NFC East Preview

Posted: August 24, 2011 by Humza Ghori in Features, Preseason, Preview


Philadelphia Eagles

From conVICKt to playoff contenders the Eagles made Michael Vick the starting QB last year and never looked back. Their season ended when they fell short to the eventual superbowl champs (Greenbay Packers) in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Now, with the new additions of CB Nnamdi Asmougha, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, WR Steve Smith, TE Donald Lee, and DT Cullen Jenkins the Eagles quickly became the superpowers of the NFC East and possibly the NFC. However every Eagles’ fan knows to hold their breath as soon as the playoffs come because of their inability to show up in the offseason. So what is going to be the status of the “Dream Team” this season? Their schedule is ranked as the 17th hardest in the league with them having to play the AFC East and the NFC West (that’s probably why it seems so favorable). They are easily the best team in their division (regardless of whatever Sexy Rexy says). However with the regular season almost looking like a gift are the stars alined for the Eagles this year? We have already seen the “Dream Team” assemble in two preseason match ups and in the second week agains the Pittsburgh Steelers and the team looked out of sync and sloppy. These problems are nothing to be to concerned about because there are teams that do terrible in the preseason but ignite a fire when it counts. I will say this though, the Eagles will make the playoffs barring any unforeseen injuries to major players. However, if the fans want to see Eagles football in late January they must and I mean must take advantage of this schedule and lock down a first round bye. They will do that by beating the teams that they are clearly better then: Rams (week 1), 49ers (week 4), and Bills (week 5). Nevertheless, if the Eagles seriously want to get that first round by they will have to win key match ups against the elite such as Falcons (week 2), Bears (week 9), and the most important game of the season Patriots (week 12). If the Eagles can muster up an upset and top these teams they just might be able to get a first round bye. Especially against the Bears and Falcons cause they will be the teams (amongst others) that will compete against the Eagles for that first round bye. The past couple of season the Eagles have came close to a first round bye and missed it because of a late season loss. As long as the they can get the bye the Eagles can definitely make a promising run in the playoffs. If they miss it, they’ll be watching Super Bowl XLVI from home.

New York Giants

The New York Giants haven’t made the playoffs in two seasons. Ever since their 12-4 finish in the 2008 season the Giants have struggled. Last year they finished 10-6 which is a decent record however due to inconsistencies with wins, defense, and the quarterback position they failed to make the playoffs. Eli Manning threw a career high 25 interceptions and has a completion percentage of only of 62.9%. Ever since his superbowl run he has been inconsistent which has been a problem for the Giants organization. They were able to rout the Bears in a 41-13 however they did lose CB Terrell Thomas for the season due to a torn ACL. I’ve always noticed that when making predictions about teams the Giants have been one of the hardest teams to talk about. With a pleasing schedule the G-Men will finish .500 however with the strength of the Eagles and other teams in the NFC they will be in a heavy battle for and NFC wild card spot. When comparing them to their division they are easily the second best team there, however in the NFC they fall a tremendous amount. Each year it seems to be a new problem for them, and they always seem to be internal problems as well. The team is decent however their defense and offensive hasn’t been the same since 2007 and I’m predicting just another average year by the G-Men.

Dallas Cowboys

How ’bout them cowboys!? They finished 6-10 last year after QB Tony Romo went down in week 6 with a broken collarbone. To be fair the Cowboys were a bit of a joke last year, they finally made some good managerial decisions by getting rid of “The Marshmallow” Wade Phillips and replacing him with Jason Garrett. With a new coach and their starting QB healthy again they look to win back the respect they think they deserve. A lot of critics want to attack Tony Romo for their recent failures however the only thing I blame him for is being like porcelain. He has to be one of the weakest QBs in the history of the NFL. He’s a talented QB who has the ability to win it all one day… possibly, but he has to learn to stay healthy. Also, when he is healthy he has to be consistent and take care of the football. In the Cowboys semi magical year (2009) he threw for 26 TDs and only 9 int. I can never forget the last four weeks of that season because Tony Romo was able to play the best football in his entire career. He finally decided to show the NFL that he too deserves an elite status and for that season he was. If Romo stays healthy and takes care of the ball he can actually make the Cowboys a fierce competitor in the NFC East. So why have the Cowboys been struggling? Two words, head coach. Wade Phillips was a good coach and looked like a hero when he led them to their first playoff victory since 1996 in the 2009 season. However after a terrible 1-7 start to the 2010 season it was time for him to go. When Garrett took over the head coaching job he went 5-3 and that was with QB John Kitna behind center. Now with a pro bowl caliber QB and a stand out WR Dez Bryant, Garrett looks to lead the “Boys back in town” with a winning record.

Washington Redskins

I know above I stated that the Cowboys were one of the biggest jokes of last year, but they were no where near as bad as the Washington Redskins last year. Sure they finished with the same record as the cowboys but somewhere in between Albert Haynesworth showing up out of shape for training camp and benching a future hall of famer for Rex Grossman they showed the NFL that they deserve to take the cake for the most ridiculous team of 2010. With McNabb out and “Sexy Rexy” in the Redskins are in a massive recovery mode. I don’t really care what Rex Grossman says but the ‘Skins will not finish on top of the NFC East this year. While a lot of locker room issues have been taken care of (Haynesworth’s trade to the Patriots, and McNabb’s trade to the Vikings) Shanahan’s Redskins still lack a very important necessity: Talent. Their QB competition is a joke, (John who?) They could use a standout wide out or two, however recently they finally acquired a helpful RB name Tim Hightower. Their best looking player is their OLB Brian Orakpo, which I’m not complaining about at all. Starting out by strengthening your defense is the key bringing in some wins. They’re gonna win some games but certainly no where near enough to even make them look like playoff contenders. If the players have enough motivation to actually play a full game to the best of their abilities I think that should be enough of a victory for the ‘Skins this year. If they don’t maybe they will be able to beat out the Bengals for the No. 1 overall pick so they draft college QB Andrew Luck and start building the team around him. Either way I’m gonna have to say the Redskins will probably be another no show for the playoffs this year.

Summary

It looks like the Eagles will win this division. However there is a possibility of them falling apart and if that happens you can look at either the Giants retaking the division for the first time since 2008 or if Romo can stay healthy and play well they also have a good shot of taking the division by surprise. However if the Eagles play like they are suppose to with the talent they got, they will be almost unstoppable in the East. Below are the projected standings and records for each team.

Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)
New York Giants (10-6)
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Washington Redskins (5-11)

Image from Kevin Burkett of Flickr

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