Giants, Eagles Class of the NFC East

Louis GiangarraCorrespondent IMay 19, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 11:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants greets Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles after the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Eagles won the game by a score of 23-11.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The toughest division in football just keeps getting tougher every year. The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants have improved on teams that made the playoffs last year, the Dallas Cowboys are only one year removed from what many considered to be the best team in the league going into the season, and the Redskins took their fifth ranked defense and added the best defensive player in the NFL to it.

This has all the makings of a blood bath, and they wouldn't have it any other way.

Playing in a tough division is both a blessing and a curse. Certainly its easier to win your division if the teams you're facing are not exactly elite, but once you get to the playoffs every team is good. Teams coming out of the NFC East are battled tested. They beat up on each other every season and whoever is left standing is fully prepared for the brutal playoff battles that await them.

This season the best two teams in the NFC may well both be in this division. The Giants earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last season and have improved on that team in a number of different areas.

The loss of Plaxico Burress will be felt, but the additions on the defensive line, as well as to the receiving corps will more than make up for that loss. The Giants come into the season as the favorites in the NFC once again and will now have to live up to that billing on the field.

The Eagles squeezed into the playoffs last year but made a ton of noise once they got there including taking out the top seeded Giants. They have since added a Pro Bowl Left Tackle in Jason Peters and drafted two new weapons for Donovan McNabb to use in Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. 

There are still some question marks on defense and the loss of their leader, Jim Johnson, to his battle with cancer may hurt them more than anything else, but this team will be loaded and ready to win each and every week.

The Cowboys came into last season with Super Bowl dreams dancing in their heads.  What they got was a dose of reality. They learned the hard way that preseason rankings do not mean a thing in this division. Instead of cruising through the season, they suffered big losses and eventually found themselves looking up at both the Giants and Eagles in the division. 

The Cowboy still have a lot of talent on the squad and will be a tough opponent, but for right now they are stuck looking up at their two rivals.

The Redskins had a very strong defense last year but their offense just could not score enough points to win games. So obviously the first order of business would be to go out and spend $100 million on a Defensive Tackle. Albert Haynesworth will be a force in the middle of that defense but he does not solve any of the problems on offense that plagued the team all year. 

They have also managed to alienate their quarterback Jason Campbell by continuing to try and trade or replace him at every turn. When the worst team in the division fields a top five defense that has only gotten stronger since the end of the season, you know you're talking about a loaded group.

The NFC East should bring at least two teams into the playoffs this season and both of those teams, whoever they are, will be among the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl. That's the nature of playing in this division. 

If you make it out alive, you know you're on of the best in the conference and maybe the league. It won't be easy getting through this muder's row of teams, but in the end the pain and sacrifice will be worth it as they embark on the second season in search of the ultimate prize.