Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NFC East Preview

By White Boy South Bronx

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Dallas Cowboys 13-3, 1st place, #1 seed in NFC- Lord knows I absolutely abhor that silver helmet with the Blue star etched across it. The mere sight of TO makes me ill as does the sight of his newest teammate and accomplice to attempted murder, Pacman Jones. However, this team is loaded. They have an excellent, if not "A-Rodian" in terms of clutchness, QB and the best receiver in the game. Jason Witten is amongst the games finest TE’s and the promotion of Marion Barber III to fulltime starter duties will greatly improve an already explosive offense. Felix Jones, Darren McFadden’s backup at Arkansas, comes into the league highly regarded by scouts as a future impact player in the league. The Dallas defense is also stacked with Pro Bowl lineman Demarcus Ware, Cornerback Terrence Newman and Safety Roy Williams. Although Williams leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his cover skills, he is a fierce hitter and a solid overall safety. Dallas’s only weakness is its collective lack of playoff experience and gravitas. It’s QB and head coach have zero playoff wins and Romo has been a huge part of two monumental choke jobs first to the Seahawks and then last year to the Giants. The only thing holding back Dallas from a run to the Bowl is Dallas itself.

2) Philadelphia Eagles, 11-5, 2nd place, #5 seed in NFC- The Eagles scare any honest NFC East fan. (Editor’s note: including Philly fans) Philly has one of the game’s most respected and intelligent defensive coordinators in Jim Johnson and he has plenty of weapons to work with including perennial Pro Bowler and future hall of fame safety Brian Dawkins and the free agent superstar cornerback Asante Samuel. Although Sheldon Brown and Lito Shepherd do not scare me, DE Trent Cole certainly does. McNabb is getting older and is no longer the threat to run that he used to be, but is still a top 10 QB in the league. Additionally, he has the NFC’s most versatile running back Brian Westbrook lining up in the backfield every play. If Donovan and Westbrook can stay healthy for a full season, you would have to expect Philly to find its way back into the postseason and I do not envy the team that draws these guys in a first round matchup.

1 New York Giants, 9-7, 3rd place #6 seed in NFC- The defending champions are as poor a candidate to defend its crown as any returning champ in recent memory. Rarely does a defending champion lose its two best players from the season prior, Strahan to retirement and Osi to a knee injury, and expect to repeat. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is arguably the best young coach in the National Football League; his blitzing aggressive schemes were a welcome change from the more conservative approach of “Tiny” Tim Lewis. I am not ready however to pronounce Eli as a top 5 QB yet. He had a great month but he has to prove he can do that throughout the grind of a 16 game regular season the way his brother and Tom Brady has. Plaxico is always hurt and may not ever again be the truly explosive receiver he was in the past. The rushing attack will be solid with a 1-2 punch of the tough and deceptively quick Brandon Jacobs followed by the quick and deceptively tough Ahmad Bradshaw. The losses of both Osi and Strahan will hurt the Giant’s chances of realistically contending for the title this year but it won’t stop New York from making its 4th consecutive playoff appearance.

2) Washington Redskins 7-9, 4th place, No playoff appearance- It has become fashionable to pick the Redskins as the team to surprise people each year it seems. I’m not sure why. Jason Campbell has not really shown anything yet to convince you he can be a good everyday QB. In fact, the team was languishing at 5-7 before he got injured midway through a game against the Bears only to see Todd Collins steward the team to a 4-0 finish and a wildcard playoff berth. Clinton Portis is always a tough matchup for any defense and Santana Moss is a very tough cover. As great as the ex-Bronco and ex-Jet have performed, Brandon Lloyd and Antwon Randle El have been huge disappointments, coming over in free agency. Washington has some talented guys on defense including LB Marcus Washington, safety LaRon Landry and Cornerback Fred Smoot. They also traded for future hall of fame DE Jason Taylor to fill the void left by the season ending injury to Phillip Daniels. But Washington is counting on a rookie head coach to lead the hog nation to the Promised Land. I don’t think the Skins are a bad team, but they are in a division with 3 really good teams and are not as good as any of them.

-White Boy South Bronx

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