Sports

NFL Previews That Don’t Suck: NFC East

IRVING, TX - JANUARY 13:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts during the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New York Giants at Texas Stadium on January 13, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  The Giants defeated the Cowboys 21-17.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) IRVING, TX - JANUARY 13: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts during the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New York Giants at Texas Stadium on January 13, 2008 in Irving, Texas. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 21-17. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)  

Could there have been a more underwhelming division last year? Goodness gracious. Shall we do a rundown to look at the awfulness that was the NFC East? 1) EVERYONE got their division pick wrong last year. Most people picked the Redskins (RACIST!), Dallas, or the Giants. LOL you were all wrong. 2) RGIII. He was so bad that he didn’t even play the final two games of 2013. 3) Eli sucked and Tony Romo continued to be Tony Romo. Any complaints there, Eagles fans? Didn’t think so.

Philadelphia Eagles

2013 Record – 10-6, Division Champions
NFC East Record – 4-2

Notable Losses: DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick
Notable Additions: Malcolm Jenkins (FA), Mark Sanchez (FA)
Notable Draft Picks: Jordan Matthews

Back on the perch atop the NFC East, once again. Feel good Eagles fans? The Birds, unless RGIII miraculously reverts to 2012 RGIII and the Giants don’t, umm, suck again will have next to no competition for the NFC East his year. Dallas is eternally an 8-8 team, they don’t matter.

Offensively, Chip Kelly will probably continue to be, you know, Chip Kelly and make matters a living hell for defenses. Considering he only started 10 games last year, one would be hard pressed to think Nick Foles isn’t gearing up for a huge year. While 29 touchdowns and 2 interceptions is borderline immaculate (that won’t happen again), expectations for a big year are completely fair and valid.

Oh, have we mentioned his running back? Whoops probably should have done that earlier. Anyway, LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing last year. That should help, right? Couple those two with the likes of a healthy Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, and impressive youngsters Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews, and the Eagles could be devastating offensively.

About the defense though…they are still not up to snuff. Their secondary still sucks (pardon Brandon Boykin), even with newly-signed Malcolm Jenkins. This defense is largely the same defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season. While the front seven played well enough last year, their secondary is still suspect. Meanwhile, on Special Teams, Alex Henery isn’t on the team anymore. Yay!

Best Case Scenario: 12-4, NFC East Champs
The defense reaches it’s potential and they actually play as team that doesn’t just have Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, and a scary offense…but rather a defense that wreaks havoc.

Worst Case Scenario: 9-7, Possible playoff berth
The defense continues to be sucky and the offense continues to be good, but more spotty and incur a few injuries, which is always possible when it comes to the Birds.

New York Giants

2013 Record – 7-9, 3rd place
NFC East Record – 3-3

Notable Losses: Hakeem Nicks, David Wilson
Notable Additions: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rashad Jennings
Notable Draft Picks: Odell Beckham Jr., Andre Williams

Will Eli Manning be as terrible as he was last season: that is the question. Manning led the NFL with 27 interceptions last season and was downright terrifyingly bad. Can he rebound? The answer to that question will largely determine the fate of the New York Ginats next season.

The Giants also need a big time bounce back season from Jason Pierre-Paul, their freakishly-athletic defensive end who can play like the a Lawrence Taylor redux…or the opposite of Lawrence Taylor. He needs to have a double-digit sack season and harass the hell out of opposing quarterbacks in order for this defense to have a chance at stopping anyone. They are an average defensive unit with him playing “meh.” With him playing well though? Completely different story.

Best Case Scenario: 10-6, contention for the NFC East title.
As mentioned above, the Giants season hinges on Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul. If Eli is playing well and avoiding the #ManningFace on most occasions, the Giants have a shot. If Jason Pierre-Paul plays like he’s interested and along the lines of the player we expect him to be, they’ve got a shot. Is that a lot of “if’s”? Yes.

Worst Case Scenario: 5-11, basement of the NFC East.
Everything falls apart. AKA: Eli regresses and Pierre-Paul plays anti-freakishly. The rest of the team is very average and A LOT depends on those two players (if you couldn’t tell already).