A of the NFC East, with analysis of each team, stats on key players, and record predictions.
New York Giants
The Giants spent their offseason locking QB Eli Manning up for six years to the tune of $97.5. They also inked RB Brandon Jacobs to a four-year deal, giving them a formidable tandem in the backfield, along with Ahmad Bradshaw. The biggest question mark for the Giants will be at the wideout position. The loss of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer means that Eli no longer has his go-to targets. A stable of young wideouts will try to fill the void, including Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, and Derek Hagan, along with TE Kevin Boss. On defense, the G-Men get a huge boost with the return of Osi Umenyiora, who returns after missing last season with a knee injury.
QB: Eli Manning – 3238 yards, 21 TD, 10 INT, 60.3 comp. pct.
RB: Brandon Jacobs – 1,089 yards, 15 TD, 5.0 YPC
DT: Justin Tuck – 67 tackles, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Projected Record: 11-5
The Eagles are involved in the biggest story to hit the NFL this offseason: the signing of Michael Vick. And while this story has led to much debate involving whether Vick should be allowed back into the league, past all the moral questions are the football questions: Will the Eagles use Vick in a Wildcat formation? Will they use him at another position? How will Donovan McNabb react to having to share snaps? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but one thing is for sure: the Eagles should have an explosive offense with McNabb/Vick, Brian Westbrook, and a group of solid but underrated receivers.
QB: Donovan McNabb – 3,916 passing yards, 25 total TD, 11 INT, 60.4 comp. pct.
RB: Brian Westbrook – 1,338 total yards, 14 total TD
S: Sean Jones – 56 tackles, 4 INT
Projected Record: 10-6
In what could be the best personnel move of the summer, Tony Romo called it quits with Jessica Simpson. According to reports, she was becoming a distraction. Hopefully for Jerry Jones’ boys, their QB will be able to stay focused and healthy this season. The departure of Terrell Owens should actually be a benefit, as his presence in the locker room shouldn’t be missed, and Roy Williams seems ready to step up now that he is the undisputed #1 wideout. The defense is still strong, with sack-king DeMarcus Ware, but the loss of S Roy Williams might hurt. The Cowboys have been a preseason favorite for the past few years, but injuries and inconsistent play have kept them from living up to expectations. Is this finally their year?
ROLB: DeMarcus Ware – 84 tackles, 20 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
QB: Tony Romo – 3,448 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT, 61.3 comp. pct.
TE: Jason Whitten – 81 receptions, 952 yards, 4 TD
Projected Record: 9-7
The Redskins added giant DT Albert Haynesworth to help shore up their run defense. Last season, only the Eagles allowed fewer yards per game. The problem for Washington came on the other side of the ball; on offense, they remain fairly unchanged, and will pin their hopes once more to Jason Campbell. Clinton Portis has seen a tremendous workload the past two seasons, carrying the ball nearly 700 times over that period. Running backs have a tendency to wear down after seeing such a heavy workload, and Portis will be key to the ‘Skins success this season.
RB: Clinton Portis – 1,487 rush yards, 9 TD, 4.3 YPC
WR: Santana Moss – 79 receptions, 1,044 yards, 6 TD
QB: Jason Campbell – 3,245 yards, 13 TD, 6 INT; 258 rush yards, 1 TD
Projected Record: 7-9
Dan Mason is an accountant by trade only – he would much rather write. He constantly daydreams about being in the woods or on the water, in the middle of nowhere. He resides in the Rochester, NY, area and is thankful the Adirondacks are only a few hours’ drive away. He is happiest when there is a pen (read: keyboard) or a canoe paddle in his hand.