2022 Training Camp Preview: NFC East

With the Green Bay Packers playing every single team from the NFC East over the course of their 2022-23 NFL season, let’s take a look at what to expect from each of these opponents. Last year, the East was won by the Dallas Cowboys, and they were joined by the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs, with both teams falling on Wild Card Weekend.

Dallas Cowboys

2021 Record – 12-5

After their early exit at the hands of the 49ers, the Cowboys are back for more in ‘22 and hope to replicate some of their success this season.

Dak Prescott enters his seventh season as the team’s starting QB, and his receiving core will look a lot different this season. Amari Cooper was shipped out to the Cleveland Browns for limited draft capital, opening the door for CeeDee Lamb to become the top WR and pass catcher for Prescott.

Michael Gallup, who is still recovering from his late-season ACL tear, was brought back on a big-money deal but will be on the shelf for the foreseeable future, allowing South Alabama rookie Jalen Tolbert and former Steelers wideout James Washington to take on the more prominent roles in the offense.

Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are back in the fold as the team’s top two RBs, Dalton Schultz was brought back on the franchise tag (although a long-term deal is still in the works), and the offensive line will need to replace La’el Collins, who joined the Bengals in free agency.

Defensively, Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence are still core members of the front seven, while Trevon Diggs looks to continue to lead this team’s defensive secondary. No real big-time movement on this side of the ball, and the Cowboys have plenty of returning talent to repeat as divisional winners.

New York Giants

2021 Record – 4-13

The Packers will travel to London to face the New York Giants, who are entering into Season 1 of the Brian Daboll era. The former OC for the Buffalo Bills will look to usher in a new offensive identity for a team that has far too many holes on that side of the ball to be competitive.

Daniel Jones remains this team’s starting QB, but with all the signs pointing to him not earning a second contract, he will likely be auditioning for a new team this season. Saquon Barkley will look to be unleashed by Daboll and Mike Kafka, who came over from the Chiefs to become the new OC for the Giants.

In the draft, the Giants used their two high first-round selection on building up the trenches, as Alabama’s Evan Neal (OT) and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE) were selected. By prioritizing the lines on both sides of the ball, the Giants may finally be ready to turn that corner and become competitive again, even with as many question marks as they have.

On the defense, having moved on from James Bradberry will leave a hole in their CB group, but this team should actually produce a league-average defensive unit this year, supported by the fact that they get to play against the NFC East.

Expecting a ton of growth in Daboll’s first season is unrealistic, but they look to have hit a home run with the hires of their new coach and GM (Joe Schoen), both of whom came from the Buffalo Bills organization.

Philadelphia Eagles

2021 Record – 9-8

The Philadelphia Eagles look to be one of the bigger winners of the draft, and it’s not because of the players they selected.

By turning a first-round selection into AJ Brown (and his subsequent extension), the front office threw all of their chips to the middle of the table, banking on the continued growth of Jalen Hurts this season. Pairing Brown with DeVonta Smith gives this team one of the highest-upside WR units in the league, and combined with Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders, gives Hurts no excuses.

Defensively, their middle-of-the-pack unit benefits largely from facing NFC East opponents frequently during the season, but they are average in most areas. Their 4-3 starting unit welcomed LB Haason Reddick (AZ) and CB James Bradberry (NYG) into the fold, but outside of those additions, no real needle-moving moves were made this offseason.

Washington Commanders

2021 Record – 7-10

The final team on the docket for the Packers to face is the Washington Commanders, who have welcomed Carson Wentz as their next stab at a stabilizing QB. Being familiar with the NFC East certainly could benefit Wentz from his days as an Eagle, but expecting him to remain healthy is the biggest gamble this team can make.

Their draft plan was a bit puzzling, as they used high capital on another backfield complement alongside Antonio Gibson, and while their selection of Jahan Dotson to pair as WR2 alongside Terry McLaurin, the second-round pick of a defensive tackle with their current roster is questionable at best.

This franchise has always had issues with how it has been run, and while Ron Rivera has been an excellent steadying HC that has helped right the ship, they still seem to be getting in their own way. With no long-term solution in-house yet at QB and a plethora of defensive studs needing large contract extensions soon, this team could continue to be playing behind the eight ball if things don’t improve.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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