PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Cowboys 12-4
2. Giants 9-7
3. Eagles 8-8
4. Washington 3-13
Now that unpleasantness is out of the way…
I am still a Cowboys fan, but I try to be as realistic as possible.
Running back by committee is not a wise choice, but they feel that their offensive line is good enough that anyone can run behind that line. Former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson says in an interview with the Dallas Morning News that if he was Coach Jason Garrett, he would be concerned about this approach.
The defensive unit performed better than anticipated. While the Cowboys will have linebacker Sean Lee returning from an injury, they lost cornerback Orlando Scandrick to an ACL and MCL tear during training camp.
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul provided the children an important fireworks safety lesson during the offseason. Coach Tom Coughlin says he believes that Paul will eventually return to the Giants.
Despite this, I think the Giants might be the least talked about team heading into 2015. It would not surprise me if they make a run similar to their championship runs in 2007 and 2011. The combination of Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. will create headaches for opposing secondaries provided that quarterback Eli Manning can cut down on his interceptions.
I am not buying the hype around the Eagles. Philadelphia has their hopes dependent on quarterback Sam Bradford who has only played a complete regular season twice in his five seasons in the NFL. Bradford missed the 2014 season due to a knee injury.
Washington is a mess.
But this is not about politics.
Not only are their more criticisms of the team’s name, but this franchise has been on a downward spiral since their surprising 2012 run to the playoffs. The relationship between coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Robert Griffin III is not working. Though Griffin has been hampered with knee and foot injuries over the last few seasons. For now Kirk Cousins is the starter but I expect that at this time next season Washington will try to shop Griffin to another team.
One of the things I miss about not living in Dallas is the ability to listen to The Ticket on my way to class. I would listen to Bob Sturm on my way home. I share the similar concerns such as injuries, the running game, and the overall health of quarterback Tony Romo. However he points out that the NFC East might not be as good as advertised. The Cowboys played the role of underdog after their opening day loss to San Francisco and were able to make their way into the playoffs. A perceived bad call might have cost them a second trip to Seattle (where the Cowboys beat the Seahawks in Seattle early in the season) and a chance to play in the Super Bowl for the first time in almost 20 years.
I share his optimism though:
With that in mind, I am rolling this year with 11-5 as the record, the division title, and perhaps a real chance at a bye week in the playoffs. I like this team, this coach, and the way this front office has put together a roster that even seems to have some injury insurance at a lot of spots.
The NFC has some other very strong teams, but I don't see why the Cowboys should feel inferior to any of them. They have a real chance. They have already demonstrated they can play with Seattle and Green Bay, and then they went and added a bunch of talent to try to push past them. Nobody (especially me) has any idea if they can, but they certainly have a number of compelling reasons to keep us locked in.
And now, we grab our seats for the season to begin. We have no idea what 2015 has around the next corner, but it says here the floor is high and the ceiling can be very high.
Now, will this column be as comically amusing in 365 days as the 2014 version?
Hope springs eternal…