The storied division that is the NFC East has not been as strong in recent years. While this may not change much in 2015, it will still be a battle well worth watching.
2014: finished regular season 12-4 (3rd in division), lost Divisional playoff to the Green Bay Packers 26-21
Offence: any offence that has Tony Romo as its quarterback and Dez Bryant as it number one receiver will be a threat and this will be no different in 2015. Romo finally remained healthy through most of the season and took the Cowboys to within a contentious call of making the NFC Championship game. A big piece in that run was running back DeMarco Murray, who had a career year behind a much vaunted offensive line. Murray is no longer there meaning Dallas is left with a running back by committee of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar.
Defence: going into the 2014 season, the Cowboys were figured to have the worst defence in football. This was not the case at all as they finished mid table. Bolstered the defence through the draft when they took cornerback Byron Jones and defensive end Randy Gregory with their first two picks.
Fantasy player to watch: Bryant will be one of the first two wide receivers, if not players, taken in all fantasy drafts.
Key to their success/failure: the health of Romo. If he goes down the options are not great and its highly unlikely that Dallas can make the playoffs.
Predicted regular season finish: 9-7
New York Giants
2014 : finished regular season 6-10 (3rd in division)
Offence: for a team that finished 6-10, New York had an exciting year on offence in 2014. All it took was a rookie wide receiver named Odell Beckham jnr to leap onto the stage and take the rest of the team along with him, in particular quarterback Eli Manning. Victor Cruz missed most of the season through injury and his return to health will be crucial for the Giants, as will increased consistency of tight end Larry Donnell, who was a bit of a boom or bust player last year. A solid running game including Super Bowl champion Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings.
Defence: a bottom five defence a year ago and not much looks to have changed for this year. Lost their best player Jason Pierre-Paul for an undetermined period following losing a finger on a 4th of July fireworks accident. Did draft safety Landon Collins to address the deficiencies outside.
Fantasy player to watch: Vereen for me is a great late round running back, especially in PPR leagues. Caught 52 passes last season out of the backfield and in the slot.
Key to their success/failure: the offence needs to fire from Week 1 to cover for the poor defence. Another poor season will see change to this organisation and a big hit to Manning’s hopes of becoming the highest paid player ever.
Predicted regular season finish: 6-10
2014: finished regular season 10-6 (2nd in division)
Offence: Chip Kelly finally has the team he wants and this starts at quarterback where he traded in for Sam Bradford to be his starter and signed DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to be a 1-2 punch at running back. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor was drafted in the first round to compliment Jordan Matthews and the tight end duo of Brent Celek and Zach Ertz remain. Darren Sproles covers the running and passing game, while the offensive line is healthy again.
Defence: the defence was the prime reason that the Eagles did not make the playoffs last year. Time after time long pass plays were given up, mostly resulting in touchdowns. This is where free agency signings Byron Maxwell & Walter Thurmond from Seattle and 2nd round pick Eric Rowe come in. The linebacking corp is deep thanks to the addition of Kiko Alonso to partner Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans.
Fantasy player to watch: the whole team is a fantasy dream. From Bradford to Murray. Mathews, Matthews, Agholor and Ertz there is big scoring potential all across the field. The defence/special teams was the best in fantasy last season and could easily be again.
Key to their success/failure: we all know that the offence will do its thing regardless of the personnel to an acceptable level, so the key is the defence, in particular on the outside and its ability to stop the big plays will go a long way to determine just how far this team can go.
Predicted regular season finish: 11-5
2014: finished regular season 4-12 (4th in division)
Offence: you only need to look at the quarterback to know the woes of the Washington offence last year and beyond. Starting the year with Robert Griffin III as the starter until he went down, then onto Kirk Cousins, who started out well before fading and subsequently being benched for Colt McCoy, who led them to their best victory of the year over the Tony Romo-less Cowboys, and finally back to Griffin. This year looks headed in the same direction with Cousins named as the starter. Apart from that they do have some nice pieces with the wide receiver duo of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, running backs Alfred Morris and Matt Jones along with tight end Jordan Reed are not the worst set of skill players.
Defence: conceded the 20th most yards, but the equal 3rd most points. Bolstered the defensive line by signing Terrance Knighton and Juinior Gallette, however Gallette is out for the season through an achillies injury sustained at training camp
Fantasy player to watch: Morris and Jones figure to be the centrepiece of this offence and will be going mid to late rounds. Jones in particular is worth watching out for.
Key to their success/failure: it all starts and ends with the quarterback, no matter who that is.
Predicted regular season finish: 3-13
Predicted Divisional Standings
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
2. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
3. New York Giants (6-10)
4. Washington Redskins (3-13)