I keep on hearing how the NFC East is the “best” or “most competitive” division in all of football. You Yanks must be drinking too much of Uncle Bob’s moonshine because I just don’t see it. Sure, two playoff teams have come out of this division for each of the past five years, but just look back at last year’s playoffs… both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys made the playoffs, the Cowboys embarrassed the Eagles, the Vikings then embarrassed the Cowboys, the Vikings were then embarrassed by the Saints. That doesn’t sound like the “best” or “most competitive” anything to me.
The most interesting thing about the NFC East heading into the 2010 season is that half of it’s teams have new stating quarterbacks… but there is only 1 new starting QB in the division. It’s understandable why the Eagles traded McNabb, but within the division? Not so much. We’ll see how that works out for both teams as the season progresses.
The Eagles cut ties with a bunch of vets over the course of the offseason, obviously as part of a youth movement. You don’t have that drastic of a roster turnover a produce results right away, so let’s scratch the Eagles out of the playoff picture right off the bat. They aren’t going to be too “competitive” in this division, nor do I think the New York Giants will be. Their defense was atrocious last season and it only looks to be getting worse. Maybe Michael Strahan really was that good because they haven’t done jack defensively since he left.
The team nobody is expecting to do anything is the Washington Redskins. I think they are a playoff team this year, but still finish a few games behind Dallas at the top of the division. This has nothing to really do with the addition of Donovan McNabb. The Redskins had a great defense last year, but not much else going for them. The had a dead man walking as head coach and their offensive line was held together like my truck… with duct tape.
Enter Mike Shanahan. The two-time Superbowl winning coach tinkered with the offensive line, investing a first round draft pick and a big free agency signing tackle. It may not be a great line, but it is incredibly better than last year’s version. Then there are three former pro bowl running backs behind that line. No, Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker are no the players they used to be, but rotating the three of them to keep them all fresh could give some defensive coordinators fits.
I haven’t talked much about the Cowboys, but there isn’t much to say. They’re the best team in the division by far with a defense that stepped it up late in the season to steal the division in the final week. Look for the Cowboys to clinch the division fairly early and the Redksins to take one of the two wildcard slots. We may even see these two NFC East rivals play each other in the first round like we did with the Cowboys and Eagles last year. I don’t think the ‘Boys will do much in the playoffs though. They’ll probably end up as a stepping stone for the Vikings or Saints.
Of course, I left the most important aspect of the division for last… the girls. The Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins have some of the best cheerleaders in all of football. And the Giants, well… they have Eli Manning. Here’s what each team has in terms of hot fans:
You can check out all of my other divisional previews by clicking the pic with the bikini girls holding the Lombardi Trophy on the right.