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Schule's 2022 NFL Division Preview - NFC East


By: Jesse Schule
Date: Jul 16, 2022
   
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Schule's 2022 NFL Division Preview - NFC East
How bad is the NFC East? Well it's so bad that Washington won the division in 2020 with a losing record of 7-9. When you look at projected strength of schedule for 2022, the four teams from the NFC East have the four easiest schedules in the NFL. That's what happens when four bad teams play each other six times per year. There is some hope that the division we call the "NFC Least" might be a little more competitive in 2022. Washington has a new quarterback, the Giants bring in two first round draft picks, and the Eagles led the league in rushing last year and the Cowboys won a dozen games.
Dallas Cowboys
12-5 overall in 2021
6-0 in the NFC East in 2021
13-5 against the spread in 2021
Odds to win NFC East: +115
So the Cowboys won a dozen games last year, won the division and finished with the best ATS record of any team in the NFL. What that tells me is that this team is going to be overvalued coming into 2022. After all, despite always being pegged as a Super Bowl contender, last year marked just their fourth winning season in the last 12 years. Dak Prescott is a solid quarterback, but the weapons he's surrounded by might not be what they used to be. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 1,631 yards and 15 TDs as a rookie, and his numbers have been trending in the wrong direction ever since. Amari Cooper is gone, and Mike McCarthy at times looks like Jason Garrett wearing a disguise. The Cowboys ran the table in the division last year, something that won't be easy to repeat in 2022. I have the Cowboys winning nine games.
New York Giants
4-13 overall in 2021
1-5 in the NFC East in 2021
6-11 against the spread in 2021
Odds to win NFC East: +800
Last season was a lost cause after injuries to starting quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones has been plagued by turnovers, but his accuracy has improved year by year. Barkley wasn’t effective when he was on the field, but he's set to become a free agent in 2023, and players have been known to have breakout seasons when they are playing for a contract. They used the first of their two first round picks on Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon. He had been expected to go even higher, and the Giants might now have a real difference maker on defense. Playing opposite Azeez Ojulari the duo might cause plenty of problems for opposing quarterbacks. The Giants haven’t had a player with at least 12 sacks since 2014, but that is expected to change here in 2022. I have the Giants winning eight games.
Philadelphia Eagles
9-8 overall in 2021
3-3 in the NFC East in 2021
8-9-1 against the spread in 2021
Odds to win NFC East: +180
The Eagles got off to a slow start in 2021, losing six of their first nine games. They closed the season strong winning six of their final eight games, and they will try to build on that momentum here in 2022. They have made moves to improve the receiving corps, trading for AJ Brown and bolstering their defense through the draft. They have the top ranked offensive line in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Jordan Mailata has the third highest ranking in the NFL at left tackle, and veterans Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce give them plenty of experience. The Eagles should have a chance to get off to a much better start, facing teams that missed the playoffs in their first four games. While the jury is still out on Jalen Hurts, playing behind a strong offensive line is going to make things easier for him. I have the Eagles winning the division.
Washington Commanders
7-10 overall in 2021
2-4 in the NFC East in 2021
7-9-1 against the spread in 2021
Odds to win NFC East: +500
Washington fans are excited about Carson Wentz coming over from the Colts, but there is an argument to be made that he's not much of an upgrade compared to Taylor Heinicke. Last year his numbers were similar, with slightly more yards but a lower completion percentage. When you consider that the Colts have a superior offensive line and the league's leading rusher, you would have expected Wentz to be far better. The Colts certainly wanted to see more, and that's why they let him go. If the Commanders have one thing going for them, it's the fact that their schedule is ranked as the easiest in the NFL this season. They play the Jags, Texans, Bears, Giants, Lions and Falcons all before the bye week. I still have Washington finishing last in the NFC East.

 

  Jesse Schule
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