2012 NFL Predictions: Forecasting the Record for Each NFC East Team
The NFC East is home to some of the conference's top Super Bowl hopefuls and the defending champions, and all are looking to grab a playoff spot. While every fan of these squads believe their team can make the postseason, only two at best will be able to do so. Here's the most logical record for each team in the NFC East.
Washington Redskins: 5-11
The NFL is one of the most team-orientated leagues in American sports, but the Redskins season will be made or broken by the success of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The team has invested heavily in their offense in recent years, grabbing running back Tim Hightower from the Cardinals a year ago and revamping their wide receiving corps with free agent pickups Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.
Paired together with Santana Moss, Griffin has some quality names to throw the football to and probably the best collection of talent Washington has had at receiver in quite sometime. This squad has a respectable defense and could easily win two of their first four games given their opening schedule.
Two wins early on and a few more speckled throughout the season sounds about right for this still-rebuilding franchise.
Philadelphia Eagles: 9-7
The Eagles have a great chance to make the postseason, but they'll need to build off a strong 2011 defensive performance and pray Michael Vick doesn't get injured.
The defense was the eighth best unit in the league last year, and even without names like Asante Samuel on the roster, that secondary is as shutdown as it gets. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie are the best cornerback duo in the division.
All that being said, Philly had just as much, if not more talent on the roster last year and still failed to make the playoffs. Call me skeptical about the Eagles as of now, but that doesn't mean they don't have the talent to prove me wrong by the end of the 2012 season.
New York Giants: 10-6
The comment community will likely have a field day with this prediction, but there's key parts missing from the 2011 Super Bowl champs heading into the new year. That's why they'll finish with the second-best record in the NFC East.
New York enters the new season without wide receiver Mario Manningham, tight end Jake Ballard and backup rusher Brandon Jacobs.
Alright, so maybe Jacobs isn't a super-huge loss but quarterback Eli Manning loves having a reliable tight end and slot receiver to throw to. Manning now finds himself without familiar faces at those two positions in 2012.
The defense has the potential to continue on their dominant streak that began to shine through towards the end of last season, but this is a team prone to odd hiccups during the year. People forget that before the late season heroics last year, the G-Men lost five or their six games played between Week 10 and 15.
They also were swept by the lowly Redskins and beaten at home by the Seattle Seahawks. The Giants have some adjustments to make and because of that they'll hiccup one too many times to capture the NFC East crown.
Dallas Cowboys: 11-5
This win-loss prediction won't go without criticism, but nobody can argue the fact that the Cowboys have the talent to become the NFC East champions. Dallas has a tough schedule, but it also possesses one of, if not the most dangerous offense in the division and one of the top five in the conference.
Despite an injury-ridden season, wideout Miles Austin posted seven touchdowns while Dez Bryant and Jason Witten both contributed a combined 14. Quarterback Tony Romo had a career year last season with 31 passing touchdowns and over 4,000 yards through the air.
Not to say Philly and New York don't have quality offenses, but Dallas' has the most potential to repeat or build upon their 2011 success.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will also have had a full offseason to implement and teach his take on the 3-4 scheme to his unit that has been significantly upgraded since last year.
Cornerback pickups Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr should shore up that position, while the defensive line should create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a better understanding of Ryan's system.
Owner Jerry Jones has done his best to motivate his team by mentioning that this team's superstars aren't getting any younger and their window of opportunity is closing. This is the year Dallas finally puts all the talented pieces together and delivers on their annual preseason hype.
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