Philly (12-4). Lots of folks got all pumped up as Philly kept adding high profile free agents. Then there was a lull and now, for some reason, some of those same people are not as high on the team. I am. I was high on Philly before they added all these new players. Vick, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Celek are all high quality players who could be even better with the additional talent. I particularly like their acquisition of Vince Young. I know he has an attitude but he went to Philly because of Andy Reid where he’ll learn and grow. If Vick goes down, I’d bet that Young will be able to fill in almost seamlessly because the guy is a winner and he’ll be surrounded by talent (and held in check by Reid). Jenkins, Asomugha, Ronnie Brown, Rodgers-Cromartie, WR Steve Smith – all these guys will contribute. Philly will be a dominant team this year.
Dallas (10-6). Dallas is a team that has improved on offense. They got rid of Roy Williams, who sucks. (I wonder if his 40 time is over 5.0 – seriously.) They have Miles Austin and Dez Bryant at WR – 2 top 15 WRs in my opinion – and a couple other young guys who are quietly making names for themselves (in Dwayne Harris and Jesse Holley). They have a top 3 TE in Witten, another quality TE in Martellus Bennett and one of the top rated QBs in NFL history in Romo. But perhaps the most important move they made? Getting rid of Marion Barber. I don’t dislike Barber but it seemed his role in the offense the last few years was to simply take the ball out of he hands of Felix Jones, the more talented RB. Tashard Choice and exciting rookie DeMarco Murray may get some carries but it appears as though the team is ready to commit to Felix being the full-time back. Jones should not only do reasonably well running the ball, but he’ll continue to burn other teams as a receiver. Dallas will play a lot of tweener games this year – games against opponents that aren’t elite level teams but that also aren’t afterhoughts (Tampa, St. Louis, Buffalo, Miami, Detroit, NYG) – and they’ll have to win most of these games in order to make the playoffs.
NYG (7-9). I don’t like the Giants this year. I rarely do like the Giants and have been burned a few times with this stubborn line of thinking, but I just don’t like the team this year. While they do bring back some impressive defensive personnel, I think they’ll miss Barry Cofield in the middle and their LBs could be a liability. Offensively I think they’ll miss Steve Smith (even though the offense wasn’t bad last year without him.) Bradshaw and Jacobs will still be effective, but the passing game for the Giants may not be too potent (unless they figure out a way to get Wisconsin TE Travis Beckum involved). Yes, even Eli, who claimed that he’s an elite QB earlier this year, will struggle in the passing game. The Giants first half schedule looks quite soft and it may have some Giants’ fans drooling, but starting with week 9 @ NE, it’s entirely possible the Giants go 1-8 to close out the season. And lastly, I feel like their meltdown at the end of the year last year may have hurt team morale/faith in the head coach more than just a little bit. (Feel the same way about the Bears.) Throw in the ugly contract situation with Umenyiora and I don’t think the Giants’ locker room will be a happy place this year.
Wash (5-11). Yes, Wash did sign a few guys who could contribute this year (Otogwe, Gaffney, Cofield), but I don’t think the front office did enough. Their defense may be quietly decent (with London Fletcher, Landry, Otogwe, Orakpo, Cofield, Carriker, Hall) but their offense should be bad. They just didn’t do enough in free agency or the draft to make this offense legit. Having Grossman as your starting QB is not a good idea. Picking up Tim Hightower is not a major upgrade – he’s just OK. He’s not enough of a threat to open things up for the passing game. And the WR group remains unremarkable. Gaffney was good year last year but I’d be a bit surprised if he continues at that pace in Wash. Just don’t like the direction this team is heading in presently – and I have a feeling lots of Skins fans feel the same way.