The NFC (L)East: The Worst Competitive Division Ever

By Saransh Sharma, Rohan Krishnan, and Pranav Thiriveedhi

The NFC East’s current leader, the Philadelphia Eagles, has a half-game lead over the other 3 teams in the division, who are in a 3-way tie for second place in the division. These teams must be good, right? Well, they certainly are competitive, and they have had their fair share of injuries, unlucky losses, roster changes, blowouts, coaching turmoil, and everything in between. All of these teams have 3 wins, with the Eagles only having a half-game lead over the rest of the division due to the tie they had with the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. This week has some big division games coming, with the Cowboys hosting Washington on Thanksgiving Day, the Giants playing the Bengals, and the Eagles hosting the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Here are our predictions for who wins the NFC East:

Current NFC East Standings:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1), Division Record: (2-2)
  2. New York Giants (3-7), Division Record: (3-2)
  3. Washington Football Team (3-7), Division Record (2-2)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (3-7), Division Record (1-2)

Saransh’s NFC East Winner: Washington Football Team

Washington Remaining Schedule: @ Cowboys (3-7), @ Steelers (10-0), @ 49ers (4-6) vs. Seahawks (7-3), vs. Panthers (4-7), @ Eagles (3-6-1)

Yes, I am a Washington fan, but no, I am not saying this in a biased sense. Right now, of the 4 starting quarterbacks in the NFC East, the one quarterback that I trust most to not turn the football over and make poor decisions, win games, and use their experience to their advantage, is none other than Alex Smith. For New York, Daniel Jones has shown improvement over a 2-game stretch, where they played Washington and Philadelphia, but is still a turnover machine. For Dallas, Andy Dalton is still shaky and does not have the best chemistry with all of the Cowboys’ WRs, although he has a very nice connection with CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz. And lastly, for Philadephia, Carson Wentz has the clock ticking on him as the starter in Philadelphia. Alex Smith is a born winner, and when he had come into Washington, he was at the time in the top-5 in terms of winningest active QBs at the time (2018). Then, of course, the gruesome leg injury happened which nearly ended his career and his ability to ever walk again, yet he is here on a football field, inspiring the young Washington Football Team to be in winning situations and even win games, something that has not been seen in Washington for years. Alex Smith may never be even half of what he was as a QB before his injury, but he is still a winner and a leader, and the other quarterbacks in the division are not showing that right now. On top of that, Terry McLaurin has been unreal and is easily the most underrated wide receiver in the entire league, but most of all has been another great leader on the field and in the locker room.

The defense, who are middle-of-the-pack against the run, is ranked #1 in the NFL against the pass and 3rd in sacks. Having guys like rookie sensation Chase Young be double and even triple-teamed at times, has allowed the rest of the front seven, like Jonathan Allen, DaRon Payne, and Ryan Kerrigan, to get constant pressure along with Young. Then there is the secondary, led by cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby, who have quietly led the #1 pass defense in the entire NFL. To be fair, the stats are misleading, as this defense has had some big games, such as their 7-sack performance in Week 1 against the Eagles, but also poor games, like giving up 30 points to a Lions offense without Kenny Golladay. If they can find even the slightest bit of consistency, as the offense is beginning to show now under Alex Smith, this team can win the games they should win, and do enough to win the division.

Washington should beat Dallas on Thanksgiving and should beat the Eagles to complete the season sweep to finish 4-2 in the NFC East overall. Outside of that, Carolina should be a win, and a sneaky win could come against the 49ers, who will be without George Kittle and most likely also Jimmy Garoppolo. Without the 49ers win, they would finish 6-10, and they would finish 7-9 with it. Either way, I do not think any other NFC East team finishes with more than 5 wins. The Giants, who are the biggest competition to Washington for the division title, have all but two of their remaining games against teams with winning records, and I do not see the Giants doing enough to get past Washington. HC Ron Rivera has battled through cancer this season, and Alex Smith, while being nothing more than an average QB, has still made one of the greatest comebacks from an injury in the history of sports. This team not only could end up being the best in the NFC East when it is all said and done, but also the most inspiring. Whatever happens in this wild division, it will be intriguing (and ugly) to watch, and all of these teams will have their work cut out for them this offseason.

Pranav’s NFC East Winner: New York Giants

New York’s Remaining Schedule: @ Bengals (2-7-1), @ Seahawks (7-3), vs. Cardinals (6-4), vs. Browns (7-3), @ Ravens (6-4), vs. Cowboys (3-7)

Let me start by saying I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. ‘Go Birds’ and all that stuff, but this year? The Eagles stink, and no single person can be blamed. Sure, Carson Wentz and his disgusting attempt at being a marginally good quarterback, or Doug Pederson and his awful play-calling, have failed miserably, but this is a team problem that is not a one-week fix. Let us face reality here, the Eagles have tried to fix these problems every week, yet nothing has changed. Fans and critics thought it might be because half the team is injured but the truth is the Eagles are not the best in the NFC East, regardless of their place in the division presently. At the beginning of the season, Dallas and Philadelphia split the predictions for winners of the NFC East, but after the injury to Dak Prescott, Dallas doesn’t have a shot. The Philadelphia Eagles, for the last few weeks, have been too quick to crown themselves as the division winners, but now everyone can see that they might have called it too early. They have probably the hardest remaining schedule in the NFC East, playing four Super Bowl contenders in a row: Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Arizona. 

On the other hand, the dark horse team in the NFC East, the New York Giants, are riding on a few wins. The New York Giants and I hate to say this, are the best team in the division. No one expected them to be anywhere outside of the last place in the division to start the season, and even more after Saquon Barkley’s season-ending injury, but things change. For starters, the Giants have the easiest remaining schedule, and being tied for second is a big help for them because one win already puts them in the driver seat for the East. The Giants are better than the Washington Football Team, having the series sweep. The Giants are also better than the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite having split the season series, the Giants have dominated both matchups with ball control, as they lost their first matchup with Philly due to avoidable penalties. And lastly, the Giants are better than the Dallas Cowboys, and I do not even have to explain. I know I should have no bias as an Eagles fan, but I will never give the Cowboys any love unless they have 1:1 odds to win something.

That being said, the Giants are in the position to take the NFC East, but this is still a division too early to call. We don’t know what is going to happen, or what more (or less) to expect, and to be honest with you, it is not good. All I can say is that none of these teams are going anywhere this season and will be undergoing major changes this offseason. 

Rohan’s NFC East Winner: New York Giants

New York’s Remaining Schedule: @ Bengals (2-7-1), @ Seahawks (7-3), vs. Cardinals (6-4), vs. Browns (7-3), @ Ravens (6-4), vs. Cowboys (3-7)

I am also a Washington fan like Saransh, yet I believe the Giants will come out on top and take the NFC East crown. Joe Judge is doing a solid job in his first year as head coach of the Giants, and the team is making incremental progress game after game. Daniel Jones is starting to pull it together with consecutive no turnover performances, and I trust the Giants defense the most in this division. The Giants defense is ranked 12th in the NFL in scoring average this season, with several standout players, including lockdown cornerback James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Leonard Williams. Also, over the last 6 games, the Giants are 3-3 and those three losses are just by 6 points. One of those losses includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are viewed by many as Super Bowl contenders. The Giants were playing the best football of any team in the NFC East before their bye, and I think they will get 3 more wins (CIN, CLE, DAL) to win the division. I view Dallas as the biggest competition to the Giants. They have the easiest road as they still get to play each of the East teams once and have opponents like the 49ers and Bengals on their schedule. They have also been very competitive, nearly beating the undefeated Steelers at home and knocking off the Vikings recently on the road. The offense looked solid with Andy Dalton back and Zeke had his best game in a while, totaling over 100 rushing yards for the first time this season. Tony Pollard has also been a nice touch, as he added some quality carries and a TD against the Vikings. They also have a special talent in CeeDee Lamb who is looking like the best rookie receiver in the draft class. However, the Cowboys defense needs to improve, especially their poor secondary. Their run defense is atrocious as well, allowing a whopping 153.8 yards on the ground per game to opposing offenses. 

The Cowboys hopes for winning the NFC East division will likely disappear if their defense is not up for the task. Washington, meanwhile, has a solid chance but a few problems of their own. Let us start with the defense, who was supposed to be one of the best units in the league under DC Jack Del Rio but has not lived up to the hype. By looking at the numbers, you might think that Washington has an above-average defense, however, it’s the complete opposite. Their defensive line has plenty of talent like Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Daron Payne, but have failed to take advantage of poor offensive lines, which proved to be critical in getting swept by the New York Giants. These losses hurt Washington big time as the Giants now have the tiebreaker. The linebacker core and secondary are both very weak and it showed when they played average offenses like the Lions. However, I also think a better offense would have a positive impact on the defense. The offense is badly underperforming overall, ranked 29th in the league, and Alex Smith is nothing more than an average quarterback. Washington has a bright future with star receiver Terry McLaurin and rookie running back Antonio Gibson, and their offensive line is looking better than expected, but aren’t going to go far with the style and play of this offense. The Thanksgiving game between Washington and Dallas will be very critical, as Washington can take the tiebreaker over Dallas with a win. 

Finally, Philadelphia is terrible, starting with QB Carson Wentz. He currently leads the league in interceptions and is making head-scratching mistakes game after game. Ever since that ACL injury, Wentz has been trending downward and could crash down to the point of no return. Carson is not the only one to blame, though. The coaching staff has regressed, and Head Coach Doug Pederson should be fired this offseason. Veterans like Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery, and Jalen Mills are on the decline. The Eagles are a dumpster fire and could very well lose out and only win 3 games this season, as they have the toughest remaining schedule in the division. 

This division is all-around terrible, and we might see the worst division winner of all time. The worst record that a playoff team has ever recorded is 7-9 (Seahawks, 2010), and it is hard for me to envision an NFC East team even getting to 7 wins. It is crazy to think that one of these teams is going to host a playoff game. I do see this division coming down to the very last game, however, and that game would be Week 17: Cowboys @ Giants, a winner-take-all game to decide the division. One thing we can all agree on is that the team that makes the playoffs will not go far, and all of these teams have to make major changes this offseason. 

4 Takeaways From NFL Preseason Week 1

The NFL preseason kicked off on Thursday (Week 1 ended Sunday), and there were 4 biggest takeaways that will be what we should watch from now until the season starts.

  1. Tim Tebow is going to be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles

So, as of before Sunday, the starter in Philly was Sam Bradford, and the 2nd-string QB was Matt Barkley, and Tim Tebow looked like he wouldn’t even make the team, but that changed in the middle of the 3rd quarter of the Eagles preseason game yesterday afternoon against the Indianapolis Colts. Tebow looked like he was a Florida Gator again, cool as a cucumber, leading his team down the field, and scoring a huge rushing touchdown to cap it all off. Right now, I think Bradford is the starter, but Tebow is the #2 guy, and could also be a situational QB. 

  1. All the rookies proved themselves!

Every rookie that played this week proved that they were worthy of being part of an NFL team, especially the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons. Both teams had on rookies scoring touchdowns. It was phenomenal watching the new and young talents, and it will be very hard for teams to get rid of their newcomers (every team must have 53 players or less by the time the NFL season starts).

  1. RGIII says he is ‘the best quarterback in the league’

Does RGIII have some kind of concussion or something, and we don’t know about it yet? This comment is just crazy. He has yet to prove in the NFL that he can be a good quarterback, and at the same time not get hit or injured multiple times, and the Redskins have won many games without him being the starter. Come on, RGIII!!! Come on!!! 

  1. Jay Cutler is gonna be a decent quarterback for the Chicago Bears

Now, I didn’t say he would be good, but I said decent. Cutler played well, going 4-7 for 42 yards passing, and during practices and this game against the Miami Dolphins, he has thrown just one interception, which was today.

Eagles vs. Saints: Can the Eagles End Their Struggles?

The Philadelphia Eagles were coming in as huge NFC East contenders and also a huge shot at the playoffs in the NFC, though so far, it has slipped away. The Eagles have recorded 17 turnovers through 7 games, 11 coming from Michael Vick. Vick has lost 3 fumbles and 8 INTs this season. Can they change that? We shall wait…and see…

Keys to Winning

Eagles:

#1: Contain Drew Brees

Brees is a QB who loves to take his time in the pocket. He hasn’t been sacked many times, though if Philadelphia wants a chance to win, then the D must use some type of blitz-coverage type of package for a chance to win. The Eagles have the best defense in the NFL, so the Eagles could force a lot of punts and field goals, and definitely not a lot of touchdowns or 3rd down conversions in this game.

#2: Limit Turnovers!!!

JUST LIMIT TURNOVERS!!! The Eagles offense have been struggling due to turnovers. Vick needs to take his time to find a receiver instead of just throw the ball half a second later.

Saints:

#1: Force Turnovers

The Saints have to think total opposite of what the Eagles offense is thinking. FORCE TURNOVERS, no matter what type of circumstances!!!

#2: Run the Ball Effectively

The New Orleans Saints have to make adjustments to their offensive line when running the ball in this game. The Eagles are one of the best run defenses in the league thanks to Middle Linebackers Demeco Ryans and Jamar Chaney, and Defensive End Trent Cole. Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas will have a hard time running the ball. New Orleans Saints Offensive Lineman, make adjustments as soon as possible.

My call: The Eagles will FINALLY end their struggles and should win big. The final score after 60 minutes of play: Eagles 38, Saints 26

When: Monday, November 5th, 2012; 8:30pm

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America, Home of the New Orleans Saints

Weather: Indoor Stadium (Closed Roof Dome)

Spread: Eagles win by 12 points

NY Jets to Trade Tebow???

There have been rumors that QB Tim Tebow might be traded so that he can become the starter of that team. Here are some trades that could suit Tebow and the Jets as well as many other teams.

Trade Option 1: Tebow to the Carolina Panthers for QB Cam Newton

Many are considering the fact that Newton should be traded, so this will suit both teams because both teams want to trade their QBs from their respective teams.

Trade Option 2: Tebow to the Philadelphia Eagles for QB Michael Vick

Eagles fans desperately want a new QB or at least some new type of offensive scheme that will help them win more games throughout the 2nd half of the season. Tebow might help in some type of way.

Trade Option 3: Tebow and LaDanian Tomlinson to the Jacksonville Jaguars for RB Maurice Jones-Drew and QB Blaine Gabbert

Before Tebow was traded to NY, there were many rumors that he would go to the Jaguars. Many Florida Gators fans would want him back in Jacksonville.

Trade Option 4: Tebow to Arizona Cardinals for John Skelton

Arizona’s offense was red-hot to begin the season, though when Kevin Kolb went down with a ribs injury, John Skelton had took over. After Derek Anderson signed a contract with the Panthers, Skelton had to take over at QB. He was 3-4 as a starter and he was excellent as the starter. Now, it seems that he is a player that has literally lost his mind. If the Cardinals take Tebow in this possible trade, then Tebow might get some great playing time at QB due to the advantage he has with Kolb out, and having targets such as Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Todd Heap, Jeff King, and rookie Michael Floyd from the University of Notre Dame.

Trade Option 5: Tebow released from Jets and signed by the New England Patriots

When Peyton Manning went to the Denver Broncos, Tebow’s contract was up, and so Denver sent him to the Jets. The Jets are thinking about releasing him, so him going to the Pats would be good because he could play the wildcat or as a RB. Or, Tebow could replace Tom Brady and they could split playing time between each other, so Tebow could play the 1st half, and Brady will lead the way in the 2nd half.

My call: Tebow will either end up in Philadelphia (Philly), Boston (New England), or in Carolina. The Jets will most likely decline all trades from Jacksonville, even though Jacksonville or Carolina are probably the 2 best choices for the Jets to stick with, especially if they want to get rid of Tim Tebow. And so, Tebow ends up in which uniform? We shall await the New York Jets decision from November 1st onwards. Tebow?? Where could he possibly end up before the end of November???

The Oldest Rivalry in Football: Giants vs. Eagles

The oldest rivalry in football continues Sunday night at 8:20pm on NBC. Already, we’ve seen the best and worst from these teams through the first 3 games. There will be some serious matchups coming in to this game.

Eli Manning vs. Nnamdi Asomougha

Manning needs to make sure that he doesn’t make any careless throws. Watch out for Nnamdi Asomougha, because he could take one to the house. As long as Eli doesn’t throw too many picks and is able to find Cruz and Nicks open, the Giants should be just fine.

Micheal Vick vs.  Jason Pierre-Paul

We have not seen the best from Vick or the Philadelphia Eagles. They lead the league with 12 turnovers, after having just 8 all of last season. Again, we’ll probably see the worst from Vick, and possibly the best performance from Pierre-Paul thus far.

Victor Cruz vs. Desean Jackson

Wideout vs. Wideout matchup. This will probably be the matchup that decides who wins the game. Cruz has been unstoppable, while Jackson has been impressive, but not good enough for a ‘bounce-back’ season.  Cruz will probably be doing the salsa in the end zone while Jackson just makes catches for about 10-20 yards, and probably a punt return for a TD.

My call: This game will be competitive, but the Giants have the odds in their favor. The defense will pressure Vick quite a bit, while Cruz should be salsa-ing all night. NY Giants: 30, Philadelphia Eagles 20.