NFC East matchups, predictions for Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season

The Eagles begin their campaign to become the first NFC East team to win back-to-back divisional titles in almost two decades, but what will their rivals be up to?
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
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Arizona Cardinals versus Washington Commanders

Well well well, if it isn’t old Jonathan Gannon with his disbanded crew of misfits and Riverboat Ron Rivera who’s coaching for his job. We’re in a tough spot here because we all very much want Gannon to fail in every aspect of being a head coach, but we also want Washington to fail at every aspect of being a professional football team.

There is a chance that both of those things can be true, but it seems like it’s a slim chance of it happening this week. 

Cardinals Offense

Gannon’s running a team that’s going to be quarterbacked by either Joshua Dobbs or Clayton Tune. We don’t know which guy is going to be the signal-caller because Gannon won’t tell anyone. He says that gives him a competitive advantage... Yeah right!

Buddy… You’re delusional if you think a team’s game plan is going to change depending on either of those guys. The conversation would change from, ‘We’re going to have three drives that start with a short field,’ to ‘We’re going to have four drives that start with a short field.’ What a funny guy that Jonathan Gannon fella is.

Regardless of who gets the start, they will have nothing to work with. Hollywood Brown is one of Zona's wide receivers. Does that scare anyone though? It doesn't seem as though it should.

The correct answer is a resounding 'No'. When you look at the Cards' other weapons, things aren't that bad. Unfortunately, they aren't very good either.

James Connor is pretty good. He's their best running back. He may also be their best player on offense. In short, the Cardinals aren't going to scare very many teams.

Commanders Offense

The Commanders are rolling out Sam Howell as their starting quarterback. They have a decent reason to believe in him, to a point.

He was the quarterback in the Commanders’ final game of the 2022 season. He and his teammates humiliated the Dallas Cowboys in a 26-6 affair. Dallas played their starters in an attempt to create some good vibes heading into the postseason. Most recently, he helped the Commanders beat the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason. The game didn't count, but he was impressive. 

Howell's ability certainly isn't something you should just shoo away, but he is nothing to write home about or plant your flag on either. He’s still VERY unproven, but he does have weapons. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are his pass catchers, and Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson will split carries at tailback.

Robinson has some juice to him. He wasn’t too terrible last year, and that came after an offseason where he was a gunshot victim. This offseason, he participated in training camp, so he has a decent opportunity to take a step forward. Playing a challenged defense like the one in Arizona could aid him in getting off to a good start.

Another fun little wrinkle here is that Eric Bieniemy is the Commanders’ new offensive coordinator. He was the Kansas City Chiefs OC from 2018 until 2022, and recently, he outcoached Jonathan Gannon in the Super Bowl.

Cardinals Defense

The two guys that you’ll know on the Cardinals' defense are Budda Baker and former Eagle Kyzir White. That’s it. JJ Watt retired at the end of last season. They traded away Isaiah Simmons. They have nothing and they are nothing. This season is so clearly a tank job for the Cardinals and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. 

Commanders Defense

The Commanders are a different animal from the one in the desert, kind of. Defensive end Chase Young, their first-round draft pick from 2020, is still injured or mad or sad or something like that. Whatever he’s feeling, he’s still not playing.

This year, Washington drafted Emmanuel Forbes. He's a six-foot, 166-pound cornerback, so there are questions about how he will perform versus bigger NFL receivers. 

Even though the situations with those players are entirely laughable, the Commanders’ defense will be fine. They have some underrated guys in the defensive backfield and their defensive line is good but lacks depth. 


Commanders (-7). What this game will come down to, is how terrible the Cardinals are going to be. They’re an absolute powerhouse of atrocity this year, and this game against the Commanders is the first step in their dominant journey of losing games pathetically.