With the NFL Pre-Season underway, it's time for predictions much like The DC Sports Page - NFL Mock Draft and Baseball division (a la Bob) the NFL Divisional predictions will be provided by some of the usual bloggers:
The Dallas Cowboys:
Dallas seems to hold the keys to the NFC Championship game due to the upheaval in Green Bay. The Cowboys upgraded several key positions of weakness with the additions of Pac Man Jones and Zach Thomas. The only real questions regarding the Cowboys are do they spontaneously combust and implode from within and what will happen should TO become injured? Dallas seems to have the least amount of concerns heading into the season in a weak NFC. See the matilda on broadway tickets
The New York Giants:
Defending the Lombardi Trophy can prove a daunting task with an abbreviated off season and higher expectations. The Giants have to answer one more question at the start of this season than they had prior to last season. The defensive line lost a future hall of famer and a leader in Strahan. It was the ability to pressure the opposing quarterback from the ferocious front four that helped bring back a title to NYC. Continuing the unrelenting pressure from the defensive line will be critical to a second trophy in consecutive years. Eli Manning must prove his critics wrong and show that the steady player down the home stretch for a Super Bowl run can manage the game through the rigorous sixteen game schedule and the playoffs. In a town with quick and harsh criticism by the fans and media, the Giants know how to band together better than any team in the league and will defend their title deep into the playoffs. Without a Favre in GB a possible NFC Championship between Dallas & NY could be in the works.
The Washington Redskins:
The Redskins boast a new passing scheme in the west coast offense, a new head coach, a position coach taking the reigns as defensive coordinator, and an aging offensive line that was decimated by injuries last year which all weigh heavily against the skins this season. It's been repeatedly reported the number of systems that Campbell has had to adapt to dating back to college and high school, but it's injuries that prevented the Skins from showing what they were and weren't capable of last year. There are a lot of if's regarding this year's team and with a less injured team and a few if's that pan out (such as a legitimate #2 receiver, OL health and stability, and a front four that can ease the pressure off of the secondary) the skins should make the playoffs again in a weak NFC.
Is it possible for the Eagles to have less uncertainties then the Redskins, but of more significance? The answer is yes. The same questions year over year will almost certainly keep the Eagles trailing behind the rest of the division. Can McNabb stay healthy? Can the Eagles elevate the talent at the receiver position and if not then can McNabb raise the production of mediocre players like Elway & Marino? Will the Eagles defense recapture former glory and ease the burden of the offense by providing the ball in excellent field position with a high plus/minus ratio in turnovers? Will Andy Reid be able to out coach the opposition and use Westbrook to his fullest potential with 30 + touches some of which in isolation plays? Redskins fans can rejoice in knowing that Reid failed to exploit the Fletcher / Westbrook isolation and allowed the Skins to walk away with a win.
Stay tuned for an update in the AFC by Stu over the coming days.