Eagles: Can Philly surpass Dallas for the NFC East crown in 2022?

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For the first time in a few years, expectations are justifiably high for the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles.

Howie Roseman has had, on paper, one of his best offseasons to date. He drastically improved three key positions: linebacker, wide receiver, and defensive line, while also keeping most of the key starters intact. The only notable loss the Eagles suffered during free agency was safety Rodney McLeod, who left to join the Colts. The team also lost their CB2 from 2021, Steven Nelson, but that always felt like a foregone conclusion.

With everything in place, the Eagles are primed to have an exciting 2022 season. The first step in reaching their playoff aspirations is, of course, winning the division. In order to do so, they’ll have to dethrone last year’s NFC East champion, the Dallas Cowboys.

No NFC East team has won the division in back-to-back years since the Eagles did it in 2003 and ’04. So, they have history on their side. Nevertheless, the Cowboys are entering the season with high expectations as well. If they don’t come away with the division title, their season will likely be labeled as a disappointment.

Taking a look at how both the Eagles and Cowboys fared during the offseason, it’s pretty clear that Philly is the more improved squad.

Dallas lost a handful of key starters on both sides of the ball. Here’s a quick rundown of their losses:

  • WR Amari Cooper — traded to Cleveland
  • EDGE Randy Gregory — signed with Denver
  • WR Cedrick Wilson — signed with Miami
  • LG Connor Williams — signed with Miami
  • RT La’el Collins — signed with Cincinnati
  • TE Blake Jarwin — released

They did manage to keep some of their in-house talent, like wideout Michael Gallup, tight end Dalton Schultz, and safety Malik Hooker. Dallas also tried to replenish their team through the draft by selecting versatile Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith in the first-round and South Alabama wideout Jalen Tolbert in the third.

Still, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys will be able to fully replace the production left behind by Cooper and Wilson with a third-round rookie. And while Smith can fill a handful of different roles along the offensive line, he can’t play two spots at once.

Breaking down each roster, the Cowboys still have an advantage over the Eagles at one key position. They have the superior quarterback in Dak Prescott. Even without Cooper and Wilson, Dak should be able to produce at a high level with CeeDee Lamb, Gallup, and Tolbert. Not to mention a solid backfield behind him and a good, not great, offensive line blocking for him.

Outside of quarterback, almost every other position is up for debate. On paper, the Eagles do have some clear advantages over Dallas position wise. Their offensive line is better, their defensive line is much deeper, their running game is more lethal, and you could even argue that with the addition of A.J. Brown, the Eagles wide receiving corps is stronger.

Defensively, the Cowboys have more star power, with the likes of Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and DeMarcus Lawrence. But as a collection of talent, the Eagles have more above average to good defensive pieces than Dallas does.

The Eagles secondary is still a big question mark. That’s probably the biggest toss-up when you breakdown the positional battle between Dallas and Philly.

Realistically, there’s no reason the Eagles can’t surpass the Cowboys this season to take the NFC East crown. They have all the pieces, and if Jalen Hurts can improve just a little bit, the Eagles have what it takes to not only win the division, but make some serious noise in the postseason.

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