NFL Contenders 2012- NFC East (pt. 1)

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Only a crazy man would try to untangle the twisted web that is, and has been the NFC East for the last decade or more, so here goes. Since 1999 every team has won this division and with the exception of 4 years in the 2000’s (when the Eagles managed 4 titles in a row) no single team has maintained any sort of consistency against their rivals.  The current Super Bowl Champions the New York Giants have secured 4 titles since the turn of the millennium, the Redskins have won the division just once, in 1999 whilst the Dallas Cowboys, who dominated the NFC East in the 1990’s have only secured the title twice in 2007 & 2009.  This year’s favourites with the bookies, the Philadelphia Eagles have topped the division 6 times but still have not won the Super Bowl since 1960.

The Eagles may be favourites for the divisional title this season, having only missed out on it last season after the last round of regular season matches, but there’s barely a hair’s breadth between them, the Giants and the Cowboys and the only thing that really separates the Eagles from the pack is their potential to score quickly and blow teams away in a very short period of time.  However the Eagles have a history of injuries to key players and off field issues affecting them and preventing them from fulfilling this potential and sadly this year has been no exception with the untimely and tragic death of Head Coach Andy Reid’s son Garrett while he was assisting the team during their training camp at Lehigh University.  This terrible turn of circumstance could yet serve to galvanise the team to perform as they can for an entire season, but while they undoubtedly have the personnel with enough talent to make it deep into the playoffs it will take a significant turnaround for them to overcome the pressure of being installed as division favourites.  Garrett Reid’s death was not the Eagles only off season issue, although it was clearly the most important one, their number 1 wide receiver Desean Jackson arrived at training camp 11 days late to show his displeasure at earning just $565, 000 this season.  On the injury front Quarterback Michael Vick has missed games in both of the last 2 seasons and he’s only seen 12 snaps this offseason as a result of a bruising he suffered to his ribs against the Patriots, Vick also injured his thumb in preseason and the age of 32 there must be question marks over his durability.

Since 2007 the Giants have the Super Bowl as many times as they have won their division, twice.  This really only outlines how tough the NFC East has been over the last few years, other indicators toward this conjecture are the fact that the Giants finished sixth overall in the NFC last season, had the worst defence in the division and only managed to win 3 divisional games last season on their way to winning the Super Bowl.  As with all defending Super Bowl Champions the Giants had to allow a number of players to leave as the salary cap rules hit them, but with 2010’s first round draft pick corner back Prince Amukamara available to bolster the defence for the start of the season, which he wasn’t last year and a very promising 2012 draft class including exciting running back David Wilson and promising wide receiver Rueben Randle to assist Eli Manning’s offence the Giants should be able to challenge the Eagles for the division title once again this season.

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