Comparing NFC East Opponent’s Offseasons

Washington Commanders

By DC Staff Writer John Manuel:

By last December the NFC East did not look like the powerhouse it was expected to be.  The Redskins had been already eliminated, the Dream Team put themselves in too large a hole to get out of, and the Giants and Cowboys were not only battling for the division, but also to stay above .500.  Then the Giants got the wakeup call and rolled through the Playoffs and to a Super Bowl Championship.

That takes us to now and another off-season where division foes battle for headlines on and off the field.  The Skins were once again far from quiet in March and April making one of the biggest draft trades to acquire the 2nd pick and RG3.  But where do they stand versus the other three in the NFC East?  Let’s look at what each team has done.

New York Giants:

If you’re going to start looking at the NFC East, you must start with the defending Super Bowl Champs, the New York Giants.  Seems like a long time ago, but the Skins defeated the champions twice and both games were by double digits and won by Rex Grossman over Eli Manning.  The Giants, as good teams do, did lose some secondary players in the past months like Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham and Aaron Ross.  All were expected.  Jacobs is out but Virginia Tech rookie David Wilson is in.  Most would say it’s an upgrade.  For a big back, Jacobs struggled at short yardage and became more and more of a headache for Tom Coughlin.

The two keys which will keep the Giants near the top is stability at two main parts, quarterback and a defensive line that can get pressure.  Both will keep you in almost any game.  Eli Manning was huge last season and Jason Pierre-Paul emerged as a force.  It’s still unclear what they will do with Osi Umenyiora, but the Giants will still have depth along the Defensive Line if he is moved.

I can’t see a second straight sweep here but a split is possible.  It could be an exciting show seeing RG3 go up against the Giants rush and will be good learning experience seeing what a pro like Manning does versus pressure.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Next are the Philadelphia Eagles.  2011 was supposed to be a dream season.  Additions like Asomugha, Babin, Jenkins, Cromartie and Young had the Eagles as the division favorite, but a horrible start turned it into a nightmare quick.  They did finish strong, but it was too late.  They swept the Skins, once in an almost John Beck led comeback and once in the finale after a big fourth quarter.

Babin did what they expected and was a sack machine.  Nnamdi, not as much.  Last year’s big signing too seldom got worked by receivers.  So what did the Eagles do, they traded maybe their best corner from last year Asante Samuel to the Falcons for a late pick to dump his cap number.  I was pretty shocked they would do this.  Then it got worse when Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles now twice and will not see the field in 2012.  The Eagles did add former Buffalo Bill Demetress Bell to play left tackle, but it is a downgrade.

Philly was able to resign two major parts of their explosive offense, LeSean McCoy and Desean Jackson will be around for awhile at Lincoln Financial.  They did let Vince Young walk and are rolling with Mike Kafka and Nick Foles behind the often injured Mike Vick.  The Eagles also added to a dreadful linebacking core with Demeco Ryans from Houston, which will be an upgrade.  But Andy Reid and Juan Castillo are back for 2012.  And another slow start will turn into great sports radio for anyone driving through on 95 North.

I still don’t like the Redskins chances versus Philly.  Their offensive weapons worry me and the Skins offensive line facing Babin and Cole could become too long afternoons.

Dallas Cowboys:

Finally are the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys also swept the Skins with two heartbreaking defeats led by two Dez Bryant over Deangelo Hall catches in crunch time. The Cowboys went out to address a soft and struggling secondary and they didn’t mess around.

Even with the King Goodell and Prince Demaurice cap penalty, the Cowboys locked up the best cornerback on the free agent market in Brandon Carr.  Then followed that up with a draft day trade that netted them the draft’s best corner in Morris Claiborne aka “The Wonderlic Kid.”  Terrence Newman is gone and Mike Jenkins may soon follow.

Dallas did lose maybe their most productive wideout last season in Laurent Robinson but their key will be if Dez Bryant puts it all together and takes the next step.  The past seasons have shown us that the team will only go as far as Tony Romo plays in big games.  To call him inconsistent is an understatement including an embarrassing loss at New York in week 17.  Dallas brought in Kyle Orton and it’s a smart move for insurance.

With a good running game, a QB’s best friend, the Cowboys still have questions.  Demarco Murray went nuts for a few weeks but then like at Oklahoma got hurt.  Felix Jones has never lived up to the excitement that he brought the first half of his rookie season.

Washington should be able to pull at least a split versus Dallas.  Shanahan and Haslett need to make up for two bad losses last season against the Cowboys.


It is going to be tough for the Redskins in this division as they will start the season looking up at the other three teams.  The Giants come in as the defending champs, and Tom Coughlin should no longer come in feeling the heat although he seems to strive when almost down.  The Eagles are going to hope this season ends up like they expected last season, but failed and still have 0 Super Bowl titles to their credit.  And the only quarterback in the division that will feel more heat the RG3 is Tony Romo.  It’s a big season for Romo to make something happen and not fail when his team needs him.  Or Owner Jerry and GM Jerry will have to at least contemplate other options for 2013.

My Redskins’ NFC East Record:  2-4


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