We are under the one month window before the 2012 NFL season, which has all of our writers here at The Waiver Wire gearing up for another year of debates, poorly made bets and trash-talking. This year, we’ve decided to break down the season-to-be division by division. We will preview all eight divisions and pick our division winners, likely wild cards for both the AFC and NFC, and even which teams will be lining up for the Matt Barkley 2013 Draft Sweepstakes.
It is maybe the most competitive division in all of football, and Greg Kaplan and Vinny Ginardi have the pleasure of trying to break down the heated race to the top. Will the Eagles be able to put it all together for a full season? Will the defending Super Bowl champion Giants even be favored to win the division one year later? Who will come out on top? Look no further, we have the answer…
GK: It’s hard to start a discussion about the NFC East without, of course, mentioning that the New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions, not the Philadelphia Eagles. However, just because the Giants were the last team standing doesn’t automatically qualify them as champions of their own division for the next season. I mean, if it did, why bother playing the games at all?
The Eagles made a lot of headlines entering last season by making a flurry of moves and Vince Young running his mouth in training camp, anointing Philadelphia as some form of a “dream team”. Everybody was beyond stunned when the Eagles got off to a horrifically slow start out of the gates, and a lot of people throughout the league were calling for Andy Reid’s head on a platter and for the Eagles to get someone in that will make this unit click.
And then, halfway through the season, seemingly, something clicked. By the end of the season, the Eagles morphed into a collection of very talented players that had no chemistry or identity into one of the league’s more fearsome teams. In fact, Philly made such a comeback at the end of the season that they became a break away from actually making the playoffs.
Looking at this team on paper, they’re one year the better from last season and have seemingly developed the necessary chemistry to rise to the top of the division. Arguably, LeSean McCoy has become one of the most complete running backs in football, backed up by his 17 rushing touchdowns last season. Teaming him with a healthy (that’s a huge if) Mike Vick and two dynamic wide-outs in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the offense naturally feels loaded.
Defensively, the Eagles rid themselves of a potential locker room headache by trading Asante Samuel, who had gone from undisputed #1 corner to nickle back, giving the metaphorical car keys to star Nnamdi Asomugha. More responsibility will be given to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the #2, and the team will hope someone like rookie Brandon Boykin out of Georgia can solidify themselves enough to keep the depth. The defensive line unquestionably improved, with first round pick Fletcher Cox and former Green Bay Packer Cullen Jenkins, plus DeMeco Ryans at linebacker, and the team seems loaded.
Of course, they seemed loaded heading into last year, and they came out beyond flat. Will 2012 be any different? One would think, but we will never know until the games are played. Even the most die-hard Giants fans will admit the Eagles are loaded with talent, and just because we assume they’re going to do better than last year, doesn’t mean they actually will. Read more…
The New York Jets recently bowed out of the Peyton Manning race (not that they ever had a real chance of getting him) by going in the complete opposite direction and giving Mark Sanchez an extension which makes his new contract five years at $58.25 million. That is about $40.5 million in “new money” with $20.5 million being guaranteed for 2012 and 2013 . This move also frees up $6.4 million in cap room for the Jets this offseason. Some have said the Jets made a terrible decision by “rewarding” a quarterback who seemingly took a step back in 2011 but I think we should take a closer look at this deal. I’d go so far as to say this was a shrewd move on the part of GM Mike Tannenbaum.