Without a doubt, history has shown that the NFC East Division is the most competitive division in the entire NFL. While not competitive year in, year out, this division has still been a constant struggle and over time, can easily be argued to be the most difficult division in football. Having won 11 Super Bowls and even more Super Bowl appearances, NFC East teams are always a threat come playoff time. However, which team will win the division in 2010?
Will Donovan McNabb Take the Redskins to the Playoffs?
The April 4th trade that brought 11 year veteran and perennial Pro-Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb was a huge trade. Not only did the Redskins get an immediate upgrade at quarterback, and a proven winner, but the trade was a shock because the Eagles and Redskins are division foes, and when it comes to making a trade, trading a key play to an arch-rival is not always the best idea. So, will this move make the Redskins better? Of course it will! Will it help them to win the division and make the playoffs? Not likely. First year head coach Mike Shanahan has a lot to do, and drafting Trent Williams for offensive tackle is a move in the right direction. However, he’ll need time to implement his zone blocking run offense, and it will take time for both Shanahan and McNabb to develop a rapport. The best the Redskins can hope for is a 8-8 record, which would still be an improvement over last year’s disastrous 4-12 season. Don’t expect them to finish any better than 4th in the NFC East.
Was Philadelphia Smart to Go with Kevin Kolb at Quarterback?
With the Eagles having just recently given Kevin Kolb a $12 million contract extension, its simply a foregone conclusion that the Eagles are making him their number one quarterback in 2010. So, was trading McNabb the right move? Unfortunately, the Eagles early exits from the playoff have less to do with McNabb and far more to do with head coach Andy Reid and his version of the West Coast Offense. The deeper a team gets into the playoffs, the better the defenses they come up against, and that has been the moniker of the Eagles in the playoffs over the last 10 years. Reid’s offense throws the ball too much – more than any other team in the NFL. In fact, over 65% of their plays are pass plays and this is a sure reason why it will take Kolb time to become a proven commodity in Philadelphia. The Eagles are likely to finish third in the NFC East and compete for a possible wild-card berth, but the team has made too many changes, and has too many unproven players to finish any better than a 9-7.
Will The NY Giants Improve their Defense in 2010?
If there is one thing that comes to mind when someone discusses the NY Giants, it’s their defense. The Giants three Super Bowl years were built around stout defenses. However, the Giants defense took a huge drop in 2009 and saw them move from a 5th ranked offense in 2008 to the 13th ranked offense in 2009. Worst of all, the Giants rush defense fell to 17th, and the team gave up an average 115 yards rushing per game. This isn’t Giants football. The Giants did the right things in the draft and took a defensive end with their first round pick, and a defensive tackle with their second round pick. However, these guys will need time to develop, and while the move is seen as a step in the right direction in improving their defense, it might just be a season too early. The Giants should easily capture the second place in the NFC East, and make the playoffs as a wild card at 9-7, edging out the Eagles.
Why Will Dallas Win the NFC East Again?
Dallas had the 2nd ranked NFL offense in 2009, and made enough prudent moves in the draft to make sure they remain a top-5 NFL offense in 2010. With their first pick of the first round, they grabbed a huge wide receiver target in Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State who should easily grab the second wide receiver position and be a nice compliment to 2009 Pro-Bowl Miles Austin. The 6 foot 2 inch and 225 lb prospect is fast, big and strong. With Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton unable to grab that second receiver spot, it should be Bryant’s for the taking. Dallas has a solid, but aging, offensive line, and they look to be able to dominate one more year to give Dallas their third NFC East title in four seasons. Look for Dallas to improve upon their 11-5 record in 2009, and finish 2010 at 12-4.
As for whether Dallas will be able to parlay their regular season success into playoff success, will be another story. Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, the team hasn’t lived up to expectations in the post-season. Regardless, they are good enough, and fast enough to come out on top of the NFC East in 2010.