The best division in the NFC is the NFC East. 4 teams that all have playoff aspirations, and all 4 of them could easily be playoff contenders. Let’s break down the toughest division in the NFC.
Andy Reid this year will have a tough job. No longer does he have the long time Franchise quarterback in Donovan McNabb. Now he has to hand over the reins to a young quarterback in Kevin Kolb. Let’s look at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kevin Kolb is not longer in the shadow of Donovan McNabb. Kolb has been given control of the Eagles offense. In his first season as the starter Kolb will have the pressure of Eagles fans and the pressure of having to replace Donovan McNabb. Kolb in his career has thrown more interceptions than he has touchdowns, and that could be a scary thought for the Eagles. Michael Vick will be the back up to Kolb, and I would expect to see toward the end of the season Vick getting more playing time under center. Quarterback is the toughest spot for the Eagles this season with so many questions surrounding it. If Kolb struggles Vick will be there to take over. Which quarterback would you want to lead your team?
Last season LeSean McCoy showed Eagle fans that he is ready to perform on the big stage. McCoy will need to produce another solid season for the Eagles this season to help take some pressure off Kolb. McCoy did a great job last year before getting injured. Mike Bell, and J.J. Arrington will do the backup duties for Philadelphia. Bell will most likely be listed as the number 2 option for the Eagles at this position. If McCoy can’t carry the loads watch for Bell to try and take over.
DeSean Jackson became a household name last season in part because of Donovan McNabb, now he has Kolb throwing to him. If Jackson can get the throws he was getting last season than there should not be a decline in his stats and his ability to put some points on the board. Jeremy Maclin will have to have a huge season this year. Last season Maclin was on pace for a good season before injury. The eagles are very young at wide receiver. They will have to rely on the coaching to help guide this young group. Tight End Brent Celek had a huge season last year. It will be interesting to see if Kevin Kolb can help Celek grow this season, much like Donovan last season.
The defense is another question of the Eagles. They are normally known for a strong defense. This season will be the toughest challenge for Philadelphia. The strength of the Eagles defense is their corner backs. Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel will have to slow teams down in the air. The Eagles defense has a lot of questions to answer and I am not sure they are going to be able to answer them.
Overall outlook has the Eagles missing the playoffs this season. There are too many questions on offense with Kolb now the starter and the Defense has some questions as well. The schedule offers no breaks with San Francisco, Atlanta, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Houston, Chicago, and Minnesota.
Overall Record: 4 – 12
The New York Giants are a far cry from where they were when they won the super bowl. This is a team that you don’t really know what you are going to get week in and week out. Do you get the dominating defense or do you get a defense that can’t stop anyone. Let’s break down the New York Football Giants.
Eli Manning took a brutal shot in the preseason opener against the Jets. The offensive line let the Jets through and Manning took a vicious shot. If the Giants offensive line does not play a little better Manning is going to be a sitting duck. Ironically the back up for Manning is a former back up for another Manning. Jim Sorgi left Indianapolis to come to New York and back up Eli. The Giants quarterback situation is in good hands with Eli, who really picked up his game over the past few seasons and may have removed himself from the shadow of Peyton.
Brandon Jacobs is one of the most physical runners in all of the NFL. The 6 foot 4, 264lb running back is huge force for the Giants offense. The problem is the other back is Ahmed Bradshaw a smaller faster version of Jacobs. The Bradshaw Jacobs combo will be a force in the NFC. If this duo can keep their health intact the giants will have a very strong running game in New York.
Last season the New York Giants got production out of Mario Manningham, Steve Smith, and Hakeem Nicks. They got more production out of tight end Kevin Boss as well. Smith made himself into a legitimate number one receiver. Smith really grew as a receiver last season and continues to improve. With him improving that will require more attention on him. As defensive units focus on Smith, that should allow Manningham to spring open and have a big season this year. Kevin Boss solidified himself as a top notch tight end in the division. Now that Boss has become a more reliable target for Manning the passing game will be key for the Giants.
The defensive line for the Giants is huge. Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora stack up to be one of the if not the best defensive line in the game. Umenyiora missed last season due to injury and will look to get back on the field and dominate once again. Justin Tuck had a huge season last year and will have to again. Chris Canty will be fighting to get the time on the field but that just shows the depth the Giants have on the line. If there is a weakness on the Giants defense it might be at linebacker. Keith Bulluck is an older veteran but he will have to provide much leadership to the team as they are weak at linebacker. Zak DeOssie might find himself in a starting role this season as well. Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, and Antrel Rolle will have to lead the Giants secondary. The Giants defense should keep them in games, and if they can break through the line this team will be very dangerous.
Overall outlook has the New York Giants in a dog fight for the final playoff spot. Could three NFC East teams make the playoffs this season? It’s very possible with this Giants team. If Manning can become a premier quarterback, and the running game stays strong the Giants should have no problem answer the toll of this tough division. A decent non division schedule sees the Giants on the road in Indianapolis, Houston, Seattle, Minnesota, and Green Bay. That is a tough stretch of road games.
Overall Record: 9-7
What do you do when your team is struggling and you haven’t won a super bowl in a while? Well if you’re Dan Snyder, you spend money. He has brought in Albert Haynesworth, and now he has a legitimate quarterback in Donovan McNabb. The biggest acquisition for Snyder though might be the person on the sideline. Mike Shanahan was run out of Denver, and has made his way to Washington, where his presence was already felt. If you don’t think it has, just ask Albert Haynesworth. Let’s break down the Washington Redskins.
Donovan McNabb finds himself trading in the silver and green to the maroon and yellow of the Redskins. McNabb was a franchise quarterback in Philadelphia. He led the team to a Super Bowl and multiple playoff appearances. Now he is in charge of trying to resurrect the Redskins. A daunting task, but McNabb is a veteran quarterback. Backing up McNabb is Rex Grossman, yeah Grossman, the starter of the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. The Quarterback position is very strong for the Redskins, and this is going to help move this team forward.
Pro Bowl is written all over the back field of the Redskins. Former Pro Bowlers, Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker are all battling for the starting job. With Shanahan as coach the Redskins will most likely feature the same running attack that Denver once showcased. The Redskins have a lot more talent in the backfield than Denver did have. If the Redskins want to run the ball, with those three running backs they should be able to run the ball on any team they so see fit. The Redskins have by far the best backfield in football.
If there is a weak spot on the Redskins its wide receiver. Joey Galloway was a failure in New England, and now he will look to bring the career back on track in Washington. Santana Moss will try to help Galloway as they try to teach the youngsters the way to play the position. Malcolm Kelly is a 3rd year player out of Oklahoma. He could become a favorite for McNabb if he can show he has reliable hands. Tight End Chris Cooley I expect to have big season as well. McNabb got Celek the ball, and I think he will get it to Cooley as well.
The Redskins defense will be a question mark. The defensive line features Haynesworth, who has had his troubles so far this season. So they will have to rely heavily on the linebackers and London Fletcher. Fletcher in his 13th season is not as fast as he once was. But that leadership will play a huge role in the Redskins success. DeAngelo Hall, Phillip Buchanon, Carlos Rogers, Byron Westbrook, and LaRon Landry make up a scary secondary for the Redskins. They are scary good, or can sometimes be scary bad. For the Redskins this season they need to be good if they want a shot at the playoffs.
Overall outlook sees the Redskins making the playoffs this season. They have improved drastically since last season. The addition of McNabb is worth at least 2 to 3 wins. But the new head coach in Shanahan is what will make the biggest difference. Shanahan is another 2 victories alone. A schedule that will defiantly favor the Redskins see the team playing St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, If the Redskins can win those games they will be marching into the playoffs.
Overall Record: 10-6
This year the Super Bowl is in Dallas. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys unleashed a brand new stadium last season. What more could you ask for? Well for Jones that is to see his team in the Super Bowl in the host city of Dallas. Jones this season could get that wish granted, as the cowboys come forward with what should be a favorite to win the NFC title this season.
Tony Romo fresh off last season will lead the charge for the Cowboys. Romo though has never been one to strive under pressure. Well the pressure this season will be there more than ever before. Jon Kitna will do the duties of backing up Romo if the goes down. Romo this season will have to play up to the standards of another former Dallas quarterback, Troy Aikman. Romo, will have to look to guide the Cowboys this season and not have the let down in the playoffs which seems to haunt this team yearly.
Marion Barber could lose his starting job this season. Barber is a thunderous running back for the Cowboys. Felix Jones last season should he was the real deal and performed under the bright lights of the Big D when Barber went down. Tashard Choice is another solid runner for the Cowboys as well. Three solid backs will make up this backfield for Dallas. Speed and power and is a deadly combination, and the Cowboys have both.
When you see 88 dancing after a touchdown for the Cowboys the first thought is Michael Irvin. Well it’s not Irvin anymore, its Dez Bryant. The 1st round draft pick for the Cowboys should be a huge pick up for the team. Miles Austin rose to the occasion last season for the team and he will have to continue that climb this year. Patrick Crayton has slowly descended on the depth chart, and so had Roy Williams. With Williams and Crayton falling behind that should show you how much talent there is on this Cowboys receiving group. Jason Witten is by far a top 4 tight end in the game. When you add him into the mix the Cowboys have a deadly passing attack to showcase what Tony Romo can do.
The best defense in Football, might reside in Dallas Texas. Marcus Spears anchors a strong Cowboys defensive line, and Keith Brooking, Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware solidify the best line backing group in all of football. Ware has come on to be a premier line backer after moving from the line over the past few seasons. Then when you add in Terence Newman, the secondary is the only real question for this cowboy’s defense.
Overall the Dallas Cowboys will be in the playoffs. If Tony Romo does not buckle under pressure this season the Cowboys should be in the NFC title game this year. If the cowboys don’t make it that far, this season will be a failure. At which point there will be massive changes in the team’s future. I would not be shocked if a coaching change does happen. This is the cowboys best shot this season. Chicago, Houston, Tennessee, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Detroit, New Orleans, Indianapolis are on the schedule. The Cowboys need to have a winning record in these games. They need to win at least 3 of the 4 with Houston, Minnesota, New Orleans, and Indianapolis to solidify themselves as contenders.
Overall Record: 12-4