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2012 NFL Predictions: Breaking Down the NFC East

Over the next week and a half, I’ll be taking a look at each of the NFL’s individual divisions and offering my thoughts and predictions for how they will fare in the 2012-13 campaign. Today’s edition will feature a look at the East division of the National Football Conference, featuring the defending champion New York Giants, as well as the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

The schedule for the 2012 NFL predictions pieces is as follows:

AFC East (09/01/12)

AFC South (09/03/12)

AFC North (09/03/12)

AFC West (09/04/12)

NFC East

NFC South

NFC North

NFC West

Award Winners

AFC Playoffs

NFC Playoffs

Superbowl 47

Without further ado, my predictions for the NFC East…..

1) New York Giants(10-6) — New York may have lost running back Brandon Jacobs to free agency and their secondary may be once again decimated by injuries, but I still can’t bring myself to pick anyone but the Giants to win the NFC East. If we’ve learned anything over the past five seasons, it’s to never doubt Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, especially in the playoffs. With rookie tailback David Wilson, Ahmad Bradshaw, salsa dancing Victor Cruz and superstar wide out Hakeem Nicks, Manning has been given a plethora of offensive options. On the defensive side of the ball, pass rushing phenom Jason Pierre-Paul leads a battle-tested front seven with the ability to shut down the league’s best offenses.

2) Dallas Cowboys(9-7) — Opening night on Wednesday will be a major test for a Dallas Cowboys squad that needs to reassert itself in one of the NFL’s deepest divisions. After missing the postseason in each of the last two seasons, Tony Romo and the Cowboys need to prove to the rest of the league — and to themselves — that they are once again a playoff-caliber team. Romo’s offense is lead by productive wide outs Dez Bryant and Miles Austin with pass-catching tight end Jason Witten providing a downfield threat in the middle of the field. On the other side of the ball, sack machine DeMarcus Ware leads the division’s best all-around defense. Expect the Cowboys to return to relevancy in 2012-13 and compete for an NFC wild-card spot.

3) Philadelphia Eagles(9-7) — In sports, it’s best to avoid the moniker of “dream team”. It was the Eagles who were everyone’s Super Bowl pick last summer after an offseason chock full of high-profile acquisitions. However, things didn’t pan out the way Andy Reid and co. had hoped they would, with the Eagles finishing the year with an 8-8 record and failing to qualify for the postseason. This year, I’d expect much of the same for Philly’s favorite football squad. Quarterback Michael Vick‘s health always seems to be a question and outside of newcomer DeMeco Ryans, their linebacking core leaves much to be desired. The Eagles will be firmly in the playoff hunt this winter, but I wouldn’t expect them to run away with anything as many experts have predicted.

4) Washington Redskins(5-11) — Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III should be one of the league’s most exciting players to watch this season. Griffin was, of course, the player whom the ‘Skins surrendered three firsts and a second round pick to attain in a pre-draft blockbuster trade back in March. Unfortunately, Washington hasn’t exactly supplied their new franchise cornerstone with many options in the passing game. It isn’t the league’s worst receiving core, but it’s far from spectacular with a collection of no. 2/3s. Overall, the Redskins have a strong team and wouldn’t be last in many divisions. However, I just can’t bring myself to pick them to finish higher than any of their more experienced division foes.

Thanks For Reading!

Twitter: @_BWoodward