NFC East Preview: Cowboys, Giants, Redskins Fans Should Expect the Unexpected

Clay DefayetteCorrespondent IIISeptember 8, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 29:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in action against the New York Jets during their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The NFC East has historically and in recent years been a powerhouse in the conference. Quarterback play has been a huge part of this, as the division has had pro bowl play from Tony Romo, Eli Manning, and Michael Vick. The Redskins, the team with a glaring deficiency at the position, have seen only two winning seasons in the past eleven years.

Philadelphia is the obvious favorite after great off-season signings not to mention that the team won the division last year. Andy Reid will have the offense more than ready for the season to start, but defensive coordinator Juan Castillo can't be counted on. The Eagles should have a good defense for their rivals because both the Giants and Cowboys like to toss the ball around the yard with their good receiving cores. The defense will struggle against top-notch talented teams that are balanced but there aren't many teams on their schedule that are. Philadelphia will meet their match with a team in the playoffs that can pound the ball right at their weak linebackers.

Tony Romo will get to play all sixteen games this season unlike last year and Dallas still has DeMarcus Ware in his prime to make the secondary look better than they are. Anthony Spencer needs to have eight sacks for the Cowboys to have a winning record because the cover guys are very poor in a division, as mentioned before, that has good passing attacks. Dallas will go 2-4 for their NFC East schedule but will still finish above water at 9-7.

The New York football Giants are going to experience turbulence on their flight. The defense is now easily the most predictable throughout the division in their base 4-3 with bad linebackers. Kenny Phillips will have to turn into his rookie form because his health cannot be an issue with all the other injuries on the third level. Depth is definitely an issue not only for corners but for linebackers and defensive linemen. Mathias Kiwanuka is now an outside linebackers and he won't be able to be rotated on the line at least as frequently. New York will see a 7-9 record despite only beating Dallas for their division games because of matchup issues.

Rex Grossman has rode the bangwagon on a team before. He'll start over John Beck for the entire season because of a good start to the season. Washington's schedule isn't particularly deadly, with the Redskins having eleven games against teams that missed the playoffs last year. A losing record against the NFC East will not spell doom for Shanahan. The defense is going to be good while the offense will need to dwindle clock against the passing attacks of not only division rivals but ball controlled throwing schemes of St. Louis, Arizona, and New England. Washington will then be able to use their opportunistic secondary that just added O.J. Atogwe to force quarterbacks into mistakes. Cofield will eat blocks in the middle for Brian Orakpo and rookie Ryan Kerrigan to play well from ahead. The duo will have more sacks combined than any other NFC East combination. This is including Tuck/Umenyiora, Ware/Spencer, and Cole/Babin.

Philadelphia improves on their 2010 record by a game by going 12-4 while the Redskins get a wild card spot ahead of Dallas by virtue of tiebreak. It's not as crazy as you think. Jim Zorn made the playoffs in his first year with Jason Campbell as his quarterback.