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
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.
-White Boy South Bronx