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NFC East: Each Team’s Path To A Division Title

The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2019 season as the reigning NFC East division champs. They were closely followed by the Eagles with nine wins. The division was rounded out with the Redskins and the Giants both failing to collect more than eight wins. Will history repeat itself or will a division known for revolving champions crown a new division winner in 2019? Read on as the writers from Overtime Heroics point out what gives each team in the NFC East the best chance to take the division.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have finished atop of the NFC East two of the last three seasons.  Yet once again, the Cowboys seem to be overshadowed by the Philadelphia Eagles who are the favorites to claim the division title for the 2019 season. With that being said, it seems fair due to the NFC East not having a repeat champion since the Eagles in 2004. Here’s a look at the reasons why the Cowboys will buck that trend and repeat as champions of the NFC East in 2019.

The Offensive Line and the Run Game:

The Cowboys’ offensive line is the best unit in the division and top 5 throughout the league. With the return of Travis Fredrick after a year of dealing with Guillain-Barre syndrome, the offensive line will be back to full-strength. Sporting three All-Pros, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Fredrick are arguably the best players at their respective positions. Dallas also has depth within the unit housing veterans such as Joe Looney and Cameron Fleming. Let’s not forget Connor Williams and Connor McGovern who were selected in back-to-back drafts.

The Rushing Champion:

Behind the “Great Wall of Dallas” sits last season’s NFL Rushing Champion, Ezekiel Elliot, and preseason sensation Tony Pollard. Gaining 2,001 all-purpose yards during the 2018 season, Elliott clinched his second rushing title in three seasons. Jumping to 2019, Elliott is in the midst of a holdout hoping to be awarded a new contract for his contributions and workload over the last 3 seasons. Zeke has amassed the most carried and yards per game since entering the league in 2016 which led the Cowboys to draft Tony Pollard in the 4th round from the University of Memphis. Through 2 preseason games, Pollard has 58 rushing yards on 9 attempts. Boasting a healthy 6.2 yards per carry. Whether it be Zeke or Pollard, Dallas’ offense should be able to wear defenses down with their rushing attack. 

Strong Defense Led by their Front-Seven:

In recent years Dallas has been known for their over-powering offensive line. However, their defensive front-seven has seen a boost with the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch who fly to the ball and wreak havoc sideline-to-sideline. DeMarcus Lawrence has become one of the league’s premier pass rushers accumulating 25 sacks over the past two seasons. For his efforts “Tank” was rewarded handsomely with a five-year deal worth $105 million with $65 million guaranteed. 

As excellent as Lawrence has been, every great pass rusher needs a little help from time to time. With the loss of David Irving and indefinite suspension of Randy Gregory, this became an area of concern for Dallas this offseason. Jerry and Stephen responded by trading for Pro Bowler Robert Quinn who will miss the first 2 games due to suspension. Followed up with the selection of Trysten Hill in the 2019 draft to pair with Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods. Watch out for this unit because the Defense in Dallas is no longer a weakness.

For more on the NFL and fantasy football check out the Forums Page on Overtime Heroics and follow me on twitter.

By: Cassidy Cook (@FootballRaw)

New York Giants

Following two strong drafts, an off-season of acquiring game-changing talent, and entering year two under Shurmur and Bettcher, the Giants are looking like a much-improved team. Gone are the days of wedding proposals to kicking nets, distracting interviews, and a fractured team mentality. The Giants are made up of hungry players ready to shock the league. 


The biggest changes to the offense center around the offensive line. After multiple seasons of porous blocking, the Giants will field an improved group for the upcoming season. The Giants started to shore up their offensive line by signing left tackle Nate Solder during free agency in 2018. They continued by using their second-round draft pick in 2018 on Will Hernandez, a mauler of a left guard. In the past off-season, free-agent Mike Remmers was signed to play right tackle and the Giants traded for highly talented right guard Kevin Zeitler.

Add in depth players like Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, and Chad Slade and the Giants have enviable depth across the board. Throughout the past two seasons, the Giants have completely overhauled their offensive line into a competent group with loads of potential. The hog mollies that Gettleman has collected should provide Eli Manning with a clean pocket and open up running lanes.

The Barkley Affect:

The Giants also happen to have one of the best running backs in the league in Saquon Barkley. In his rookie year, he put the league on notice by amassing over 2,000 yards from scrimmage while scoring 15 touchdowns. His second year should be even better as he becomes the focal point of the Giants offense. In his rookie year, he was effective on the ground and through the air. After the trade of Odell Beckham to the Browns, Barkley should be utilized more often as a true downfield threat in the passing game. He has MVP skills and should easily outperform his rookie year.

Offensive Weapons:

To go along with Barkley and an improved offensive line, the Giants have a plethora of skill position players to cause problems for opposing defenses. Evan Engram enters 2019 healthy and looks to be both faster and stronger after training in the off-season. Sterling Shepard is a go for the start of the regular season after fracturing his thumb in training camp. Cody Latimer, T.J. Jones, Bennie Fowler, and several other young receivers have gotten extensive work with the first team offense throughout the preseason and have been impressive. Golden Tate will provide a big boost in week five when he returns from a four-game suspension. With Barkley drawing a lion’s share of attention from opposing defenses, the Giants should be able to take advantage of defenses through the air and put up a lot of points. 


Last season, the Giants lost several games to late scores on their way to a 5 – 11 record. They spent the off-season and 2019 NFL draft bringing on defensive players that match up with coordinator James Bettcher’s schemes. The pass rush was largely anemic last year collecting a total of 30 sacks on the year. The Giants responded by signing Marcus Golden, trading for Jabril Peppers, and drafting Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines. All players capable of getting after the quarterback. Lorenzo Carter has also routinely flashed his pass rush ability over the last three preseason games. Coupled with a much-improved secondary after bringing on DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Cory Ballentine, the Giants should be improved both upfront and in the backfield. Bettcher finally has the necessary pieces in NY to fit his aggressive and attacking defensive schemes. 


By relying heavily on their uber-talented running back and two time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, the Giants will be able to put up points consistently in 2019. Bettcher and his defense boast a deep pool of talented players who fit his defensive plan and can be deployed in multiple ways. With one of the easiest schedules in the NFL and the talent on both sides of the ball to take advantage of it, the Giants can shock the NFL by wrapping up the season as division champs. 

By: Ben Davidowitz (@DavidowitzB)

Philadelphia Eagles

It seems the NFC East will be a two-team race between the Cowboys and the Eagles in 2019. The Dallas Cowboys edged out the Eagles last season to take their second divisional crown in 3 years. In 2017, the Eagles took the division and went on to win Superbowl 52. Here’s why the Eagles will return to their Superbowl winning ways and clinch the NFC East.


Carson Wentz when healthy, is by far the best quarterback in the division. During the 2017 season, Wentz was on his way to capturing league MVP before sustaining an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. We all know what happened next, Foles Magic. With Nick Foles helping bring Philly their first ever Superbowl, fans and critics quickly forgot about Wentz’s season prior to his injury and focused on what happened in the postseason. Back in the saddle and 100% healthy, Wentz is back to prove not only why he is the best quarterback in the division, but one of the best in the league. Picking the Eagles to win the division is gambling on Wentz being healthy for the entire season. Coming into the season it looks like many are taking that bet and anticipating the Eagles coming out on top in the NFC East.

Revamped Offense:

Every defense has a weakness no matter how good they are. With the addition of DeSean Jackson and a deep backfield, the Eagles look to exploit that weakness. Carson Wentz was on pace two seasons ago to win MVP and now he has even better offensive weapons. With DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Aghlor, the Eagles might have the best trio of receivers in the game. Outside of the receivers, the Eagles boast one of, if not the deepest backfield. With Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, and Miles Sanders the backfield looks a little crowded which could mean fresh legs with a running back by committee approach. If defenses focus on the ground, then they will hurt you in the air and vice versa. The question is, how many teams will be able to keep up with the Eagles’ offense?

Divisional Dysfunction:

Entering the season-opener, the Eagles signed Carson Wentz to an extension. They also acquired new talent on both sides of the ball. As week one nears it seems the Philly as taken care of business in house and appears to be mostly healthy. This can’t be said for the rest of the division.

Cowboys Contracts:

The Cowboys have contract issues looking to be resolved with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott. While Prescott and Cooper attend training camp and team activities, Elliot is holding out while awaiting his big payday. It’s been recently hinted by Jerry Jones that they may expect Zeke to holdout into the season for up to 6 weeks. If this is true, it could be an issue for the defending division champs. Speaking of issues, an even bigger issue for the Cowboys is pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence coming back form shoulder surgery. There is still a chance he misses time, but he is expected back for Week 1. If Lawrence does end up missing time this could really impact the defense with Robert Quinn suspended for two games.

Giant Problems:

Outside of Dallas, there seems to be a quarterback battle in New York despite what the Giants say publicly. Eli Manning has struggled mightily in recent years and is now without his top target in Odell Beckham who was shipped to Cleveland this offseason. If Eli gets off to a slow start, look for the Giants to give Jones his opportunity and possibly tanking for a top 5 pick in next years’ draft. By doing this the Giants could stock up on more weapons to go with running back Saquon Barkley.

Washington’s Woes:

In Washington, it looks as if they will struggle to compete as Dwayne Haskins has struggled in his opportunities throughout the preseason. Case Keenum looks to be the starter for Washington with Alex Smith sidelined for the entire 2019 season due to suffering a gruesome leg injury last season.

For more on the NFL and Fantasy Football, check out the Forums Page on Overtime Heroics. Be sure to follow me on twitter @FootballRaw for more content as well.

By: Cassidy Cook (@FootballRaw)

Washington Redskins

Okay, bear with me on this one. There is a universe out there where the Washington Redskins can win the NFC East. It is a faraway universe, and it looks like it is full of Redskins fans and Joe Theismann. Theismann was quoted recently saying;

“I just like the Redskins. Nobody’s giving us any credit. Nobody’s giving us any props whatsoever. They have them winning three games; they have them finishing last in the division. And, it’s fine to be under the radar.”

Theismann played all of his legendary twelve-year career with Washington, so he can be considered biased. Either way, when a quarterback of that calibre thinks you will win, well then there must be some hope.

Roster Talent

What does Joe see in this team? They do have an experienced quarterback in Case Keenum. Keenum led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Conference game only two years ago. They have a seasoned running back in Adrian Peterson who has had seven 1000+ yard seasons. Jay Gruden is a capable head coach. Plus they signed Landon Collins, who can help in several positions on the field.

Washington’s two edge rushers, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, will terrorize opposing quarterbacks all year. Obviously, the situation with Trent Williams is one that will hurt their chances of winning the East. If they can find a way to extend him and make him happy, their odds will significantly improve.

Derrius Guice has looked impressive so far in the preseason. If he can come back from injury and play like he did in college, the Redksins might have an impressive one-two punch at running back.


If the Redskins can be competitive with the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles in their division, then an NFC East title is within their reach. They also get to play the Lions and the Dolphins, both teams that will be worse than them. If the Giants stick with Eli as their starter, Elliot continues to hold out, and Wentz goes down with an injury, then the Washington Redskins will be your NFC East Champions!

By: Ryan Gosling (@rygosling)

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