterback capable of elevating a team to championship heights.

That said, he’s got more weapons around him than he’s ever enjoyed. The now highly-paid Terry McLaurin is legit superstar if he ever gets paired with a legit passer, and he headlines a sneaky deep receiving corps playing with an underrated offensive line. If Wentz can’t get it done now, he never will.

I’m betting he won’t. Washington acts like Wentz’s four years of inconsistency is an outlier following his near-MVP 2017 season, though it’s obvious the opposite is true. And while I have him going 2-1 in his “revenge” games against the two teams that quit on him, he’s nowhere near good enough to elevate the Commanders offense enough to compensate for an underachieving defense likely to play the first half of the season without a healthy Chase Young.

Giants 6-11

New York should be thanking their rivals in Washington, because if it wasn’t for Dan Snyder’s prolific failings as an owner, there would be a lot more focus on how the Maras are running the Giants into the ground.

As is far too common in Gotham, Big Blue is starting over at general manager and head coach, poaching Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, respectively, from their neighbors to the west in Buffalo.

Amid all this change, the 2022 season is dedicated to getting a final verdict on their most important holdover: QB Daniel Jones. Half the reason Daboll is in New York is to try his hand at unlocking the 2019 sixth overall pick. Good luck with that playing behind a perennially bad offensive line. The Giants’ only hope is for Saquon Barkley to silence his critics by returning to form and finally getting through a season healthy.

Furthermore, I question whether the Giants made the right move signing Tyrod Taylor to back up Jones, rather than Mitchell Trubisky, who played last year in Buffalo under Daboll and has more upside. I guess the argument is that Taylor is a better mentor for Jones, who is notorious for turning the ball over more than anyone in the league, while Taylor’s career interception percentage (1.6%) is tied with Patrick Mahomes for second-best in NFL history.

Big Blue has big questions on defense as well. This year’s No. 5 overall pick, Kayvon Thibodeaux, is sidelined to start the season. They have yet to get Thibodeaux and fellow young pass rusher Azeez Ojulari on the field at the same time and they’ve overhauled its secondary. Count on some growing pains on that side of the ball.

For the Giants, 2022 is the start of a painful rebuild that historically doesn’t get a chance to play out entirely.

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Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on WTOP.com.

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