With the season almost upon us its time to make those preseason predictions and with the NFC East looking the most competitive in the NFL its as good a place as any to start.
Last season Philadelphia and Dallas fought out the division and it went to the final game when Dallas snatched it before going on to beat the Eagles in the Wild Card Game. This season it will be no easier with Dallas, The Giants and The Skins all looking to have improved while Philadelphia look to be in rebuilding mode having cleared out 10 veterans in the off season.
Overall this is how we see it:
1. Dallas Cowboys – It is hard to find and major weaknesses in the roster and they will have a major incentive to do well as the Super Bowl will be played at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium in 2011. They do have a tough Schedule but with quality all over the squad with Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Myles Austin & rookie WR Dez Byrant on offense and De Marcus Ware Mike Jenkins possibly being the pick of a Pro Bowl quality defense. They should overcome their tough schedule and take the division.
2. NY Giants – They had a bit of a disappointing 2009, mainly due to their defensive weaknesses. They still look a bit fragile defensively to me but the addition of Antel Rolle and Deon Grant will stiffen up their suspect secondary and they picked up two good defensive prospects in Jason Pierre-Paul & Linval Joseph, both of whom should be in the starting squad. They should be challenging for the division and look a good bet for a Wild Card slot at least.
3. Washington Redskins – New Coach Mike Shanahan hasn’t moved state to head up a losing team and he has wasted no time in ringing the changes with 10 veterans joining in the off season. The main acquisition was ex Philadelphia Quarter Back Donovan McNabb who will be relishing the chance to show his old team mates what they have lost. Problems still exist on the defensive line and with next to no draft picks available the holes have been plugged with journeyman players. The big uncertainty remains whether Albert Haynesworth decides to put his best foot forward, if he does then a big problem is solved straight away. If Haynesworth settles into the 3-4 defense then they should challenge the Giants for second place and could end up at 8-8 or possibly even 9-7. They wont make the Wild Cards if they finish behind the Giants but they are on the way back.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – They had a massive clear out at the end of their ultimately disappointing 2009 campaign and this has made the team younger and the salary bill a whole lot lighter. However it is hard to rebuild on the fly and although they still have a solid squad with probably only a couple of their their 13 draft picks being needed to fill gaps, the squad looks uninspiring and inexperienced. They are heaping pressure on QB Kevin Kolb and although he will make the grade it could be a season or two before we see the best of him. With the exception of their opener against Green Bay they have winnable games up to the bye week and then it gets real tough. If they finish above 8-8 they will have done well.
2009 NFC East Finishing Positions
Dallas Cowboys 11-5
Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
NY Giants 8-8
Washington Redskins 4-12