2018 NFL Preview - NFC East

by Howie Mansfield, BBM Staff Writer

Philadelphia Eagles - The defending Super Bowl champions have seen some roster and coaching turnover, but should still be solid across the board. QB Carson Wentz is still coming back from injury and will need some time, but Nick Foles will be able to step in and lead if needed. WR Alson Jeffery will be lost until likely Week 5, so newcomer WR Mike Wallace, veteran WR Nelson Agholor and TE Zach Ertz will be main targets. RB Jay Ajayi will lead the rushing attack, but don't be surprised if the Eagles continue to go with a wide open run game. RB Darren Sproles and RB Corey Clement should see lots of time and touches throughout the season. Clement has the biggest upside and has been lauded by coaches and could be a fantasy football sleeper in 2018. Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata join a loaded defensive unit that shouldn't miss a beat. It's really the division title or bust for Philadelphia, who have a shot to return to the Super Bowl and defend their championship.

Dallas Cowboys - A depleted offensive line, inconsistent play and many question marks haunt the Cowboys. RB Ezekiel Elliot will be ready for a full season, but will have to carry the offense. QB Dak Prescott has regressed and the departures of WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten provides no comfortable targets. WR Cole Beasley will be called upon in the slot, as well as free-agent acquisition Tavon Austin to give some change-on-pace looks. All-Pro center Travis Frederick is out with a rare disorder, while All-Pro guard Zach Martin sustained an injury in Week 2 of the preseason. Then there is La'el Collins and Tyron Smith. So Dallas is going to need to get healthy fast and hope their defense can keep them in games. Otherwise, another long season could be on tap for Jerry Jones' team.

Washington Redskins - Alex Smith is the new QB in town.  The Redskins didn't need a new signal caller, but Smith was the right man for the job, in the eyes of ownership. The team drafted RB Derrius Guice, in the hopes of finally having a lead back heading into the season. An unlikely ACL injury in the first game of the preseason ended those dreams and Washington turned to veteran Adrian Peterson for now. Chris Thompson, last year's surprise for the Redskins, is not yet fully healed and might not be. Although TE Jordan Reed appears healthy, Smith will need his young receivers to step up. The Washington defense, even with Josh Norman, won't help matters, so Smith might be forced to throw late in games when behind. WR Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Reed will be important keys for the Redskins success. Look out for RB Rob Kelly as he has a chance to prove himself in the injury-plagued backfield.

New York Giants - Last season was one to forget for the Giants. After drafting RB Saquon Barkley,  signing WR Odell Beckham Jr. to a huge contract and keeping their franchise QB Eli Manning in place, there is hope. Manning has the weapons now that should put the G-Men with a shot to improve this season. The arrival of tackle Nate Solder from the Patriots will bolster the offensive line. Sterling Shepard has the potential for a solid year as Manning's #2 WR target. He will be left open when teams double down on Beckham and focus on TE Evan Engram. Barkley will be expected to carry the majority of the offensive ground game, with free-agent acquisition Jonathan Stewart and Paul Perkins as backups. Engram will be called upon to be a safety valve for Manning and will certainly have his opportunities. Defensively, the Giants will be near the bottom of the league rankings. The offense will need to carry this team if they expect to contend.

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