A look at the NFC East heading into the 2016 NFL season, with teams listed in predicted order of finish.
NEW YORK GIANTS
COACH: Ben McAdoo
LAST SEASON: 6-10, 3rd place
OUTLOOK: McAdoo takes over for Tom Coughlin, who parted ways with the Giants after 12 seasons that included two Super Bowl championships. It’s an excellent situation for McAdoo because the Giants still have a franchise quarterback in Eli Manning, and GM Jerry Reese spent big in free agency to fix a woeful defense. Linemen Olivier Vernon and Damon “Snacks” Harrison, as well as cornerback Janoris Jenkins and first-round cornerback Eli Apple are welcome additions to a defense that finished 32nd and last in 2015. There’s no reason the Giants can’t contend for a playoff spot.
COACH: Jay Gruden
3rd season (13-19, .406)
LAST SEASON: 9-7, 1st place
PLAYOFFS: lost to Green Bay, 35-18.
OUTLOOK: It was a breakout year in 2015 for quarterback Kirk Cousins, but the team isn’t willing to invest in him long-term just yet. Cousins is back on a one-year deal as the team’s franchise designation, and he’ll need another big season to get the multi-year deal he wants. Gruden did a terrific job steering Washington through the difficult transition away from Robert Griffin III, and East title was well earned, albeit against mediocre opposition within the division. There’s plenty of talent on offense, with tight end Josh Reed and receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon leading the way. An already solid defense added cornerback Josh Norman.
COACH: Doug Pederson
LAST SEASON: 7-9, 2nd place
OUTLOOK: The blockbuster trade that sent Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-rounder in 2018 signals the Eagles are ready to cast their lot sooner rather than later with No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz. That means this could be a rough transition period for first-year head coach Doug Pederson, but the Eagles believe Wentz’s huge upside eventually will translate into plenty of playoff appearances ahead. Even with Bradford, the Eagles weren’t much of a threat, with no depth at wide receiver, questions at running back and a defense in transition.
COACH: Jason Garrett
7th season (45-43, .511)
LAST SEASON: 4-12, 4th place
OUTLOOK: Another year, another injury for Tony Romo. His broken collarbone early last season doomed the Cowboys, and now it’s a broken bone in his back that will keep him out as long as two months. Romo vows to return and lead the team to the playoffs, but rookie quarterback Dak Prescott will have to be light years better than last year’s cast of woeful backups. Prescott had a promising preseason, but the task becomes much more difficult against defenses that actually will game-plan against him. The Cowboys’ defense is average at best, and will start the season without pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence (four-game suspension for substance abuse violation).