This division that was once the cream of the NFL crop in 2009 has seen a lot of aging and not enough upgrades. While none of the teams from the NFC East will be contending for a Super Bowl spot this season, there is still enough hatred amongst the fans of this division’s teams to make the NFC East title race an exciting one to watch.
Despite winning the NFC East in 2009, the Dallas Cowboys have more than enough work cut out for them heading into 2010 as they look to win back to back division titles. They have looked sluggish so far this preseason (and yes I know it’s JUST the preseason) but it is still a bad sign. Just because the games are meaningless doesn’t mean that teams should treat them as such. The Cowboys weren’t very active in the offseason and seem content to let Romo, Austin and Barber lead the offense.
The Cowboys flat play continues into week 5, which by then will be too late as they look up at either the streaking Eagles. A wildcard berth would be the best the Cowboys (predicted 2010 record 8-8) could shoot for since the Division title is out of the question but the NFC is too loaded and the Cowboys will miss the playoffs.
The Eagles finished 2009 with the same record as the Cowboys, but the tie breakers pushed them down to the second spot in the division. Their key losses include McNabb and Westbrook, but thus far in the preseason, Kevin Kolb has looked more than adequate and quite frankly, Westbrook was on the decline anyway. There is enough talent on this team to contend with just about anyone in the NFC East and perhaps the league, but this is almost an entirely fresh look for the offense.
The Eagles have a fairly tough 2010 schedule, although they get a break by playing some of their weaker opponents early on (Jaguars, Lions, Redskins), possibly giving them some momentum before heading into a tough remaining schedule. The Eagles will finish the season at 10-6 which should be more than enough to win a division that will be beating each other up all season long.
The Giants were an underachieving football team last season and it doesn’t look like we should be expecting a whole lot more in 2010. Brandon Jacobs is coming back from off season surgery, but Eli is a little banged up heading into the regular season and the offense doesn’t seem to be showing any chemistry. Their defense, which was just pretty average last year, hasn’t seen enough of an improvement to keep anyone happy in the Meadowlands.
The Giants somehow do a little worse than last year, finishing with a record of 7-9. Coughlin will either quit on the Giants or they will quit on him by week 8, making this season a complete loss. Eli probably won’t return to championship form this year, leaving their wide receiving unit largely unappreciated in terms of catches and touchdowns. At least the Giants could say that they have more talent than any of the other sub-.500 teams in the league.
The Redskins will have a bounce-back year, which might not be saying much since they went 4-12 last season, but Donovan McNabb alone will count for 6 wins, and if Santana Moss and the three-headed rushing attack of Portis, Holmes, and Parker can perform close to their talent ceilings, that should account for at least 3 more wins. The Redskins are technically old in all the wrong places, (QB, WR, RB) but there is enough dusty talent on this roster to make them a great sleeper team. If the roster can stay healthy and if the defense can make just a handful of plays in 2010, this team could actually go somewhere.
The Redskins stun the NFL by winning 9 games and finishing in a close second to the Eagles. Their record might be good enough to earn them a wildcard spot, completing a magical turnaround for the team from D.C.