Is the NFC East on the Downswing?

Mike Gliddon@mikegliddonCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 27:  Bobby Carpenter #54 of the Dallas Cowboys defends against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 27, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 17-0. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

The NFC East has been regarded as one of the best divisions in the NFL over the past decade or so. But the NFC Beast may finally be losing its grip on that title.

The NFC North has three playoff-caliber teams (Chicago, Minnesota, and Green Bay) next year. The NFC South could have three teams (New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina) fighting for those Wild Card spots as well. Even the NFC West has two potential teams that could fight for a Wild Card spot in Arizona and San Francisco.

Sure the Beast put two teams (Philadelphia and Dallas) in the playoffs yet again. And if New York hadn't played so poorly through a rough stretch of games we could have potentially been talking about three teams.

But we aren't talking about three teams. We are talking about two teams. One of which looked horrendous in their final two games. 

Here is a quick breakdown.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins were supposed to be a legit playoff contender this year with the signing of Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year $100 million contract. That included $41 million in guaranteed money. He played mediocre at best for the money Daniel Snyder foolishly spent on him.

And now they have even more question marks with Jason Campbell not panning out and Clinton Portis' future in question with his continuous concussions. I don't think Quinton Ganther is the future of this franchise.

Maybe Washington should go after a play-maker on offense in the draft like the Eagles did with "Shady" McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. They turned out pretty well.

Signing Mike Shanahan should only help.

New York Giants

The Giants had to be the biggest disappointment of the NFC, if not the entire NFL.

The G-Men started off great and then proceeded to throw their season down the drain with terrible defensive play. The season should be blamed solely on the defensive effort or lack there of.

There are so many problems with this defense it is hard to say where they will go next year. A new defensive scheme will be brought in by Perry Fewell. But will he have the same result as Bill Sheridan?

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had one of the better seasons in the NFC. That is until they were forced to play in Jerry Jones' house.

The Eagles were embarrassed in two straight games in Dallas, which exposed their weaknesses.

Some folks are calling for Donovan McNabb to leave town, but that just makes no sense. He has been a great quarterback for this team and is still one of the better quarterbacks in the NFC.

And I still have no idea why the Eagles would make such a controversial signing in Michael Vick, and never play the guy.

In order for a player to make some plays, he actually has to be on the field. It will be interesting to watch the developments in the Eagles camp this off-season.

Dallas Cowboys

Easily the best team in the NFC East this year. Dallas won it's first playoff game in over a decade which is obviously a step forward.

Getting rid of Terrell Owens was a great decision and it payed off well.

But Dallas struggled against Minnesota in the second round of the playoffs and has some soul searching to do themselves.

Maybe get another play maker at wide receiver to compliment Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Felix Jones?

This team is one or two additions away from being a possible Super Bowl contender in 2010. And who knows what kind of field day Jerry Jones will have with a potential salary cap free off-season?

With the downfall of the Giants this past year, and Washington struggling yet again, the NFC East didn't look itself for the first time in awhile. We may be talking about a switching of the guard for the top division in the NFC.