Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Crystal Balls: NFC East to tumble in 2014

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We’ve rubbed our NFL Crystal Ball to see how the NFC East will fare in 2014. It’s either really competitive or very ugly. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.

 

DAN:

Although nationally popular, the future success of any of the NFC East teams is highly debatable. My gut tells me none of them will be very good this upcoming season.

Sorry Dallas Cowboys fans, but you’re already used to 8-8 so why change now? New York Giants fans, over achieving is in your blood, but that doesn’t make you a playoff contender. People rooting for the Washington Redskins will enjoy some excitement, but slightly above average is still the tale of the tape. Even for Philadelphia Eagles fans, who should be cheering more than jeering this season, I warn of blowing that load too early.

Best to see where everyone’s coming from. The NFC East standing from 2013:

Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 (division winner)(playoffs)
Dallas Cowboys 8-8
New York Giants 7-9
Washington Redskins 3-13

Its hard not to like each one of these teams heading into the year, but team history and prior quarterback success is ultimately clouding better judgement. None of them will finish better than 10-6, with the Cowboys finishing in last place. They simply have not done enough to improve past a now superior division. I see a sour season in Dallas with only six or seven wins.

The Redskins are healthier, but are they better? I say yes, they are better than the 3-13 team from 2013. Their improvement will be limited by an inability to win close games. A .500 record seems in order.

In New York, the Giants are either stuck with a once good quarterback, Eli Manning, or are in store for a bounce back season from their still excellent quarterback, Eli Manning. It’s unclear whether he has seen his best work, but for the Giants to improve so must Eli Manning. I see a small improvement from last year, but still no playoffs.

The best team in the division, and an easy pick for division winner, are the Philadelphia Eagles. My main concern with them is whether Nick Foles will continue to play at a high level. He just doesn’t have enough starts under his belt for me to trust him over sixteen games. But I love how few interceptions he’s thrown. I like the Eagles to win the division, making the playoffs once again.

 

TODD:

Saying the NFC East is going to be disappointing is not going out on a limb anymore. All four teams were pretty sorry last season. The Giants (my beloved) were perhaps the worst 7-9 team in the history of humans running upright. Perhaps it’s pessimism sneaking in, but I don’t see them improving on that mark in 2014.

The same goes for Philadelphia. The Eagles released their best receiver and are counting on a starting quarterback who has had less than one full season of good play under his belt. It’s certainly possible Nick Foles continues to have the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the sport’s history, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit of regression coming on that side of the ball.

As you mentioned, Washington will be better, but that is almost by default. Griffin was unfairly skewered last year when he wasn’t actually all that bad. I see a drastic improvement from the Redskins’ offense in 2014 thanks to Griffin getting better and the pieces they added around him. On the other side, the defensive backfield could be cause for concern, but there will be more than three wins coming out of the nation’s capital this year.

Where you’ve lost me is in Dallas. The defense should be a horror show, but it was awful last year, and they still managed eight wins. And four of those eight wins came by two points or less! Forget one possession games; Dallas was 1-3 in one POINT games. I don’t like much of anything on the defensive side for Dallas, but the offense should be stellar; best in the division stellar. If DeMarco Murray plays 16 games (which I realize is a long shot), Dallas could have the best offense in the entire NFC. I’m not throwing in the towel on Tony Romo’s career just yet, and I don’t see a last-place finish for the Cowboys.
 

[Part two - Fall of the NFC East]

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Tags: 2014 NFL Predictions Dallas Cowboys New York Giants NFC East NFL Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins

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