NFC East Predictions
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Sometimes things have to get messier before they get clean. With Jerry Jones and company cutting ties with the likes of Flozell Adams, Bobby Carpenter, Ken Hamlin, and perhaps Patrick Crayton, the Cowboys certainly aren’t standing pat on their 11-5 season from last year. They added talented wide receiver Dez Bryant through the draft, who should make up for Crayton’s departure if that does occur. Bryant, Roy Williams, and Miles Austin will need to provide a spark to an offense that had little trouble moving the ball, but wasn’t always effective in scoring touchdowns. Doug Free, who is the odds-on favorite to replace Adams, will be looked on to keep the Cowboy’s potent run-offense firing on all cylinders. The Cowboy’s pass defense was their achilles heel in 2009, ranking 20th in the league. Newly drafted cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and the speedy linebacker Sean Lee should give that unit a boost. A tough schedule and the inherent pressure and drama might sink the Cowboys Superbowl chances, but it won’t be for lack of talent.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief…” It will perhaps be a Tale of Two Seasons for the Eagles in 2010. We expect the Eagles to drop a couple of games early as Kevin Kolb learns how to win football games and the Eagles new defenders learn their roles, but the Eagles have far too many weapons not to compete for the NFC East title by the end of the 2010 NFL Season. Brandon Graham, Ricky Sapp, Nate Allen, Trevard Lindley and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim are all young, athletic, speedsters that will let the Eagles tradition of pressuring the quarterback live on into this new decade. Combine them with the bevy of talent in their WR and RB units, and you have the makings of a contender.
New York Giants (8-8)
Eli Manning has been uninspiring after a certain night in February of 2008 that is still hazy in my memory. Sure, his stats are almost worthy of his last name, but the big wins just haven’t been there. However, you can put a load of blame on a defense that ranked 30th in the league last year. Draft picks Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph hold a lot of promise, but they will need some time to develop. They might not have that time if Osi Umenyiora continues to be a problem. Free-agent acquisition Antrel Rolle will have to carry the water for the Giants at safety, as the play there was abysmal in 2009. Kenny Phillips will need to recover from a tough injury to fill out the backfield, as draft pick Chad Jones was involved in an unfortunate car accident.
Washington Redskins (5-11)
In a move stolen from his own playbook, Redskins owner Dan Snyder snatched up aging quarterback Donovan McNabb and shipped off the disappointing Jason Campbell to the black hole of Raider-ville. Their last big acquisition, Albert Haynesworth, is brooding only one short year of earning more than $20 million dollars. Add to that a thin NFL Draft, whose only impact pick was underwhelming (on the field anyway) offensive tackle Trent Williams. In our opinion, that doesn’t lead to a very big improvement from a dismal 4-12 season in 2009.