When the question arises as to who will win the NFC East in 2012, it’s hard not to go with the Philadelphia Eagles. They drafted better than they have in many years. While they didn’t make the huge splash in free agency that they did last year, they definitely improved their team with the addition of veterans O.J. Atogwe (who should be able to help mentor a very young secondary) and Demetress Bell (who will take the spot of the injured Jason Peters at LT) and DeMeco Ryans, who should fill a huge void in the middle of the field. They locked up a lot of the talent that was already on the roster, as well, which should put those individuals in a more stable state of mind heading into the season.
There seems to be a renewed focus surrounding the team this year, with last year’s big-name free agents having some additional time to get the team to gel. I really liked the departure of CB Asante Samuel, which will allow Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to resume his duties on the outside, where is exponentially more comfortable and effective then when he plays in the nickel. That, in and of itself, should lead to a huge improvement on defense.
The Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and New York Giants also improved themselves in the offseason, so the NFC East Championship is by no means going to be an easy road for the Eagles. However, the fact that the Eagles did not play even close to their potential last year but have had the ability to work together for more time, combined with their draft and subtle but solid free agent signings gives Philly the nod in my book.
Although there schedule is exceedingly difficult, I see the Eagles winning the division at 11-5, making a solid playoff push and saving Andy Reid’s job…at least for the time being.