Over the next couple of days I will preview each division in the NFL. I have predicted EVERY NFL game this season and have projected each team's record. Today, I will preview the NFC East division.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Last season's record: 8-8
Projected record: 12-4
Team overview: 12-4 may be a bit too high for our Eagles, but I think we can pull it off. The NFC East is by far the toughest division in the East. Donovan McNabb is healthy and ready to unload on opposing defenses. Brian Westbrook is arguably the best running back east of the Mississippi. The wide receiving core is below average, but every other aspect of the team is above. The defense is excellent. I think the young linebackers will mature into fine young players this season. Brian Dawkins (upper right) can be dominant if he can stay healthy. Their cornerback depth is unmatched. Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel, and Lito Shepard will give the opposing offense headaches.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Last season's record: 13-3
Projected record: 11-5
Team overview: The Dallas Cowboys won this division last season and will likely contend for a Super Bowl again this season. Tony Romo is a solid quarterback, but can struggle in big games (or be distracted by Jessica Simpson). T.O. is a top wideout and Jason Witten is a good tight end. Marion Barber is set to have a big season, and rookie Felix Jones will help him carry that load. Dallas' defense is as stingy as ever with the pick up of Zach Thomas. He will join DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, and Terrence Newman on the defensive side of the ball. Why won't the Cowboys finish as well as they did in 2007. I think it's because they have too many distractions. I mean c'mon, T.O., Pacman, Tank Johnson, Jessica Simpson, owner Jerry Jones' constant pressure. That doesn't mean they won't make the playoffs.
3. New York Giants
Last season's record: 10-6
Projected record this season: 10-6
Team overview: Most people are underestimating the defending Super Bowl champs. I think they will do as well as the did last season even without key players like Osi Umenyiora, Jeremy Shockey, and Micheal Strahan. Eli Manning will mature as a quarterback and will not throw as many interceptions. Brandon Jacobs isn't a top back, but he is still very good. He plays a bruising style of football, which causes him to get injured a lot. Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and company make up a fine receiving core. The Giants did the right right thing in trading Shockey, but Eli will miss his big body darting across the field. On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Tuck is their best pass rusher. He recorded an even 10 sacks last season. The defense will suffer because Umenyiora and Strahan are missing.
4. Washington Redskins
Last season's record: 9-7
Projected record: 8-8
Team overview: In most divisions, 8-8 would put you near the top. But in the NFC East, it nets you last place. I think Jason Campbell will have a good season, but he is clearly not a top quarterback. Clinton Portis will excel if he can stay healthy. Sanatana Moss is a decent receiver, but I believe he is overrated. Chris Cooley is an underrated tight end, however. Their defense is good but was devastated at hearing that Jason Taylor may miss some time with an injury.