Dallas Cowboys no longer favorites to win the NFC East

With the 2022 NFL draft in the rear-view mirror, the focus is predicting on how successful the Dallas Cowboys will be this upcoming season. Depending on which side of fence you sit on (or which football analyst you trust the most), the Cowboys either had a good draft because they filled needs, or an unsuccessful one because this franchise is held to unrealistic expectations.

Cowboys Nation sat back in disgust as its NFC East foes got better with each and every pick, especially those buzzards known as the Philadelphia Eagles. Even the lowly New York Giants received a high grade with its draft selections. The Washington Commanders even had the audacity to go out and slightly upgrade its quarterback position by trading for former Eagles signal caller Carson Wentz.

Overall, most of Cowboys Nation was satisfied with the Cowboys draft selections, even if they had to down  a few bottles of Jack Daniels to come to that reality. But it’s not solely the draft that has the fans and critics doubting how good the Cowboys will be in 2022. It has more to do with what the Cowboys didn’t do in free agency to patch up the holes and what their counterparts did to get better.

Even though the Dallas Cowboys had a good draft someone else is favored to win the NFC East.

As Dallas fans became highly frustrated with the losses of Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson, La’el Collins, and Randy Gregory this off season, the only way to ease the pain and suffering of those losses were hitting on some highly notable and talented players in the draft. They did to some extent, but the reality is that Dallas could play second fiddle to the Eagles or even the Commanders in the NFC East.

That’s a good thing in that Dallas has to fight its way to win another divisional crown because so many critics claimed Dallas only won the NFC East because of the lackluster competition.

It’s understandable why Philly is favored by some critics to win the division. They got better by trading for talented wide receiver A.J. Brown and by teaming Brown up with second year wideout DeVonta Smith. they will have the best 1-2 punch in the division. This wide receiver tandem gives quarterback Jalen Hurts some legitimate receiving threats. Further, this receiving duo matches up well with the Eagles dominant running game.

Noted: Philly led the NFL in rushing in 2021.

Then the Eagles improved its defense with selecting massive defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round and linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round. Including the trade for Brown, it seems the Eagles closed the gap on Dallas. Whether the Eagles can overtake Dallas as the top dogs in the NFC East will have to wait until the season starts when the two archrivals square off in what will likely be prime time games.

My unbiased take

Yes, those pesky Eagles are much improved on both sides of the ball, but unless Hurts becomes an elite quarterback this season, Dallas will win the division for the second consecutive year and for the fifth time in since 2014. Being the first repeat NFC East champion since 2001-04 (Eagles).

The main reason Dallas will repeat as division winners is because it simply has the best franchise signal caller in the NFC East. Oh yeah, statistically speaking, Dak is definitely a top-10 quarterback.

Sorry if the HATERS can’t digest that pill. The proof is there.

Even with the losses of Cooper, Wilson and Collins on the offensive side of the ball, Dallas’ offense still has enough fire power to blow defensives out of the water and put-up points galore. CeeDee Lamb enters his third year, James Washington is sneaky good (a sleeper, too), and Dalton Schultz is a lethal tight end (an emergency blanket for Dak).

Rookie wide out Jalen Tolbert, Noah Brown, and Simi Fehoko rounds out the supporting cast of receivers. A healthy Ezekiel Elliott and more touches for the versatile Tony Pollard and this offense still causes problems for divisional foes. This is enough firepower to keep Dallas winning until the return of Michael Gallup from his ACL injury.

And we have yet to discuss the issues Gallup poses to opposing defenses once he returns to action. Let’s not rule out Dallas signing a veteran receiver, too. 

Sidenote: Washington recorded 114 receptions for 1,629 yards, and 11 touchdowns in a four-year span with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a second-round pick. Last season caught 24 passes for 285 yards and two scores. Those might not be gawdy stats, but Washington was underused in Pittsburgh. The talent is there.

Washington has good speed, he’s a good route runner, he makes amazing catches, and he has something to prove on a one-year deal. Also, Washington is good at beating man coverage, so good luck with double-teaming Lamb. The Texas native is back home, so don’t be surprised if Washington has a breakout season and make Dallas a much more potent offense.

In conclusion

Let’s be clear. The NFC East will be way better in 2022 than it was last year. The Eagles, Commanders, and Giants all got better. That’s a good thing in that Dallas has to fight its way to win another divisional crown because so many critics claimed Dallas only won the NFC East because of the lackluster competition. But didn’t the Eagles make the playoffs, too?

Besides Dallas’ offensive weapons, another reason I expect Dallas to win the division is because of its defense. Dallas’ defense will be even better under Dan Quinn because of the familiarity and having the right players for his schemes. Dallas has most of its play makers back and have addressed enough issues on its defensive front to create nightmares for NFC East quarterbacks.

I do respect the Eagles and see them as Dallas’ biggest threat. But since those buzzards are the early favorites to win the NFC East, let them celebrate in May because the Dallas Cowboys always play better as the underdogs. And guess what…the critics knows this, too! Wink! Wink!