Thursday, August 29, 2013

College Football Week 1: Expert Picks

North Carolina @ #6 South Carolina:

Connor Jones: USC, South Carolina has a big advantage playing at home and with arguably the best college football player in the nation. Their talent will prove too strong for UNC. USC 31 UNC 10

Josh Neighbors: It’s going to be USC, the ole ball coach hopes he will finally get the stability at QB in Connor Shaw. Although North Carolina is a quality team, Clowney and the Gamecocks are poised for big things this season and I believe it will begin on opening night. USC 28 UNC 13

Mississippi State vs. #13 Oklahoma State

Connor: Ok. State always has one of the strongest offenses in the country and they will be tough for Miss. State to keep up with. Too many play makers on the offensive side of the ball for Ok. State. Ok. State 41 Miss. State 24

Josh: The Mike Gundy shootout style meets the Mississippi State grind it out game. With a pair of senior quarterbacks set to dual, this is one of the more underrated games of the weekend. MSU hasn’t won their first game against a ranked team in over five years, I like that trend to continue. Ok. State 45 Mississippi State 35

#1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech

Connor: Alabama enters the season once again as the team to beat. In the end their talent will be too much for Virginia Tech, but Tech's defense helps them cover the spread. Alabama 27 Virginia Tech 13

Josh: Alabama is laying 19.5 points here in this one. Thats a big number, but I think they cover with a late touchdown. Bama 42  VT 21

#5 Georgia @ #8 Clemson

Connor: College Football's game of the week takes place in Death Valley. Two top ten teams will provide an exciting close game from start to finish. Clemson has proven they can play with and beat SEC teams before, and a late touchdown and home crowd advantage will lead to an opening week Clemson win. Clemson 27 UGA 23

Josh: Clemson’s vertical threat in Deandre Hopkins is gone. Aaron Murray is the best pure quarterback in the country in my opinion. The dynamic backfield combination “Gurshall” is back. I like UGA by two scores on the road. UGA 38 Clemson 24

#12 LSU vs #20 TCU

Connor: Both of these teams will play stingy defense and keep their teams in it, but late in the game TCU's defense will wear down and LSU will pull through. LSU 20 TCU 13

Josh: Gary Patterson versus Les Miles. Two of the top five coaches in the league means get ready for a defensive chess match. I can’t wait to see what Zack Mettenburg looks like after he was a letdown last season. In the end of the day, the Mad Hatter will win out. LSU 17 TCU 13

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NFC North Preview

We've been East, and then South, Weston Hannan-Bogosh takes us up north.

Projected Breakout Player: Minnesota TE Kyle Rudolph

Entering his third year in the NFL, the red-nosed reindeer is my pick to be the breakout player of this conference.  With opposing defenses focused on RB Adrian Peterson, and some progression from QB Christian Ponder, Rudolph is poised to shatter last year’s receiving numbers.

Projected Letdown: Green Bay Running Game   
      It’s no secret that, like most teams in the NFL, Green Bay has a pass-first offense.  In 2012, Green Bay ran the ball 41.2% of the time, which is very close to average.  However, Green Bay RBs only rushed for 1702, which was 20th in the league.  With two incoming rookie RBs leading the attack this year and competing with each other for touches, it will be the passing game that gets them where they need to go.    

Head Coach with the Most to Prove: Chicago 1st-Year Coach Marc Trestman
Trestman, the former CFL head coach and long-time NFL assistant, was signed by the Bears after the departure of defensively-minded coach Lovie Smith.  Trestman takes the mantle of a team that missed the game due to a tiebreaking loss to Minnesota earlier in the season.  Currently, the Bears are a bubble team that could bust in 2013, ascend to be an elite franchise this upcoming year.

Detroit Lions
2012 Record: 4-12, 4th in NFC North
QB Matt Stafford posted nearly 5,000 passing yards, WR Calvin Johnson broke the single season receiving record, and Detroit finished 4-12.  Something sound off there? Despite the pure talent that the Lions offense has, they repeatedly fail to execute, and consequently, lose games.  The addition of elusive RB Reggie Bush should improve consistency problems.  In 2012, the Detroit offensive line gave up only 1.8 sacks per game, good for ninth in the NFL.  If the Lions have all these things going for them, then why can’t they win? That is a           commonly asked question that’s only answer is simple; the Lions just aren’t as good as they look on paper.  

    After losing DE Cliff Avril (9.5 Sacks in 2012), DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (Former All-Pro), DT Corey Williams (2 Sacks), Sammie Lee Hill (Signed with Tennessee for $11.25 million), and DE Lawrence Jackson, the Lions are focusing on revamping their defensive line.  Detroit signed DE Israel Idonije (7.5 Sacks), DE/DT Jason Jones (3 Sacks), and drafted DE Devin Taylor and freak athlete DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah.  Ansah is a football anomaly.  Ansah is a native of Ghana, and attended and played college football at BYU.  At this year’s combine, Ansah recorded a 34-inch vertical, as well as a 4.56 40-yard dash time.  Despite his almost superhuman numbers, Ansah’s biggest question is his experience.  Ziggy only started one year at Brigham Young, and is one of the NFL’s few international players.  This past offseason, Detroit lost 10+ regular defensive players to free agency.  Ansah and fellow highly-touted rookie CB Darius Slay look to fill the voids of last year’s defense. 
While the lack of a legitimate secondary receiver, or more accurately, a Calvin Johnson understudy, has plagued Detroit for years now, WR Nate Burleson will be finding himself open more often as the season goes on.  After the Titus Young implosion, Detroit will probably stop experimenting and stick Burleson out there as the de facto secondary receiver.  With the addition of RB Reggie Bush, opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to stop Bush and Megatron, and QB Matt Stafford will have no trouble finding Burleson this season.
Detroit’s letdown will not be an individual player, but instead their execution.  More specifically, turnovers: in 2012, Detroit ranked 15th in the NFC with a -16 giveaway-takeaway total.  In the upcoming season, turning the ball over will be game-deciding for the Lions, mostly favoring losses.
2013 Projected Record: 6-10, 4th in NFC North

Minnesota Vikings
2012 Record: 10-6, 2nd in NFC North
Minnesota ended last year’s regular season by beating division rival Green Bay to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs.  Adrian Peterson topped off his 2,097 rushing yard season a historic 8 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single season record, so let’s get one thing straight.  Minnesota’s offense is the Adrian Peterson assault.  Opposing defenses do their best to make the Vikings pass the ball, and it rarely works.  With Peterson showing no signs of slowing after his ACL tear in the 2011 season, Minnesota is focusing on improving other areas.  Playmaker Percy Harvin was signed by the Seahawks, so the front office managed to ink WR Greg Jennings from the clutches of Green Bay.  As old as he is getting, Jennings still has enough left in the tank to improve Minnesota’s receiving core as well as be a mentor to talented rookie WR Cordarrelle Patterson.  Patterson, after bouncing around for 3 years, accepted a scholarship to Tennessee, and burst onto the national scene.  He recorded 778 receiving yards and 5 TDs, and even 308 rushing yards and 3 TDs.  Patterson has a huge upside, but his downside is his inexperience.  The Tennessee product will be very influential in QB Christian Ponder’s hopefully improved numbers this season.
Defensively, Minnesota is focused on building a long-term defense.  After selecting DT Sharrif Floyd, CB Xavier Rhodes, and LB Gerald Hodges in the draft, the Vikings also signed LB Desmond Bishop, who was formerly with division rival Green Bay.  Aging CB Antoine Winfield did not re-sign, and LB Jasper Brinkley was also lost to free agency.  After being touted as one of the top DTs in the 2012 draft, Floyd will join a deep Minnesota defensive line, which includes All-Pro linemen Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. 
 In just his second professional season, TE Kyle Rudolph snagged 53 passes for 493 yards and 9 TDs.  Measuring in at 6’6”, 260 lbs, Rudolph is a ridiculous athlete, and at 23 years old, was named Pro Bowl MVP.  Rudolph’s potential, despite playing with a subpar QB, is completely untapped.  Rudolph is poised for a breakout 2013 season.
Unless Adrian Peterson breaks the single season rushing record of 2,105 yards, his numbers will regress.  How many times do you hear that? Unless he has the NFL’s best rushing season in history, it will not be up to his potential.  That just goes to show what an incredible athlete Peterson is, which is why he is not my pick to be Minnesota’s 2013 letdown.  Instead, it will be the passing attack as a whole, which finished 31st in the league in yards per game in 2012, that lets down any positive thinking about the Vikings aerial arsenal.
    2013 Projected Record: 9-7, 3rd in NFC North

Green Bay Packers
2012 Record: 11-5, 1st in NFC North
    After finishing 11-5 in 2012, Green Bay looks to improve with a youthful, talented roster. Over this past offseason, the Packers lost many cheesehead cornerstone names.  RB Ryan Grant, WR Greg Jennings, C Jeff Saturday, and CB/S Charles Woodson were all lost to free agency. The Packers’ all-time leader in receiving yards, WR Donald Driver, was lost to retirement.  On the other hand, the draft produced college superstar running backs Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy, from UCLA and Alabama, respectively.  Franklin and Lacy certainly have the potential, but the biggest setbacks to the fruition of each rookie will be their own competition for game reps between themselves. 
On the other side of the field, the Packers drafted fellow UCLA product DL Datone Jones, who recorded an absurd 19.0 tackles for loss last year as a senior.  The Packer’s Defensive coordinators, as well as Jones himself, will look to fill the void lost by DE Erik Walden and DE Frank Zombo, who successfully explored free agency this summer.

WR Randall Cobb
TE Jermichael Finley, WR Jordy Nelson, and WR James Jones will solely benefit from the available targets from the loss of Driver and Jennings, barring injuries.  Unfortunately, none of those previously named will have the best receiving season for the Packers in 2013.  After recording 80 receptions for 954 yards and 8 TD’s in 2012, WR Randall Cobb will be QB Aaron Rodgers’ primary target this year.  Cobb, the top receiver on the Packers depth chart, when paired with the best Quarterback in the NFL, is a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
    Following the departure of former Defensive Player of the Year CB/S Charles Woodson, the Packers picked up Big Ten Defensive Back of the year CB/S Micah Hyde, who was also voted first team All-Big Ten.  Despite all these accolades, why did Hyde drop all the way to the fifth round? This question is best answered not by what he cannot do, because Hyde has ideal size and is good at being a defensive back.  But that’s the thing; he doesn’t accomplish anything exceptionally.  The Packer’s banged-up secondary has the most to prove this season, and is most prone to being a letdown.
    2013 Projected Record: 12-4, 1st in NFC North

Chicago Bears
2012 Record: 10-6
        In 2012, the Bears produced their first Pro-Bowl WR since 2002 (Booker), and just their third since 1971 ().  That shows that Chicago is actively solving issues, but, as usual, the Bears’ offensive line needs improvement.  GM Phil Emery made sure to bolster the offense line, and spent a first round pick on Oregon G Jake Long.  Long has loads of potential, but has a very raw skillset at this point, which brought up questions on whether or not Long should have been a first round pick.  Additionally, the Bears locked up former saints LT Jermon Bushrod.  Bushrod allowed just 4 sacks to Saints QB Drew Brees in 2012, which is partly due to Brees’ ability to get rid of the ball quickly.  Incoming Head Coach Marc Trestman’s offensive playbook is an excellent match for RB Matt Forte, who has only caught fewer than 50 passes in one of his 5 NFL Seasons (2012).  Trestman will have QB Jay Cutler look for Forte as a primary receiver in a Ray Rice-like system. 
    Last year, Bears TEs combined for less than 10% of their passing offense.  Free agent signee TE Martellus Bennett, who logged 55 catches for 626 yards last year as a New York Giant, will be a huge upgrade over TE Kellen Davis.  Measuring in at 6’7”, 246 lbs, Bennett is a superb athlete and blocker. 
        In 2012, the Bears’ defense led the entire NFL in takeaways with 44.  CBs Tim Jennings and Charles “Peanut” Tillman combined to form one of the most effective coverage duos in the NFL, snagging an absurd 12 interceptions between them and racking up 4 TDs in the process.  CB Major Wright, while not excelling at anything in particular, has virtually no weaknesses, and S Chris Conte will hopefully continue to improve his pass defense numbers for his 3rd NFL season.
        After the contract dispute and loss of Bear legend LB Brian Urlacher, Chicago will attempt to replace the future hall of famer with D.J. Williams, a former Bronco who, at 31 years old, is a short term option at best.  Chicago acquired LBs Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Greene, a Rutgers product, was considered a steal in the fourth round.  The Bears were above average against the run in 2012, and the loss of DE Israel Idonije shouldn’t hamper their productivity, especially with their young core of DE Shea McClellen, DT Henry Melton and DT Stephen Paea.  Aging cornerstones Lance Briggs (33) and Julius Peppers (33) have been productive as ever, but will be more injury prone as the season goes on.

        Is this the year that the Bears’ offensive line breaks off from the treadmill of mediocrity? Maybe, maybe not, and with such a young group it will be hard to tell until midseason.  Alshon Jeffery, instead, will be the Bears’ breakout player in 2013.  The 6’3” second-year WR showed flashes as a rookie in 2012, but injuries sat him out for 6 games.  QB Jay Cutler will be looking for another target when fellow WR Brandon Marshall is double- and triple-teamed, and Jeffery should be the man to step up. 
As horrible as they have been the past few years, the Bears newly hyped offensive line is the most letdown-prone area on the Bears roster.  Signee Jermon Bushrod surrendered just 4 sacks to Drew Brees last year, but that number may approach double-digits with a QB who has problems holding the ball too long, as Cutler sometimes does.  Rookie G Jake Long will be a wild card; he is a great athlete, but his inexperience can really hamper his effectiveness this season. 
    2013 Projected Record: 11-5, 2nd in NFC North

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NFC South Preview

We began in the NFC East, now Ben Greer will take us down south,

The NFC South is a division consisting of recent scandal, young quarterbacks with much to prove, one who is more than proven, and teams that all have a reasonable chance at making the playoffs. It will not be an easy road for any one team or any one player, but it is time to take a look at who you can expect to step up and who will fold when opportunity hits.

Let us begin with what their is to prove. However, in this division I fear the term players is too broad of a term, as almost all of the attention in this division flies right to the most important position in the game, quarterback. Let us start with the two quarterbacks that have shown they can be successful as individuals, but have yet to show that they can lead their teams to victory. There two men are Cam Newton and Josh Freeman. It is quite easy to pair these two together as they are separated by one inch in height, five pounds, and one year of age. I recommend not picking a scuffle with either as they are both quite the physical specimen. To say these two guys have not had any success is a stretch of the truth because they have both been fairly successful individuals in their first few years. However, until they lead a team to victory, they will not truly be “successful” quarterbacks. Now for a quarterback a little more proven in Matt Ryan. The former Boston College standout has found his own, earning his first playoff victory last year. However, he still has yet to make a substantial playoff run. For this, he still has not truly proven himself. The last quarterback, Drew Brees, is fully proven and is in no need of description. However, what has to be proven on the Saints is not one individual player but more the defense in general. It was the defense that let them down last year, and they must have a bounce back year if they want to have success.

The coach with the most to prove in the upcoming year has to fall not too from the player, this being Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Smith has been quite the successful coach in his five years as Falcons’ head man, with a 56 and 24. However, in a league where success is based off of championships and nothing less, Smith’s inability to win more than one playoff game is what puts him as the coach with the most to prove. When you consistently have teams that have been able to maintain a championship caliber quality of play in the regular season, Smith’s incapability to win the Super Bowl or even get there makes him the coach with the most to prove.
My breakout performance this year has to come from none other than the Tampa Bay Bucs secondary. For a team that improved greatly under new head coach Greg Schiano last year, they still lack offensive fire power. However, their secondary will surely have a fantastic season. Although they may have lost veteran star Ronde Barber, they signed arguably the best defensive back in the game in Darrelle Revis. Even though he is coming off a season ending injury, Revis should be back to his old self. The second standout is strong safety Mark Barron in his second season out of Alabama. He did not tap his full potential last year, but it could be a big year for the highly talented safety. Put next to him veteran free safety Dashon Goldson, and you have one special secondary. The one question mark will be at the other cornerback spots as they consist of fairly inexperienced Leonard Johnson, rookie Jonathan Banks, and Danny Gorrer. Even the inexperienced defensive backs have loads of potential, and this secondary will surely be the bright spot on the Bucs and the most standout performances in the NFC South.

My biggest letdown has to come from the opposite side of the ball, on the same squad. Josh Freeman is going to have the biggest let down of the NFC North. The former Kansas State Wildcat is in his 5th year in the NFL with the Bucs, but he has yet to have a real standout year. This year I fear is only going to be a step backwards. However, this cannot fully fall on Freeman’s shoulders. He simply does not have an explosive offense surrounding him. The receiving core lacks much of anything as the only semi-real threats are Vincent Jackson and Kevin Ogletree. They do not have a close to significant tight-end and although running back Doug Martin showed last year he can do incredible things at times, this will not be enough in Freeman. Let us not forget the Bucs picked quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round of the draft; this has to make you wonder, do the Bucs believe in Freeman themselves?
Final Records:

Atlanta Falcons: 11-5
New Orleans Saints: 10-6
Tampa Bay Bucs: 8-8
Carolina Panthers: 7-9

The Atlanta Falcons headed by Matt Ryan are not about to have any sort of let down this year. They are poised to make a serious run once more, and with explosive wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones, as well as veteran tight-end Tony Gonzalez, their offense is one of the best of the year. With a stout defense, they will win the division, but the Saints will not make it easy for them. With Sean Payton back this year, there will be no distractions to hinder this team. Even though they will not win the division, they should be able to ride star Drew Brees to a Wild Card and a playoff berth. Both the Bucs and Panthers will be in about the same spot as they ended up in last year. Neither team has made enough strides to become a big contender, and even though they have aspects that will enable them to win some games, they do not have enough to contend in this tough division. Even though Cam Newton could have a wonder of a year, the weapons aren’t there; as a result, neither are the Panthers.
-Ben Greer

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NFC East Preview

To begin our series of NFL division previews, NFC East correspondent Addison Hunsicker of Sports Talk All Day will lead us off. 
The teams in the NFC East have had an interesting off season thus far, making big headlines at times. Chip Kelly was hired as the new head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles after they fired 14-year head coach Andy Reid, and Kelly was looking to head into training camp and transform this Eagles team through the rebuilding process. These past two weeks have put a halt to that rebuilding process, as wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL and Riley Cooper made headlines for using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert.
The Dallas Cowboys signed quarterback Tony Romo to a six-year, 108 million dollar contract extension, with 55 million dollars guaranteed. Along with signing Romo to an extension, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that head coach Jason Garrett's job is not in jeopardy. These two moves put a lot of unnecessary attention on the Dallas Cowboys, attention that they were looking to avoid heading into the season.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tore his ACL at the end of a divisional round playoff game last year against the Seattle Seahawks. RGIII will not play in any preseason games in hopes to be ready for the season opener on Monday, September 9th.
The New York football Giants have been the only team in the NFC East that has flied under the radar this off season. They did sign wide receiver Victor Cruz to a five-year, 43 million dollar contract extension, but other than that, we have not heard that much from the Giants.
This division disappointed last year in the minds of many people (unless you are a Redskins fan), but will it disappoint this year? Here is how I think the teams in the NFC East will do during this upcoming NFL Season.
The Washington Redskins:
2012 record: 10-6
2013 predicted record: 9-7
2013 predicted team MVP: Alfred Morris
This division is wide open this year, any team could win it. That is why I am predicting that the Washington Redskins will repeat as NFC East division champions in 2013. When a division is wide open, I always give the edge to the team that won it the previous season. Robert Griffin III, when healthy, is the best quarterback in the division, no question. He is the best play maker in the division, as he can create big plays with his legs, and certainly his arm. RGIII can scramble 10 yards to pick up a first down, and he can step up in the pocket and launch the ball 50 yards down-field to Pierre Garcon. Bottom line is, Robert Griffin III can do it all. The thing about this Redskins team is, they do not have to rely on RGIII to make all the plays, because they have Alfred Morris who can run the rock. This sixth-round pick exploded last year in his rookie season, rushing for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. These two men combined could be the most dynamic QB/RB duo in the NFL if they stay healthy. The Redskins defense will be the key to this team's success. If they can get key stops and get the football back into the hands of RGIII and Alfred Morris, there is no doubt that this team will win football games. Led by the linebacker core of Ryan Kerrigan, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, and Brian Orakpo, this Redskins defense certainly has the middle of the field on lock-down. The combination of RGIII and Alfred Morris will ultimately be the reason why the Washington Redskins repeat as champions of the NFC East in 2013.
The New York Giants:
2012 record: 9-7
2013 record: 8-8
2013 predicted team MVP: Victor Cruz
This Giants team is very intriguing entering the 2013 season, as they failed to make the playoffs last year after winning the Super Bowl in 2011. Eli Manning struggled last season, and I think that struggle will carry into this season. He is and always has been a turnover machine throughout his career (Eli had 15 interceptions and four fumbles last year). The Giants have struggled with the running game, and lost starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw in free agency. With the loss of Bradshaw, the turnover struggle of Eli Manning, and the injuries to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, I do not expect this Giants offense to produce like it has in the past this season. The key for the Giants success, like the Redskins, will be the defense. Last year, defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck completely disappeared, along with the entire Giants defense. Tuck and Pierre-Paul combined for just 10.5 sacks last season, compared to the combined 21.5 sacks the two had in 2011. If this defense can be anything like it was back in 2011, the year the Giants won the Super Bowl, then the Giants should do better than the 8-8 record that I have predicted.
The Philadelphia Eagles:
2012 record: 4-12
2013 predicted record: 7-9
2013 predicted team MVP: DeSean Jackson
There are many words that can be used to describe the Eagles season last year, and none of those words would be positive, unless you like losing. Nothing went right for the Eagles after a 2-0 start to the 2012 season. Both defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and defensive line coach Jim Washburn were fired during the season, followed by head coach Andy Reid at the season's conclusion. This is the first year in two decades that Andy Reid is not the head coach of the Eagles, as Chip Kelly was hired to succeed him. No one can really predict what this Eagles team is going to be, mainly because no one knows how Chip Kelly's offensive scheme will work in the NFL. The Eagles have All-Pro offensive linemen Jason Peters and Todd Herremans returning from injuries, along with center Jason Kelce. With the third overall pick, the Eagles selected tackle Lane Johnson, so the offensive line should not be a problem this year for the Eagles. Quarterback is a huge question mark about this Eagles team. All four quarterbacks on the roster right now (Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, and Dennis Dixon) could see playing time throughout the season, and that could be a problem. Jeremy Maclin's injury and the whole Riley Cooper situation will definitely hurt the Eagles offensively, but they still have LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson to carry the load. Defense is still the question with this team, as the defense has been horrible the past two seasons. I don't expect the defense to be any better than it has been, but it should be improved with the Wide-9 scheme no longer in affect. Bottom line for the Eagles this year, limit the turnovers and get key stops, and this could be a miracle first season for Chip Kelly as the head coach. 
The Dallas Cowboys:
2012 record: 8-8
2013 predicted record: 6-10
2013 predicted team MVP: Dez Bryant
The Dallas Cowboys never fail to entertain the NFL world each season, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves to put the attention on his team. Attention seems to hurt the Cowboys more than attention likes to help them; and that is what I see happening this year with this football team. Tony Romo will continue to come up short when it matters, which will cause the Cowboys to lose more games like it has in the past. The shining star of this Cowboys team this year will be wide receiver Dez Bryant. This dude is a flat out stud. Anything Tony Romo throws in that man's general direction will be caught, Dez Bryant is that good. If Bryant stays out of trouble off the field, he could outperform Calvin Johnson this year, but I don't expect him to outperform Megatron this year, not because I think he will get into off the field trouble, but because Tony Romo is his quarterback. I do expect the defense to be the side of the ball that holds this team back. DeMarcus Ware is a great pass rusher and Morris Claiborne will have an impact in his second season, but that will not be enough as this Cowboys will struggle to make key stops. I am not saying that the offense will be great either, I just think that the defense will be worse than the offense. In my opinion, if Jerry Jones honestly cared about football, Tony Romo would not have received that contract extension, and Jason Garrett would not be the head coach right now.
I see the Washington Redskins winning the division, repeating as NFC East champions, followed by the New York Giants in second, the Philadelphia Eagles in third, and the Dallas Cowboys in last. The Washington Redskins will be the only team representing the NFC East in the playoffs, as I do not see the remaining teams in the division finishing with good enough records to snag a Wild Card spot.
Division Awards
NFC East MVP: Dez Bryant NFC East Offensive Player of the Year: Alfred Morris
NFC East Defensive Player of the Year: Prince Amukamara
NFC East Rookie of the Year: Zach Ertz

*I think that Alfred Morris will have better stats offensively than Dez Bryant, but I think that Bryant will have more of an impact to his team, making him the Most Valuable Player.
Bold Prediction: Jason Garrett will be fired before the Dallas Cowboys bye week, which is in week 11. I think Jerry Jones will have no choice but to fire Garrett by that point in the season, but then again, Jerry Jones does not like to admit when he is wrong.
The NFC East will certainly be an interesting division to watch this year, that is a fact. What is not known is how each team will do, and I tried to predict that in this preview. This division is up for grabs, and any team can win it, possibly with an 8-8 record, who knows. All I know is, you can look for the NFC East to be in the headlines throughout the 2013 NFL season.
- Addison Hunsicker
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