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  • Staff Report

NFC EAST 2021 AT A GLANCE

By MATT SANTOLERI



DE Chase Young will be a force again for Washington. Photo by Andy Lewis

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

2020 Record – 7-9 – First Place in NFC East

2021 Projected Record – 9-8 – Second Place NFC East

Key Losses – DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan (Eagles) CB Ronald Darby (Broncos) Ryan Anderson (Giants)

Key Additions – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins) WR Curtis Samuel (Panthers) WR Adam Humphries (Titans) CB William Jackson III (Bengals)

Key Rookies – LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky) OT Samuel Cosmi (Texas)

Washington really turned some heads last season on the defensive side of the ball for HC Ron Rivera and DC Jack Del Rio. Getting big contributions from the Defensive Rookie of the Year, DE Chase Young, and a cast of other 1sts rd. picks along their defensive line like DT Jonathan Allen, DT Daron Payne, and DE Montez Sweat, this unit was a Top 5 defense in the NFL in points allowed, per game and per play, yards allowed, per game and per play, and was the second stingiest defense in the red zone. The ceiling for this team once again rests on a veteran QB who is past their prime. Even with a first-class defense like they should be poised to have once again, it’s a lot of faith riding on the shoulders of 38-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick for me to see them repeating as NFC East winners, something that hasn’t happened since 2004.



A big key for Dallas will be the health of QB Dak Prescott. Photo by Andy Lewis

DALLAS COWBOYS

2020 Record – 6-10 – Second Place in NFC East

2021 Projected Record – 10-7 – First Place in NFC East

Key Losses – QB Andy Dalton (Bears) CB Chidobe Awuzie (Bengals) S Xavier Woods (Vikings)

Key Additions – S Keanu Neal (Falcons) S Damontae Kazee (Falcons) DE Tarell Basham (Jets)

Key Rookies – LB Micah Parsons (Penn State) CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky)

Dallas’s 2020 season went just about as poorly as one could have imagined under HC Mike McCarthy. After making the splashy draft pick of WR CeeDee Lamb in the 1st rd., the offense looked like a juggernaut on paper, but it all came crashing down when franchise QB Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture in his right ankle that held him out of the teams final 11 games. The hope is with a healthy Dak and new DC Dan Quinn, who coached the lauded “Legion of Boom” during Seattle’s Super Bowl runs, they can fix their defense that gave up just shy of 30 pts a game last season and get back to the nearly 33 pts a game the offense was averaging before Prescott went down.



Will RB Saquon Barkley bounce back to near 100 percent? Photo by Andy Lewis.

NEW YORK GIANTS

2020 Record – 6-10 – Third Place in NFC East

2021 Projected Record – 5-12 Fourth Place in NFC East

Key Losses – G Kevin Zeitler (Ravens) DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Vikings) RB Wayne Gallman (49ers)

Key Additions – WR Kenny Golladay (Lions) CB Adoree Jackson (Titans) TE Kyle Rudolph (Vikings)

Key Rookies – WR Kadarius Toney (Florida) OLB/DE Azeez Ojulari (Georgia)

For a team that lost their key playmaker in RB Saquon Barkley only two games into the season, I would have to say this team overachieved under first year HC Joe Judge compared to their expectations. The biggest reason I believe this team won’t find a way to build on this effort is limitations they face with their QB Daniel Jones who since joining the team in 2019 has shown more cause for concern then positive outlooks in solidifying the most important position on the field. Barkley is dynamic, the addition of a real WR 1 in Golladay and a speed threat in Toney will surely help, but for a team that deployed the 31st ranked offense last season and failed to adequately address a depleted o-line, its hard to see it getting that much better.



For good or bad, QB Jalen Hurts will lead the Eagles in 2021. Photo by Andy Lewis

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

2020 Record – 4-11-1 – Fourth Place in NFC East

2021 Projected Record – 7-10 – 3rd Place in NFC East

Key Losses – QB Carson Wentz (Colts) DT Malik Jackson (Browns) S/CB Jalen Mills (Patriots) WR Desean Jackson (Rams)

Key Additions – S Anthony Harris (Vikings) LB Eric Wilson (Vikings) DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan (Football Team)

Key Rookies – WR DeVonta Smith (Alabama) OL Landon Dickerson (Alabama)

The Eagles 2020 season was one that was filled with drama and turmoil within the locker room and within the fanbase. After a shockingly disappointing season, the franchise has hit the reset button firing SB winning HC Doug Pederson, allowing DC Jim Schwartz to walk away, and trading who was thought to be the franchise QB for years to come, Carson Wentz. Now first time HC Nick Sirianni will try to build around second year QB Jalen Hurts in an attempt to kickstart this re-build process. The addition of WR DeVonta Smith, who played with Hurts at Alabama during his freshman season, and the returning players on the offensive and defensive lines that were banged up last year, gives me some optimistic confidence that things will be better in 2021. Not quite competing for a championship, let alone the division better, but a step in that general direction that will have fans chomping at the bit for 2022.










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