As we rapidly approach the start of the 2014 regular season, it’s time to assemble divisional previews for each of the eight that exist. We’ll look at last year, then call attention to the key losses and additions by team, and then give an outlook for 2014. We continue with the ‘hard to decipher’ NFC East, and go from the best team to worst team in 2013.
Side note for Saints fans: The team plays the Dallas Cowboys this season.
2013 Combined Record: 28-36
2013 Playoff Teams: Philadelphia Eagles
2013 Record: 10-6 (NFC East Divisional Champs)
Splits: Home (4-4), Road (6-2), Conference (9-3)
How their season ended: At the hands of the New Orleans Saints, who took the final five minutes of the NFC Wild Card game to kick a field goal to give their first playoff road win in franchise history.
Key Offseason Losses: QB Michael Vick, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jason Avant, S Patrick Chung
Important Newcomers: RB Darren Sproles, S Malcolm Jenkins, QB Mark Sanchez, DE Clifton Geathers, DE/OLB Marcus Smith (Draft), WR Jordan Matthews (Draft)
2014 Outlook: Is Nick Foles the real deal? That will be the focal point of the 2014 Eagles. Chip Kelly’s style of offense puts all of the pieces there in terms of scoring, but it all rests on Nick Foles. We know that Shady McCoy will have a great year, and the team continues to work in a weak division with no clear-cut front-runner. The Eagles have a great chance of repeating as division champs, but really need to show more on the defensive side of the ball to keep it going.
2013 Record: 8-8
Splits: Home (5-3), Road (3-5), Conference (7-5)
How their season ended: With Kyle Orton being picked off by Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin. There was two minutes left in the game, and the Cowboys just needed a Dan Bailey field goal to send them into the postseason, but it never happened. Jerry World and company added to an ever-growing December woes list.
Key Offseason Losses: QB Kyle Orton, RB Phillip Tanner, WR Miles Austin, DE DeMarcus Ware, C Phil Costa, LB Ernie Sims
Important Newcomers: QB Brandon Weeden, DT Henry Melton, LB Rolando McClain, S Danny McCray, G/T Zack Martin (Draft), DE Demarcus Lawrence (Draft)
2014 Outlook: Is the Cowboys season over before it even begins? No, not necessarily. However, there is a huge question mark on the defensive side of the ball. Sure, we know that the team will score, but when you lose your best defender (DeMarcus Ware), then your key linebacker (Lee), your future defensive pass rusher (Lawrence), and aren’t set in the secondary (Claiborne), we have a bit of skepticism. Look for other teams to potentially pass up Dallas this year in the division.
New York Giants
2013 Record: 7-9
Splits: Home (4-4), Road (3-5), Conference (6-6)
How their season ended: With another Eli interception. Just kidding. The Giants were able to close 2013 on a winning note by defeating the hapless Redskins. The team started 0-6, won four straight, dropped three of their next four, and won the final two games of the year..
Key Offseason Losses: WR Hakeem Nicks, RB Andre Brown, WR Louis Murphy, TE Brandon Meyers, CB Terrell Thomas, TE Bear Pascoe, T David Diehl, G Kevin Boothe, C David Baas, DE Justin Tuck, CB Aaron Ross, S Will Hill, LB Keith Rivers, S Ryan Mundy, RB David Wilson (Retirement)
Important Newcomers: RB Rashad Jennings, WR Mario Manningham, RB Rashad Jennings, DE Robert Ayers, LB Jameel McClain, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Walter Thurmond, S Quintin Demps, KR/WR Trindon Holliday, T Charles Brown, WR Odell Beckham (Draft)
2014 Outlook: The Giants just need to get off to a good start, or at least something that resembles a start. Eli needs to get back to some form of a quarterback, but that’s been a bit of a struggle right now with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. As long as Tom Coughlin leads the Gints, there’s no reason to bet against them (see previous years). There’s a lot of new faces and ‘what ifs’ on the team. If Eli does get it going, look for the Giants to challenge for the division at least.
2013 Record: 3-13
Splits: Home (2-6), Road (1-7), Conference (1-11)
How their season ended: In turmoil, losing eight straight. The Redskins were the epitome of why the preseason means absolutely NOTHING. The team went undefeated in the preseason (4-0), and then as the season progressed, every person who hopped on the Skins bandwagon in 2012 and bought brand new RGIII jerseys scrambled to hide them. RGIII should have never been put in the situation to play. Oh yeah, the team’s three wins came against the Raiders, Bears, and Chargers. Go figure.
Key Offseason Losses: TE Richard Quinn, WR Josh Morgan, C Will Montgomery, DE Darryl Tapp, LB London Fletcher, CB Josh Wilson, P Sav Rocca, DE/DT Adam Carriker
Important Newcomers: WR DeSean Jackson, S Ryan Clark, QB Colt McCoy, WR Andre Roberts, T Bruce Campbell, DE Jason Hatcher, S Brandon Meriweather, CB Tracy Porter, G Mike McGlynn, LB Akeem Jordan, G Shawn Lauvao, DE/OLB Trent Murphy (Draft)
2014 Outlook: If we can ever focus on football in Washington instead of the team’s name that has been in existence since 1932, then maybe we can see that the Redskins will be an interesting team to watch in 2014. With all of the bad blood that existed between Mike Shanahan and whoever out the window, this team should be able to put together a decent season. There’s still question marks on this team’s roster, like ‘how will two mid-30 secondary players fare?’, and ‘what is this offense going to look like with a potentially healthy RGIII?’. All in all, it doesn’t look like it could get worse for the Redskins.
NFC East Bold Predictions
- The Eagles will repeat as division champions
- The Cowboys will finish as a sub .500 team, and Jason Garrett will be fired as the end of the year
- RGIII will make the Pro Bowl and finish in the top half of quarterbacks
- The Giants will sneak in the NFC Playoffs as a Wild Card
In case you missed it….