I appreciate ETVal's (of Big Blue View) efforts to get this thing up and running. He emailed the NFC East bloggers a while ago to solicit answers to 10 NFC related questions for the upcoming season and, a bit tardy, we finally started responding. I've got his answers and Bleeding Green Nation's answers (which I will schedule to post later this week, to spread it out). You can find my answers to his questions at BBV here.You'll find the questions and Ed's answers below, unedited. Enjoy:
- The NFC East is brutal in terms of the depth and quality of its teams. Can you think of another conference that is even close in terms of talent and competitiveness?
BBV: No. The NFC East has four legitimate playoff caliber teams. In my mind, no other conference comes close to that kind of depth.
- Was the Giants Super Bowl victory a fluke?
BBV: Absolutely not. It certainly was unexpected, but it wasn't a fluke. The Giants played incredibly, and they earned each victory. There weren't any crazy, fluke plays -- no 'Tuck Rule' plays or any of that nonsense. To me, the Giants are a talented team that had actually under-achieved for a long time. They finally had a stretch where they played up to their ability, and it came at the perfect time. That said, do I expect them to repeat? No. I expect them to be very good, but I'm not foolish enough to think they will win it all again.
- What new player on any of the teams -- draft pick, free agent or trade acquisition -- will make the biggest impact within the division this season?
BBV: Adam Jones. He's a tremendous talent, but also potentially a tremendous trouble-maker. He could help the Cowboys reach the Super Bowl. Or, he could help them implode and miss the playoffs entirely.
- Your team will win the division, and possibly the Super Bowl, if ...
BBV: First and foremost, Eli Manning stays healthy. I have no faith that the Giants can win games without him. Defensively, the Giants will need Mathias Kiwanuka healthy all season to make up for the retirement of Michael Strahan. Also, the development of young players like Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Michael Johnson and No. 1 pick Kenny Phillips in the secondary could take this defense to another level.
- Your team will finish last in the division if ...
BBV: Eli Manning can't stay healthy. Also, if those young players in the secondary don't develop the Giants will have difficulty covering people. Oh, and if they can't win some games at home this season. The Giants went 7-1 on the road in the regular season, but only 3-5 at home. They can't count on being so efficient on the road, so they have to win more often in the Meadowlands.
- What team in the NFC has the best shot at keeping an NFC East team out of the Super Bowl?
BBV: The popular answer to that question these days is the Minnesota Vikings. But, I'm not buying that with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. With Brett Favre, maybe, but not with Jackson. I don't believe in Gree Bay with Aaron Rodgers, either. I guess that leaves Seattle.
- Give me one player on your team everyone else might not know about, but who could wind up making a name for himself this season.
BBV: Watch out for No. 1 pick Kenny Phillips. This guy is a heavy-hitting, play-making safety and if he isn't starting Week 1 he will force his way into the lineup shortly thereafter.
- Rank the starting quarterbacks within the division.
BBV: Tony Romo
Giants fans will be mad at me for taking Romo here, so I need to qualify this answer. I don't think you can argue with the numbers that say Romo has been better game-in and game-out. As a Giants fan, though, would I trade Eli straight up to get Romo? Not a chance. Eli has proven that he is a winner. Romo has nice numbers and a celebrity girlfriend, but he hasn't proven that he can come up big when it matters most. Eli has, and I'll take that every time.
- Rank the coaches within the division.
BBV: Tom Coughlin. I think there is little doubt he is, right now, top dog among coaches in the division. That's pretty amazing, but I think really hard to argue with.
- Finally, what is your predicted order of finish in the NFC East? Why?
The Giants are defending Super Bowl champions. I say they are the favorites until someone knocks them off. I still think it's 50-50 on the Cowboys. They could win the whole enchilada, but they could also completely implode with that volatile roster and a lame-duck head coach and miss the playoffs entirely. I almost picked Dallas for last in this division, because I think an implosion of some sort in inevitable, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. The Redskins have talent, but they have a question mark at head coach. The Eagles are tough to figure. I just don't know about Andy Reid anymore, and McNabb's health is always a question.
Muchas gracias amigo. As always, make sure you pepper this thread with your own comments on BBV's answers. Even better, give your own short (or long, preferably long!) answers to the 10 questions above.