Welcome to the 2014 NFL Divisional Previews! The NFC East used to be thought of as a division with four equally-matched teams that would beat up each other so terribly during the regular season that one of them would sneak into the playoffs with a 9-7 record and be DANGEROUS. Now? We know that these teams are almost equally as middling as the other, with some sinking into near-garbage territory. Now that I have you all hot and bothered, let’s kick this pig.
Last season Chip Kelly brought his Oregon offense into the NFL and impressed despite dealing with diva/racist wide receivers. This year he won’t be catching teams off-guard, but that still doesn’t stop opposing defenses from tiring out. His quarterback turned into a Pro Bowler once Mike Vick was placed on the bench. That being said, Nick Foles is going to throw more than two interceptions this season, so let’s not pretend that’s a thing of which we actually need to keep track. Philly re-signed their racist wide receiver to be a number two behind Jeremy Maclin, who missed all of last season with an ACL tear. And drafting Jordan Matthews means they have a young wide-out in development. As it stands though, the most important cog in the Eagle offense is LeSean McCoy. Philly led the league in rushing in 2013, and there’s no reason why they can’t do it again. Jason Peters was re-signed in the offseason to hold up the left side of the line
The problem with Philly in 2013 was the horrid play from the secondary. I mean, it was putrid y’all. So they signed Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen to play safety? Sure, I guess that’s a start. The Eagles are trying to finalize the switch to their 3-4 defense, a process that’s taken longer than they’d prefer. Fletcher Cox is a good fit at defensive end and Marcus Smith should come in as a rookie and provide some pass rush off the edge, but we all know how silly it is to depend on a rookie for immediate production.
Non-Record Prediction: Philly fans will cheer raucously the first time Mark Sanchez steps on the field. They can’t WAIT to hate on him.
2013 Record: 10-6
2014 Prediction: 9-7
Their offense won’t be quite as dangerous, but they’ll be good enough for the likes of this division.
Let’s just not waste time with this one, okay? Here’s the quick rundown of the Cowboys’ offseason. (Emphasis all mine.) They retained the same ginger head coach (Jason Garrett). Their fantastic (in the regular season) quarterback is rehabbing from off-season back surgery. They cut their best defensive end (DeMarcus Ware). They drafted a guard with their first round pick. They kept Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator despite giving up the most yards in all of the NFL in 2013. Their huge free agent acquisition (DT Henry Melton) is trying to get back into game-shape after missing most of last year with an ACL tear. They were trying to talk Kyle “Fucking” Orton back on the team before they signed the Brandon “Already Having a Mid-Life Crisis” Weeden to be their back-up quarterback. They’ll be lucky if they simply maintain their winning/losing ways. The only positive? Michael Sam has a spot on their practice squad. Good ole’ Jerrah Jones isn’t afraid of good PR.
Non-Record Prediction: With a team record of 7-6, Jerry will extend head coach Jason Garrett for two more seasons, preaching “consistency in the organization.” He’ll then immediately try to trade two first round draft picks for Johnny Manziel.
2011 Record: 8-8
2012 Record: 8-8
2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Prediction: 8-8
Too many losses, not enough additions. That’s what mismanaging the salary cap does.
New York Giants
Eli Manning has to be the most non-exciting and least capable regular season quarterback to ever be deemed “elite.” Fuck that noise, brah. He threw 27 interceptions in 2013 and at times looked as lost as a five year old in Macy’s. During this preseason? The Giant offense was a clusterfuck of a train that never got on track. I’m personally betting Tom Coughlin blows another gasket this season. Who else can’t wait for him to be red-faced and pissed during the Giants’ failed December fourth quarter rally? Manning has regressed significantly and it’s putting the Giants in a bind. David Wilson was going to make a seventeenth attempt to recover from injury and be the G-Men’s answer at running back, but now he’s basically out of the league. Now they’re going to rely on Rashad Jennings (whom I like) and an injury-plagued Peyton Hillis. Victor Cruz will be forced out of the slot position where he’s made his hay, but Reuben Randle and first rounder Odell Beckham Jr. will also be there for Manning to wildly overthrow. Last year’s first round selection Justin Pugh should anchor the right side of the line, but otherwise the Giants’ front five are going to be an issue for an offense that couldn’t establish a running game.
The lack of a ground attack will put a ton of pressure on New York’s defense, which actually wasn’t a statistical nightmare in 2013. Gone are the days when the team focuses all of their resources on their front four. This offseason was spent upgrading the secondary, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie coming to aid the still-struggling Prince Amukamara. Zack Bowman and Trumaine McBride are cast-offs from Chicago’s defensive backfield, but they’re good options for third and fourth cornerbacks. If Jason Pierre-Paul can start terrorizing offenses from his end spot again and linebacker Jon Beason stays moderately healthy, then the Giant defense has a chance to be good. But I’m not buying it.
Non-Record Prediction: Every interception Eli throws will end with him raising his hands in disgust and making his derp face.
2013 Record: 7-9
2014 Prediction: 6-10
This will be the hottest garbage Giants season yet.
Washington Offensive Names
The Offensive Name’s didn’t have a first round pick this season, because they traded it to St. Louis in the RG3 deal. That trade is the gift that keeps on giving! And to boot, fans can’t stop harping on Griffin for playing hard and for every yard. But wait KIRK COUSINS IS THE BEST YO! Don’t worry everyone, he’ll have another chance to play a game or two this season. He’ll play poorly, but everyone will forget about that next offseason when they’re wondering if Washington can trade him for two first round picks and a stack of stem-cell rich fetuses from some unwitting sap of a GM. This year is all about Griffin being fully healthy for the first time since his rookie season. And he actually has help now! Washington signed DeSean Jackson after the Eagles released him, giving them a full-fledged number one wide receiver. Just imagining Griffin bombing it to Jackson on a go route gets my football panties in a twist. Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed are great second and third options in the passing game, so look for definite improvement on that front. And if head coach Jay Gruden can import some of the system that made Andy Dalton a 4,000 yard+ passer, big things are on the horizon. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu will need to take more running plays away from Griffin to keep him healthy, but not so many that Washington falls from its fifth ranked running game perch.
As far as Washington’s defense goes, I can’t make heads or tails. I seriously hate their roster. DeAngelo Hall is old and doesn’t make the same impact plays that he used to. They signed Ryan Clark, but he’s an older safety that couldn’t keep his job in Pittsburgh. Brian Orakpo was a quality pass rusher at one point, but he’s been in and out of their line-up so much in the past few seasons that I don’t know what he still brings to the table. They drafted Trent Murphy in the second round to be an outside linebacker, but he might not see the field ahead of Ryan Kerrigan. I don’t see vast improvements on this defense. I see aging former stars.
Non-Record Prediction: Jay Gruden will be criticized for not running Griffin enough AND running him too much during this season.
2013 Record: 3-13
2014 Prediction: 9-7
This is entirely contingent on RG3 staying healthy most of the season. It Captain Kirk has to start more than two games, this record drops like a stone.
Man, I need to clean myself after wading through the muck of the NFC East. Who’s with me? Ew. Get out. Don’t shower with me.