NFC East: Who Will Take Home The Title This Year?
Arguably the toughest division in the NFC, the NFC East, has some of the top teams in the NFL including the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants who all finished in the top 15 last year on both offense and defense.
That is, except the Washington offense, which ranked 19th.
The NFC East sent two teams to the playoffs including the Philadelphia Eagles who played in the NFC Championship Game to the Arizona Cardinals.
Which of the toughest teams will win the NFC East this year? Here are the picks:
4. Washington Redskins: The Redskins did not do a lot to improve their team. They will still perform hopefully a little better this year with more experience. They will ride the arm of Jason Campbell who gets more comfortable each year.
Campbell has the support of Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El. The Redskins have a two-headed monster in running backs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts.
The Redskins defense ranked fourth last year. They return big men inside in Cornelius Griffin and Albert Haynesworth and used their draft choice on Brian Orakpo.
Orakpo will most likely start this year while assisting London Fletcher at linebacker. Do not forget about the corners, DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers.
The Redskins have an easy schedule because they got last place in their division last year. They play St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Denver, and New Orleans at home. The only real challenge is New Orleans. On the road, they travel to Detroit, Carolina, Atlanta, Oakland, and San Diego.
3. Dallas Cowboys: Yes, he caused a lot of problems and has a big mouth, but the cutting of Terrell Owens could play a factor in the offense this year. Tony Romo will still have Roy Williams, formerly a Detroit Lion, and Jason Witten to throw to.
He will also have Jon Kitna as a backup in case anything happens. Romo will have help with Marion Barber and Felix Jones in the backfield.
The defense ranked eighth last year and signed all their draft picks. Michael Hamlin will probably start at free safety which could be a great move or a risky one. The professional game is much faster than the college game and will be quite an adjustment for Hamlin.
The Cowboys have a good linebacking group with Anthony Spencer, Bradie James, Keith Brooking, and DeMarcus Ware.
The schedule for the Cowboys has some tough games and some easy ones. They travel to Tampa Bay, Denver, Kansas City, Green Bay, and New Orleans while hosting Carolina, Atlanta, Seattle, Oakland, and San Diego.
2. New York Giants: Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs are the biggest assets on the Giants this year.
The loss of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer could prove fatal. They do still have Shaun Bodiford, David Tyree, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham. That may not be enough to win the division though.
The Giants finished fifth in overall defense last year. They have a great defensive line with Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora and also have good support with Antonio Pierce and Kevin Dockery.
The Giants have a decent schedule. They host Oakland, Arizona, San Diego, Atlanta, and Carolina, but will travel to Tampa Bay, Kansas City, New Orleans, Denver, and Minnesota.
1. Philadelphia Eagles: The team with the X-Factor usually wins the NFC East. This could be a stretch, but Michael Vick will be the X-Factor this year. Yes, it is preseason, but he looks really good so far.
Having Vick and Donovan McNabb in formations together will help boost this offense. That is saying a lot since they finished ninth last year.
They also have great wide receivers, led by Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson. Backing them up is Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin. Do not forget about Brian Westbrook at running back either.
The Eagles finished third last year in total defense. Look for them to retain that strength. They have a strong secondary with Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown, Quintin Mikell, and Quintin Demps.
The defense is not amazing, but they are consistent.
DeSean Jackson and draft pick Jeremy Maclin will help the special teams with their kick returns. They have lightning feet and great moves. Look for Jackson or Maclin to return a few for touchdowns this year.
The schedule could hurt the Eagles, but they should be able to lock up some big wins. They head to Carolina, Oakland, San Diego, Chicago, and Atlanta. The Eagles will host New Orleans, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Denver.
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