White Hat Sports Headlines

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Breaking It Down: NFC East

The weather is now starting to get cooler, the trees are beginning to change color, I have to mow my lawn less and less, and bostondirtdogs.com is beginning to panic about the Sox. What does all this mean? Football season. And with football season means meaningless projections on how teams will do. So, despite what I just said, I too will throw my hat into the ring. I'll start with the NFC East as they hold the Superbowl champions in their division. I'll go position by position with quick analysis, and I'll project each teams wins and losses as well.

1. Dallas Cowboys-Projected record:11-5, first in NFC East
Quarterback-Tony Romo proved last year he can get it done, at least in the regular season. He certainly seems to be an up and coming player in the league, and he has got plenty of talent around him. If he is hurt they don't have much behind him, but you can say that about most teams. Overall, I wold consider Romo one of the best QB's in the league.

Running Back-Marion Barber is a beast, and he seems like he has been ready to take over full time duties in the backfield for a couple years now. With Julius Jones now in Seattle he'll certainly have that chance. I expect big things from him this year, and if rookie Felix Jones can live up to his potential they could have the most potent backfield in the NFC.

Wide Receivers-We all know that Terrell Owens is a top NFL receiver, but Patrick Crayton as a number 2 is a big question mark. Personally I expect him to step up nicely, but if there was a question mark in this offense Crayton has got to be it. Also, this is about the time Owens starts to break apart teams, so it'll be interesting to see how he handles himself this season.

Tight End-Jason Witten has become, as far as I'm concerned, the top NFL tight end. Antonio Gates has had some injuries, and Tony Gonzalez is still going strong but has no one to throw to him. After that the closest is Kellen Winslow, and he has yet to produce over an extended period of time. I know most probably won't, but I consider Witten the best player on this offense.

Offensive Line, Defense and Special Teams-The Cowboy's defense is quick and athletic at most positions, but seems to break down mentally at times, especially at their most talented positions. As long as they can hold teams under 20 they should win most of their games. As far as offensive line, I won't pretend to know much about them, but I do know they had a good year last year, and no one cares about special teams that much unless you are the Chicago Bears.

2. New York Giants-Projected Record 9-7, tied for second in the NFC East
Quarterback: Call me a hater, but I'm still not sold on Eli Manning. He makes too many mental mistakes, throws off his back foot too much, and just doesn't seem like a good leader. I know that last one I can't really prove, but if you watch video of him play and look at his interception totals you can see the other two issues are still major.

Running Back: I'm also still not sold on Brandon Jacobs. He's good, but his style of play is such that he is going to get small injuries, which seem to be something he has a hard time dealing with. Ahmad Bradshaw is a nice back up and change of pace back, but I don't see him being able to carry a full workload should Jacobs go down.

Wide Receiver: Plaxico Burress is definitely one of the top receivers in the league, and should be targeted even more this year without Jeremy Shockey. After that it's kind of a toss up between multiple other guys, but I do expect Steve Smith to break away slightly from the bunch. It won't be enough though, and I think this team lives and dies strictly on how Burress plays.

Tight End: No matter what anyone tells you, losing Jeremy Shockey will not help this team. He was a major talent despite his attitude, and I guarantee Eli will be missing him by mid-season. Sure, Kevin Boss looked like a decent fill in, but once teams watch tape of him they will contain him, and this team will be much worse off than they were before they traded Shockey.

Offensive Line, Defense and Special Teams: Again, don't know a lot about this offensive line. As far as defense, they have a team that lives and dies on QB pressures. If they can continue to get a high number of pressures on the QB they will succeed, if they give QB's time to throw they will fail. It's that simple. Their special teams is average, with no one player sticking out really.

Stay tuned for the second half of the NFC East Preview later this week.

~Aaron Jackson

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