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NFC East Preview

Something happened last year in the NFC East that had not since 1999. The Washington Redskins became relevant. After being 3-6 and all but done for the season, the fans and even Coach Mike Shanahan gave up. Luckily, RGIII did not give up. He exploded onto the scene last year propelling the Redskins to a 7 game winning streak to end the season which ultimately allowed them to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. This year in the NFC East things will most likely not change too much.
Let’s start things off with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have a lot of work to do. Quarterback wise Michael Vick seems to be ideal for Chip Kelly’s new system as he is a dual threat QB, but the last two years he has had trouble with protecting the football. The offensive line did get a little better as the Eagles spent their first round pick on OL Lane Johnson. That being said they still have a ways to go. As far as the defense is concerned, to put it lightly, they were bad. Fortunately, the Eagles did have a pretty decent offseason as they were able to pick up two solid cornerbacks in Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher as well as underrated safety Kenny Philips. It is difficult to predict what is to come of the Eagles this year. All of it will hinge on how effective Chip Kelly’s new offense can be and the quarterback play. Learning a new offense especially one as complex as Chip Kelly’s will take some time for everyone to get used to and we will likely see inconsistent play throughout the season. I predict a last place finish for the Eagles and a 7-9 record.
Next, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys on paper usually have the best team, but for one reason or another they never amount too much or as Stephen A. Smith says, “They are an accident waiting to happen.” Because of their salary cap situation being up tight they could not make many moves, but Jerry Jones and the boys did get CB Brandon Carr to bolster the secondary as well as many offensive players in the draft. Sean Lee will also be back from injury and do not underestimate B.W. Webb the rookie cornerback out of William & Mary. He always seems to be around the ball, he knows what to do when he has it, and he can return punts as well as kicks if Dez Bryant is injured. The problem with them is they still have many needs such as on the O-line and D-line. Although they did make the right move in signing Romo long-term it does not appear he will lead them to a Super Bowl. That being said when you have a good quarterback you need to sign them as they are hard to find and Tony Romo is still a good QB. Overall, the Cowboys still have talent, but as usual, I believe America’s team will underachieve with a third straight season at 8-8 which will land them at third place in the NFC East missing the playoffs once again.
Third, the New York Football Giants. The Giants were very streaky last year starting out 6-2 but finishing 3-5 down the stretch and just narrowly missing the playoffs. They did sign a few players most notably interior linemen Cullen Jenkins from the Eagles who is a great run stopper. The Giants also got Ryan Nassib from the draft which is smart as Eli is not getting any younger and was not great last year. Interceptions have been a problem for most of Eli’s career which is why outside the playoffs I do not trust him and I believe he is overrated. The main problem with the Giants, however, is that they did nothing to improve the secondary which did not perform well. Corey Webster got burned way too much and everyone else in the secondary cannot stay healthy. Even in a mediocre division I do not see the Giants making the playoffs. They do not match up well with the passing attacks around the league especially that of Dallas and Washington. I predict a 9-7 record from them and a second place finish in the NFC East.
Last but not least, the Washington Redskins. As you can guess they are in my opinion the best team in the NFC East and I believe they will grab the 4 seed in the playoffs with an 11-5 record. RGIII when healthy or even when injured was the best player on the field. He has world-class speed, good decision-making, and a strong, accurate arm. All of this combined makes it almost impossible for opposing defenses to defend. Combine this with a decent offensive line, a great running back in Alfred Morris, and a good receiving core the Redskins will be fine on offense.
What they will need to improve is the defense particularly the secondary. Their front seven will be fine assuming Brian Orakpo can come back healthy. Now the secondary… Last year, if not for the New Orleans Saints secondary the Redskins secondary would have been historically bad. That being said help is on the way. Brandon Merriweather is a competent safety if healthy and that is a big “if.” The Redskins also got help in the draft. In the 2013 draft they got three DBs, two safeties and a corner named David Amerson, Bacarri Rambo, and Phillip Thomas. Amerson lead NCAA in interceptions two years ago and Rambo was 2nd behind him. Thomas lead the NCAA in picks last year. It is evident the skins have addressed their needs in the secondary with young talented “ball-hawk” defensive backs. There is nowhere to go up for the Redskins secondary and with talent on the way for the defense they look to be better than last year.
The NFC East will most likely be the least competitive division in football, but also could be the most intriguing as RGIII is always a must see as well as Tony Romo and Dallas. The Eagles will be the most exciting team to watch or at least a team we will all have our eyes on during week 1 because of their new offense under Chip Kelly. If they can play well on offense and put up big numbers there is no doubt that the NFC East will be the most exciting division to watch this year.

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