Is the NFC East suddenly wide open?


The assumption was that the Philadelphia Eagles would be the first NFC East team to repeat as division champs since Andy Reid’s Eagles in 2003 and 2004, but early in Philadelphia finished the regular season last year at 13-3 and won the Super Bowl, but the Eagles have gotten off to a slower-than-expected start, with two losses already.

Even the return of quarterback Carson Wentz hasn’t helped much. The Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons on opening night but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, did not look impressive in the victory over the Indianapolis Colts and lost to the Tennessee Titans.

Has the Eagles’ start opened up the division race to the Washington Redskins, New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys?

Our reporters covering the NFC East take a look:

For the Cowboys to leap the rest of the NFC East, it seems likely that Ezekiel Elliott will have to have a monster season.

ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer: Maybe a Super Bowl hangover is a real thing for every team except the New England Patriots. It is early, so there is no need to panic, but given the schedule at the start of the season, not too many people would have thought the Eagles would be 2-2.

The Cowboys seem to have returned to the 8-8 train they were on after Jason Garrett took over as coach in 2011. Can they get off the win-one, lose-one path and challenge the Eagles? Does any team have the consistency to match up with Philadelphia in the division?

The Cowboys may have the best chance to dethrone the Eagles because of their defense. If they can get any kind of consistency from the offense, they would have more than a puncher’s chance. The Cowboys’ strength is their pass rush, led by DeMarcus Lawrence. Perhaps they found their offensive formula in beating Detroit by riding running back Ezekiel Elliott as much as possible. Elliott has shown he can handle the load, but Dak Prescott will have to make chunk plays in the passing game for the Cowboys to truly be successful.

The Redskins appear better suited to make a run than in the past with quarterback Alex Smith, and running back Adrian Peterson might have some tread on the tires. The Giants should be better, but quarterback Eli Manning’s best days are long gone.

There’s just a feeling that Philadelphia will figure it out, get hot again and win the division. The Eagles might not be 12-4 or 11-5 like we thought, but given the state of the rest of the division, 9-7 might get it done.