Welcome to the 26th edition of ‘The Super Bowl race in the Perspective of Chase’, an almost daily article on your favorite NFL team. Last night was the opening night of the NFL season. But since we have both the Rams and the Bills done, we are going to go until the season starts Sunday, at 1 pm! So why not go to a little division rivalry down in the NFC East. The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of an NFC East title, even though it led to bupkis come postseason time. As for Philadelphia they finished 2nd in the division last season, and lost by two possessions in Tampa Bay. But after a one sided offseason when comparing these two teams, who will hold the NFC East crown? And even a better question…will it even matter?
Before we get into this I would like to let you know that we are doing something very similar to this on the Cool Sports Newsletter for the NBA if you want to check that out. Also on there we are ranking different NFL positions. We have finished, as we have now ranked running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks (just posted yesterday) if you want to check that out.
The Dallas Cowboys were a very good regular season team last season. After a 2020 season that was ruined due to a season ending injury from Dak Prescott, they responded showing their full regular season potential, going 12-5 at the top of the division. Prescott was very good, Ezekiel Elliott stilled rushed very well, Tony Pollard got more carries and succeeded, and the defense led by rookie linebacker Micah Parsons (who finished 2nd in defensive player of the year voting) overachieved greatly. The Cowboys had a lot of hype going into the playoffs, but bad clock management on the final drive sent San Francisco to the divisional round, and kept Dallas home.
If there was a comeback team of the year award, the Eagles would have won it in 2021. After an underperforming Carson Wentz led Philadelphia to just a 4-11-1 record, Jalen Hurts and a newly drafted Devonta Smith went 9-8, good enough for the 7th and final playoff spot, in what was a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Saints. The defense, led by Fletcher Fox and Darius Slay also played well. Despite a bunch of positives, including an over 1,000 yard rushing season from Miles Sanders (if he stayed healthy), the Eagles lost by two possessions to Tampa Bay, even though their two touchdowns were at the end of the game, after Tampa Bay led 31-0!
In the offseason, both teams went in two completely different directions, but not on purpose. The Cowboys lost Cedrick Wilson, Randy Gregory and Connor Williams and traded Amari Cooper for just a 2022 5th round pick and both teams swapped 2022 6th round picks. That was criminally low value for Cooper. I know he is starting to decline and he probably won’t be his prime version this season but he is still Amari Cooper. He put up 865 receiving yards last season and put up over 1,100 receiving yards in both of the previous two years before that. In general, it was good to get rid of him but I think they could have gotten much more for him.
In the draft, Dallas took Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith 24th overall and took Ole Miss edge rusher Sam Williams 56th overall. It was a pretty standard draft. Nothing unordinary. And in free agency, they also did nothing to improve the team back after their losses. They really had no notable signings at all in free agency.
The Eagles on the other hand had one of the best offseason’s for any team in the league. They lost basically not assets and gained so many! First, all they did was trade a 1st round pick to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for A.J. Brown, one of the more young and talented wide receivers in the NFL. In the draft, Philadelphia was able to select Georgia defensive tackle and 2021 Heisman Candidate Jordan Davis 13th overall, which is considered one of the best picks of the entire draft.
Moving away from draft night, they made more moves! They signed 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, thinking he may have a comeback player of the year type season. It also gives them secondary depth. Also to improve the secondary, Philadelphia just recently traded for C.J. Gardner-Johnson, only giving up a 2023 5th round pick and 2024 6th round pick in the deal. Gardner-Johnson has been a very solid corner for New Orleans in his 3 year career and is only going to get better.
The Eagles are one of the more improved teams in the offseason, while the Cowboys are considered one of the biggest losers of the offseason. Despite this, I think Dallas will repeat as NFC East champions. I think Dak Prescott has now became a severely underrated quarterback and I think they can spread the ball out more. CeeDee Lamb may not play like the #1 people expect him to play like, but having Dalton Schultz at tight end and having Elliott and Pollard in the backfield is very important. The defense is only going to get better. Trevon Diggs, last seasons interception leader, is only going to get better and after finishing 2nd in 2021, I have Micah Parsons winning defensive player of the year in 2022! I think they are much more improved. For Philadelphia, they will well but not as much better than last year as people are predicting. I have Phili missing out on the playoffs with a 9-8 record due to tiebreaker, while the Cowboys get the 3rd seed for the 2nd consecutive season, and for the 2nd consecutive season host the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round!
My prediction: The Cowboys finish 11-6 (1st in NFC East and 3rd seed in the NFC), Micah Parsons wins defensive player of the year but they lose to San Francisco again in the Wild Card round. For Philadelphia they will play better than their last season team but not showing the win column, as I have them missing out on the playoffs due to tiebreaker.
Wiz Talk with Chase
Cool Sports Network