For the last few years, the NFC East has been touted as one of the best divisions in all of sports—and rightfully so. The Giants have won two of the last four Super Bowls, the Eagles and Cowboys are constantly contenders and even the Redskins have been known to surprise a few teams here and there. Heading into this season, it looked like it would be more of the same, as the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles all geared up for a potential Super Bowl run in the offseason and a new energy and excitement was flowing in the Nation’s Capital thanks to the arrival of RGIII.
Ten weeks into 2012, the division is a complete mess. Not one of its teams looks like they’ll be playing deep into the winter and they have all, for a lack of a better term, sucked.
How did it come to this? There was so much promise and hope for each team coming in and this writer predicted a successful run for both the Eagles and Giants.
Instead, fans of the NFC East have tuned in week in and week out to watch a series of fumbles, follies and embarrassing losses. There have been flashes of brilliance, but the month of November has been exceptionally brutal. Though there is still time for teams to turn things around (well, maybe not the Eagles, who are a complete and utter mess) and everything can change in the NFL at the drop of a hat, the NFC East looks like they will be making an early exit this season. Let’s take a closer look at the ineptitude exhibited by each team.
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New York Giants
The New York Football Giants came into the 2012 season riding high after a Super Bowl victory and had pretty much their whole roster returning—rumblings of a repeat championship season were commonplace. After a rough start saw them lose two out of their first four to Dallas and Philadelphia, the G-Men went on to win four straight including a 26-3 drubbing of the San Francisco 49ers. Everyone was calling the Giants the best team in the NFC and some went as far as to dub them the best in the NFL.
Then November came and New York went into it’s annual funk. The run game has fallen apart, Eli Manning looks tentative and they’ve now lost two straight, including a 31-13 embarrassment to the Bengals. We’ve seen this before—and the Giants are known to turn it on when it matters—but I can’ help but feel that the well has run dry. Based on their recent success, you can never count the Giants out, but they have a tough home stretch, playing Green Bay and Washington in back-to-back primetime games followed by New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore in three straight weeks. A lot of fans believe all they need to do is get in the Playoffs and everything will be okay. Well, they’re on the verge of a collapse and may not even get that far with the road ahead. (Still, someone has to win the division… —Ed.)
With the entire country watching on opening night, the Cowboys rolled into MetLife stadium and beat up the defending Super Bowl champs, making it look like they were the team to beat in the NFC East. They didn’t have long to enjoy themselves, though, as the season spiraled downward pretty quickly. Tony Romo threw 5 picks in a Sunday night matchup against the Bears, DeMarco Murray went down with an injury, Dez Bryant is being Dez Bryant and causing headaches everywhere he goes (including my fantasy roster), they can’t run the ball and Jerry Jones couldn’t even get into the locker room of the team he owns.
The Cowboys are a disaster and it all starts with head coach Jason Garrett. It’s obvious he has no control over this team—made clear by the constant bickering between Bryant and Romo on the sideline. Despite their inconsistencies and issues, the Cowboys are actually in a great position to make a run at the Giants for tops in the division. Their next four games are against teams with sub-.500 records and their next tough test is against a Steelers team that may very well be without QB Ben Roethlisberger. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Tony Romo is still the starting quarterback and he has a knack for fumbling away his team’s chances.
That opening day win against the Saints seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? The No. 1 problem for D.C. has been the defense—or lack thereof. The Redskins’ secondary is laughable, giving up 301.7 yards per game through the air. Mike Shanahan has already thrown in the towel (or has he?) on the season and Robert Griffin III has come back down to earth after looking like one of the top-5 quarterbacks in the league during the first few weeks of the season. The Skins have three consecutive games against their Division rivals coming up and a chance to make up ground and push for a playoff spot, but when the coach doesn’t believe in the team, can you really expect them to be excited to play?
This season is a lost cause but the offense—especially the run game—has been outstanding. The backfield duo of Alfred Morris and RGIII should have Skins fans hyped looking towards the future.
Truthfully, I feel bad for Philadelphia. Andy Reid suffered the worst possible situation that can happen to a father when he lost his son right before the season started and it’s apparent that his mind is elsewhere this season. Mike Vick had a chance to rewrite his own story and help continue to change the perception of him. Instead, he’s had a terrible year.
Okay, those two are actually the only members of the Eagles I feel bad for. The Eagles shelled out a ton of money and really thought they were going to win it all and they’re not going to win a damn thing! It’s awesome! Would-be stud corner Namdi Asomugha has been terrible, the offensive line can’t stop a nosebleed and Desean Jackson hasn’t become the player the Eagles thought they were going to have when they signed him to a big deal. There will probably be a fire sale following the season and the Eagles will come back next year looking like a brand new team. I, for one, am looking forward to further seasons of ineptitude from the Eagles.