NFC EAST PREVIEW
How will the teams finish in the regular season?
1. New York Giants – No Cowboy bandwagon jumping here. The Giants should be able to take this division during the regular season. They have an outstanding cast of defensive linemen, some good young linebackers, and if the defensive backs can stay healthy they will cause problems for offenses. If things click for that defense they’ll be something to watch. Ahmad Bradshaw is ready to take the reigns from Brandon Jacobs, and that is smart by Tom Coughlin. Let Brandon be the short yardage bruiser and Bradshaw be the feature back. The WR’s are young, fast and gifted. They have so many serviceable WR’s that a guy like Victor Cruz with all the potential in the world is stuck at the bottom of the depth chart. The Giants have the tools to win this division if they remain healthy and focused. Oh, they have one of the Manning brothers too. You don’t have to like the Manning’s but you do have to respect them. Or they’ll win a Super Bowl on you.. (10-6)
2. Dallas Cowboys – SkyBoxTalk reserves the right to change this pick. The Cowboys could easily win the division and they could easily be at the bottom of it. They have a guy in Tony Romo who can wow you and have you thinking that he is special, and then the next game make you wonder if they’d be better with another quarterback. More often than not, though, it’s the former, and he has a good enough cast around him to win this division or come close to it. Dez Bryant could be special. Miles Austin might just keep getting better [unless he’s happy with all that money he just got]. Roy Wil……nevermind. Don’t forget about the running back situation either. Three RB’s that could be starters in this league. A pro-bowler in Jason Witten. Their offensive line seems to be the weak link on O this year, however, and that’s never a good thing. Their defense will be good enough. The defensive back situation is never clear. Newman can sometimes disappear. The DB’s are like Romo. Some games they’re good and others they lie flat on their backs. But with the added motivation to play a home game this year in the Super Bowl, look for this team to stay focused. (9-7)
3. Washington Redskins – This team won’t win the division but they can finish anywhere from two to four in it. They have a motivated quarterback who has been to many conference championship games with lesser talent at the WR position. The WR position is kind of lackluster but Kyle Shanahan will find a way to work with what he’s got. He did a lot for the Houston Texans in helping develop talent around their star wide receiver. He may be able to work magic in D.C. too. The RB situation isn’t overwhelming anybody right now but if Clinton Portis is as motivated to prove naysayers wrong like he seems to be, this zone blocking scheme is just the right remedy for him. The big thing is going to be the defensive backs for the Redskins. Hall can sometimes look very vulnerable on the outside. Rogers too. Landry makes mental mistakes. The LB situation is settled and once Haynesworth and Shanahan kiss and make up, so will the defensive line. As mentioned before, this team can finish anywhere in the division [except first], things just need to click. A few prayers might help, but they’re likely still a year away from making noise with the Shanahan/Shanahan/Haslett combo. (8-8)
4. Philadelphia Eagles – They’re just a young team. As they grow together they’ll be something to watch, but they’ll have growing pains this year. They just got rid of an outstanding quarterback. Their new one, Kolb, could be special but he needs a full season under his belt in order for SkyBoxTalk to jump on his bandwagon. It’s easy to look good in games where nobody has planned against you. Each game will get more difficult for him and how he handles it will tell us where the Eagles will finish in the division. Jackson, Maclin, and Avant are great options to have on the outside and McCoy is a bruiser on the inside. The defense will be okay if they continue to follow the Johnson mentality/method/style. But there are holes back there in the secondary and some good WR’s in the division. Anything can happen in this division, as we all know, so don’t be surprised if the Eagles to look good on both sides of the ball in one game, and look flat the next. (7-9)
Who To Watch For?
New York Giants – Ahmad Bradshaw. With Jacobs breathing down his neck, he’ll try his hardest on the field to silence anybody who thinks there may be a running back competition between the two.
Dallas Cowboys – Dez Bryant. Admittedly on the bandwagon. He should have gone higher in the draft. He could be real special in this league if he keeps his mind right. And if Romo gets him the ball.
Washington Redskins – Brian Orakpo. Have heard nothing but good things every time his name is brought up. He’s going to have much more freedom in the 3-4 and Haslett is going to look to unleash him every chance he gets.
Philadelphia Eagles – LeSean McCoy. He’ll be the feature back. He should be up to the task. He’ll need to be some games.
Don’t Be Surprised If He Plays Poorly…
New York Giants – Kenny Phillips. He has been touted as a poor man’s Sean Taylor but hasn’t been able to stay on the field long enough. If he gets injured again this year at any point, and it’s not a stretch to assume that, then he should start worrying about a job.
Dallas Cowboys – Roy Williams. This was too easy of a pick. But he is the enigmatic thing on this offense. Will it finally click for him in Dallas. If not, he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2011 [or 2012].
Washington Redskins – Albert Haynseworth. Ever since he got paid he has looked regular. Another Snyder investment that has gone down the drain. Six Flags. Radio stations. Haynesworth. Etc. The list goes on and on. Let’s hope Haynesworth wants to prove everybody wrong. Let’s pray actually.
Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Kolb. He’s young. He’s in his first full year. He plays in Philadelphia. His WR’s like to get injured. He could play well this year, but he could also be average and have people wondering “what if.”
Storyline Of The Year
With all the hype surrounding the Cowboys and their pursuit to play the big game in their own backyard, look for any of the other three teams to surprise them and everybody else by winning the division. The Cowboys will be the storyline until they’re knocked out of the playoffs, though.