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One of the biggest reasons the Mike Vick-led Philadelphia Eagles will capture another NFC East title is simply a lack of bona-fide competition. During the past month, the Eagles have dramatically improved their roster on both sides of the ball. They've added depth, shored up holes on their offensive line, and added playmakers across the board.
The Giants have had a solid, if not spectacular offseason. They lost two key members of their offensive line in OT Rich Seubert and OG Shaun O'Hara, along with DT Rocky Bernard and DT Barry Cofield. The team is also dealing with the potential loss of DE Osi Umeniyora, who is holding out for a new contract or a trade. If all of that wasn't bad enough, one of Eli Manning's favorite check-down targets in TE Kevin Boss left for Oakland in Free Agency and the team's first-round draft pick, CB Prince Amukamara went down with a serious lower-body injury and will be sidelined at least two months. All in all, the G-Men are likely to take at least a small step back in 2011.
The Cowboys also lost a few key pieces in RB Marion Barber, OG Marc Colombo, WR Roy Williams, and DT Stephen Bowen. However, the team was able to retain most of their defensive stalwarts, especially 3-4 super-DE Marcus Spears. Again, in terms of stopping Vick and the high-flying Eagles offense, the Cowboys haven't taken a step back; they just haven't taken a step forward.
The Redskins—the NFL's very own New York Mets—have been nothing if not predictable. The team lost a few solid defensive pieces in DE/LB Andre Carter, DE Phillip Daniels, DE Vonnie Holiday and DT Maake Kemoeatu, but added veterans DE Stephen Bowen, DT Barry Cofield and CB Josh Wilson as well as rookies Ryan Kerrigan (DE), Jarvis Jenkins (DT) and DeJon Gomes (SS). Again, they did not take a major step back. They just did not take a step forward either.
The main takeaway to all of this is simple: in five games against NFC East opponents, Vick had a passer rating of 104.4, a completion percentage of 64.2 percent and a combined 14 touchdowns (nine passing, five rushing). Generally speaking, he imposed his will on Divisional foes. And not one of those teams took significant positive steps to prevent that from happening again in 2011.