During this dull period of NFL football activity, a lot of predictions and projections are thrown out by reporters, analysts, bloggers and fans. Today I wanted to make my early predictions on who will win the NFC East, and what records I think each team will have.
1) Washington Redskins(11-5): The fortunes of the Redskins rest on the arm(and health) of sophomore quarterback, Robert Griffin III, and the legs of Alfred Morris. The team will go as far as both men take it. The defense, which was plagued by injury last season, should see a resurrection with the additions of rookie cornerback David Amerson, and safeties Philip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo. The return of Brian Orakpo, the Redskins best pass rusher, should make things easier on the secondary. The right tackle and tight end spot should be interesting areas to watch this preseason.
Questions - Can Fred Davis come back to full strength after an Achilles injury ended his 2012 season? Will the Redskins be able to find a competent right tackle to help protect Griffin? Can the young safeties make an early impact in the secondary? Will Garcon be healthy, and ready to take the next step as a true number one?
2) Dallas Cowboys (9-7): Another year, another story-line. This time, it's the new 108 million dollar contract Tony Romo signed this off-season and the departure of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Romo has much to live up to, and thus far in his career, he's failed to do so, but the spotlight will be even brighter now that he's signed away his his soul to Jerry Jones. Romo has weapons on offense, but the success of the team hinges on the offensive line, which played poorly last season. Another issue for Kiffin and the defense will be how the current personnel can adapt to the new scheme.
Questions - Can Tony Romo play up to the huge contract he was given, and finally become the true leader Dallas was hoping for? Can the offensive line come together as a unit, and not only protect Romo, but open up running lanes for Murray? Can Kiffin fit his current defensive linemen into the 4-3 mold?
3) New York Giants (8-8): The Giants troubles started and ended on the offensive line last season. They did address this concern in the 2013 draft by selecting Justin Pugh out of Syracuse. Pugh can play right tackle, but his best position may be inside at guard. The strength of the team at one point, the offensive line has been hit by retirement/injuries/age, and is clearly not what it once was. The lack of a solid running game forced Eli Manning to air it out last year more than head coach Tom Coughlin would have liked. Eli is much more successful when the Giants show a balanced attack. The defense should be solid this year, but there are some questions as to who will fill the void left by Kenny Phillips. I see an up-and-down season, with a record that reflects this.
Questions - Can the receiving corps stay healthy? Who will step up at tight end for the departed Martellus Bennett? Can the offensive line regain the form they once had? Can Wilson overcome his fumbling issues, and be the work-horse back the team needs?
4) Philadelphia Eagles (6-10): The Andy Reid era is over in Philly, and it could not have come soon enough for some Eagles fans. Still, Andy was a heck of a coach, and the stability he brought to the team can not be underestimated. In comes first year head coach Chip Kelly, who will attempt to bring a new, up-temp offensive, and a defensive that will focus on turning opponents over. Aside from who will play quarterback, the biggest question will center around the offensive line. The unit struggled last season, and I expect more of the same this year as they install a new system. The addition of Lane Johnson should pay huge dividends, but I believe it will not be without some struggles. The defense should take on a completely new look, with the 3-4 being the base set, but many elements of the 4-3 should be retained. Kelly likes confusion on defense, so this new hybrid system should provide plenty of that.
Questions - Can Jason Peters return to form following an Achilles injury? Will Michael Vick be able to run Kelly's complicated offense? Will the new 3-4 cause more turnovers? Will the Eagles be able to effectively use their best weapon, running back LeSean McCoy, in the new offense?
Add your predictions of each teams record in the comments section.