It all but seems forgotten that the New York Giants defeated the undefeated New England Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl.
It is now 2010 and the NFC has seen some shuffling around. Donovan McNabb will now be wearing the Redskins burgundy and gold, along with both Mike and Kevin Shanahan. While Kevin Kolb will be leading the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys are thinking about changing their green pants to silver pants (HDTV reasons). The New York Giants have a new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and they will be returning to the field healthy.
The Giants finished 4-2 against their NFC East opponents. The losses came at the hands of the Donovan McNabb led Eagles, where 40 and 45 points were dropped on Bill Sheridan's Giants defense. In 2010, Sheridan does not lead the Giants defense and they will not need to worry about the McNabb/Jackson connection any longer.
Two teams in the NFC East have improved, while one has declined, and another has remained the same.
The Redskins now have the Shanahans and have bettered themselves by trading for Donovan McNabb, but who will he throw to? Is the Redskins offensive line better than the Eagles? With Shanahan at the helm, expect the Redskins to try to get the ball deep and often. The Redskins receivers are short and McNabb will need time to get the ball down field, that may be a problem, giving the Redskins gave up 46 sacks last year. The Redskins also ranked 16th passing and 27th rushing, this does not bode well for McNabb having time to pass.
The Eagles on the other hand ranked 22nd in the run and 10th in passing. They now have a young receiving core, with an untested quarterback. Most times when we see this happen it takes at least a year to come together. The rushing was not strong last year, and not enough changes have been made with the Eagles to change that ranking. Kolb is not as mobile as McNabb and McNabb's craftiness on his feet was a Giant killer. Kolb will need time to settle into his new role and this is the change that will cost the Eagles this year.
The Cowboys are the same. They have not made many changes that will effect how they look. The Cowboys will be the strongest contender in the East and will be most preseason picks to win the division. They have strong receivers, a good quarterback, and a quick, strong defense. The main threat to the Cowboy season is Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips. With the 2010 season's Super Bowl being held in the new Cowboy stadium, Jones will have extremely high expectations for Philips and the rest of the Cowboy squad.
The Dallas Cowboys WILL make the playoffs, but they will have to settle for the wild-card.
That brings us to the New York Giants.
2007 was mentioned and was mentioned for a reason. The Giants have not changed much since that time. They are the team with the credentials and experience, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Eli Manning has become a better quarterback each year since 2007. A lot has been put on his plate and he has excepted the challenge. They still have Brandon Jacobs running the ball, who will once again be healthy and a threat. Jacobs is offset by Ahmad Bradshaw, who last year played with a fractured ankle. Bradshaw's speed will be a large part of the Giants success on offense this season. The Giants offensive line is still made up veterans who led them on their super bowl run. Lastly, the Giants receivers now have experience and this will be a breakout year for them and Eli.
The Giants defense may have weakened in the middle, but they strengthened last years weak spot, the secondary. The Giants have Deon Grant, Antrel Rolle, and future star Kenny Phillips. This secondary will not be last years. It is an improvement and it is exactly what the rest of the Giant defense needed. Fewell will be able to let his defensive line go after the quarterback and the coverage will help them reach him. The defensive line is still strong and the added padding in the secondary will help them become even more threatening.
The 2007 Giants were good, in 2008 they were better, but the 2010 Giants are quietly complete.
With all of the changes that occurred in the NFC East, the Giants have great match-ups within the East. McNabb is a Giant killer more with his feet than his arm. When it seemed like the defense had McNabb, he was able to get away outside the pocket. He will not have that kind of time this season with the Redskins. The coverage will be tighter down the field and the Giants line will be quicker through a weak Redskins offensive line. The Redskins are a better team, but the Giants are still able to take both games from them. 2 wins for the Giants.
The Eagles have taken a step backwards this season. Kevin Kolb will be going through the learning process. It does not matter how long he watched McNabb play, it will still take time. He is not as quick as McNabb and will not be able to escape long enough for his receivers to break free. The Eagles are not a threat on the ground, especially now that defenses will see Kevin Kolb behind center and not Donovan McNabb. With the McNabb trade and the Giants strengthening the secondary, the Giants win both from the Philadelphia Eagles. 2 wins for the Giants.
The Cowboys and Giants matched up very nicely against each other last year. They played great games that could have gone either way, but you always have the Giants vs. Tony Romo factor. It always comes down to "Can Romo beat the Giants?". If we go by last year, then the answer is no. The Giants were able to take 2 games from the Cowboys last year, and the Giants are better this year. The Cowboy receivers are the only threat to the Giants secondary in the division. I think the Cowboys will be able to expose them and Eli Manning will have to play catch up at some point. Both defenses are strong, both passing games are a threat, but the Cowboys are better in that area. The Giants will have to run the ball and control the tempo of the game. They will be able to do this in the New Meadowlands in November, but I cannot say the same for the Monday night game at Cowboy Stadium. Giants and Cowboys split. 1 win and 1 loss.
The Giants match-up well against all teams in their division and that division record will be the deciding factor. The Giants will go 5-1 against their own. Which will leave 10 games remaining. They beat the Panthers, Titans, Bears, Texans, Lions, Seahawks, and Jaguars. They lose to the Colts, Cowboys, Vikings (w/Favre), and Packers. The Giants finish the season 12-4 and clinch the NFC East.