2023 NFL Season Preview: NFC East Edition

With the NFL season kicking off in 14 days, we thought it was time to release our predictions for the season. We will be going at each other in alternating fashion, beginning with Mohamed. To make this easier to digest, we will only be covering the NFC East so we don’t put too much on your plate. The NFC South and West are coming, don’t worry.

REMINDER: Everything we say in this article is FACTS. You can’t argue it, we can only argue with each other.

Dallas Cowboys

Mohamed: 1st. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the 2023 NFC East Champions. The Cowboys finished second in the division last season with a 12-5 record while Dak Prescott missed six games. The team’s strength from last season will get stronger with most of the defense returning, the addition of Stephon Gilmore and most importantly defensive coordinator Dan Quinn returning, after many expected him to depart for a head coaching job. I also expect the offense to be more balanced and less turnover prone. Yes. The offense has to be less turnover prone. Not Dak. The narrative that began last season when Prescott had his career high in interceptions with 15, is that he is all of a sudden a turnover machine. This is largely misguided and quite frankly an uninformed opinion. While he was not blameless in some of his interceptions, a number of them were also due to misunderstanding between him and his receivers and drops. With Tony Pollard being RB1 and the addition of Brandin Cooks, I expect the offense to compliment their defense very well.

Hayden: 2nd. When it comes to sustained success, the Cowboys are one of the greatest teams of all time. But let’s be real, no matter how scary the Cowboys may seem, they can never close the deal. They are a very talented team that can and will be held back from Super Bowl contention by their quarterback and coaching. They would finish first in most divisions, but not this one when the Eagles are what they are.

Philadelphia Eagles

Mohamed: 2nd. The Eagles had a 14-3 record and cruised their way to the Super Bowl last season. While I don’t expect them to have a “Super Bowl hangover”, I don’t think they’ll be quite as dominant in the regular season. I believe a large part of their outstanding record last season had to do with the quality of quarterbacks they faced. This year they have a much tougher list of QBs they have to face. I also think the loss of offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to the Colts is going to play a role in the offense taking a slight step back.  

Hayden: 1st. Representing the NFC in the Super Bowl last season, the Eagles broke out of their shell and proved their dominance. And what did they do this offseason? Get better. RB Miles Sanders, OC Shane Steichen and DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson headline the Eagles’ losses, but none of their absences should be crippling to their contending status. Being able to snag Jalen Carter at 9 in the draft should not be allowed, by the way. Like, why. It remains to be seen how Jalen Hurts will perform without Steichen, but I have confidence that he will be able to stay on a similar level this year. 

Washington Commanders

Mohamed: 4th. This is a no brainer for me. While I think they have some exciting players on both offense and defense, I can’t put the Commanders any higher than fourth with Sam Howell as their starter. I believe the hiring of new OC Eric Bieniemy is a good one but I don’t think he’ll work magic with Howell. I also think that this will be Ron Rivera’s last year as head coach as they have finally gotten new ownership and usually new owners like getting in new guys to lead their team.  

Hayden: 4th. Mohamed and I agree on this one. While the Commanders are an exciting team with a potential surprise at quarterback, they are just too young and too unproven for me to put them above three teams that made the playoffs in 2022. QB Sam Howell, in my opinion, should be an average starter in his first year that will make a lot of highlight plays, but also make a lot of costly mistakes. On the defensive end, their defensive line will continue to be the strength of the team, making it easier on their weaker linebacker core and solid secondary. They will have some fight in them, and they are not the Washington teams of the past. They are a sleeper team to make the playoffs, but this division is just loaded.

New York Giants

Mohamed: 3rd. The Giants are going to have reality hit them square in the face this season. They gave Daniel Jones a four-year, $160 million dollar contract this off-season. I believe this to be an unwise decision. There was a reason they didn’t give Jones the fifth-year option before last season. He didn’t impress his first three years prior to last season. Brian Daboll did a tremendous job getting Jones to play at a very good level last year, but that was primarily with him running the ball. I still think he has a lot to prove in the passing part of his game and while big off-season acquisition TE Darren Waller I think has the potential to help, I still don’t love their receiving core. 

Hayden: 3rd. The Giants piss me off. They should not have beaten the Vikings in the playoffs last year, and their talent on the roster is severely elevated by their coaching and team chemistry. However, that is not to say that they don’t have talent. IDL Dexter Lawrence broke out to become one of the league’s best, RB Saquon Barkley is another talent that truly elevated this offense and now TE Darren Waller is coming to town to take them to a new level. Notice how I didn’t say to a top-tier level. That would be because of their quarterback, Daniel Jones. “Danny Dimes” does not throw dimes, and his best games have come with great production on the ground. His role in this offense is very small, and personally, I think that his best year in his career was last year, and his new contract will start to put higher expectations on him, where he will crumble.

After our rankings, it is clear that the Cowboys and Eagles are the top two teams, while the Giants and Commanders will perform the battle of mid all year long. Stay tuned for the rest of the NFL coming soon. Skol. 

Header Photo: Look at this man’s smile. He knows they are either gonna win the Super Bowl or draft his replacement in the offseason and trade him to the Lions. (Mark J Terril/The Associated Press)

Write to Hayden Lee and Mohamed Warsame at hayden.lee@my.smsu.edu and mohamed.warsame@mnsu.edu

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