Tag Archives: Mike Shanahan

Final NFL Regular Season Power Rankings: It’s Playoff Time

Photo courtesy of sports.gearlive.com. The Packers have been number one in the power rankings all season long. Can they hold up their end of the bargain and repeat as Super Bowl champions?

By Wesley Kaminsky

In the final edition of power rankings before postseason play starts next weekend, I’m ranking teams on their entire body of work for the 2011 season. It was a crazy season, just as it always is, and one of the most exciting regular seasons we have seen in quite some time.

Some of the wild events just to name a few were “Tebow Mania,” the Packers near run of perfection, and Dan Marino’s single season passing record getting broken (twice). We truly have seen the gamut this season.

Now, it’s the best time of the year, the playoffs. Who will be this years Packers? Or will the Packers win back to back Super Bowls? Continue reading

Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs End Packers Run of Perfection

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. In his debut as Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Romeo Crennel (pictured above) shocked the world and took down the formerly undefeated Green Bay Packers.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Just when you thought you had everything figured out, right? In Week 15, the games were highlighted by streaks being broken. The Texans saw a seven game losing streak come to an end, while the Packers run of perfection got halted by the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, the Colts finally won a game without Peyton Manning, as they took down the Titans 27-13. That’s a relief.

Also, the Broncos six game winning streak was spoiled by the Patriots, as Tim Tebow couldn’t quite keep up with Tom Brady in a 41-23 loss. There was no “Tebow Time” on Sunday for the first time in quite a while.

Even though the Packers lost, they retain the top spot with the Saints holding on to the number two spot right behind them. Beyond those two teams, a plethora of changes took place in this weeks power rankings. Continue reading

Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Photo courtesy of playqb.com. Tom Brady (pictured above) stole the show in the opening weekend by topping the 500 yard passing mark.

By Wesley Kaminsky

24-37, 422 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. You know who’s stat line that was in week one? Not Aaron Rodgers, not Drew Brees, and not Tom Brady’s. It was Cam Newton’s, who started his career off with a bang.

Would Newton steal the show in week one? Think again. Tom Brady had different plans on Monday Night Football as he threw for an astounding 517 yards in Miami. Yeah, you read that correctly.

That’s just the kind of week it was in week one, full of surprises. Playoff teams such as the Steelers, Chiefs, and Falcons got rocked opening weekend, while the Bills and Lions won on the road. It was a weird week in the NFL, and here is the good news, we are just getting started. Continue reading

McNabb: Best grab thus far

Photo courtesy of sports.popcrunch.com.

By Josh Kramer

Today was easily the wildest day in sports all year.  Or at least it ranks right up there with the first couple of days of this year’s March Madness.  A call that may become as remembered in Pittsburgh as the unforgettable Franco Harris “Immaculate Reception” occurred during the wee hours of the night.  A no-hitter happened early this afternoon.  Major trade action has been going on all day in the MLB.  Butch Davis received the axe from UNC.  And of course, non stop football action as the craziest free agency period of all time trudges on.

Sure the Panthers re-signing of an overpriced DeAngelo Williams was nice for Carolina.  Tennessee adding Seattle’s best QB of all time in Matt Hasselbeck to their team was big.  The Jets bringing back Santonio Holmes was a major move.  And of course Sidney Rice heading to Seattle was very headline worthy.  Granted he will be running routes for the very up and down Tavaris Jackson who he is somewhat familiar with from his Minnesota days.  But one transaction caught my eye more than all of the others today.  And if you have not been living under a box, you are already more than aware of what move I am talking about.

Donovan McNabb to the Vikings. Continue reading

Five NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2011

Photo courtesy of franklinstripfanatics.com. According to our very own Wesley Kaminsky, Marvin Lewis (pictured above) is one of five coaches on the hot seat as we get ready for the NFL season.

By Wesley Kaminsky

It’s almost that time of the year again, and yes I’m talking about the NFL season. With the lockout nearly over, it is time to start thinking about the 2011 NFL season, and forget about all the nonsense that went on this off-season.

Every year, at some point, there are head coaches fired during the season. It simply is something that always happens every season, and this season I expect nothing less.

There will be teams that exceed expectations, and teams that disappoint. If a team is struggling badly, the scrutiny is put right to the head coach. Here we go. Continue reading

“NFL Week 1 Fun”

Arian Foster stole the show in Week 1 rushing for 233 yards and helping the Texans shock the Colts (Foster is now number 23).

The first Sunday of the NFL season is always unpredictable, wacky, fun all in one.  It is always a weekend filled with excitement.  Full of mysteriousness.  And most of all, full of people sitting on their couches all day.  Following this enigmatic day, the scoreboard reads: 

TheSportsKraze:  8               CV3:  8 

There were few storylines that really caught my eye on the weekend.  

-Who is Arian Foster?  

First of all the Houston Texans monumental upset of the Indianapolis Colts.  Going into the 17th matchup of these franchises, Houston was 1 and 15 all time against the defending AFC Champion Colts.  When was the last time you can remember Peyton and the Indianapolis offensive juggernaut losing in Week 1?  And how about the pass happy Texans getting the job done on the ground.  When looking at some initial statistics you would be astonished.  Matt Schaub, who threw for over 4700 yards last season threw for 107 today, not to mention he threw an interception.  Peyton Manning threw for 433 yards and 3 TDs.  But the real story of this game.  How about Mr. Arian Foster?  The guy just blew up rushing for 233 yards (2nd most all time in an opener behind OJ Simpson) and 3 TDs.  Foster is a 2nd year running back out of Rocky Top (Tennessee) that rushed for 257 yards and 3 TDs all year in his rookie campaign.  Well he just ripped the heart out of the defending AFC Champs on Day 1.  Could the Texans be on the verge of breaking the Colts stranglehold on the AFC South this year? 

-The Steelers take care of business without Big Ben. 

Pittsburgh won their first of four games without their starting quarterback today over a very tough Falcons team.  Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward came up big for the Terrible Towels and took care of Week 1.  I will admit that I thought that the Steelers would lose this one without Roethlisberger.  But with inspired play from Ward and Mendenhall on the offensive side of the ball, and Bryant McFadden leading the charge on the defensive side of the ball (15 tackles today, 12 solo), this team could survive this month-long stretch in decent shape. 

-Welcome back Michael Vick? 

This was the best Michael Vick has looked in years.  The guy played inspired football and almost brought the Eagles back against a very tough Packers team.  Starter Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion in the 2nd quarter, and the electric Michael Vick came to the rescue for the fighting city of Philadelphia.  He rushed for over 100 yards and threw for 175.  Should Vick start over a healthy Kolb next week?  Coach Reid definitely has some thinking to do.  It was nice to see the playmaker back in action bringing back some of the memories of the old glory days (in a weekend where his alma mater took their worst loss in school history). 

-Are the 49ers a pretender? 

Many, including myself picked the 49ers to win the ultra weak NFC West.  Well today, they took a good old-fashioned butt whooping from a divisional rival.  San Francisco came out smoking but then had a rough end to the first half and continued to get worse as the game progressed.  Frank Gore’s rushing attack was non-existent.  Alex Smith threw 2 interceptions.  And I could go on.  Vernon Davis was the only bright spot on the day for the 49ers.  Where is that amazing defense we have been hearing about all off-season and theat newly improved offense?  Are the 49ers contenders or pretenders? 

-Blinded by the hype? 

Another team that thoroughly disappointed was the Cincinnati Bengals.  This team looked to still be playing a preseason game until the 3rd quarter of this one.  And a Patriots team, that definitely has a chip on their shoulder due to the talk of the Jets being the favorite in the AFC East, steamrolled Cincinnati.  The only bright spot for the Bengals on this day was Chad OchoCinco and glimpses of a big time aerial attack.  Sure Carson threw for 345 yards.  But what happened to the smash mouth, run first Bengals (now I realize they were behind so they needed to throw).  Palmer threw the ball 50 times today.  Cedric Benson only had 15 carries.  The real show in this game was the reunited amazing connection of Wes Welker and Tom Brady.  These guys picked up right where they left off following Welker’s knee injury.  The best slot receiver in football had 8 catches and 2 TDs.  Are the Patriots a Super Bowl contender? 

-Is Chris Johnson Superman? 

Chris Johnson picked up right where he left off at the end of last year.  On this day, he led his Titans to an easy victory over an overmatched Raiders team.  Johnson compiled 142 rushing yards and 2 TDs.  And once again broke loose for a big time run of 70+ yards.  The guy is outstanding and looks to only be getting better.  The rest of the League needs to beware of Chris Johnson. 

-Can Roy Williams catch a break in Dallas? 

So in one of the most sloppy games I have ever seen in my life, the Redskins began the Mike Shanahan/Donovan McNabb era with a victory over the rival Cowboys.  The Redskins went 0 and 6 in the vaunted NFC East last season and were ecstatic to get that monkey off their shoulders in Week 1.  Since the arrival of Williams in Dallas, things have progressively gotten worse as he went from being a big time pick up to a guy that fans in Dallas booed consistently.  Once again Roy had a modest evening, of 3 catches for 21 yards, but on the last play of the game, he had appeared to come up with the catch that probably would have won the game for the Cowboys (barring an extra point attempt).  Roy’s heart had to be pounding.  Then he and the rest of Cowboy nation saw a yellow flag on the field.  Alex Barron, the Cowboys 6th year (1st with Cowboys) offensive tackle out of Florida State, had done the unthinkable.  Against a weak, 3 man Washington rush, he blatantly held Redskin linebacker Brian Orakpo.  So Roy’s heroics are already all but forgotten.  Sorry Roy.  Mine as well jump on the Miles Austin bandwagon with the rest of America. 

So these are just a few stories from an amazing opening Sunday.  The NFL is back in the flesh baby. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“A Rumble in DC”

Albert Haynesworth has currently not stepped foot on the Redskin's practice field yet and is in the midst of a major conflict with the coaching staff. Can the Redskins recover?

Tensions have been mounting in Washington D.C.  The Mike Shanahan era has barely begun, but trouble is in the air.  Albert Haynesworth and Coach Mike Shanahan are off to the worst of starts in DC.  I am not sure if the big fella will ever step foot on the field.  And I am not sure this would upset Coach Shanahan too much.  Haynesworth skipped out on all workouts leading up to training camp.  He whined to the media about the move to the 3-4 defensive scheme.  He signed a 21 million dollar bonus in April.  And he has been unable to pass the conditioning test in order to practice.  Mike Golic, passed this test for crying out loud!  You think Golic is in playing shape these days? 

So lets take a look at the tale of the tape: 

Albert Haynesworth:  The big fella comes in at 6 foot 6, 350 pounds.  He is large and in charge.  Haynesworth spent 7 years on the Titans after starring at the University of Tennessee.  It was a match made in heaven.  He was consistently solid for the Titans until he had one major breakout season in 2008.  This is what led to the big time pay-day in Washington.  I mean he has made 2 Pro Bowls in 8 seasons in the League.  He also has been involved in 2 major incidents on the field.  For those of you who do not remember the infamous “stomping incident” of Cowboy’s center, Andre Gurode.  This was just straight dirty.  He also had a real bad unnecessary roughness penalty called against him in 2007 for a ridiculous body slam after the whistle on Maurice Jones-Drew.  So these anger management issues could be something that Mike Shanahan needs to be aware of.  But the guy could help the team win some ball games nonetheless. 

Mike Shanahan:   The new Redskin’s coach Mike Shanahan is a little bit smaller than the Redskins star defensive player. And by a little bit, I mean a lot smaller.  He had, a weak and short-lived tenure with the LA Raiders.  Then he had an outstanding tenure in Denver.  But since 2005, he really has not made much noise.  Many people say that he has stunk since the Elway retirement.  This statement is entirely false in that he has made 4 playoff appearances since Elway retired on top of the game.  But, he really has struggled since 2005.  Maybe the hiatus from last year could help him clear his head and get back to his old winning ways?  Coach Shanahan has always been known to produce an outstanding rushing game and a solid defense on his past teams.  Normally his lines on both side of the ball dominate.  He has also been known to show some rage at times and maybe would be able to keep up with the intensity of Albert.  Either way, he needs to have the respect of all of his players in order to build a winner in Washington. 

I just know this is an awful situation in the capital city.  Mike Shanahan is trying to start a new era in Washington and bring back the winning mentality he had in Denver in the late 90s.  His highest paid player is not seeing eye to eye with him.  This will lead to some major issues on any team when the highest paid player and the coach do not get along.  But with Dan Snyder in the owner’s box, anything can happen.  Can this relationship be mended?  Who knows? 

After round 1 in this royal rumble, I would call the fight a draw.  Neither Shanahan nor Haynesworth is getting what they want out of this.  The winner has to be Mike Golic at this point.  It will be interesting to see how this conflict affects the outcome of the Redskin’s inaugural season under Shanahan. 

Generally neither the coach nor player wins out in a situation like this.  The best player has a rough year and the team generally struggles with the turmoil and underperforms.  So neither Shanahan or Haynesworth will end up happy if this plays out the way it appears to be headed. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze

“Got to Love Training Camp”

Jet's superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis, is currently holding out from the team's traing camp over a contract scuffle. He is hanging out on his private getaway called "Revis Island."

Most NFL Training Camps have been going on since the end of last week, and boy has the excitement been at an all time high.  I really think the NFL could not have planned a more entertaining first few days to this spectacle.  First of all, you have the continued conflict between Redskin’s overpaid star Albert Haynesworth and new Head Coach, Mike Shanahan.  Haynesworth still has not passed his conditioning test and has not been able to practice.  Good luck to Albert in ever mending his relationship with Coach Shanahan and in figuring out all the nuances of the new 3-4 defensive scheme.  This is all a shame for the Skins, who really need Haynesworth to come out and perform at a high level.  I mean the guy did just sign a 21 million dollar bonus in April!  But there is no question that the relationship between Coach and player is boiling in Washington.

Also, there is the typical injury bug going around the League.  I am not sure if anyone has gotten it worse than Denver.  During the course of one drill, both their running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter were injured.  Though Buckhalter’s injury does not appear serious, it is still eerie that both guys got hurt during the same drill.  Maybe Tim Tebow will be the answer in saving this once dominant franchise (the former Florida savior)?  The Ravens also took a big hit with the loss of one of their starting cornerbacks, Domonique Foxworth.  Most people said the only flaw on this team was the lack of cornerbacks.  Well that situation just got worse.  Maybe Ray Lewis can man cover some of the receivers in this division like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco (just kidding).  Also in injury news, Wes Welker participated in parts of Patriot’s practice yesterday.  This is a fantastic sign for Patriot Nation.  Realize that Wes Welker had 123 catches by himself last season, which was 4 less than what TO and Ochocinco caught combined last year.

Also in the AFC, the Darrelle Revis holdout is officially on.  Revis has left to go hang out on Revis Island until the Jets offer him a contract that he feels is what he deserves.  Now most receivers never want to book a trip to Revis Island, but Darrelle is at ease on his beautiful island getaway.   Revis is determined to be the highest paid cornerback in the League.  He wants to make more than Nnamdi Asomugha.  And can you really blame him?  Revis hands down was the best corner in the League last year.  This is a League where a player can get hurt at any time.  Why not cash in when your stock is at it’s highest possible point?  If I am the Jets, I pay up, and quick.  This guy is essential to their AFC East and Super Bowl hopes.

And in probably the biggest news of all, or at least in the region, Terrell “TO Show” Owens arrived at Bengal’s training camp (though he was late due to missing a flight).  The Bengals are seeing record crowds for their training camp as the TO Frenzy continues to spread all throughout the region.  People are excited, and rightfully so.  The expectations are rising by the day.  And TO and Ocho seem up to the challenge.  I mean when was the last time that you can remember a Bengal being the Sunday Conversation on Sportscenter?  Better yet, when can you remember a Sunday Conversation where the guests brought popcorn and chapstick?

So there you have it.  Training camp is underway.  Teams are working hard out in the heat.  Rookies are getting hazed (other than Dez Bryant), learning brand new systems, and adjusting to the pro lifestyle.  The media are enjoying covering their respective teams again.  Coaches are yelling.  Many are fighting for roster spots.  Guys are getting hyped for their September openers.  Injuries are galore.  Arguments are heated.  And in Cincy, the two-headed monster is carrying around popcorn for the show and chapstick to “Kiss the baby.”

You got to love NFL Training Camp.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“AFC West Preview”

Jamaal Charles shocked many with an outstanding 2nd year. Could he lead the Chiefs back into contention this year?

Lets head out to the Wild Wild West.  This division was once the playground of the Denver Broncos, but has been all San Diego for the past few years.  The Chargers have maintained a stranglehold in the AFC West, bringing home the last 4 divisional titles.  And with Phillip Rivers at the helm, do you think this is really going to change?

In all honesty, this was a pretty weak division last year.  You had a dominant team in the Chargers that appeared to be the best in the AFC until the Jets shocked them in the playoffs.  Then you had everyone else.  Sure Denver started out the year hot and really surprised some people.  But they finished the year on a 4 game losing streak, which is starting to become a team tradition.  They also lost 3 in a row to end the season in 08.  But other than these two, both the Chiefs and Raiders have been pretty horrendous.  Neither have been at all relevant since the Chiefs went 9 and 7 in 2006.

AFC West:  Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders (alphabetical order)

Oakland Raiders (4th):  This once proud franchise has been utterly woeful for the last 8 years.  They have not had a winning season since 2002.  They have not even won more than 5 games in a season since 2002.  What is going on with Raider Nation?  Well first of all their former number 1 draft pick Jamarcus Russell was one of the biggest busts of all time.  Both on and off the field if you want to talk about his recent drug bust.  So they have not had a quarterback really since Rich Gannon.  This year, their offensive attack will be led by Jason Campbell, who was the guy who could never cut the mustard in Washington.  They have Darren McFadden and Michael Bush as their combo at running back , who are mediocre at best.  And though Darren has big time abilities, he suffered turf toe and some knee injuries which really hurt his performance.  Also, it is hard to run the ball effectively on a team that has such an anemic passing attack.  Unfortunately, for Darren, the Raider’s most recognizable receiving threat is still their tight end, Zach Miller.  The only bright spot on this team really is a very strong secondary, led by Nnamdi Asomugha.  But other than that, the future still looks very dim for Raider nation.  Do not expect this team to make much noise.

Kansas City Chiefs (3rd):  This is another team in the AFC West that has struggled for the past few years.  The days of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson pounding the ball are long gone.  The Chiefs have not won more than 4 games in a season since 2006.  It has been quite ugly to sum things up.  This is a squad that had a weak offense, and an even worse defense.  This team could not stop the run or the pass.  Which led to a lot of long games.  There was really only one bright spot for this team.  The emergence of Jamaal Charles as a big time back.  Is this the Chief’s new version of Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson?  Kansas City certainly hopes so.  Also the Chiefs made a solid pickup in getting Thomas Jones.  Now the KC boys have a pretty strong 2 headed running back attack in Jamaal Charles and the savvy veteran Thomas Jones.  Matt Cassel has potential to be a solid quarterback.  He has put up numbers for a couple of years now.  Guys like Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, and the rookie out of Ole Miss, Dexter McCluster really need to step up.  It was embarrassing how anemic this team’s aerial attack was last year considering they have an arm like Matt Cassel to work with.  With an enthused running attack, possibly the passing game will fall in line.  Demorrio Williams, Corey Mays, and Glenn Dorsey will have to bring the defense back to respectability though if this team wants to sniff contention in the West.  I will state this team has some potential to do some damage with an outstanding rushing attack and possibly a decent aerial attack.  But can the defense hold up?  This will decide if the Chiefs win 4 games or 8 games.  Do not be surprised if this team makes a little noise though.

Denver Broncos (2nd):  Mike Shanahan is now coaching in Denver.  The former legend is now with another team.  Josh McDaniel is fully in the saddle now.  There will be no offseason conflict or jabbering with Jay Cutler.  It is strictly football in Denver for Josh and the Broncos.   Denver, a team that dominated the late 90s, have not made an appearance in the playoffs since 2005.  The Mile High Boys are thirsting a return to playoff football.  Due to a few late season collapses, this team has just fallen short for the past 4 years.  Kyle Orton will once again be at the helm.  And despite heavy criticism during the duration of his 4 year career, he has dramatically improved each season and is coming off the best year of his career.  So he is not a quarterback that is going to put a team on his back, but he can help a team win ball games.  Denver was a middle of the road defensive team last year, and a pretty strong offensive power led by the typical tough Denver rushing attack.  Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter once again proved that Denver can always run the ball no matter who the backs are.  Expect this attack to be even better this season.  But also expect Cutler to have a much tougher time passing the ball this year.  There will be no instances where he can count on a guy to make 21 catches in a game.  The Brandon Marshall soap opera is over, but guys like Eddie Royal, Gaffney, and Stokley are all solid.  They will all three have to step up in a big way though to give this team a chance at contending.  Lastly, the defense will be solid.  Led by the guy with the coolest name in the NFL, Elvis Dumervil, do not expect an amazing defense, but expect a respectable one.  So the Broncos are an AFC Wild Card bubble team.  I have them finishing either 8 and 8 or 9 and 7.  But I do think the playoff drought continues into a 5th year.

San Diego Chargers (1st):  Expect a 5th straight West title to come back to San Diego.  This team is the best on paper, and should have no trouble conquering the division again.  Phillip Rivers has turned into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.  Expect another big year from a guy that throws to the outside of the field better than any other QB in the game.  LT will be missed though from a rushing standpoint.  I do think Darren Sproles is game to take on the challenge.  But is Mike Tolbert ready to step into the number 2 role?  As I have mentioned many times before, the NFL has become a game where you must have 2 running backs ready to compliment each other every game.  Will the Chargers be able to do this?  Vincent Jackson has emerged as possibly the best deep threat in the entire AFC.  Due to some offseason troubles (DUI), nobody is sure when he will be suiting up though.  But between Jackson, Gates, and Phillips amazing passing ability, you better believe this aerial attack will be outstanding again.  Do not be surprised if there is another top 5 passing performance in San Diego.  Last year, the Charger’s defense was just good enough not to lose them games.  With the loss of Antonio Cromartie, I do not see where the defense really improved.  I do expect them to possibly fade a bit as a defensive unit which could cost them some games.  Can Shawn Merriman save the defense singlehandedly?  Once again I see the Chargers winning the division, but possibly in less dominant of a fashion.  Maybe they will only win 10 or 11 games this year.  Look for LT to seek redemption come playoff time on the franchise that he once put on his shoulders.

So I got the Chargers winning the AFC West for a 5th straight year.  Overall, I think this is a fairly weak division, where the team at the top did not improve.  The Chargers will still be good enough to bring home the divisional title, but do not be surprised if the Chiefs turn some heads this season behind their outstanding rushing attack.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFC East Preview”

Tony Romo should be all smiles. He has girls, the looks, and a great team. Look for the Cowboys to repeat as NFC East Champions.

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.

-TheSportsKraze