Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
The Dallas Cowboys are the NFC East champions!
Cowboys fans everywhere are ecstatic about the production from their two rookie super stars Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. The duo operate behind one of the best offensive lines in the league which allowed a mere 69 hits to the quarterback and run blocked so effectively that Elliott often hit the second level before he saw a defender.
The only team that knew the recipe to beat the Cowboys was the New York Giants who won both matchups.
The G-Men played at a very high level from weeks 6-17, but failed to win three close games early in the season which ultimately cost them the division.
The Redskins and Eagles were nothing to scoff at this season, rounding out the most winningest division in the league.
The NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys were an extremely fun team to follow this season.
Rookie sensation Dak Prescott made his entrance onto the big stage when starting quarterback Tony Romo went down with a shoulder injury suffered in a meaningless preseason game while getting sacked by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril.
Prescott proceed to have one of the greatest all around rookie season for quarterbacks in NFL history, throwing for a rookie record 67.8% completion percentage, 23-4 touchdown-interception ratio, and a 104.9 passer rating. He also rushed for 6 touchdowns breaking the team record for single season rushing touchdowns by a.quarterback.
He played so well that when Tony Romo returned from injury Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett decided to continue to play the rookie over the fourteen year veteran who is scheduled to make $14.5 million on the season.
The real show this year was Ezekiel Elliott who had the best rushing season for any rookie since 1999, and had the third most yards from scrimmage for any rookie in NFL history.
Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 363 yards and 1 touchdown.
He activated his inner beast mode and ran through defenders arms completely unfazed. Elliott took home the title of NFL rushing leader this season and is a top MVP candidate.
The high octane offense is backed up by one of the league’s best defenses, anchored by middle linebacker Sean Lee who had 145 tackles this season ranking fifth in the league.
The Cowboys have a big decision this offseason on what to do with Tony Romo. They have found a competent replacement for a veteran nearing retirement at a fraction of the cost. It should be interesting.
The Giants defense was their key to victory this season with the average points against at 14.5 for wins vs 24.8 in games they lost. The team finished the year with a record of 2-5 when allowing more than 20 points.
The offense slogged forward throughout the season with only Odell Beckham Jr. performing at an elite level.
Beckham Jr. caught 101 passes for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The defense was lead by second year All-Pro Safety Landon Collins who has terrified receivers over the middle by racking up 125 tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 interceptions returning one for a touchdown.
This offseason the Giants will have to address the lack of running game as they finished the season ranked 29th with 88.2 yards per game.
The Redskins were coming into the season with big hopes for their quarterback Kirk Cousins who signed a prove your worth one year deal.
Despite criticism throughout the season, Cousins completed 67% of his passes for 4,917 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Cousins had two 1,000 yard receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. The offense played well enough to finish the season ranked second in the league for passing yards.
However, the running backs are another story. The Redskins leading rusher only managed 704 yards, making the offense one dimensional.
Josh Norman made his highly anticipated Redskins debut in the secondary and didn’t quite live up to the hype from the year before. He still had solid production this year but the Redskins are sure to want more out of their super star if he is going to stay with the team under his current contract after next season.
The Eagles have the best record of any division loser.
Carson Wentz, the number two overall draft pick, started his career on a hot streak opening the season with three straight wins for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The honeymoon period did not last long as teams learned to scout Wentz he began to make frequent rookie mistakes resulting in his team going on a 2-9 skid during the heart of the season.
The Eagles pulled it together to beat their playoff bound division rival New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys to end the year.
This organization has a long way to go before they return to their dominance of the early 2000’s. Now that they have invested in a quarterback, they need to build around him and sign him a true “outside the numbers” receiver.