NFC East Preview: No clear favourite but some exciting rookie talent

No team has repeated a winning season since 2004, so don't expect the Redskins to have it easy this year

BY Robbie Dunne 20:31 Saturday 3 September 2016, 20:31 3 Sep 2016

With the NFL pre-season well underway and the real action about to begin, we break down each division in the NFL to highlight what to what to watch out for, who to avoid in your Fantasy Football draft, and make one bold prediction which will surely come back to bite us.

NFC East in five words:

Who wants it the most?

Team under the most pressure

This division is a roll of the dice. But if we were to say there was pressure on anyone, we would have to suggest the Dallas Cowboys, given the fact that there has been so much said of the two rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott during the preseason.

They have the best offensive line in football, and Jason Garrett has been on the edge of a cliff before during his tenure with the Cowboys. He didn't fall on previous occasions, but if they have a bad start and the franchise possibly moving in another direction with Prescott under center next season, we might see a new management staff coming through in 2017.

Storyline to keep an eye on

How will Dak Prescott do in place of Tony Romo? Cast your memory back to 2001 when Drew Bledsoe went down in Week 2 of the regular season and some guy called Tom Brady stepped in to lead the New England Patriots to an 11-3 record. Brady remained the Patriots starter even when Bledsoe was cleared to play....and the rest, as they say, is history.

It would not be wise to suggest Prescott is the next Brady (they're not even similar in their style) but if Prescott can manage to get the Cowboys through the first 10 weeks with eight or nine wins, Garrett has a big decision on his hands. 

Prescott is the only rookie quarterback who will start in Week 1, and could be the pick of the litter when all the shouting has been done.

Bold prediction

The Giants win the division under new head coach Ben McAdoo with the help of a returning Victor Cruz. They have not been top of the pile since 2011 when they won the Super Bowl, and Cruz has not played in two years, but when he was good, all that time ago, he was really good! 

They have really improved their defensive line and will be familiar with McAdoo's style, given he was coach under Tom Coughlin, but his hiring as the main man means they will be given a breath of fresh air. In a division that has no outright favourite, the Giants could well go on a run under McAdoo and Manning and not look back.

Best rookie in the division

Ezekiel Elliott was picked fourth overall by the Dallas Cowboys and will be relied on heavily early on as the team looks to ease Prescott into life as an NFL starter. He is fast, strong and elusive and will be very exciting to watch behind an excellent offensive line.

Fantasy do's and don'ts

Don't draft Dak Prescott - Pre-season is one thing, but we will give him a few weeks before declaring him the saviour of the franchise.

Do pick Odell Becham - No wait, that's too obvious. Pick Victor Cruz as a sleeper because, as we said, he is really, really good when he is healthy.

Don't pick Chase Daniel - The Eagles are undergoing a rebuild and just because they got rid of Sam Bradford does not mean they have faith in Daniel.

Do pick Jordan Matthews - He is the only established player in the Eagles' corps. Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham will do battle for the rest of the targets, but Matthews should be Chase Daniel's go-to guy.

You can read the rest of our other divisional previews below: 

AFC North

AFC South

AFC East

AFC West

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week