The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Over the past month, I’ve posted nearly a dozen articles in the 5 o’clock club space about position groups, with many of them asking you to rank those position groups & head coaches in the NFC East.
It was nice to see commenters put away the tendency to root for the home team and try to be objective. Burgundy-colored glasses certainly had an effect, but it was more akin to a halo effect, where — when it was close -- the advantage went to the home team. Overall, though, commenters were pretty fair in their assessments.
Unsurprisingly, Dallas was generally thought to have the best RB & OL in the division. While there was some disagreement in the comments about Head Coaches, Jason Garrett seemed to be the consensus pick, based on his long tenure and winning record, while Pederson seemed to get the least regard for the opposite reasons (short tenure & a losing record).
The Giants were given credit for having the best WR group, the best CBs, and the best DL in the division, but, when it came to the OL & RB groups, the Giants were ranked last almost universally.
The Eagles got a lot of 3rd place rankings, but were the consensus #1 pick at Safety and Linebacker, while their wide receivers were ranked last in the division, despite adding Alshon Jeffrey in the off-season. WR is clearly a position of great talent in the NFC East.
Some position groups were contentious.
I actually asked people to rank the backup quarterbacks instead of the starters, but that didn’t stop people from discussing the top signal callers in the comments section. There was a split in the opinions about whether to give the top spot to Eli Manning for his accomplishments, Kirk Cousins for his current play, or Carson Wentz/Dak Prescott for their potential. The consensus was kind of Eli/Kirk at the top of the division, and Prescott/Wentz ranked lower based on being second-year players who hadn’t proved as much yet. In the end, I decided to rank Kirk #1 over Eli, just because I think future potential trumps past accomplishments in determining who is the best right now. I put Wentz over Prescott based on the general feeling I got that most people think he has the better QB skills that will show out over the coming years, despite Prescott’s statistical success and W-L success in 2016.
ILB was a tough call as well, partly because Washington is the only 3-4 defense in the division, so there was a bit of apples & oranges comparison. I thought the talent of Sean Lee might be enough to give the Cowboys top spot, but the comments ran more in favor of the Eagles.
In the end, I tried to put the rankings on a chart to consolidate them and see what they said about the expectations for the coming season among 5 o’clock club commenters.
Here’s what I came up with:
Unsurprisingly, the Redskins came out with the best average ranking (this is a Redskins fan site after all). But as you can see from the summary, the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys were each ranked #1 at 3 position groups. while the Eagles got two #1 rankings.
The real benefit for the Redskins was that they were ranked #4 in only one position group: the Defensive Line.
In the end, the analysis indicates that commenters don’t see a huge talent gap among the 4 teams that make up the division. The Giants and Cowboys tie for 2nd best average, while the Eagles bring up the rear with a lot of 3rd place rankings.
Once again, given that these rankings were derived by asking opinions from Hogs Haven members, it’s no surprise that the Redskins came out on top. What is perhaps surprising is how much respect was given to the team’s rivals within the division.
This exercise points to another year of balance in the NFC East, another 9-win or 10-win division champion, and a division battle that will probably last till Week 16 or 17.
It should be a great season.
Here are the links to the “Ranking the NFC East” articles:
How far will the Redskins get this season?
This poll is closed
Out of the playoffs
Lose in the Wildcard Round
Lose in the Divisional Round
Lose the NFC Championship
Lose the Superbowl
Lombardi #4, baby!!