This is my first installment of eight articles outlining and
detailing team overviews for each of the divisions in the NFL. Once again
parity will dominate the league and the teams who remain healthiest will be the
contenders coming down the stretch. However, the unexpected seems to be the
dominant trend in the NFL. This implies that one week a team can look like Super Bowl caliber contenders and then play extremely poor in the very next week. Such is the NFL and it will be even more evident in the NFC East this season.
The Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles went 10-6 overall, 4-2 in the division, and 7-5 in the
conference last year. The greatest concern for the Eagles is the fact that
quarterback Michael Vick clearly was wearing down over the last four weeks of
the season. He is extremely quick and fast, but is under sized and did not get
the protection he needed and endured too many big hits on his body throughout
the season. The Eagles did draft guard Danny Watkins, who is an excellent run
blocker. This may allow the Eagles to have a more reliable running game behind
running back LeSean McCoy and take pressure off of Vick.
Another plus is the Eagles were able to get former Tennessee
coach Jim Washburn, who is one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL.
He will have more talent to work with than he had in Tennessee where he
developed one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Still, the weakest part
of the Eagles defense is their linebackers. Throughout last season, the middle
of the field was exposed with clear-out routes and simple ‘in’ patterns
designed for the tight ends. Until this huge problem is completely fixed the
Eagles will not be a premiere contender. Eagles
finish third in the division, miss the playoffs, and Ried gets fired.
The Dallas Cowboys
The 2010 season was a lost one for the Dallas Cowboys the moment that
their quarterback Tony Romo was injured and out for the remainder of the
season. There were several coaching changes and Jason Garrett did an excellent
job posting a 5-3 second half record in the most difficult of situations.
Without Romo, the offense still ranked sixth in the NFL gaining
252.8 yards per game and 16th gaining 111.6 rushing yards per game. The defense
did not play well and it was in large part of the reason former head coach
Phillips lost their respect. Once that happens to a team there is no regaining the
respect and turning things around and why change is always necessary at every
level of the organization.
I fully expect that the turnaround story in the NFL will be that
Dallas will have one of the best defenses going. They already have one of the
best front seven in the game and the secondary will play far better than last
year’s edition. Wide receiver Dez Bryant will have a big year with Romo, and
the offense will be one of the top ranked in the league. I like Dallas to win the division and I also like them at 13/1 betting
odds to win the Super Bowl.
The Washington Redskins
A case could be made that the Washington Redskins may be the only
team with a fan base hoping that a new collective bargaining agreement is not
reached and the 2011 season is lost. Either way, the season will be a lost one
for the Redskins. With a quarterback controversy surrounding Rex Grossman and
John Beck how can any Washington Redskins fan be excited about the 2011 season.
The Redskins threw 65% of all plays from scrimmage ranking second
highest and is a number that is far too high given their lack of talent at the
skill positions. They will need to get the running game going behind head coach
Mike Shanahan’s successful zone blocking schemes and allow running back Ryan
Torain to create opportunities with his speed and agility.
It will be a long season for the Redskins, but they can look
forward to having a high draft pick.
The New York Giants
The Giants could be the surprise team in the NFC East if they get
consistent play on both sides of the ball this season. The Giants are listed at
24/1 in the NFL lines and are an attractive NFL betting opportunity.
They have the defense to keep them in the games led by defensive ends Justin
Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Manning must be more consistent in his read
progressions and limit mistakes for the Giants to contend for the divisional
The Giants added another cover man in first round draft pick
Prince Amukamara and when combined with safeties Antrel Rolle and Kenny
Phillips shows that the Giants may have a very fast secondary that will be
vastly improved. Yet, no matter how much improved the Giants defense will be in
2011 it will come down to Eli Manning’s overall performance that will decide
how much success the New York Giants will enjoy this season.