NFL: Predicting the NFC East for 2006

The NFC East has become toughest division in the NFL. At the beginning of last season, it was hard to tell which of the four teams from the division would come out on top at the end of the season. It wasn’t until the last few games of the 2005 season that a team from the NFC East was crowned the division king.

The New York Giants (division champs) finished the Season with an 11-5 record and a home playoff game. However, they were destroyed by the Panthers in the first round. The Redskins were predicted to be in the basement of the NFC East before began, but surprised everyone with 5 game regular season winning streak and a trip to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. They slid past the Buccaneers in the wildcard game winning 17-10. However, the Skins were too worn out and was not able to keep up with the Seattle Seahawks the following week.

The Philadelphia Eagles, a team that ruled the NFC East division for the past four years, were early picks for a Super Bowl return. However, injuries to star players (Donovan McNabb, and Brian Westbrook), and the antics of Terrell Owens ruined their chances. The Eagles finished with a disappointing 6-10 record and was last place in the NFC East division. Terrell Owens is now wearing a Dallas Cowboy uniform and will be anticipating a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles this year. Dallas had an off and on year, ending up with a 9-7 record; third place in the NFC East division. Their worst loss of came towards the end of the season from the Redskins, who whooped them 35-7 and basically killed their hopes for a playoff birth.

This year, Everyone has a chance for a fresh start and new beginnings. Terrell Owens will be looking to toast the Eagles secondary and new Giant linebacker Lavar Arrington will be ready to prove to the Redskins that they were wrong for letting him go. The NFC East should be very interesting in 2006.

NFC East

New York Giants (2005 Record: 11-5)

Eli Manning should improve much more this year as the signal caller for the Giants. Tiki Barber has become an elite running back in the NFL. The addition of Lavar Arrington and returning defensive menaces like Michael Strahan, and Osi Umenyiora should put that defensive unit over the top for 2006. I would be surprised if the Giants missed the playoffs. However, the G-Men may be in a bit of a dog fight for first place of the division this year. Prediction for 2006: 11-5; Playoffs

Washington Redskins (2005 Record: 10-6)

Last year, the Skins made the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. This year, Daniel Snyder and Joe Gibbs will expect more out of the burgundy and gold. New offensive coordinator Al Saunders will create new schemes that will have quarterback Mark Brunell spreading the ball around to Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, and Chris Cooley. I expect running back Clinton Portis to have another outstanding year. Once again, Gregg Williams defense will be tough. Sean Taylor and Adam Archuleta are not the best cover men, but there won’t be too many receivers willing to run a route across the middle of the field. The defensive line approved towards the end of the year and with the additions of Andre Carter and rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh, there will be much more pressure to opposing quarterbacks. Prediction for 2006: 12-4; Division Title

Dallas Cowboys (2005 Record: 9-7)

The Dallas Cowboys success all depends on the offensive line. Running back Julius Jones will be a great player in the future. If he can stay healthy all season, will be a bright spot on offense. The Receivers should be outstanding this year. Terrell Owens will be on his best behavior the entire year, meaning that opposing defenses will be in lots of trouble. Terry Glenn and Jason Witten will have lots of opportunities in the passing game due to the double coverage that T.O. will receive. The defense should be solid once again, but not enough shut down teams. Predictionfor 2006: 9-7

Philadelphia Eagles (2005 Record: 6-10)

The Eagles are still a tough team, but the days ahead don’t look too good. Donovan McNabb will make plays when there are none to be made. Brian Westbrook is dangerous as a runner and a receiver. Look for him to put up better numbers in 2006. L.J. Smith and Reggie Brown are good receivers, but they wont make as much of an impact that Terrell Owens did as an Eagle. The Eagles defense will be the unit to carry the load this upcoming season, but it won’t help much in the win column. I would be surprised if Philadelphia won more than 6 games this year. Prediction for 2006: 5-11

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