The NFL offseason is nearing its end as the 2023 season is right around the corner. To get you ready for the start of the new campaign, we will dive into every team in the league. We opened with the the AFC East, which figures to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, especially with Aaron Rodgers arriving on the scene. On Tuesday, we dive into the NFC East, which includes the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles along with some other notable storylines, including running back drama and a new team owner.
Below we look at the scouting report for every team in the division along with one interesting fact for each entering the season, plus we’ll look at the best and worst fan moments in every franchise’s history.
Team’s most important players:
2023 scouting report: The Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC, but their challenge to return to the Super Bowl includes overcoming the loss of both their offensive and defensive coordinator along with several starters on defense (Javon Hargrave, Marcus Epps, T.J. Edwards and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson). It all starts with Jalen Hurts, though. He signed a massive extension this offseason and can build off his breakout 2022 season.
Interesting fact to know for 2023 season: So can Hurts and Co. shake off just falling short in 2022? They lost by three points to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl and Jalen Hurts finished as the MVP runner-up to Patrick Mahomes. But, there’s a silver lining. Hurts is the seventh player all time to finish second in Heisman Trophy voting and NFL MVP voting in a career. The previous six are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and all have either won an MVP or a Super Bowl at some point in their careers, too. The list? Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk, Steve Young, John Elway, O.J. Simpson and Bob Griese.
Best fan moment in team history — Eagles winning first-ever Super Bowl: It’s tempting to put defeating the rival Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship for their first Super Bowl bid in this spot, but what’s sweeter than winning the franchise’s first NFL championship? Ousting Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2017 for the NFL crown stands as the most momentous occasion for the franchise and its fans.
Worst fan moment — Losing No. 1 overall pick: The Eagles had one of their worst seasons in 1968, finishing 2-12 and last in the Capitol Division. Despite such a frustrating season, Philly did not get the No. 1 overall pick, thanks to two wins in the last three weeks of the season. O.J. Simpson went first overall that year and if Philadelphia had stayed winless, it would have drafted the running back. Instead, the Bills, who went 1-12-1, had the first pick in the draft.
Team’s most important players:
2023 scouting report: The Cowboys added wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency and managed to keep other crucial players on the roster, including running back Tony Pollard, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, left tackle Tyron Smith, backup quaterback Cooper Rush and safety Donovan Wilson. Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense won’t have Kellen Moore calling plays as head coach Mike McCarthy will take over those duties. On defense, Dan Quinn will continue to call plays for a talented squad led by Micah Parsons. They should once again compete for a playoff spot and possibly a deep postseason run.
Interesting fact to know for 2023 season: The Cowboys have made 12 straight playoff appearances without reaching a conference championship game, the longest drought in NFL history. They are one of six teams without a conference title game appearance since 1996, along with the Lions, Texans, Browns, Dolphins and Commanders.
Best fan moment in team history — The Dynasty: Winning a Super Bowl is hard enough, never mind being a dynasty. It didn’t start promising, with the Cowboys going 1-15 in the first year under Jimmy Johnson. In 1989, the Herschel Walker trade broke records, which including 18 players and draft picks. Walker went from the Cowboys to the Vikings, and Johnson and the Cowboys used what they got from the trade to amp up their team through the draft. Dallas went on to win the Super Bowl in 1992, 1993 and 1995 (the last one coming after Johnson departed the team).
Worst fan moment in team history — J.J.’s split with Jerry Jones, Cowboys: All great things can’t last forever, and that’s what happened in Dallas when Jimmy Johnson parted ways after his partnership with owner Jerry Jones turned sour. It capped the end of an amazing run that included two Super Bowl wins, and although the team won a Super Bowl two years later under Barry Switzer, Dallas has since struggled and has just a handful of playoff wins since Jones took control of the team’s decision-making.
Team’s most important players:
2023 scouting report: The Giants’ offseason has not been short of drama. Quarterback Daniel Jones and the team reached an agreement on a four-year, $160 million deal mere minutes before the franchise tag deadline. The other player with contract questions heading into the offseason was running back Saquon Barkley, though his situation did not go as smooth as his quarterback’s. Barkley did not get a long-term deal with the team done before the deadline and has been open about his frustration. The 26-year-old threatened to hold out in order for the team to — in his words — show them how valuable he is to the team. Barkley also removed the Giants from his Twitter bio.
Shortly after, however, the Giants and Barkley agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $11 million with incentives. Barkley will now report to training camp.
Interesting fact to know for 2023 season: The Giants beat the Vikings in the wild-card round last year to win their first playoff game since Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. Now they will attempt to accomplish something they’ve only done one other time in franchise history: Win a playoff game in back-to-back seasons. The only time they did that was from the 1984-86 seasons when Bill Parcells was their head coach.
Best moment in team history — Beating the Patriots twice: What’s better than beating Tom Brady once? Beating Brady twice. What’s better than beating Brady twice? Beating him twice and ruining an undefeated season — and both times using a miraculous play by Eli Manning and the offense to achieve the feat. The Giants shocked the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII by destroying a perfect season. When they came face-to-face with the Patriots again in Super Bowl XLVI, the story was the same: a New England loss.
Worst moment in team history — 2002 playoff loss, and the “boat pic” curse: Giants fans certainly know heartbreak, and one of their worst losses came in the 2002 playoffs when they blew a 38-14 lead against the 49ers, with a final score of 39-38. Another rough moment for Giants fans was when the team all posed in boots on a yacht in Miami in 2017, one week ahead of playing the Packers in the playoffs. The boat picture seemed to be a curse for the Giants, who went on to register the worst record in the league between 2017 and 2021 (18-48). The Giants did not have a winning record from the boat photo until 2022.
Team’s most important players:
2023 scouting report: Washington finally turned the page on the Daniel Snyder Era so you can only go up from here. Optimism abounds with second-year QB Sam Howell taking the reins under new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as the Commanders can improve upon last season’s 8-8-1 record in 2023.
Interesting fact to know for 2023 season: Howell will try to change the Commanders’ QB fortunes in 2023. Washington has had an NFL-high 12 different starting QBs since 2018, its first season after losing Kirk Cousins to the Vikings. Those 12 QBs? Try Taylor Heinicke, Josh Johnson, Alex Smith, Sam Howell, Dwayne Haskins, Colt McCoy, Carson Wentz, Mark Sanchez, Kyle Allen, Garrett Gilbert, Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
However, Washington’s QB futility goes well beyond the last decade. Their all-time passing leader is Sammy Baugh, who last played in 1952. None of their top-five passing leaders in franchise history has played for the team in the 2000s.
Best fan moment in team history — Super Bowl wins; Snyder selling team: Washington has two NFL championships — in 1937 and 1942 (pre-Super Bowl Era) — and three Super Bowl championships, along with five name changes throughout their long history. Those obviously are top moments to any Washington fan, but a recent event has caused fans to celebrate. This offseason, Dan Snyder finally sold the team, ending a two-decade run highlighted by losing, scandals, complaints (internal and external) and more. Snyder was not particularly loved by the fans, and it was apparent when he sold the franchise.
Worst fan moment in team history — Super Bowl XVIII: Washington was the better team heading into the game, but things went from bad to worse for the squad when it faced the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1984 Super Bowl. Washington was the defending champs and had a 14-2 record, with its only losses coming by one point. The Raiders led by 18 at the half and ended up winning 38-9, the biggest score gap in a Super Bowl at that time.
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