Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 NFL Preview: NFC East

This is the only division I'm really having trouble predicting. With the depth in the NFC this year, it'll be tough for them to get two teams into the postseason. I see all 3 teams having a pretty even shot at winning the division, depending on which stays the healthiest. So when you see 3 teams that are pretty evenly matched, what do you do? Go with the reigning Super Bowl champs.

1st Place, New York Giants: 11-4

Offense: QB Eli Manning, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Victor Cruz, WR Hakeem Nicks, T David Diehl, Kevin Boothe

Defense: DE Justin Tuck, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Osi Umenyiora, LB Mathias Kiwanuka, LB Michael Boley, CB Corey Webster, S Antrel Rolle, S Kenny Phillips

The reigning Super Bowl Champs brought back almost the same exact cast that won it all last year. They did lose two key offensive pieces in Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs, but they had players emerge last season (Cruz) and drafted a solid back this April (David Wilson) that should make up for that. Manning is right in his prime, and a good candidate for 40+ TD passes throwing to the best WR duo in the league. There defense can absolutely get after the passer, and a healthy year from Prince Amukamara should help tigthten up the pass coverage. They again should be one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, and should have no trouble returning to the postseason to attempt to defend their tittle.

2nd Place, Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6

Offense: QB Michael Vick, RB LeSean McCoy, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jeremy Maclin, TE Brent Celek, T King Dunlap

Defense: DE Jason Babin, DT Cullen Jenkins, DE Trent Cole, LB, LB Mychal Kendricks (R), Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, CB Nhamdi Asomugha, S Kurt Coleman

If the Eagles stay healthy, they could be as good as any team in the NFC. The squad that was dawned the nickname the 'Dream Team' prior to last season didn't quite click like most thought they would. This time around though, with a year under their belts together, they should do a much better job. If they can get bounce back seasons out of their two star corners, their defense will be just fine with one of the best defensive fronts in football. Offensively, they'll go as Vick goes. If he's healthy for 15-16 games, the Eagles are going to be tough and will be right up there with the Giants. If he plays 8-10 games, they'll run into much of the same luck they had a year ago.

3rd Place, Dallas Cowboys: 10-6

Offense: QB Tony Romo, RB DeMarco Murray, WR Miles Austin, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten, C Phil Costa

Defense: LB Anthony Spencer, LB Sean Lee, LB DeMarcus Ware, CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne (R)

In Dallas, the Cowboys have had some major injury issues the last few seasons, but if they can keep their top two wideouts on the field with Witten and Murray, then Dallas will sport one of the best offenses in the league. There still are major questions about Tony Romo in the playoffs, but if he has his supporting cast healthy this year, he should have no trouble leading the Cowboys to a successful regular season. On Defense, they have one of the best, if not the best, pass-rusher in the game in Ware, but their front-7 is very average outside of him. Their secondary should be improved this year with the #5 overall pick in April's draft in Claiborne. This should be one of the best battles for tops in the division in the entire NFL between New York, Philly and Dallas. It's going to come down to whichever team stays healthiest.

4th Place, Washington Redskins: 4-12

Offense: QB Robert Griffen III (R), RB Roy Helu, WR Pierre Garcon, TE Fred Davis, G Chris Chester

Defense: DE Stephen Bowen, LB Ryan Kerrigan, LB London Fletcher, LB Brian Orakpo, CB DeAngelo Hall

The 'Skins are in for a rebuilding year under rookie QB RG3. Early returns have been their for the rook, but he really doesn't have much talent around him on offense, especially in the backfield. Washington will have a tough time generating a run game, and their O-line isn't anything special, so I foresee a lot of pressure being put on Griffin by opposing D's. Their Defense is a little further ahead of their offense, but you can still beat them in the air. They're a couple years, and a few solid upgrades on both sides of the ball away from returning to contention.

No comments: