In preparation for the upcoming 2014 NFL season, Just A Guy has put together a team-by-team run down of every division. Today we highlight the AFC East, which includes the Redskins, Giants, Cowboys and Eagles.
Much was made about the arrival of Chip Kelly last year, rightfully so. Would that fast paced, up tempo offense translate to the NFL? Would his defense perform? It sure seemed like it. When Nick Foles took over QB, he never looked back, with a ridiculous stat line of 27 touchdowns to merely 2 interceptions. LeSean McCoy was arguably the league’s best back, and Desean Jackson had a career year at receiver. One year later, the pressure would seem to be on. No longer will Foles be a surprise, was last year a fluke? Losing top wideout target Jackson won’t help. He’s with the rival Redskins now. He’ll have to rely on a returning Jeremy Maclin from ACL surgery, Riley Cooper, (who personally I think was a fluke last year), second year TE Zach Ertz, and rookie Jordan Matthews. Matthews has been lighting camp up, but had a shaky preseason start. Darren Sproles comes in to spell McCoy and catch passes, but he isn’t getting any younger. The offense will make or break this unit. 9-7 record. – Frank
On the surface, the Dallas Cowboys remain the exact same as they were last season. This team will be driven again by Tony Romo. The quarterback may not be an elite level player, but he can make plays and put up huge numbers. Dez Bryant is turning into a bonafida superstar, and can take another huge step towards stardom by building on his successful 2o13 campaign. Jason Witten remains one of the league’s best safety blanket. I couldn’t name anyone on the defensive side of the ball and that is a problem. The unit will have to vastly improve on last season’s effort. Still, the division has question marks and if the Cowboys can win nine games they could end up taking the whole thing.- Steve
New York Giants
Which Eli Manning will show up this year? That’s the question the Giants will be asking themselves. If the preseason has been any indicator, it won’t be pretty. On one hand Eli had over 3,800 yards passing and 18 touchdowns last year, on the other hand he completed less than 58% of his passes and threw 27 interceptions. The Giants will continue to rely on the unreliable, which could spell bad news yet again as they lost their number 2 receiver to the Colts and their leading rusher, Andre Brown, accumulated less than 500 yards last year. Brown has since been released and Rashad Jennings has been signed from the Raiders to start, which should be a modest improvement. If the Giants can put up some points and not turnover the ball, they should be in decent shape.
The Jon Beason gamble paid off and, if he can stay healthy, is their best defensive player with the departure of the team’s sack leader, Justin Tuck. The defensive line is still strong with Jason Pierre-Pual, Mathis Kiwanuka, and Cullen Jenkins. The linebackers are the weak group on this defense, and they’re hoping rookie Devon Kennard can help there. They essentially swapped defensive backs with the Bears getting Zack Bowman and losing Ryan Mundy. In the secondary the Giants are solid though with Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara at the corners and Antrel Rolle at safety. In a weaker division, the Giants have a chance at winning the division, with the Eagles being the biggest competition. – Ryan
Yuck. Is about all you can say about Washington in 2013. But this lead to end of the Shanahan area and ushered in the Jay Gruden reign. RG3 is healthier this year and Gruden has proven to work well with QBs. This year we will find out who the real RG3 is. DeSean Jackson was the big add to the offense and should help open things up for Garçon and up and coming TE Jordan Reed. The offensive line could be a problem and is key in keeping RG3 upright and healthy. Alfred Morris with carry the ball for this team once again while Roy Helu will be the main passing option out if the backfield. On the defensive side of the ball, WAS isn’t too impressive outside if their group of linebackers even with long time vet London Fletcher retired. The secondary is the weakest area and should be exploited for some big plays for opposing offenses. The NFC east is weak. Even with that it’s hard to see Washington being any better than 8-8. – Chris