Monday, August 07, 2006

NFC East Preview

Last Year’s Predictions
Philadelphia Eagles 14-2
Dallas Cowboys 10-6
Washington Redskins 7-9
New York Giants 7-9

What Really Happened
NY Giants 11-5
Washington 10-6
Dallas 9-7
Philadelphia 6-10

The NFC East could be the best division in the NFL with three teams who could very well be good enough to win a first round play-off game. The problem for this division is that they are going to kill each other knocking their records down. I think the Cowboys and the Redskins will finish at the top with the game decided by a tie breaker. However, keep an eye on the Giants. With a few lucky bounces (or a T.O. meltdown in Dallas) they could slip to the top of the division.

Dallas Cowboys – Projected Finish 9-7 (1st)
Big Question: Offensive Line

The Cowboys may have signed Terrell Owens but they still have slow footed quarterback Drew Bledsoe and an offensive line that was old, slow and injured last season. Gone from the line this year is Larry Allen but returning is 34 year old Marco Rivera who struggled with injuries last season along with Flozell Adams who is returning from a season ending knee injury.

Key Losses:
G Larry Allen
TE Dan Campbell
DT La’Roi Glover
WR Keyshawn Johnson
LB Dat Nguyen

Key Additions:
RT Jason Fabini
LG Kyle Kosier
WR Terrell Owens
K Mike Vanderjagt

New York Giants – Projected Finish 8-8 (3rd)
Big Question: Defensive Backs

The Giants made an upgrade at the corner position by swapping Will Allen for Sam Madison but they will need to get better play from the other side of the field where second year man Cory Webster must produce. Webster is going to be the target of quarterbacks across the league because Madison has the ability to shut down one side of the field.

Key Losses:
CB Will Allen

Key Additions:
LB LaVar Arrington
CB Sam Madison
CB R.W. McQuarters

Philadelphia Eagles – Projected Finish 7-9 (4th)
Big Question: Receivers

The Eagles running backs are small and injury prone but they are going to have to carry the load against defenses determined on stopping them and forcing the Eagles to beat them with the pass, there we find the problem for the Eagles.

McNair’s top target will be second year man Reggie Brown. Todd Pinkston who is returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon and Greg Lewis will be additional targets. Even when you throw Jabar Gaffney into the mix the Eagles will struggle to stretch the field.

Key Losses:
WR Terrell Owens
DT Hollis Thomas

Key Additions:
WR Jabar Gaffney
QB Jeff Garcia
TE Matt Schobel

Washington Redskins – Projected Finish 9-7 (2nd)
Big Question: Quarterback

The good news for the Redskins is that with Patrick Ramsey traded to the Jets Mark Brunell will enter the season as the starting quarterback. The bad news for the Redskins is that with Patrick Ramsey traded to the Jets Mark Brunell will enter the season as the starting quarterback.

Brunell had his best season last year, passing for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns, but he struggled in the play-offs and at 36 isn’t as mobile as he once was or needs to be. If Brunell struggles or goes down with an injury unproven second year quarterback Jason Campbell will get the nod.

Key Losses:
LB LaVar Arrington
QB Patrick Ramsey

Key Additions:
SS Adam Archuleta
TE Christian Fauria
WR Brandon Lloyd
WR Antwaan Randle El