Beasts of the East.: Michael Silver explains why the NFC East is the best division in football.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia to football at 12:21 PM - 27 comments
Most people are counting the Giants out, but not me. Eli should have a strong season, and Tiki has been simply untouchable. If Tiki stays healthy, the Giants offensive unit should be great. The offense has so many weapons, and should easily wear out opposing defenses. Their defense is also great, with a restructured secondary, and a great front seven. I think that the G Men will turn lots of heads this season.
posted by Kendall at 12:52 PM on August 24
Hardly... The fact that the teams are equally weak so that the playoff moves from team to team might give that impression... Eagles: Once the class of the Division, now on the outs. If the are resurgent this year, it will be at the expense of... Dallas: Seriously, when you have a QB controversy between Bledsoe and Romo... If TO plays better than ever, and gets along with Bledsoe, the Cowboys have a shot. Redskins: Sure they spend alot of money, but they're weak on the O-Line, and they're weak at their skill positions. No Portis, Brunell and Santana Moss? They have the D to keep them in games, but not the '99 Ravens by a long shot. The Giants: Eli gets more love than he has talent, Shockey still hasn't shown he was worth it, no "gambreakers". The only thing they have going for them is Tiki Barber, and despite one or two great years, that's nothing to base your super bowl hopes on. Burress still hasn't "gotten it" and Toomer can't do it alone. While any of these teams can make the playoffs, I don't think any of them are super bowl favorites. Dallas may have the best shot, but also looks to be the team most likely to self-destruct. The Giants aren't dominating enough on either side of the ball. I would either go AFC North, (Bengals Steelers, and Ravens) or AFC West (Oakland, Denver, San Diego, and KC) as the strongest overall divisions. Depends on how much impact McNair has in Baltimore.
posted by LostInDaJungle at 12:57 PM on August 24
Hardly... The fact that the teams are equally weak so that the playoff moves from team to team might give that impression... Yeah, when you're primarily looking at standings, parity at any level makes for a "tough division". A division of weak teams is as "tough" as a division of strong teams. I think the author makes the case that some of these teams might be considered contenders. Best division in football? Not on a bet.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:36 PM on August 24
I would either go AFC North, (Bengals Steelers, and Ravens) or AFC West (Oakland, Denver, San Diego, and KC) as the strongest overall divisions. I don't know what you are talking about. In the AFC North, the ravens will be better, but they still wont be great, and everyone will beat up on the Browns, who you failed to even mention, although i can't blame you if you are trying to make a case for that division being the best in football. It's going to be a battle between the Bengals and Steelers again, just like last year. In the AFC West, KC is not going to be as good as people are expecting them to be. They lost a key part of their line in Willie Roaf, and the rest of the line is getting old too. Don't expect too much out of Larry Johnson or anyone else on the team this year. Oakland had that fall from grace after the Super Bowl a few years back, and since then they have just become a dumpng ground for players past their prime. Just like the AFC North, this will be a two team battle between SD and Denver. NFC East is by far the strongest division in the NFL. As long as things don't implode (which they well could, I am not going to deny that), look for these teams to dominate.
posted by NightingalesGone at 01:41 PM on August 24
I believe this is the most competitive division in the NFL, not sure if that qualifies as the best. All 4 teams have a legit shot at winning this division as well as making the playoffs. 2-3 of those teams could actually win a game or two if they got there. Once again, the NFC appears to be up for grabs this year. I don't believe there is a trus favorite out there right now. I hope my Cowboys do well this year though, it's been a while since we had so much optimism heading in to a season. I don't for a minute believe there is any QB controversey in Dallas this year, Bledsoe is the man unless he gets injured. The OL will be the key to their success on offense. The D looks much improved and should be able to keep them in most games. The thing I believe will hurt the NFC East and the NFC South too is that these two divisions have to play each other. That's six to seven of the best teams in the NFC right there. They'll take some wins away from each other making the division games that much more important. I think the AFC North will not be as good as advertised. The Bengals have questions at QB with Palmer and their defense, while improving, still lacks a little toughness and struggles at times to stop the run. The Steelers lost some things from the SB team and really weren't all that dominating last year anyway. They lost the division to Cinci and I do not see where they have improved much in the offseason. The Ravens will be an interesting team to watch. Steve McNair may finally be the answer to their QB problems and J.Lewis promises to have a better year if healthy. If that D can get back to their dominating ways, the Ravens will be playoff bound. The Browns are, well they're still the Browns. Maybe next year Dogg Pound. AFC West is a two team race, maybe. San Diego will find out soon if Rivers can continue to look as impressive as he has in pre-season. Denver is looking to build on a very nice season last year. With the addition of Javon Walker, they could be back in the AFC Championship game in 07. Go Cowboys! RTG baby!
posted by ampto11 at 02:13 PM on August 24
I purposely didn't mention the Browns. If they could keep some guys healthy, AFC North would be hands down the best division in football. As it is, I still think they can make a strong case with the three top teams. (FYI, I'm a Bengals fan, biased.) However, in the AFC West, you have some teams that have all known playoff bids recently, Oakland has the talent, maybe the new (old) coach can get the talent working together? They've looked pretty good pre-season, and you never count out a team with Randy Moss on it. (Or one that just fired Norv Turner) There's no team out there that's perfect from top to bottom, and certainly no division. IMHO, the edge goes to the AFC West because of the Browns bad luck.
posted by LostInDaJungle at 02:39 PM on August 24
I don't think Oakland should even be mentioned in any discussion about the best anything right now. They are one of the 2 worst teams in football right now (the other being the 49ers). I don't think either of those teams gets more than 4 wins this year. They are just a bad football team Moss or no Moss. Moss is a non factor when there is no QB to throw it to him. I give you Bengals and Steelers being 2 of the best teams in football, that division is always tough though and has been since it was Steelers and Oilers. I think he was cose to the mark as far as the NFC east though, those are all teams that seem to be building in the right direction and top notch coaching from top to bottom. There is no QB controversy in Dallas, Bledsoe is the guy unless he gets hurt. However it does appear that maybe the Cowboys have found thier QB of the future in Romo, you must admit the kid has looked good. I myself am a Steelers fan so I always lean toward that division myself, but we don't know if Carson is going to be able to bounce back and even being a Steelers fan I must say we got on a nice roll at the right time last year but I am not sold on them being the best team in football. Should be an interesting season but it would surprise me if one of the NFC east teams was not in the NFC championship game this year.
posted by T.C. at 03:07 PM on August 24
bledsoe and brunell are starting qb's in the toughest division in football, lol i don't think so. redskins and cowboys will continue to be overrated, and andy reid's style doesn't suit the eagles talent (still). NFC overall is weak and this division looks tough only by comparison imo.
posted by chmurray at 03:14 PM on August 24
Dallas: Seriously,when you have a quarterback controversy between Bledsoe and Romo... Rest assured, there is no controversy between Romo and Bledsoe, not in the eyes of Dallas fans, and certainly not in the eyes of Bill Parcells. Drew is Bill's boy, remember that, has been since he drafted him at New England. The biggest QB controversy in Big D is Aikman and Staubach naming Terry Labonte to drive for their Hall Of Fame racing team...
posted by mjkredliner at 03:38 PM on August 24
Quick homer statement. Philly has the best D-Line in the NFL. The other 98% of you will know that after week 2. Back on topic, Philly will sit back on top of the overrated competition in the division again. No team can be division champs forever.
posted by Bishop at 03:51 PM on August 24
When making the case for the "toughest division", one must take into account all four teams in said division. No other division except the NFC East has 4 legitimate playoff contenders. The AFC-W has the Raiders, AFC-S=Texans&Titans, AFC-N=Browns, AFC-E=Jets&Bills, NFC-W=49ers, NFC-S=Saints, NFC-N=Lions. As of now, most people would be shocked to see any of these teams in the playoffs, but not surprised to see any of the four NFC-E teams in it. The "best division" argument, however, will never be agreed on until we see four 9+ win teams in a division in the same year, and if anyone has a chance to do that it has to be the nfc east. Will any of them be in the Superbowl? Doubt it. But thier all in the hunt...
posted by Hornsfan817 at 03:55 PM on August 24
Maybe I was a little strong on saying that the Giants are great, but saying that they dont have any gamebreakers, or "gambreakers" is false. Tiki is a game breaker, Shockey has good speed for a TE, Burress is a beast, who is starting to devolp chemistry with Eli. Moss has the potential to be as good as his brother, and Toomer has playmaking ability still. The defense is loaded with stars, such as Sam Madison, LaVar, Strahan, Osi, and Shaun Williams. So to say they dont have a shot at the superbowl, or have any gamebreakers is false.
posted by Kendall at 05:09 PM on August 24
No other division except the NFC East has 4 legitimate playoff contenders. Good point Hornsfan... After reading this whole thread, thats really what it comes down too. I personally think the Giants are being underrated this year... And I'm and Eagles fan...
posted by myshtigo at 05:14 PM on August 24
Quick homer statement. Philly has the best D-Line in the NFL. Qucik homer response: better than New England with Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and one or two more guys who might start on other teams? (Addmitedly, NE plays a 3-4, so it's not apples to apples)
posted by yerfatma at 05:48 PM on August 24
I don't think so, The NFC South is the best Divsion in Football. Three of the teams have domonated football for the past 5 years; one winning the Superbowl Tampa Bay and the two others have made good runs at the Superbowl, Atlanta and Carolina. Also, the Saints have beaten them all and they didn't have a team. The year Tampa won the superbowl they lost the Saints twice that year. The Sanits will make everyone honest this year.
posted by Crickette at 06:14 PM on August 24
Qucik homer response: better than New England with Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and one or two more guys who might start on other teams? (Addmitedly, NE plays a 3-4, so it's not apples to apples Yerfatma, Of course my opinion is biased. However, There isn't much I can tell you at this point, it's more or less a wait and see type thing. That sad, Our 5th D-end leads the preseason in sacks (J.Thomas) and he may be cut. We had 7 sacks against Baltimore, 4 against Oakland, and 4 against the Browns. Of the 15 sacks, only 1 is by someone other than a D lineman. Our 5th D-end and 3rd D-tackle (Bunkley) have as many sacks as the Giants entire team. Did philly play an extra preseason game? Yes, Did Bunkley play in it? No. Every 1 of our D-ends has at least 1 sack (including subs). Philly will be in the top 3 in sacks this year, without Blitzing as much. The D-line will lead all D-lines in sacks by 10. They let D. Burgess go last year he led the league in sacks with Oakland (16). Thats how good the D-line is in Philly.
posted by Bishop at 07:16 PM on August 24
When making the case for the "toughest division", one must take into account all four teams in said division. No other division except the NFC East has 4 legitimate playoff contenders. They have "4 legitimate playoff contenders" because they have parity. Any of them could win the division. Does that mean they're all very good? It does not. As I said before, by some twisted definition, that could indeed make this the "toughest division", but that hardly means that the rest of the NFL's gonna pee in their pants at the prospect of playing a team in the *gasp* NFC East.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:13 PM on August 24
LBB, due to parity, I don't think there's a team in the league that scares anyone, let alone an entire division. The only difference between the NFC East and the other divisions is they don't have the clunker (49ers, Saints, Browns, Raiders, Texans... um, everyone in the NFC North). That said, I would go with the NFC South even with the Saints. The AFC South arguably has two of the best teams, but they also have two of the worst. AFC North has potential, but has a lot of question marks. Both NFC and AFC West divisions are much improved.
posted by SummersEve at 04:13 AM on August 25
The NFL couldn't be happier with the parity resulting in the NFC East teams being so even at this point. All of these teams are in big markets and create rivalry games the league gets a major hard-on for. They can't wait to hype the Washington-Dallas, Philadelphia-NY Giants, Dallas-Philadelphia (T.O. barf-barf-gag), etc. games because they're traditional rivals. When teams were realigned and switched to different/new divisions, these four stayed together for a reason. It's the NFL's (and especially the NFC's) dream come true.
posted by dyams at 07:13 AM on August 25
I think that to underestimate either the Giants or the 'Skins this year would be foolish, and as a Dallas fan, I can already see the writing on the wall regarding T.O. I don't think T.O. is a slacker, he has proven he will play when injured, but Bill is bending over backwards for this guy, and it just doesn't feel like it's going to mesh. I hope I'm wrong...
posted by mjkredliner at 10:55 AM on August 25
I'm skeptical of the Giants. They are the reigning Division championship mainly because of that "away" game against the Saints that happened to be in Giant stadium. They got a terrible drubbing in the playoffs. Their offensive line is getting increasingly banged up. Their pass defense last year was nightmarish (against division rivals who spent $$ money working on their passing games). I don't know what will happen, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them struggle. The Redskins season is based on the health of Brunell. Yikes! The Eagles have Westbrook who doesn't rush the ball and no legitimate receivers. They have a revamped defensive line that (hopefully) will have some kind of pass rush this year. Dallas seems to have really improved their defense, but TO can destroy this team's season and he seems like he is on that trajectory.
posted by bperk at 11:34 AM on August 25
The Eagles have Westbrook who doesn't rush the ball and no legitimate receivers. They have a revamped defensive line that (hopefully) will have some kind of pass rush this year. 2 more sacks (17 total this preseason) (1 by Howard D-end see my prev post) 6 QB hurries 5 QB knockdowns leading to 2 int's and 1 int grounding penalty. 1 sack/1 int/1 int grounding penalty 3 hurries 3 QB knockdowns all against Steelers starters. Philly starting D unit has given up 3 points in 4 preseason games. Eagles have converted points on all 4 opening drives this preseason (including tonight against Steelers starters/held Steelers starters scoreless). B.Westbrook did not play/H.Ward did not play. Notable Eagles Wr's G.Lewis 2 rec 91 yrds 1TD R.Brown 3 rec 46 yrds J.Avant 2rec 20 yrds J.Gaffney 1 rec 18 yrds
posted by Bishop at 11:45 PM on August 25
It's the preseason. The Steelers starters last year didn't score any touchdowns either and I think it ended up working out pretty well for them. The Eagles did seem to have a pass rush. McNabb didn't throw any touchdowns and he was sacked three times.
posted by bperk at 09:04 AM on August 26
They got a terrible drubbing in the playoffs. All of their starting linebackers were hurt, which allowed Carolina to run all over the Giants. Their pass defense last year was nightmarish (against division rivals who spent $$ money working on their passing games). Yeah, but now we have Sam Madison, a Pro Bowl Corner, who will be a force for their defensive unit.
posted by Kendall at 09:56 AM on August 26
Now you are just being a homer, kendall. I'm pretty sure the linebackers had nothing to do with the five turnovers. The Giants were horrible in every aspect of that game.
posted by bperk at 07:43 PM on August 27
Aslo calling Sam Madison a Pro Bowl corner isn't telling the whole story. Sam is a very good cover corner and was Pro Bowl calibre, but he's modified his game to a safety-first approach as he's aged and doesn't gamble on the ball at all now. Two interceptions in the last two seasons tells a tale. As a Dolphins' fan, Sam is one of my favourite players and I'm sure he'll be solid as long as he's healthy, but the days where you could write 'Sam Madison' next to a receiver's name and then forget about that side of the field have gone.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:40 AM on August 28
As a Dolphins' fan, Sam is one of my favourite players and I'm sure he'll be solid as long as he's healthy, but the days where you could write 'Sam Madison' next to a receiver's name and then forget about that side of the field have gone. Solid is a huge improvement over what they had last year. You might find out since the Dolphins took on Allen (being fast does not make you a good corner).
posted by bperk at 08:59 AM on August 28
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