2012 NFL Preview: NFC East

In 2011, the NFC East once again boasted one of the toughest divisions in the league. It had the preseason champ, the Philadelphia Eagles as well as the postseason champion New York Giants. With two other competitive teams in the division, it was all around one of the best divisions in football. With that in mind, the bottom teams improved while the top two didn’t get much worse. The NFC East is incredibly competitive from top to bottom, and the rest of the league will notice.

1. New York Giants, Predicted Record: 11-5

Even though people don’t want to notice, it’s hard to say that the Giants won’t be a competitor again in 2012. They lost Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, but replaced them with two rookies who could be just as good as the players they’re replacing. The Giants kept their best parts, and that’s what is most important for 2012. Eli Manning is still the QB and they still have the best D-Line in the NFL. They still have one of the best WR duos in the league. They still have one of the best coaches in the league. People may want to doubt their success, but the Giants are going to be among the best in the NFL. The only area for concern that is a bit alarming is their secondary, who have already lost Terrell Thomas and Prince Amukamara for injury. It shouldn’t be too bad though, because they were missing both of them for a majority of last season too. Also, when you have a line that can get pressure like them an elite secondary is no longer needed.

2. Philadelphia Eagles, Predicted Record: 9-7

For the longest time, I had the Eagles winning the NFC East. There was no doubt about it in my mind. They had a talented team and once they figured themselves out in 2011, they finished the season on a roll. Surely they would continue that in 2012 right? This was my thought until the preseason started, and Michael Vick went down with another injury. While Vick wasn’t seriously injured, the lightbulb went on in my mind and I was remembered once again that Mike Vick cannot stay healthy for a whole season. When he is, the Eagles have a great chance at being an elite team but the fact is that you can’t rely on him for that. For that reason, you can’t pencil in the Eagles as a division champ. If they had consistent QB play, they would be one of the best teams in the league. Hands down.

3. Dallas Cowboys, Predicted Record: 8-8

In another division, I think the Cowboys may be able to get it together and make a playoff run. In the NFC East though, they just aren’t as good as their competition. They improved their secondary in the offseason and Rob Ryan’s defense looks to be very improved. On offense though, they have plenty of questions which mostly point at injuries all over their offense. It would be one thing if it was first time injuries, but many of their players have had injury plagued pasts. Miles Austin dealt with hamstring problems all last year and he still has yet to see the field in the preseason. Dez Bryant has been dealing with injuries and also hasn’t played much in the preseason. The Cowboys also have Tony Romo, who has dealt with injuries in each of the past two seasons and I would never trust him to stay healthy behind the continually shaky Cowboys offensive line. Much like the Eagles, there’s too many questions for me to think that the Cowboys have success this year.

4. Washington Redskins, Predicted Record: 5-11

I actually like some pieces of this Redskins team, and I think they are interesting this year. It’s pretty remarkable to think back to last year and remember that they went 5-11 with Rex Grossman and John Beck as their QB’s. It’s a pretty logical assumption to make in thinking that they’re going to improve with Robert Griffin III as their QB. They added Pierre Garcon, who’s better than the WR’s they had last year and they bring back a lot of their defense who was sneaky good. The defense was what kept them in most of their games, while Grossman and Beck tried to keep them out of it. The addition of RGIII is good, but they aren’t a legitimate contender yet. They will be a challenging game for teams, but in just his rookie year RGIII isn’t ready to lead this team to the playoffs.

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