Coming into the season, this figured to be a tough division filled with a lot of experience and fire power. The NFC East has always been viewed as a physical division and usually comes down to the final weekend to decide the division winner. The NFC East has endured great success over the last couple of years due to the Eagles dominance and the Giants Super Bowl run. However, this year all four teams have been mediocre at best.
As of today, the Cowboys sit on top of the division at 7-3, followed by the Eagles and Giants at 6-4, and the Redskins at 3-7. Let’s take a closer look at each team individually and my overall predictions.
Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
The Cowboys barely pulled out a win against the lowly Redskins this past Sunday. This was an all around ugly game and neither team looked like it wanted to win. The Cowboys scored on a late Tony Romo touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton to win 7-6. This team has shown that they are very inconsistent and have scored a combined 14 points in the last two weeks. Defenses appear to have figured out Miles Austin and the three-headed monster running game has not been anything spectacular. The defense has become the Cowboys best asset this season and they will have to rely on this to make any sort of late season run.
Remaining Games: OAK, @ NYG, SD, @ NO, @ WAS, PHI
Prediction: Outside of OAK and WAS, this is a pretty tough schedule. Cowboys have struggled in December games and Romo has not won the big game in December and January. I think the Cowboys can pull off 4 victories in their final 6 games. This will put them at 10-6.
Result: Wild Card birth
Philadelphia Eagles (6-4)
This team has been night and day. One week they look as though they can compete for a Super Bowl and the next they don’t even look like a playoff team. Having lost the past two weeks, the Eagles were in a “must win” situation Sunday night against the struggling Chicago Bears. They were able to handle business and squeak out a 24-20 win on Sunday night. Again, it wasn’t the prettiest win, but they finally got the job done in the red zone and put together a Sunday night victory. The Eagles have the most talented offense in the division, but have been inconsistent in the red zone. Like many teams, the Eagles have been hurt with the injury bug, especially on defense. In order to make a run, this team must rely on their talent on both sides of the ball because they lack the veteran leadership they had last year.
Remaining Games: WAS, @ ATL, @ NYG, SF, DEN, @ DAL
Prediction: Although this team has been up and down all season, one thing remains: This team wins in December. Look for this trend to continue. Out of the three contenders in the division, the Birds have the easiest remaining schedule due to the recent struggles of the Broncos. I think the Eagles continue with their winning ways in December and reel off 5 wins in the final 6 games. That Dallas game at the end of the season will clinch the division for the Eagles at a record of 11-5.
Result: NFC East Champions
New York Giants (6-4)
This team started off so strong and looked poised for another Super Bowl run. These hopes quickly disappeared as the G-Men went on a 4 game losing skid. Coming off a much needed bye week, the Giants took on the Atlanta Falcons on what was considered a “must win” situation to stay in the hunt for the division. While it looked as if the Giants may lose their 5th game in row, they were able to pull out a win in overtime to improve to 6-4. Coming into the season, the Giants were thought to have the best line on both sides of the ball in the division. Their defensive line which has been the team’s number one strength over the past few years has struggled somewhat this season. The offense has really improved without Plax, but the Giants need to improve their running game.
Remaining Games: @ DEN, DAL, PHI, @ WAS, CAR, @ MIN
Prediction: This team is really struggling at the wrong time. They did not look too impressive against the Falcons and I am not sure if they have enough to get to the playoffs this year. If they can beat the Broncos they should get 4 more wins and put them at 10-6. However, I think they lose to Broncos and wind up going 3-3 in the final 6 games. This would leave them at an overall record at 9-7.
Result: Out of the playoffs
Washington Redskins (3-7)
Once again Mr. Snyder made a big splash in free agency by acquiring DT Albert Haynesworth. Not sure when the spending spree will end in Washington but these acquisitions never seem to go according to plan. With the team sitting at 3-7, the ‘Skins will be watching the playoffs from home again this season. Jason Campbell and the offense have struggled mightily this season. I expect big changes in the offseason for this team and it has to start with the coach, Jim Zorn. With a pretty decent QB class coming out of the draft, I look for this team to take a top quarterback. The Redskins will be playing spoiler the rest of the season. If this team wants to compete anytime soon, serious changes must be made on both sides of the ball. The defense has been decent this season but the offense has sputtered all season. This is not a good football team, and they appear to have already booked their offseason vacation plans.
Remaining Games: @ PHI, NO, @ OAK, NYG, DAL, @ SD
Prediction: Do not expect much from this team during the final 6 games. Injuries are mounting on offense and with the team knowing a coaching change is on the horizon this team will just give up. Expect them to fight but let’s be honest this team is not very good. I expect 1-2 victories depending on if SD has the division locked going into the final week. I will give the ‘Skins 2 more wins which finishes this miserable season at 5-11.
Result: Out of the playoffs.
How do you see the rest of the season playing out?