NFL 2018 – NFC East Jimmy McGinty Season Preview

NFL 2018 - NFC East Jimmy McGinty Season Preview.

NFC East 

Philadelphia Eagles 

2017: (13-3) The Eagles barely missed a beat last year. Their final loss was an outing for the second string in wk17. The other two were in Kansas and Seattle, tricky places to win. In January the Vikings, Falcons and Patriots were beaten with Nick Foles leading the side; a thoroughly deserving Super Bowl winning side. Note the high winning total in the regular season came on an easy schedule that featured only 3 playoff sides as the NFC East sides were all very disappointing.  

Jason Peters returns as left tackle after an ACL. Jordan Hicks returns at line-backer after a torn achilles. There’s no guarantee both stay fit but if they do the team will be stronger. On offense Blount left but Ajayi, Sproles (missed 2017) and Clement mean he won’t be missed. Wentz will start with Foles as a capable backup – as good a QB situation as you’ll find in the League. Trey Burton was only the second tight-end (Ertz still dominates) and Torrey Smith was upgraded to Mike Wallace so the receiving team will be strong again – although Alshon Jeffery is struggling to be fit for wk1.  

On defense they did lose Kendricks, Curry and Robinson and all three were talented starters. Ngata and Bennett are big names and big men that have come in. Cornerback Ronald Darby missed plenty of games last season also. So there are a few personnel changes but talent wise this Eagles roster is every bit as good as last year’s and as a result, still the best in the League.   

Compared to 2017 a far different schedule awaits this season. The AFC South (TEN, JAX, HOU, IND) will win many games, as will the NFC South (ATL, TB, NO, CAR). MIN and @ LAR appear also. NYG and WAS should be better as well. The Eagles are the best side in the NFL but they’ll be made earn that home NFC spot. If there is a significant Super Bowl hangover they’ll drop plenty of games.  

Best bet:

I’m happy to back against them but wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta next February either. So, siding with LAR and ATL for the NFC instead and a small play on WAS in NFC East. 

Dallas Cowboys 

2017: (9-7) But more like 8-8 as they beat Philly’s second string in wk17. Of the 8 wins 2 came against an awful Giants roster and 2 against the struggling Redskins – both should be stronger in the coming season. Other victories included SF, ARI and OAK – below average sides in 2017. They won 3 of the 6 games that Zeke was suspended for and with hindsight they probably would’ve lost the other 3 anyhow – so that’s no excuse. The 2017 Cowboys lost to most of the good sides they faced. Without personnel improvements it’ll be similar this winter.  

Dak, Zeke and a decent offensive line is a fine starting point but that’s where it ends on offense. They’ve no talented receivers or tight-ends. They’ll be an easy side to predict and defend. 

They didn’t suffer much from injuries last year ranking 5th of average games lost. Any injuries in the secondary or offensive line would have a big impact, there’s a lack of depth to this roster. David Irving is suspended for the first 4 games as well. Just about to hit submit and new has broken of Travis Fredericks illness. I hope he makes a full recovery from what looks like a serious disorder. Arguably the best centre in the League his loss will really hurt the output of the entire Cowboys offense.  

The Cowboys face plenty of teams that are similar mid-table sorts (6-10 wins). Giants x2, Redskins x2, Seattle, Detroit and 4 X AFC South teams. Bar maybe Tampa in wk16 they don’t face any of the truly bad sides (unlike last year). Road games with Philly, Atlanta, Carolina and Houston will be very difficult and home ties versus Titans, Philly, Saints and Jags won’t be simple either. A good Cowboys side would be doing well to win 8+ on this schedule. A bad Cowboys side may only get 4 or 5 wins. They’re bad.  

Best bet:  

3pts Under 8 wins 7/5 William Hill (10/11 under 8.5 widely available might appeal more to some) 

2pts To finish 4th in NFC East 7/2 Coral 

Washington Redskins 

2017: (7-9) Had two good wins in the opening 3wks, including at the Rams, before injuries hit. A lot of injuries. It was generally their key players who got injured also. They lost 4 CBs in the narrow loss to the Chiefs. TE Jordan Reed missed 10 games, RB Chris Thompson missed 6, defensive tackles Ioannidis & Jonathan Allen combined to miss 11 whilst offensive linemen Trent Williams, Scherff & Lauvao missed 15 between them. They still grinded out 5 more wins and took the Saints to OT. A bit of a ‘could have been’ year for Redskins fans. 

The Redskins D might look a lot different to last year’s version. J Allen was a first round pick who graded very highly on limited snaps last year; if he and Ioannidis can stay fit the defensive front could be fearsome enough. Da’Ron Payne (13th overall pick) should have a massive impact on run stopping (dead last in yards allowed last year) as will having line-backer Mason Foster back after playing just five games last year. Josh Norman and DJ Swearinger are the big names in the secondary. They just need to keep everyone on the field this year! 

Alex Smith replaces Kirk Cousins at QB which is a minor downgrade. But Smith just had his best ever season and he is a scheme quarterback so will fit right into Jay Gruden’s attack. Adrian Peterson has been signed since running back rookie Darius Guice torn his ACL. Peterson looked done last year but that was behind a terrible offensive line in a predictable Cardinals offense. Behind a better OL and a QB who can scramble, AP might look better in 2018. 

Paul Richardson is a big improvement over Terrelle Pryor at wide-receiver. It wouldn’t be hard, Pryor was a massive bust. If Crowder and Doctson stay fit (that hasn’t always been the case) the Redskins will have three talented wide receivers. The biggest fitness question is Jordan Reed. A great talent, if they can get 13+ games out of him it’d make a huge difference to the offense.  

Just like the others in this division the Redskins will face decent AFC South and NFC South sides. I do have them ahead of the Giants and Cowboys and getting Philly in wk17 might be a bonus. Opening against a bad Cardinals side and getting the Packers at home gives them chances also. It’ll be tough on this schedule but the Redskins should be much better than last year. 8 or 9 wins might be the max, but that should be enough to comfortably finish second to the Eagles. If they all stay fit this roster could even go deep into January.  

Best bet: 

1pt win NFC East 9/1 Betstars 

2pts to finish 2nd in NFC East 7/2 - Coral 

3pts over 6.5wins 5/6 

0.5pt Reskins win the Super Bowl 66/1 

New York Giants 

2017: (3-13) It all went downhill quickly in Big Blue last year. Some weeks their top rushers were guys called Perkins, Darkwa & Gallman and top receivers were Lewis, King & Ellison. I’m not even sure who some of those guys are. Regardless of how bad Eli was behind a porous OL, it truly was a talentless side.  

There’s plenty of hope for 2018 though. Fit again Odell Beckham and rookie star Saquon Barkley will be difficult to defend, both are world class talents. Shepard and Engram are decent receiving options also. If Eli isn’t brutal the Giants will move the ball with success. Eli could be brutal however. Nate Solder and 2nd round pick Will Hernandez will help protect Eli; he was hit often last year.

This Giants trio of attackers look great on paper but Engram will need to block better, the OL need to hold up for Barkley to thrive and the other receivers will need to look dangerous to give Beckham space. Plenty of ‘ifs’ before we talk about Eli being potentially garbage.  

With Collins, Jenkins, Vernon and Damon Harrison (the best run-stuffer in the League) still on defense there is plenty of talent. Although the pass rush is borderline non-existent.  

They were too bad to be true last year but with Barkley, a better OL (still nothing special) and Beckham fit the Giants should return to 2016 levels. Important to remember that was only around average though. 

With both the AFC South and NFC South on the slate, and Philly twice, the Giants (same for DAL & WAS) could face 7 playoff sides. That’s harsh for a team that only had 3 wins last term. No sign of the Jets, Bills, Browns or Cardinals unfortunately. The Giants will need to improve rapidly to win 8+ on this schedule. Getting off to a 0-7 start is a distinct possibility. 4 road games and visits of JAX, NO & PHI. At that point the squad might be quitting, and the management might look at benching Eli (there’s no alternative). Losing regularly, chasing games, they may not get to use Barkley as often as they’d like as well.   

Best bet:  

3pts under 7 wins EVS - PaddyPower 

NFC East 2018 predictions: 

Eagles (11-5) 

Redskins (9-7) 

Giants (5-11) 

Cowboys (4-12)