The rest of the NFC East will look to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in 2022 with the Philadelphia Eagles preparing for the opportunity this spring.
DALLAS – The NFC East has some of the bitterest rivalries in the NFL, both between teams and fans. Social media has played its part in increasing hatred, but there has never been any lost love between the four-story franchises.
From the Body Bag Game to the battles between Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys and Buddy Ryan’s Philadelphia Eagles, among others, the hatred is real. That’s what makes the divisional matches between the four teams so intense.
It’s also what makes winning NFC East so hard. Keep in mind that no team in the division has repeated as champions since the Eagles repeated as title winners from 2001 to 2004. Since then, a new team has taken the Eastern crown to the previous owner of the season.
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That’s the challenge Dallas now faces, repeating as the division winner and becoming the Cowboys ’first team since the 1992-1996 versions to win consecutive NFC East titles. It will not be easy and many outside observers choose another team to win the division.
According to most NFL experts, including writer Peter King, the Eagles appear to be the team ready to take the title away from the Cowboys.
The reasons for predicting that the Eagles are better than the Cowboys are understandable and predictable. Like most low seasons of the recent era, the Cowboys have been mostly when it comes to acquiring free agents or exchanging talent.
So far, Dallas has signed only three players from outside the organization, and only pass runner Dante Fowler has been seen as someone capable of making a big impact. In the meantime, they have lost some important collaborators. Behind him was the defensive end Amari Cooper
Randy Gregory and right tackle tackle La’el Collins. The team didn’t show up to fill those gaps with better players.
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Things could change once the season arrives where maybe rookie Sam Williams or receiver Jalen Tolbert will have an instant impact, but that’s a known amount that can be counted on so far.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Eagles have been aggressive in bringing in quality players this low season. Philadelphia traded one of the game’s top receivers for AJ Brown, while signing pass runner Haasan Reddick, who has had a total of two consecutive double-catch catches in the past two years.
The Eagles also re-signed a group of their best free agents, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, defensive wing Derek Barnett, safety Anthony Harris and runner Boston Scott.
Those moves combined with what most consider a very good draft put the Eagles in the discussion with the Cowboys as the best team in the division. However, it was the signing of quarterback James Bradberry that perhaps changed the balance of power of the Eagles over the Cowboys.
With that last move, the pendulum seemed to move toward Philadelphia and away from Dallas. Bradberry is certainly a decent CB, but he’s coming off a poor season, so it’s hard to understand why his signing moved the needle so much.
However, with the low season of the two rivals in different directions, it paved the way for the Eagles to become the favorites to win the NFC East in the eyes of many. The Cowboys lost talent, while the Eagles added better players to their roster.
It remains to be seen what the real result will be, but we are witnessing first hand what it means to win the offseason, especially with the Eagles. Remember the “dream team” that Philadelphia collected in the low season of 2011, just to miss the playoffs? There are no guarantees in the NFL.
Despite all the positive vibes that are around the Eagles right now, the Cowboys still have an advantage in the major factors as they prepare for next season, have the best quarterback and coaching staff. Those two things often equate to more victories.
In a league that is dominated by the quarterback game, Dak Prescott remains the best QB in the division by a wide margin. Prescott comes from a one-season touchdown pass franchise record and continues to improve. Being a year away from the devastating injury he suffered in 2020 is another reason to believe the Cowboys can be just as good or better this season.
Mike McCarthy, with his coordinators Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn, make up the best trio of division coaches. Quinn’s impact was shown in his freshman year with the Cowboys, and even though the ball losses were hard to replicate in 2022, Dallas ’defense is on the rise with him as the defensive coordinator.
Moore led the league’s biggest offense in 2021 and even with production declining during the second half of the season, and with the loss of Cooper, the Dallas offense may be one of the best units in the league. If Prescott and runner Ezekiel Elliott can stay healthier than last year, and with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb ready to take on WR’s No. 1 job, there’s plenty of firepower to score points.
The low season is always fun to make predictions, but the Cowboys still have the look of the best NFC East team simply because they are backed by the best quarterback in the division. We’ll all see how it plays out throughout the year, but until someone knocks the Cowboys off their throne, it’s all just low-season fodder.
Do you think the Cowboys will be able to avoid the Eagles in 2022? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @Ben Grimaldi.
Did Philadelphia beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East?
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