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- NFC East Outlook: Change Here, Change There

Chris Pokorny August 28, 2004
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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NFC East 2004 Season Predictions - by Chris Pokorny

Over the offseason, the NFC East probably had the most change in the NFL. When you look at every team, there are at least three major changes on each. Some involve coaching changes, while others are due to elite players. The Eagles have won the division the past few years, and last year Bill Parcells led the Cowboys to a wildcard spot. What about this year?

1st Place - Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had four major moves in the offseason. They lost an excellent cornerback in Troy Vincent and they lost fan favorite running back Duce Staley. That looks like a dramatic loss at first, until you see that they have gained "The Freak" Javon Kearse and wide receiver Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens is supposed to be the guy that will bring the Eagles over the hump. They have come one game away from the Super Bowl the past three years, and lost each of them. Terrell Owens and McNabb have already hooked up with some nice plays in the preseason, but T.O. has also dropped a few right at him. The Eagles took a hit when they lost Buckhalter in the preseason for the year, so Westbrook will have to carry a heavy load this year. I would be stunned if they didn't make the playoffs, but not surprised if they lose during the playoffs again.

2nd Place - Washington Redskins

The Redskins made several additions during the offseason, and probably had the most change. The Redskins brought in one of the NFL's legendary coaches, Joe Gibbs. Under Gibbs, the Redskins went out an got quarterback Mark Brunell. A lot of people in Washington feel that Patrick Ramsey should be the guy, but I have never been a big fan of him, I think Brunell is the guy to go with. Clinton Portis is a major upgrade for their running game. The only problem this year may be in their secondary. They had to give up Champ Bailey in order to get Portis, and teams can now exploit their secondary as the Rams just did in the preseason game. Sean Taylor, though, could make a major impact in that secondary as a shutdown safety over the middle. However, like Parcells did last year with the Cowboys, I think Gibbs will find a way to get this team in the wildcard race finally.

3rd Place - Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys underwent many changes as well. Their leading rusher last year, Troy Hambrick(Who didn't really run very well for the team), is gone, and so is veteran receiver Joey Galloway. They upgraded at running back by selecting Julius Jones in the first round, and also made a huge signing in Eddie George, a reliable starter or backup for the team. Keyshawn Johnson should thrive under Parcells system, since he was with him during his New York Jets era. Parcells also chose to go with a veteran quarterback in Vinny Testeverde who will get a crack at another starting job. Quincy Carter is gone, the guy who led them to the playoffs last season. That shows that Parcells feels that he doesn't matter what players he has where, as long as the strategy is involved. I see the Cowboys battling it out with the Redskins for a second place spot in the division, with the Cowboys possibly falling into a tie with them.

4th Place - New York Giants

The Giants still have another year before they can contend. Sure, they dumped Kerry Collins and brought in former MVP Kurt Warner and drafted Eli Manning. The problem is, if Warner struggles, I see the Giants going to Eli. If Eli struggles, I see them going to Warner. You can't have a quarterback battle going into the season and expect to compete, especially with this offensive line. They made some moves to try and help the line, but they don't seem any better. One bright spot for the Giants is their running backs. Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne seem to be in for a good year. I think the Giants will have to suffer another year in the cellar unfortunately. Also there are still continuous questions with Jeremy Shockey's health, which can't really help.

That's it for the NFC North. Next we move back to the AFC where things are getting interested. The Ravens, Browns, Steelers, and Bengals have all looked good in preseason. Many people feel the Ravens may make the Super Bowl, but is that what I think?

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