Each year, the NFC East seems to go down to the wire and a different team wins every year. No team has won the division 2 years in a row since the Eagles in 2001-2004. The NFC East plays the AFC North and NFC South outside of the division this year. With an off-season full of roster moves, who can we expect to win the NFC East in 2012?
(2011 Record) 2012 Projected Record
1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) 10-6
The Eagles were considered “The Dream Team” before the 2011 season, but they were anything but that after everything was all said and done. In the off-season this year, the Eagles made good moves without giving out so many big money contracts. The Eagles signed Trent Edwards to replace Vince Young as the Eagle’s backup quarterback. They placed the franchise tag on DeSean Jackson, and re-signed offensive linemen Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, and extended defensive end Trent Cole’s contract. Jason Peters when down with a ruptured Achilles while training this off-season, but the Eagles made a great move by signing Demetress Bell to a 5-year deal to be a replacement for Peters. Perhaps the best move the Eagles made was in trading for linebacker DeMeco Ryans, giving up a 4th round pick. He has shown great flashes of talent, making two pro bowl appearances in 6 seasons, but he didn’t fit into the 3-4 defense used in Houston. With an off-season for the Eagles to mold all the acquisitions from the last two seasons together, I expect the Eagles to win the division with a 10-6 record.
2. New York Giants: (9-7) 9-7
The Giants won the Superbowl last year, but they now have a target on their back. They have been very quiet in free agency this year. They released Brandon Jacobs for cap space, and also let offensive linemen veteran Kareem McKenzie and Superbowl hero Mario Manningham sign with other teams. Other than that they have maintained all the key pieces to their winning formula. The Giants play a very difficult schedule this year, and I do not expect them to maintain the success they had at the end of last season. The San Francisco Giants and the Green Bay Packers highlight their schedule this year. I predict a disappointing season for the Giants, and I have them missing out on the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
3. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) 8-8
The Cowboys were in the NFC East division race until the last day of the season. They finished the season losing a game deciding the division champion to the Giants. In the off-season, the Giants have been relatively quiet. The Cowboys cut multiple players, including Kyle Kosier, Terrence Newman, and David Beuhler. They made a few good low profile signings in linebacker Dan Connor and Brandon Carr. They have a good backup quarterback in Kyle Orton. The biggest loss for the Cowboys was losing wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who signed with the Jaguars. Robinson was virtually invisible until mid-season when Miles Austin when down with an injury. He recorded multiple breakout games and was one of the most highly coveted free agent wide receivers this off-season. I expect the Cowboys to have another average season with another 8-8 record.
4. Washington Redskins (5-11) 7-9
The Redskins will be a completely different team in 2012. They will have a new quarterback in Robert Griffin III, and have already brought in many new weapons for him. Tim Hightower will be returning from an injury to help an already strong backfield, and the Redskins signed a very good deep threat in Pierre Garcon. Something to worry about on the Redskins is the offensive line. They have made no additions to it in the off-season and many of the players are coming off injuries. At safety, the Redskins released O.J. Atogwe and signed Brandon Meriweather to a 2-year, $6 million deal. Meriweather is expected to be the replacement for Atogwe and LaRon Landry, who signed with the Jets. The Redskins also signed Cedric Griffin at safety. The Redskins will have a good defensive line featuring Barry Cofield, Adam Carriker, Stephen Bowen, and Jarvis Jenkins, who showed a lot of potential before going out for the season with an injury. Put all this with a solid linebacker’s group and the Redskins could be a very good defense in 2012. With the new additions the Redskins could compete in the NFC East, but don’t expect them to be in the playoff mix. I predict a 7-9 record for the Redskins.
Written by – David Kusnitz – NFC East Writer
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