After completing the improbable task of ripping off 4 road victories in the 2008 playoffs to win the Super Bowl against the juggernaut Pats, should the New York Giants be considered the NFC favorite, let alone the NFC East favorite?
The NFC East is probably the most competitive and hard nosed division in all of football for the past few years and it seems as though every year there is a new division winner. Everyone loves to jump on the Dallas Cowboys train pre-season but for some reason the Cowboys seem to choke in playoff situations, not recording a post season victory in recent memory. Sure the Cowboys should have another solid season but I highly doubt their record will look like their one from last year.
The Eagles are a team that I look for to have a bounce back year. They are always a tough team to play and with McNabb a full year removed from his ACL surgery look for DNabb and Westbrook to right the ship in Philly. As long as Mr. Westbrook stays healthy and Lito Sheppard is not dealt, they are returning a solid veteran team that still has the potential to be an elite team once again.
The Redskins are a team that has a very enigmatic personality. They always seem like they are primed for a take off year and yet they fall into slumps where the offense looks sluggish. Jason Campbell should have himself a nice break out year considering he is able to easily adapt to the new offense Jim Zorn is implementing in Washington.
Anytime you have two solid running backs in Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts you always have a shot to win by wearing down the defense but the air game really needs to improve for this team to take the next step and the front office is obviously aware of this glaring need as they used two early round picks on WR help for the often double teamed Santana Moss.
And finally the Giants, although they have had some key departures should still be in the thick of things. The retirement of Strahan was a big blow to the defensive line depth but Justin Tuck is certainly ready to step in and with Mathias Kiwanuka returning from a broken leg the pass rush should still be considered one of the best in the league.
Eli Manning also has to have his confidence level at an all time high and maybe the media will lay off the guy and give him some slack considering his elite playoff run.
The Giants also have tremendous depth at running back. Brandon Jacobs is a monster and no defense wants to be tackling a guy his size in the second half. Ahmad Bradshaw has shown he has break away speed and is the lightning to Jacobs' thunder. Derrick Ward should also not be slept on as he proved to be a more than capable fill in when injuries struck early in the year.
The defense should still find ways to keep the pressure on and Kenny Philips could prove to be a nice fill in for the loss of Gibril Wilson but his impact might not be felt until later on in the season. The Giants like being overlooked and having to prove themselves what motivated them in their playoff run as hardly any analysts picked them to win any game in their playoff run. So the Giants are very content with not getting the respect a Super Bowl Champion usually receives. Only time will tell and it looks to be another great battle in the NFC East yet again next year.