Friday, August 31, 2007

NFC East Preview

Full disclosure, I love the Eagles, always have and I always will. This column will be a chance for me to be honest with myself, a type of therapy. I know all of the football ‘experts’ are telling me it’s the Eagles division to lose, but I just don’t see it. I don’t buy the Cowboys hype either; they’ve got a QB from Eastern Illinois University, what the hell is that? Oh. Well, he only had six good games, made the pro bowl because of them, started dating a pop star, and promptly went to shit. The Giants don’t even bear mentioning in NFC East Championship talk… here’s how I think things will pan out:

1) Washington Redskins, Projected Record: (11-5)

I think it’s completely ridiculous to assume the Redskins offense won’t be dramatically improved in this, the second year, of Al Saunders’ offense. History backs up this assertion. When he came into Kansas City in 2001, he inherited an offense that was ranked 31st in total offense the season before. In 2001, they immediately jumped to the top five. In 2002, they moved up to the 4th spot and in his last three seasons, the Chiefs led the league in total offense. Possibly more telling is the fact that in 2006, his first year in Washington, the Chiefs dropped from first in total offense back down to 31st.

Jason Campbell is an absolute machine; he’s got a huge arm, pocket presence, and a mustache. His teammates have unanimously agreed that he’s been the hardest working player this off-season. The knee injury scare was awful, but if last night is a good indication (5/5, 54, 1TD) then he’s back at 100%. The receivers are admittedly weak, but so were Kansas City’s. Chris Cooley should make the leap into the NFL’s elite at tight end and Santana Moss is better than anything KC ever had. At running back, I personally believe Portis will be healthy, he has acknowledged the fact that this year may be his last in Washington if he does not improve. Ladell Betts started the last six games of the year, averaging 156.5 total yards per game, second to only Tomlinson in that span, but he is not a Larry Johnson-type back. That enormous improvement in the running game should be attributed to the Redskins offensive line having finally adjusted to Saunders’ zone blocking scheme which worked so well in KC and also the emergence of Jason Campbell, which added a deep threat to the passing game. Defenses knew Brunell couldn’t throw further than ten yards, so they crowded the box. Portis should be as good as ever, if healthy, and if there is a problem Betts taking over will be an easy transition.

Gregg Williams’ reputation also precedes him. He has had top defenses in each of his stops, Houston Oilers/ Tennessee Titans and with the Buffalo Bills. He’s already made the Redskins an elite defense, but they have faltered recently. Going into the draft the football ‘experts’ believed the Redskins had to go after a defensive lineman, in order to get more pressure on the quarterback. People were shocked when they went with LaRon Landry, but the pick and their other off-season moves, make perfect sense.

The problem last year was not the defensive line, Williams’ defense is predicated on the blitz. It’s not possible to blitz, and put your defensive backs on an island, when you don’t have healthy cornerbacks. The Redskins suffered injuries to their top two cornerbacks, Shawn Springs and Carlos Rodgers. In 2004, the Redskins had Shawn Springs (made pro bowl) and Fred Smoot healthy and the team was ranked third in total defense. In 2005, Springs continued to excel, but Fred Smoot left and was replaced by Walt Harris and rookie Carlos Rodgers, they weren’t as good as Smoot, but were serviceable and the defense ended the season ranked ninth in the league. Following the injuries to Springs and Rodgers last year, the Redskins have made themselves into one of the deeper secondaries in the NFL this off-season.

They drafted Landry (who Craig James called one of the best safeties in college football history last night) who, paired with Sean Taylor, will give the Redskins the most intimidating safety combination in the league, and picked up David Macklin, who gave Washington a hometown discount after starting for seven seasons for Indianapolis and Arizona (it’s DMack’s World, we’re just living in it). [They also picked up tackling machine London Fletcher-Baker (I hate hyphens) FROM… John Carroll University, to anchor the linebacking corps] The improvement of the secondary will allow for more of Williams’ signature blitzing. The fear of the LaRon Landry safety blitz alone will keep opposing quarterbacks up at night, just ask Kerry Collins. As unsilent majority said at KSK, “Landry just finished off what Jim Beam started on Kerry's liver.” Ok, one more quote about LaRon, “If they go over the middle, I'll bet on him. I'll give him a dollar if he takes T.O. out,” said Lou Valdin, Landry's coach at Hahnville High. “He'll shut him up because he can hit you and hurt your whole family. Interception for a touchdown or put a guy in the hospital? That's a tough decision for LaRon.” Even though I’m a diehard Eagles fan, I have an unhealthy obsession with him.

Lastly, with seemingly no one choosing the Redskins to be anything better than 3rd of 4th in the division, a new voice emerged., makers of the football prospectus has called for the Redskins to make the playoffs. They are stat freaks and I cannot even begin to understand their mathematical systems but they love the Skins, especially Jason Campbell who they’ve been hyping up since last season.

I’m going to say that the Redskins not only hit their Over [7.5 wins], but they host a playoff game. Why? A lot of things. Their third-down performance on defense is going to improve, and they’ve upgraded their weaknesses with the additions of LaRon Landry, Fred Smoot (who is at least better than Mike Rumph, for sure) and London Fletcher-Baker, plus the return to health of Cornelius Griffin. On offense, while Brandon Lloyd will continue to be Brandon Lloyd, the Redskins will have had a full year to digest the Al Saunders offensive playbook, with Lewin Career Forecast favorite Jason Campbell behind center from training camp on. While we’re not sanguine on Clinton Portis’ chances of staying healthy for a full year, he’ll be able to split time with Ladell Betts. I may be a fool, but I think that I’m buying low here on an underrated team.

There you have it, your NFC, and dare I see conference champions. No, I’m going to go one step further, your Super Bowl Champion, Washington Redskins. (shedding a tear for writing that, god I love the Eagles)

2) Philadelphia Eagles, Projected Record: (8-8)

I can’t rationally talk about them, I’ll just sound like a homer, and there is nothing worse than reading something like that. My main concern though is not on the field, but off. I expect a minimum of ten suspensions due to the NFL’s substance abuse policy; the Eagles’ organization has been letting the inmates run the asylum. The man responsible for policing the performance enhancing drug problem, Andy Reid, is clearly not qualified. If he didn’t suspect his own son; huddled in a corner, weighing only 100lbs, pale, shaking, covered in feces, of drug use, how could he possibly be expected to recognize the expanding head or bacne of an NFL player? The Eagles are screwed.

3) New York Giants, Projected Record: (4-12)

Is there a funnier backfield tandem than Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs? Eli Manning is a tutu wearing, cock gobbling quarterback, well known for crumbling under pressure. Brandon Jacobs is a huge, scary black man; there is no doubt that his dick has more in common with a Pringles can than my own. It’s as if they met in jail, Jacobs busted for cruelty to animals (strangling a bear) and Eli caught masturbating in public. They met, Jacobs made Manning his bitch, and they’ve been together ever since, making it all the way to the NFL.

4) Dallas Cowboys, Projected Record: (0-16)

I had a whole paragraph written about how much Tony Romo sucks, but this guy puts into words what everyone else is thinking. No matter what Romo does to try and hide it, Romo sucks and has a small penis. From commenter, “tony romo sucks balls mother fucker”:

romo is a sucky lover and he sucks balls at quarterback also he has a really small penis and has really sucky sperm and he is a fag!~!!!!!!!! his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!his sperm sucks!!!!!

So there you have it, I hope I gave you an informative peek into the NFC East.


Buzzsaw said...

Browns Fans, here's what football outsiders says about Cleveland, you'll be happy:

Cleveland Browns (+/- 6.0 Wins)

PFP 2007 Mean Projection: 7.6 Wins

Here’s a projection I agree with. While I did mention in the Bills section that offensive lines that stick together tend to improve, and that the Browns spent their first-round pick on left tackle Joe Thomas and signed guard Eric Steinbach away from Cincinnati, the line was so dire last year (31st in the NFL) that bringing in replacements can only help. A full season with center Hank Fraley and/or the possible return to health of former All-Pro center LeCharles Bentley also bodes well for what was a line in shambles.

The other somewhat hidden factor that should bounce back for the Browns this season? Injuries, particularly on the defensive side. The Browns, as a whole, were more hurt in 2006 than any team has been in the six years we’ve tracked injuries. A likely regression to the mean on those injuries would result in a healthy, deep team. There’s a serious success story brewing here, and a real chance to make money. Over.

sammich said...

wow amazing summary on my giants. i love it. so true

Buzzsaw said...

Haha, didn't know you liked the Giants, figured it was the Browns for you ... I hope you appreciated that write up, I try to go as in depth as possible.

Guy said...

You're such a homer with your Eagles.

Unreal Brandon Jacobs-Eli Manning theory.