Is the NFC East the Best Division in Football?

Justin PenistonContributor ISeptember 17, 2008

In the 2007 NFL season, there were two divisions vying for supremacy in the NFL: the division that dominated much of the 1980s and 1990s, the NFC East, and the AFC South, comprised of two expansion teams and two transplants.

Both divisions sent three teams to the playoffs, and neither division had a team with a losing record (the last place Eagles and Texans each finished 8-8).

All through the offseason, sports pundits were lauding the strength of these two divisions, and the Cowboys, Jaguars, Colts, and even Eagles were all on lists to make the Super Bowl. But which division is truly the stronger?

This year, with the AFC South devastated by injuries, natural disasters, and a QB meltdown, it looks to be the old-school NFC East.

So far, the division is 6-2, and both losses have been in the division. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants sit atop the division, and neither the Philadelphia Eagles nor the Washington Redskins were blown out in their losses.

This is a division dominated by fierce rivalries, a commitment to hard-hitting defense, and offenses that can kill you on the ground or through the air.  So how's this division going to end up this season?

First off, it's hard not to see three teams from the East going back to the playoffs. With the exception of the Packers, the Panthers, and surprisingly the Cardinals, no other team in the NFC really looks like a contender this year. (Maybe the Saints...)

It might not be an exaggeration to say that any team in the East could win any of the other three divisions. So, assuming that the three teams I just mentioned win their respective divisions, how does the East shake out?

As a Redskins fan, it's hard for me to say it, but I think it ends up like this:

1. Dallas Cowboys - Too much talent on this team. They're the least likely to lose against bad or average teams.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - If McNabb stays healthy, the Eagles have a good chance to win it all.

3. New York Giants - They're seemingly unbowed by the losses of Strahan and Osi, but they had to hold off a struggling Redskins team, and Eli looks to have taken a step back from last year's playoff performance.

4. Washington Redskins - The loss to the Giants was uglier than the score revealed, and while the come-from-behind-victory over the Saints was encouraging, I think this team will suffer some growing pains as they acclimate to Jim Zorn and the West Coast offense.

Week Three is actually the point at which the NFC East really starts to separate the wheat from the chaff.

While the Giants continue beating up on the weak links of the league, hosting the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cowboys get the undefeated Green Bay Packers, the Eagles get the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Redskins get the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

All three teams are demonstrating strong quarterback play (although a dinged-up Roethlisberger can't hurt Philly's chances), and all three are making plays on defense.

If all four teams manage wins...Heck, I don't know. All I can say is I feel bad for whichever of these four teams ends up on the outside looking in during the postseason.