With the NFL preseason right around the corner, once again, the NFC East is shaping up to be full of heated rivalries and very physical games. This division has always been one filled with trash talk and unpredictability, making it incredibly fun to watch. It's time to shed some light on what the upcoming season will hold.
From Worst to First?
The Washington Redskins had a season to forget last year, posting a dismal 5-11 record. However, as many 'Skins fans will be sure to point out, the record alone may be misleading. In a year in which they went 2-4 in division play, and 5-7 in the conference, many believed that the season was marred by poor (atrocious at times) quarterback play. Well, Washington certainly addressed that in this years draft.
The Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III, and believe they have truly fixed their quarterback problem. With breakout running back Roy Helu and an improving defense returning, many believe they are right on track. It is still a popular belief that they will need more offensive weapons to help their young QB mature , but there is no doubt that this team is improved. But can they really go from worst to first? Well, that remains to be seen, but fans should not be surprised if this team finishes close to the 8-8 mark.
War of Words
The preseason has not even started yet, and already the trash talk is beginning. The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants have already started exchanging banter between one another. The Giants new acquisition, tight end Martellus Bennett, was the first to fire shots. In an interview, Bennett was quoted as saying that he hates the Cowboys and there is definitely no love lost there. He later went on to "clarify" that he hates every team and uses that hate out on the field, but people who follow this division closely know what he really meant.
Never one to be outdone, Jerry Jones replied swiftly asking all fans to come out for the Giants-Cowboys game on October 28th and "watch Dallas kick their asses." This back and forth trash talking has come to be expected from these teams and their fans, as message boards and social networking sites have been blowing up with the "who owns the rivalry banter." Cowboys fans will be quick to point out that their team has more super bowl rings (5) than the Giants (4), while Big Blue fans respond with the customary "you-haven't-beaten-us-in-your-new-stadium" outlook. There is no question that in recent years the New Yorkers have quite a bit more (two super bowls in the last five seasons) to brag about, but it's a new year, and it will be exciting to see how this rivalry plays out.
The Redskins have undoubtedly improved, acquiring Robert Griffin III to help fix their poor quarterback play. However, recent history shows that phenom rookie QBs, while very exciting to watch and fully capable of putting up gaudy numbers, have difficulty winning games. The fact that the Redskins schedule is riddled with seven games against teams that made the playoffs last year also does not bode well. Record: 6-10
Dallas is extremely dangerous this season. With the recent signing of cornerback Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne, Dallas has vastly improved a position that was in need of some fine-tuning. The Cowboys will also be getting second-year running back Demarco Murray back from injury, which should help out the running game if he was not a fluke. And then there's Tony Romo. There is little argument that Romo is a top-notch quarterback, but his ability to put his team on his back and carry them when they most need it has been sketchy at best. Will Romo collapse once again when his team needs him most? Record: 10-6
"I think we have a great opportunity to become a dynasty." This was a direct quote from Philadelphia's starting quarterback, Michael Vick. The one thing every NFL coach, with the exception of Rex Ryan and the Harbaugh brothers, have in common is they hate giving other teams bulletin board material. This exactly what the Eagles overrated and overpaid quarterback has done. This is a statement that requires serious "cahones" to make for a team that finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs last season. Philadelphia has weapons in LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin, but in an era where great quarterbacks dominate, Vick be unable to lead his team to become a dynasty. Record: 8-8
New York Giants:
The New York Giants have the hardest schedule in the NFL, which is to be expected after coming off their second super bowl victory in the last four seasons. However, what the Giants have that very few other teams do is an elite quarterback. Eli Manning is indeed elite and needs to be recognized as such. Furthermore, Manning separates himself from every other QB in the 4th quarter. If the game is close and he has the ball, it is almost a guaranteed victory.
However, Manning cannot do it alone. He has Hakeem Nicks, breakout star Victor Cruz, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and underrated new tight end acquisition Martellus Bennett all on board to help him. The offense should be explosive. And let's not forget the chaotic pass rush that terrorized offenses the previous three seasons or the fact that the Giants greatest weakness last year, linebacker, now seems to be one of their more competitive positions. The Giants are the scariest team in the East. Record: 10-6