2019 NFC East Breakdown by Position: The Offense

2019 NFC East Breakdown
FRISCO, TX - MAY 22: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs up the field during the Dallas Cowboys OTA on May 22, 2019 at The Star in Frisco, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

During the month of August, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be breaking down every division in the league by position. This article contains a position-by-position breakdown of the NFC East offenses. The breakdown will contain “the best” at each unit followed by “the rest” in descending order.

2019 NFC East Breakdown by Position: The Defense

2019 NFC East Breakdown by Position: The Offense

Quarterback

The Best: Philadelphia Eagles

The Rest: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins

The NFC East is a division that contains up-and-coming quarterbacks …and Eli Manning. But seriously, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, and future starter Dwayne Haskins are young quarterbacks more than capable of being their respective franchise’s quarterback for the long haul. Not to mention, New York draft pick Daniel Jones will take over for Manning at some point during his young career.

However, you can debate between the only two teams who have been in contention recently — Dallas and Philadelphia — as to has the better quarterback of the two. Prescott had an amazing rookie season that saw him throw 23 touchdowns, four interceptions, and 3,667 yards en route to winning the division in 2016. Wentz, however, struggled to find his footing during his rookie season throwing 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 3,782 yards.

So, why did we go with Wentz you may ask? Because of his stellar 2017 season in which he turned in an MVP-like performance to help lead his team to the No. 1 seed and an eventual Super Bowl championship led by his backup, Nick Foles. Wentz was simply dominant in his sophomore season solidifying his place as the Eagles quarterback and taking the leap every team wishes upon their inexperienced signal-callers.

Wentz also followed up his success in 2018 with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions before having his season end due to injury late in the season. The big knock on Wentz has been the concern of his health — with Wentz only playing 16 games once during his short career.

Wentz also benefits from having a pretty balanced attack on offense. There’s no doubt that Prescott benefits heavily from having Ezekiel Elliot behind him, but Wentz has studs at wide receiver (Alshon Jeffrey), tight end (Zach Ertz) and a new running back in Jordan Howard.

However, as the most obvious saying in sports, when your star player is healthy, then you have a chance. When Wentz is out there playing high-level football at 100 percent health, then he can sling it with the best of them.

Running Back

The Best: Dallas Cowboys

The Rest: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Ezekiel Elliott finally signed a deal with the Cowboys, but even if he hadn’t signed yet, he’s still the best runner in the division. In his three seasons with the Cowboys, Elliott has rushed for 28 touchdowns while racking up 4,048 yards on the ground while capturing the rushing yards title twice (2016, 2018). Elliott remains one of THE core pieces on offense in Dallas and benefits from one of the league’s top offensive lines, as well.

While the Eagles went out and got a bull-type of a runner with Howard, the Eagles don’t really have a frontrunner to lead the pack on a consistent basis. Over in Washington, while Adrian Peterson continues to run at a high level in his 30s, the ‘Skins will look to Derrius Guice to get the heavy share of carries to open the season.

Now, some might wonder why New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley wasn’t listed as the best. Now, look, Barkley had one hell of a rookie debut for New York. Barkley basically acted as the forefront of the offense besides Odell Beckham Jr. However, where Elliott has shown heavy consistency at the position, Saquon just has the one year under his belt. There’s no doubt that Barkley will have a fantastic season in 2019 — and will battle with Elliott for league’s best. But for now? It’s Elliott’s world and we’re just living in it.

Wide Receiver

The Best: Dallas Cowboys

The Rest: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Two NFC East teams benefit from a solid core of receiving corps while two other teams have uncertainty. However, between Dallas and Philadelphia, the slight edge goes to the Cowboys — and it’s very slight.

The trade that brought Amari Cooper to Dallas is one that will live in history as one of the most impactful trades in Cowboys history. Prescott and Cooper developed rapport instantly and have several big games last season — including 200 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. The addition of Randall Cobb will give them an incredible slot receiver and allow Michael Gallup to hone his craft behind two studs this upcoming season.

The Eagles boast a very good lineup of receivers just as well, but Jeffrey has had health issues, DeSean Jackson is on the other side of 30 now and Nelson Agholor isn’t quite the big-play type Philly wants him to be. They’re no slouch but they remain just a smidge behind of Dallas.

Which is something both New York and Washington cannot say with their crop of receivers. Once Beckham left New York, it left a very, very gaping hole on who was going to be the guy. Golden Tate is a nice substitute, but he won’t even play until Week Five. And in our nation’s Capital, it’s hard to get a feel from a mix of draft picks and second-year receivers with a new quarterback in place.

Tight End

The Best: Philadelphia Eagles

The Rest: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins

Every NFC East team boasts a tight end that their quarterback can count on week in an week out. However, only one reigns supreme above the rest. Zach Ertz has established himself as a Top 3, Top 5 tight end across the league, depending on your ranking. However, you can also point out that he had the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots.

But you can find production across the other three teams if you look hard enough. Jason Witten decided that the TV gig wasn’t for him and decided to unretire just after one season away from the game. Jordan Reed was at one point an elite tight end, but compiled concussions are starting to derail a once stellar career. And perhaps forgotten in New York, is Evan Engram, who is now Manning’s top target — at least until Golden Tate returns from his four-game suspension.

But where quality — and fantasy points — lie with the big men of the division sorely lie with Ertz. No matter if it was Wentz or Foles, Ertz always showed up in big moments in the last two seasons. With a healthy Wentz at the helm, Ertz should be primed for another big season.

The rapport and trust factor is a high connection between quarterback and tight end. The connection is just as important between a No. 1 wide receiver and quarterback. Ertz and Wentz have it. Prescott and Witten have it. Engram and Manning are getting there and Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins and Jordan Reed will hopefully get there.

Offensive Line

The Best: Dallas Cowboys

The Rest: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Washington Redskins

Do you know why Elliott won those rushing titles two times out of the last three? Because of the amazing line Dallas has upfront in Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Travis Frederick, Zach Martin, and La’el Collins. With Frederick returning to the team, Dallas should boast the best line in football in 2019. According to Pro Football Focus, Dallas is ranked No. 2 overall with the Eagles ranked as the best unit at No. 1.

With the Eagles line of Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson — they’re just as dominant as their NFC East rivals. So, then, why Dallas over Philly, you ask? Because of the run game that they support.

To the eye, when you look at running backs breaking loose and hitting holes, you attest it to the back. But the actual truth is the five guys up front are doing their job and doing it well. Limiting sacks, opening up lanes and shutting down pass rushes is all in a day’s work for your O-line.

The wear and tear Wentz has suffered is a combination of plays and protection from his line while Prescott has remained healthy and led to Zeke’s two rushing titles. Protection may not always be noticed by fans but seeing a group of guys push people around a week in and week out always gets noticed.

While the Cowboys and Eagles may have dominant o-lines, the same can’t be said for their rivals the Giants and Redskins, who have struggled more to protect their quarterback and block for their runners.

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