The NFC East has not had a Back-to-Back Champion for a while…
This trend has been beaten into the ground by all types of media. The unpredictable nature of the NFC East makes for some good entertainment. (Except for fans of the losing teams in the East) The significance of this will be later explained in this article.
Will this trend carry over to this season?: Yes
Since the ’03 and ’04 Eagles, the NFC East champion has been up for grabs annually. This year the pre-season favorite teams are the Cowboys and the Eagles. The Redskins are currently working in a rookie quarterback and the Giants have more issues than their rookie quarterback.
Last season, the Eagles secondary fell apart due to injury. The Cowboys added Amari Cooper to a relatively healthy team and found a resurgent passing attack that not only beat the Eagles twice, but also won the division after going 7-2 in their final 9 games.
As mentioned, the unpredictable nature of injuries can crush teams chances of winning the championship almost instantly. The Eagles didn’t let injuries prevent them from making the playoffs, but historically the Cowboys have not fared well in this situation.
In 2015, the Cowboys lost Dez Bryant and Tony Romo and the season turned into a complete trainwreck. In 2016, due to a healthy offensive line and All-Pro running back the Cowboys were able to win plenty of games with a rookie quarterback. (I can not stress how good of a situation Dak inherited his rookie season)
However, in 2017, the All-Pro running back missed six games and an injury to Tyron Smith destroyed Dak’s confidence. (The impact of the Chaz Green game was significant as it almost derailed Dak’s career)
In all, Jason Garrett has not managed injuries well in the recent past and many more issues can be brought up in the more distant pass. If the Cowboys find themselves losing a key player, they are in more trouble than people realize.
In addition, the competition the Cowboys face will be tougher than other teams in the division. The better offense and defenses will make it harder for a Dallas offense that didn’t score that many points. Even if the team is not getting enough production out of one player, the entire team suffers. (Example. Dez Bryant 2017)