Mike Ivcic’s NFC East Division Preview & Predictions

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Mike Ivcic’s NFC East Division Preview & Predictions ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>


Welcome to the Ultimate Capper’s NFL Season Preview. Below is the schedule for the division-by-division breakdown for the upcoming season. Also, we’re enhancing our NFL coverage this year with Mike Ivcic’s regular column every Wednesday and a full game-by-game breakdown every Saturday, in addition to our regular features and free picks. The best place for information on the 2013 NFL season is right here at the Ultimate Capper!


AFC West – Tue, 8/13 NFC North – Wed, 8/14 NFC East – Thu, 8/15
AFC South – Fri, 8/16 NFC South – Tue, 8/20 AFC North – Wed, 8/21
NFC West – Thu, 8/22 AFC East – Fri, 8/23 Playoffs – Wed, 8/28

Dallas Cowboys
Record Last Season: 8-8
Over/Under Win Total: 8.5
Odds to win NFC East: 21/10
Odds to win NFC Title: 16/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 28/1
Outlook: At some point, the Cowboys will be forced to come to grips with the idea that Tony Romo simply isn’t a championship-caliber quarterback. In all fairness, I actually think he’s been a very good QB in this league and that some of his shortcomings are a direct result of a lack of protection from his offensive line, but ultimately the buck stops with the signal caller, and that buck may, in fact, stop after this year. Jerry Jones really needs to hire a GM, but since no owner would ever fire himself, the next best thing is to start heavily investing in offensive linemen than excel in pass protection. As they have been for the last couple of years, the weapons are already in place on the offense, and if a somewhat porous secondary can finally match the level of performance of the defensive line, Dallas could easily have a defense that ranks in the top-half defense instead of the bottom-third. Still, given the schedule and talent of the other teams within the NFC East, it’s almost a given that Romo will give away at least one game, which is more than the Cowboys can afford.
Prediction: 8-8, 3rd place

New York Giants
Record Last Season: 9-7
Over/Under Win Total: 9
Odds to win NFC East: 2/1
Odds to win NFC Title: 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 22/1
Outlook: On the surface, it would appear that the Giants window of opportunity is starting to close ever so slightly. They have now lost both running backs from the Super Bowl championship team two years ago, leaving Andre Brown as the de facto starting back for this season. The receivers have also seen some exodus, leaving only Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks as proven, reliable receivers for Eli Manning. Osi Umenyiora is the latest departure from a defense that ranked in the bottom quarter of the league in both rushing and pass defense last year, so you might be asking yourselves – how good will the Giants really be? Well, if there’s one thing that Tom Coughlin and Manning have proven, it’s that they rarely have bad years back-to-back, and last year was definitely a subpar year by this duo’s standards. The schedule actually sets up quite favorably, as the Giants get some winnable games early (weeks 3-5 are at Carolina, at Kansas City, home to Philadelphia, all of which should be victories) and they get their three toughest non-divisional opponents – Green Bay, Denver, and Seattle – all at MetLife Stadium. Despite the defections and legitimate question marks, I think this sets up as possibly the last-best shot for this current regime to make one final run at a Super Bowl.
Prediction: 11-5, 1st place


Philadelphia Eagles
Record Last Season: 4-12
Over/Under Win Total: 7.5
Odds to win NFC East: 15/4
Odds to win NFC Title: 28/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 50/1
Outlook: He wasn’t good enough last year to lead the Eagles back to the playoffs, yet somehow Michael Vick was given another chance to quarterback Philadelphia’s offense, thanks to new head coach Chip Kelly. Many pundits still think this position will ultimately go to Nick Foles out of training camp, and some experts have even said they wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Barkley under center by mid-season. Considering how important QB play is in this league, the fact that the position is still undecided between three players says everything about the state of this club. Regardless of who takes the snaps, though, this team will definitely score points, because they have some explosive weapons on offense like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy and because Kelly’s warp-speed offense will definitely create mismatches and tired defenses. The more important question is whether or not the Eagles’ defense will be able to stop anyone else given their weak secondary, and considering they’ll face Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, and Jay Cutler this season – in addition to having to stop Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Robert Griffin III twice each – there’s a good chance this group’s defensive numbers will be quite ugly at season’s end.
Prediction: 6-10, 4th place

Washington Redskins
Record Last Season: 10-6
Over/Under Win Total: 8.5
Odds to win NFC East: 5/2
Odds to win NFC Title: 18/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 33/1
Outlook: After just one season, it’s pretty evident that the Redskins’ success will be almost completely dictated by the play (and health) of one person. Yes, Washington discovered a solid running back in Alfred Morris and has two very talented wide receivers in Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss. And yes, the return of Brian Orakpo from injury and the addition of Nick Barnett through free agency should definitely help take this defense from “decent” to “very good.” And yes, Kirk Cousins clearly proved himself a suitable replacement, but let’s not kid ourselves here people – this team is all about Robert Griffin III – but you already knew that. What you don’t know is that Griffin is trying to do what only Adrian Peterson has ever done, which is play the opening game of the season following a torn ACL late in the prior year – and we’re not really sure Peterson’s even human. The NFC North does get a break by playing a weak AFC West, which should give the Redskins three wins right there. But this team has to navigate Denver, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, San Francisco, and the rest of the division, and I’m just not convinced Griffin’s knee will hold up through that gauntlet and result in another playoff berth. What will probably happen is that Washington will roll into the Meadowlands on the final weekend of the regular season tied with the Giants at 10-5, and as much as I like this group to be a Super Bowl contender next year, they’re just not beating Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin in that situation this year.
Prediction: 10-6, 2nd place


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