The NFC East will likely be a three-way race between the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys in 2012. The Giants are the only team to have made the playoffs last year—and I think we all remember how that season ended.
But don’t forget that the Giants finished with just nine wins in the regular season—the Eagles and Cowboys both had eight wins. It was anyone’s division even in the thick of the month of December, but the Giants pulled away with dominating wins over the in-state rival New York Jets and their division rival in the Cowboys.
The Eagles ended the season with four straight wins though, and considering the offseason they had, they’re rightfully considered strong favorites to contend in the division this year. And that brings us to the question: should Eagles fans be rooting for the Giants or the Cowboys tomorrow night?
The Giants are probably the better team and they’re favored to win this game, as they should be. But it’s anyone’s game, and Eli Manning vs. Tony Romo on a primetime game is a tremendous matchup. I have the Giants winning 12 games (and the division this year), and the Cowboys struggling in many aspects, finishing just a .500 team, largely because of their interior offensive line and the numerous injuries their skill position players have already suffered in preseason.
But it’s a long season, and a Week 1 matchup in no way should make or break the Eagles’ season. The Eagles get their crack at the Giants twice and the Cowboys twice—and the second time the Eagles play the Giants is in Week 17, which will likely come with playoffs on the line for both squads.
It’s too early to root for America’s Team simply because the Giants are likely better. I can’t bring myself to cheer when Romo connects with Dez Bryant for a 40-yard touchdown pass or if DeMarcus Ware picks up a fumble and runs for a long score. I’ll root for the Giants by default.
For now, I look at it as just a typical Giants-Cowboys game—I’ll take the Giants easily. If it’s Week 17, and a Cowboys win puts the Eagles in the playoffs, I’ll find a way to root for Romo.
But not yet. I hope the Giants destroy the Cowboys tomorrow night.