NFC East Q&A: Who wins the division? Bet big on the Cowboys

Today's question: Who will win the division, and how many teams from the division will make the playoffs?

Dan Graziano, New York Giants reporter: The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat champion since the 2003-04 Eagles, and that’s not changing this year. Dallas comes roaring back from last year’s pothole and edges out defending champion Washington in a tight two-way race. But for the first time since 2009, two teams from this division reach the playoffs. Washington shows that last year wasn’t a total fluke and snags a wild-card spot.

Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles reporter: As much as it galls Eagles fans, I think the Cowboys are in position to win the division title this season. Dallas won it in 2014, then fell apart in 2015 because of injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. If Romo and Bryant are healthy and Ezekiel Elliott is the player everyone expects, the Cowboys immediately become the class of the division. I do think there’s a decent chance that Washington could get in as a wild card. The other divisions have strong teams at the top, but there is room for the NFC East runner-up in the playoffs.

Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys reporter: There has not been a repeat division winner in the NFC East since the 2003-04 Eagles, so that would seem to rule out the Redskins. The Eagles and Giants have new head coaches, and they sometimes need time to find their footing. That leaves the Cowboys. They are not your typical 4-12 team. Tony Romo is healthy. Dez Bryant is healthy. They drafted Ezekiel Elliott. They have the best offensive line in the division. There are several defensive questions, but the offense can negate many of the defensive inefficiencies. The Cowboys won the division in 2014 with that formula, and they will do it again. And they will be the only NFC East team to qualify for the postseason. Matching up with the AFC North and NFC North will not allow the second-place team to make it as a wild card.

John Keim, Washington Redskins reporter: I know it’s easy to dismiss the Redskins because there hasn’t been a repeat division champion since 2003-04, but I don’t want to rely on that stat alone as a reason to rule someone out. This division isn’t exactly the strongest, so if the Redskins stay healthy then, yeah, I think they’ll repeat. I can easily see three teams winning the division if certain things break right -- right now, the only team I’m dismissing is Philadelphia. My fear with Dallas is Tony Romo's health. Can he play all 16 games? Could the Cowboys survive, say, a two-game absence? Right now, I’d say no -- although I think he’ll be the MVP of the division, I do not think he’ll play all 16 games. Also, I don’t see an improved defense in Dallas. I have no idea if Ben McAdoo will be a good head coach or not, so while I think New York blew a shot last year, I can’t assume that he’ll make the difference. I have no idea. To me, the Redskins have the fewest questions. I like the addition of Josh Norman and the potential impact of Junior Galette. I don’t think Kirk Cousins is a great quarterback, but I also don’t see him falling off big time -- he understands the talent he has around him (as long as he keeps using it, they’re good). There’s a strong, professional mindset among these players that is healthy. They have questions, too, and I don’t see them as prime Super Bowl contenders yet, but in a still-recovering NFC East? They’re as good as anyone. My take: They’ll win a tiebreaker over Dallas, but both make the postseason. (Of course, the truth is I flipped a coin).