Thursday, September 7, 2023

2023 NFL Predictions: NFC East

Before the start of the season, I will post my division-by-division predictions for the 2023 NFL regular season and postseason.

Instead of projecting an outright winner and loser in all 272 regular-season games, I've assigned a win probability to each team in every game and totaled them up.

Check out our 2023 NFL Predictions page for other divisions.

With that said, here are our early NFC East projections for each team including their win total.

1. Philadelphia Eagles - Projected Wins: 10.71

Philadelphia's offense was nearly unstoppable in 2022. Jalen Hurts is an elite dual-threat talent, and he set career bests as a passer in completion percentage (66.5%), passing yards (3,701, 8.0 Y/A), touchdowns (22, 4.8%), and passer rating (101.5). For the second season in a row, he rushed for more 760-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns. Things were too easy at times, as Hurts threw only 60 (13%) of 460 pass attempts in the fourth quarter.

A.J. Brown had a career season (88/1,496/11), DeVonta Smith was even better in year two (95/1,196/7) and Dallas Goedert set career highs receptions (4.6) and yards (58.5) per game.

Although they lost Javon Hargrave, Marcus Epps and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in free agency, they still have a loaded defense. The Eagles had a nearly perfect draft, based on consensus NFL draft grades. The Eagles continue to load up on Georgia defenders, by taking Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round (and Kelee Ringo in the fourth round) in 2023.

MORE: Philadelphia Eagles 2023 Fantasy Football Projections

2. Dallas Cowboys - Projected Wins: 9.03

With the Cowboys moving on from Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy and Brian Schottenheimer taking over, there are some concerns for the offense. That said, adding Brandin Cooks, who has 1,000-yard seasons with four different teams, and Michael Gallup being another year removed from his torn ACL takes some pressure off of CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott. In the post-Ezekiel Elliott era, Tony Pollard takes over as the clear lead back and he's been outstanding on the touches he's handled up to this point. Over the past two seasons, Pollard has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 9.1 yards per reception.

The Cowboys defense may be the best in the NFL, and it all starts with Micah Parsons. The 2021 first-round pick is already an All-Pro (times two) and he has 26.5 sacks and six forced fumbles through 33 games. Dan Quinn is as good as it gets among defensive coordinators, and the team has lots of talent beyond Parsons. Adding Stephon Gilmore to start opposite Trevon Diggs really helps the secondary, Mazi Smith, who topped Bruce Feldman's Freaks List in 2022, will help stuff the run and Demarcus Lawrence is a talented second pass rusher. No team had more takeaways than the Cowboys (33) in 2022.

MORE: Dallas Cowboys 2023 Fantasy Football Projections

3. New York Giants - Projected Wins: 8.02

The Giants have brought back Daniel Jones, and he played well in 2022 given the supporting cast. The team has bolstered their group of pass catchers by adding Darren Waller, who will be the focal point in the passing game, but they have a number of healthy options at receiver including Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt. There was some uncertainty with Saquon Barkley after he was franchise tagged, but he's back on a one-year contract and one of the best running backs in the league.

The Giants have one of the best young left tackles in Andrew Thomas. Will G-Men be able to duplicate the successful development of another high draft pick at offensive tackle after right tackle Evan Neal struggled as a rookie? (Among 87 qualified offensive tackles, Thomas and Neal ranked fourth and 81st, respectively, in PFF grades in 2022.)

Led by nose tackle Dexter Lawrence, the Giants have a talented defensive line. Kayvon Thibodeaux, the team's other first-round pick in 2022, and Azeez Ojulari, who missed 10 games in 2022, provide the Giants with a dynamic and young pass-rush duo assuming Thibodeaux takes another step in his development and Ojulari can stay healthy in 2023.

MORE: New York Giants 2023 Fantasy Football Projections

4. Washington Commanders - Projected Wins: 7.76

One name often appearing on coaching hot seat lists is Ron Rivera, especially given the offseason change in ownership. Through three seasons, the Commanders are 22-27-1 under Rivera, and they enter 2023 with a fifth-round quarterback who has made one career start. That said, Sam Howell should have drafted before the fifth round, and he has a talented group of pass catchers around him including Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel. Unfortunately, the offensive line, which has four new starters, may be its weakness.

Washington had the third-ranked defense (304.6 YPG allowed) in 2022. It all starts up front for the Commanders defense with Jonathan Allen, Da'Ron Payne and Montez Sweat. What will the Commanders get from Chase Young, the second overall pick in 2020? The Commanders double-dipped with their first two 2023 picks on the secondary — Emmanuel Forbes at No. 16 and Jartavius Martin at No. 47 — and safety Kam Curl is an ascending talent who should be a priority for the Commanders to extend as he enters the final year of his contract.

MORE: Washington Commanders 2023 Fantasy Football Projections

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