this division plays a middle-strength schedule
(warning: this preview may not necessarily be 100% objective)
NY Giants are built to win a lot of close games. They have superior lines, although injuries will deplete them. The two-back rushing attack was best in the league last year, but the loss of their veteran WR corps will allow teams to stack the box. Manning is better in the two-minute offense, which suits the makeup of this team. While built to absorb injuries, the D-line is already dinged up. If the defense has a weakness – which is debatable – it would be inconsistency in the secondary. Special teams are good. The offense won’t score nearly as many points as last year, but the Giants are built to contend.
DC Skins are a highly underrated team. If the passing game becomes more decisive, this is a ball-control offense which can steal the clock from anyone. That will be the key to helping the consistently good defense stay fresh. Early indications of QB Campbell’s grasp of the offense will be married to better pass protection from the O-line, which lacks depth. RB Portis is the key, and the development of one more pass-catching WR will keep safeties out of the box. The defense will be one of the best in the league, stacked like a brick outhouse. The D will be dominant, so long as the offense avoids 3 and outs. Special teams are a strength with the acquisition of top punter Hunter Smith. The DC Skins have improved in every facet; they’ll be in the mix for division champ until the bitter end.
Dallas Cowboys could be a dangerous team if they stop under-achieving. Coach Apple-Dumplings is not the man to change that. The passing game will be less explosive but more consistent. The O-line is right-handed but usually gives QB Romo lanes to scramble. The offense is counting on a strong RB committee; there may be too many hands for the ball. The defense features an outstanding pass rush but gave up points in bunches last year. They still have question marks in the secondary, obfuscated by their sack attack. Special teams are an inexcusable weakness and could be a hidden factor in close games. The Cowboys are blessed with talent but lack the coach/player leadership to win the big game.
Philadelphia Eagles are the most overrated team in the NFL. One injury to RB Westbrook and this offense is dead in the water. Oh look, he’s coming off knee and ankle surgery and didn't take a snap in preseason. Injuries overshadow the O-line, which hasn’t fielded its starting lineup yet. QB McNabb runs an efficient passing game but when the team crumbles, fans will start calling for Vick, an unnecessary distraction. The defense will falter from its pedestal after losing its coach/player leaders. They are dangerously thin at LB and in the secondary. Special teams are decent. Don't believe the hype! The emperor wears no clothes.