This is probably the most intriguing division in my eyes year in and year out. You have the most heated rivalries. You have big cities. Large media outlets. Very exciting divisional battles. Plus at least one of the NFC Wild Card spots has come out of this division each of the past 5 years (both wildcards in 2007). This division is rugged. This division is tough. And I could go on and on. The saddest part is none of these teams are ones that I religiously root for and actively follow. You just got to love the intensity and rivalries that continue to get better every year.
I feel this is probably the hardest division to predict in the NFL.
NFC East: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins (alphabetical order)
Philadelphia Eagles (4th): Boy did the city of brotherly love forget to show the love this offseason. The loss of Donovan McNabb will really sting. And it will not only hurt their team, but you better believe he will be ready to show Philly what they lost when the Eagles take on the Redskins. Philadelphia always took Donovan for granted. That was a big mistake. This team had a solid offensive attack to go along with a solid defensive attack. But they are investing a lot of faith into Kevin Kolb, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Andy Reid is a great coach though, and I have faith in his judgment. Also the rushing game has never been all that great in Philly, but now without Brian Westbrook, there is a lot of faith being placed in the former Pittsburgh Panther, LeSean McCoy. Now I do not think this team will have a horrible season. I am guessing anywhere between 6 and 8 wins. But in this division, 6 to 8 wins will help you find your way to the cellar. I think the Eagles would be better off playing Vick. And honestly, if things do not go well the first month, Michael Vick might be an NFL starting quarterback again. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Washington Redskins (3rd): The sad thing is this team dramatically improved this offseason. Donovan McNabb might have been the best pickup made in the entire League since the end of last year. Also Mike Shanahan is a decent coach, though I do think he is overrated and has been nothing since the retirement of John Elway. Just sadly, this franchise has suffered from inner turmoil due to their highest paid player Albert Haynesworth being unhappy with the defensive scheme. Not to mention, that they are led by probably the most incompetent owner in the League other than Mike Brown (Dan Snyder). For a team that went 4 and 12, it is very surprising that they had such a solid defense. And this all comes back to the outstanding play of super linebacker, London Fletcher. This guy is one of the League’s best at his craft. I feel Snyder has a syndrome that cannot be fixed in just one year. I do see this team winning 8 games, which would be a 4 game improvement, but this will not be good enough to make the playoffs.
New York Giants (3rd): I got the G Men finishing in 2nd. I do think they will nab a Wildcard. So it will not be all that bad of a year for the Giants in their new stadium. This team has really demonstrated a strong passing attack, a solid rushing attack, and confidence in their quarterback Eli Manning. Winning the Super Bowl in 2007 really got fans off of Eli’s back. Other quarterbacks should take note. This team does not have the defense that they once had, but they still have a decent group. They have become a middle of the road defensive team in defending both the run and the pass. I expect them to improve on this and bring back a defense that is reminiscent of the team in 2007. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will need to become the bash brothers of old. They have not been able to depend on Michael Strahan, the man with the most well-known gap in sports for the past couple of years. Now Strahan does fitness and Subway commercials for a living. I feel like there is something about this team that will help them find their way into the playoffs. Because on paper, they are no better than either the Eagles or the Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys (1st): America’s team is going to repeat as NFC East Champions. They got the best stadium, the hottest girls (thanks to Tony Romo and the Cowboy Cheerleaders), and one of the most well-known owners in all of professional sports (Jerry Jones). Dallas has a great defense, led by Demarcus Ware, that is one of the best at stopping the run in the entire League. They also have one of the most high-powered offenses in the League. They ranked 2nd last year just behind the Super Bowl Champion Saints. This team possesses a 2 headed monster at running back in Marion Barber and Felix Jones. If these guys stay healthy, teams will not be able to keen in on Tony Romo and the outstanding Cowboy aerial attack. They also have Miles Austin, who came out of nowhere to turn into one of the best receivers in the League. They have arguably the best receiving tight end in the game today in Jason Witten. Witten and Romo have a fantastic chemistry, and who cares if TO doesn’t like it. But this team is tough. I expect them to make a deep run in the playoffs. They do have a prayer of getting to play a Super Bowl at home come February (if they are lucky).
So there you have it. Those are my NFC East picks. I have both the Cowboys and Giants making the playoffs out of this always rugged division. This is the hardest division for me to predict by far. Great rivalries and great teams every year.
Should be another wild year in the NFC East. I would not be surprised if all of the teams finish within 3 games of each other.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.