Asinine Football Analysis: NFC East Preview 2015

By Patrick Emmel

AFC: East | North | South | West

NFC: East | North | South | West

When it comes to divisional rivalries in football, few groups do it better than the NFC East. Ask any fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles the order of teams they hate the most, and the list will start with the other three teams. It’s what we like to see: no matter how bad the teams are, fans still have enough energy to make every divisional game a moment of pride… or embarrassment.

We continue our asinine analysis of NFL teams that you hate to love and love to hate to prepare you for the 2015 season. Our next targets: the teams of the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys

Record: 12-4. A fine record for the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, a season with some pride! Don’t tell the Cowboys that they’re not good enough, or that their defense can’t keep a team of Cabbage Patch dolls from putting up 30 points. 12-4! How ’bout dem Cowboys?!

And then this happened.

The Good: Besides DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys are pretty much the same team that they were last year. Darren McFadden is now in the backfield, which means that he may be this year’s Murray: making everyone think he’s going to get hurt before racking up a pile of yards behind the best offensive run blockers in the game. The Cowboys even added some power on their defense with Greg Hardy.

The Bad: The Cowboys picked up Greg Hardy. Jerry Jones didn’t get Adrian Peterson and his issues, so he got the next best headache. Ray Rice wasn’t even an option, apparently, and Justin Blackmon is still under contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. One day, Cowboys. One day you’ll have all the headaches on one team.

The Ugly: Not only are the Cowboys fighting amongst themselves already, but Jerry Jones is actually proud that their players are fighting amongst themselves. Even their Twitter page is proudly displaying the team’s strife.

Maybe the Cowboys are going for that exciting bad boy image. I guess it’s better than breakdowns of Tony Romo’s golf game.

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles. Eli Manning (Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York Giants

Record: 6-10. It’s not a good enough record to get the New York Giants into the playoffs, but it’s a good enough record for fans to stick it to their stadium roomies. It wasn’t even a hard-fought 6-10, either. The Giants beat: the Washington Redskins (twice); the Houston Texans (without Clowney or a quarterback); the Atlanta Falcons (who didn’t have a defense); the St. Louis Rams (who had Shaun Hill under center) and the Tennessee Titans (’nuff said.)

The Good: If we’re on the normal four-year cycle, then the Giants are primed to have a mediocre season, barely make the playoffs as a wildcard, pull out victory after victory until a receiver makes a miraculous catch to defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. This script is so obvious, it might as well star Kevin Costner.

The Bad: The Giants may have already used up the one miracle catch every four years with Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch last year. What, do you expect Eli Manning to throw the ball in the vicinity of a receiver every year? Who do you think he is, Tom Brady?

The Ugly: Jason Pierre Paul blew himself up, so there goes any semblance of a defensive front.

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Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a stop against the New York Giants. Bennie Logan (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 10-6. Again. Except, this time, the Philadelphia Eagles did not get into the playoffs in order to lose to a team who is notorious for losing on the road. It was enough for Chip Kelly to punch owner Jeff Lurie in the gut and clean house. It’s the only way the moves by the Eagles this offseason could have happened. Either that or Kelly has lewd photos of Lurie watching football in a Cowboys jerseys.

The Good: With Jordan Matthews returning after a breakout second half of a season and Nelson Agholor drafted, his receiving corp looks nice and speedy, just like a Chip Kelly offense is intended. It’s like having Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson without any of the attitudes or injury concerns.

The Bad: DeMarco Murray defected to the Eagles after a career-making season with the Cowboys and a huge payday. That means that he’s poised to break down in the second game of the season so that Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews can share injury breaks. It’s like Kelly is treating the running game like an afterthought, an ugly necessity to his game. It also probably means that he’s preparing his team to be behind every game.

The Ugly: Don’t worry. If the running backs can’t get the job done, the Eagles’ quarterback stable will pick up the slack. If Sam Bradford tears his ACL while reading the playbook, Mark Sanchez will be there. If Sanchez breaks his tailbone, Matt Barkley will be there to show why you’re not supposed to draft quarterbacks from USC. Then… it’s time. TEBOW TIME! The first fourth-string quarterback to get more press time than the starter.

Brandon Scherff of the Iowa Hawkeyes holds up a jersey after being chosen #5 overall by the Washington Redskins. Brandon Scherff (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Washington Redskins

Record: 4-12. Finally, we see some improvement from the Washington Redskins! One extra win! That extra win helped them make the decision to draft an offensive lineman instead of forgetting about the past three years and trading away their future picks for the next two years to draft another quarterback at the #2 spot. Come on, you know you were thinking about it before Tennessee announced that they were actually taking a player.

The Good: The best pickup of the offseason for the Redskins was general manager Scot McCloughan. This man knows scouting! He looked at Russell Wilson and thought, “That kid is going places!” He has two Super Bowl rings, which is just one shy of the entire franchise. He was also one of the first pickups that now-team president Bruce Allen made without owner Dan Snyder breathing down his neck. Allegedly. And let’s not forget the star of last season, Colt McCoy! Did you see how he engineered the drive that would defeat the Cowboys? I hope so, because that’s the only thing he did all season. PROGRESS! McCoy isn’t third on the quarterback depth chart for nothing!

The Bad: Even in training camp, the players can’t seem to stay healthy. DeSean Jackson is expected to miss two weeks after being taken down hard… by a blocking sled.

DeAngelo Hall hurt his groin, Bashaud Breeland has a strained MCL, Tevin Mitchel tore his labrum, and David Amerson sprained his AC joint. What’s really scary is that all of these players were supposed to be major contributors, and almost all Redskins fans have no clue who they are. The injuries are at the point where If RG3’s leg falls off during practice, no one will be surprised.

The Ugly: This quote: “You’re going to feel us from the standpoint of being physical. The next morning, you’re going to be sore.” – Washington GM Scot McCloughan. So the Redskins are going to be a football team this year and not just an intricate array of practice cones lined up on the field to take on opposing teams. Improvement is always good, but that sort of starting point is pretty bad. The “Most Improved” award in sports is a badge of sports inadequacy from early high school and on. You don’t want that award, but McCloughan seems ready to take it.

Patrick Emmel is better at talking about sports than actually playing them. You can tell him he’s wrong on Twitter @Patrick_AE or see more of his work at Fanosis.


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