The 2022 schedule release is just days away from being revealed, but many are already trying to dissect each opponent.
For the Commanders, who finished the 2021 season 7-10, there should be an opportunity to improve in the third season of Ron Rivera’s tenure. Thanks to matching up against teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South and the Detroit Lions in the NFC North, the Commanders are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the easiest strength of schedule.
In anticipation for the 2022 schedule release, which is set to drop at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Commanders.com is breaking down each division to look ahead at what's in store for Washington this season. First up is the NFC East, which features teams with new head coaches, receivers and more.
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- 2021 record: 12-5
The Cowboys spent most of their time in free agency retaining its own players, the most notable of which being receiver Michael Gallup, safety Malik Hooker and tight end Dalton Schultz. For the most part, the team was successful, as 11 of the team's 21 free agents returned to the roster.
Dante Fowler Jr. is the Cowboys' most impressive veteran newcomer. Fowler has most recently spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, but he's been in the league since 2016 and played for the Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams. While his production has been uneven throughout his career, he has shown that he can be a solid pass-rusher with 35 sacks.
Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith leads the Cowboys' nine-player draft class, and he's expected to contribute to an offensive line that has been one of the top groups in recent seasons. He's known for his ability as a run-blocker, which should please Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Dak Prescott had a return to form last season with 4,449 yards and 37 touchdowns after missing most of the 2020 season due to injury. The Cowboys did trade Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, but they should still possess a formidable offense with Prescott leading Elliott, Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
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New York Giants
- 2021 record: 4-13
The Giants fired Joe Judge after two seasons and replaced him with former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who promised to "work our tails off" to turn around a team that hasn't had a winning record since 2016.
The Giants didn't sign any flashy names in free agency, but they did bring in a list of solid players. They signed former Commanders tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who had a career year in Washington on a one-year deal. They also added more depth to their quarterback room by bringing in veteran Tyrod Taylor, who has starting experience, if needed.
The draft was much more exciting for New York's fanbase, as the Giants used their two first-round picks to take Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 overall and Evan Neal at No. 7 overall. For the Giants, the hope is that Neal will protect Daniel Jones from premier pass-rushers found in Washington and Philadelphia, while Thibodeaux will add more impact to a pass-rush that secured just 34 sacks in 2021.
It's clear that the Giants are dedicated to rebuilding their roster, and they've added some pieces that could be part of their long term future and help get them back to playoff contention. The real question resides with Jones, who is playing in a contract year. It'll be a moment for Jones to show why he deserves to be the Giants' signal-caller for 2023 and beyond.
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- 2021 record: 9-8
The Eagles stayed in playoff contention last year, thanks to a dominant rushing attack led by Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders, and it looks like they're making a run to do so again in 2022.
Arguably Philadelphia's biggest move of the offseason was trading away one of their two first-round picks to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for wideout A.J. Brown. Brown, a 2019 second-round pick, is a big, physical target who thrives on yards after the catch and knows how to operate in a run-dominant system. He'll be paired with DeVonta Smith, who led the Eagles with 916 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
The Eagles also locked up a solid haul in the draft, particularly on defense. They used the No. 13 pick to take Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, recognized by many as one of the top overall talents in his class, and linebacker Nakobe Dean, who was considered a first-round talent but ultimately fell to the third round.
The Eagles want to get a definitive answer on whether Hurts is the answer for them at quarterback, and they've surrounded him with talent in the air as well as on the ground. Like Jones, it'll be a chance to show that he deserves to remain in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.
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