Dallas Cowboys (10-6) (3rd seed; Divisional Round)
NY Giants (9-7) (6th seed; Wildcard Round)
Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
Washington RacialSlurs (5-11)
The NFC East is probably the most overrated division in football. The Dallas Cowboys are talked about as a legitimate Super Bowl contender (they’re really not), the Philadelphia Eagles are supposedly a playoff lock (not at all), and about the only team that’s acknowledged to be in hot water is Washington. How hard is it to handicap a team that benched its starting quarterback a week before the season starts?
Dallas will miss DeMarco Murray and his 1,800-yard seasons, but they still have a cadre of NFL-caliber backs running behind an elite offensive line, so the Cowboys’ rushing attack can be counted for consistent positive gains and significant yards per carry. That’s all Tony Romo will need to have a successful season throwing the ball. The issue, as always, for Dallas, is their defense, and while the addition of Greg Hardy and the return of Sean Lee will definitely help, the loss of Orlando Scandrick weakens a unit that is already the weakest link in a shaky defensive corps. Ultimately, it will be the Cowboys’ undoing.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think the Cowboys’ strongest challenge will come not from the Philadelphia Eagles, but the New York Giants, where Eli Manning has a receiving corps from another planet, and finally should have a running game to compliment it. The Giants offensive line remains a work in progress, but the biggest question marks are on the defensive side of the ball. (Heck, this is the case for the entire division.) The Giants will only go as far as their defense doesn’t give away.
As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I have to tell you I am sick to death of Chip Kelly and his bullshit. The Eagles added a hospital wing’s worth of injury prone players, led by quarterback Sam Bradford, who may not be all that great even if he stays healthy. Kelly, meanwhile, obtusely insists his “system” will keep his players healthy. His system is also supposed to be more important than talent on the field, and the players, to him, are just commodities. Good luck, Eagles, adding free agents in the coming years as long as Kelly’s around. Meanwhile, watch for the Eagles special teams to continue to be the best unit they put on the field.
Finally there’s the RacialSlurs of Washington. I have never seen an organization so ruin a promising talent like Robert Griffin III. I also haven’t seen a bigger fuss over a mediocre quarterback since Tebow-mania when it comes to the wildly overrated Kirk Cousins and his 2-7 record as a starter. This will be another wasted year in Washington. Dan Snyder should really sell the team, and not because of the name controversy or anything else, but just because he, like his team, sucks.
Come playoff time, I have Dallas knocking off the Giants in the NFC Wild Card before falling to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round the next week. Like I said, no one in the NFC East is ready to really challenge the top dogs.
Games to Watch:
Week 7 – Tampa Bay @ Washington: What’s so special about this game? It might be your last time to see the RacialSlurs actually win for a good month and a half afterwards.
Week 8 – Seattle @ Dallas: Last season, the game that made the world stand up and take notice that the Cowboys were for real was their defeat of the Seahawks. Seattle will be out for revenge. This one could be a pretty special game to watch.
Week 10 – New England @ New York Giants: I have a feeling the Patriots are going to be looking for some payback for those two Super Bowls. This game could be fun.
Week 17 – Philadelphia @ New York Giants: Is this game going to have the playoff implications the schedule makers obviously think it will? Let’s see.