Head To Head: How the New York Giants Stack Up in the NFC East

Michael McDonaldContributor IMay 29, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 11:  Head coach Tom Coughlin #10 of the New York Giants shakes hands with head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles after the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

One of the biggest roadblocks in the New York Giants' quest for a Super Bowl is the fact that they play in one of the toughest divisions in football. Each season, the NFC East is a rugged dog-fight, and earning a playoff spot is never an easy task. 

Within the division, the Giants toughest competitor, as always, is the Eagles. They had a great draft and are bringing back the core of an offense that was a touchdown short of getting to last season’s Super Bowl.  
Despite losing the heart and soul of their secondary in Brian Dawkins, the Eagles defense is still one of the best in the NFC, and they will be a competitive force in the division. 

It all depends on the health of both Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.  Each season, this is the biggest question mark that the Eagles face, and since they are not getting any younger, this year will be no different.

The Cowboys are still cleaning up a mess. Sure, they got rid of T.O., but Jerry Jones seems to have his head buried somewhere deep in the heart of Texas. This is a team that did not acquire a player on the first day of the draft. As for Tony Romo, I do not trust him in the big spot, and he has still not proven that he can be a championship leader in the NFL.  

Defensively, the Cowboys look like they will be a top force in the division. They played hungry (ignore the Week 17 game in Philadelphia) at the end of last season and established a really hefty pass rush, putting the D back into Big D.

Overall, Dallas does not scare me. They are the Yankees of the NFL, where the drama seems to outweigh the success. It is always something with these guys. I realize that Terrell Owens is now in Buffalo, but this team will still have to prove that it can stay away from the controversies that continue to hold them back. 

The Redskins will be a decent team in 2009, but I just don’t know if Jason Campbell is a true franchise quarterback. Apparently, the Redskins feel the same way, as they flirted with the idea of drafting Mark Sanchez. Clinton Portis is a true warrior and has become one of the best players in the NFL. He is that good. Acquiring Albert Haynesworth helps, but I think that the Redskins have the weakest defense in the division. 

Jim Zorn has gotten his feet wet, but owner Daniel Snyder is always willing to pull the fire trigger on his head coaches. If the Skins miss the playoffs, or make the playoffs and lose early, expect Snyder to make a heavy push for Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, or even Bill Cowher, come 2010. 

In the rest of the NFC, the talent pool is pretty clear. The Arizona Cardinals had a nice run last season, the Panthers, Saints, Falcons and Bucs will all compete in a tough NFC South and I like the Seahawks to be a force now that matt Hasselbeck is healthy. Jay Cutler makes the Bears an automatic contender in the NFC North and the Vikings and Packers should be able to stay in the hunt come late December. 

After sizing up the top teams in the NFC, there is no doubt that the Giants have the best team in their conference.

The AFC is very unknown. Nobody knows what to expect from Tom Brady, the Colts just are not the same Colts, and while the Steelers should be a favorite, it is so hard to get back to the Super Bowl two seasons in a row. Just ask the last five Super Bowl Champions. I expect the Jets, Ravens, Texans and Chargers to all compete for playoff spots and possibly division titles.  

Look, we’re still months away from training camp. For all we know, the Bengals could wind up winning 11 games next year. In this age of NFL parity nowadays, you just never know. I’ll wait to make this official, but what the heck, a moth of May football prediction is just a month of May football prediction:

Super Bowl XLIV: NY Giants 24,  SD Chargers 17

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.