August 5, 2012

3-Way NFL Preview: NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles
W17L:  11-5  (3rd seed, loses to Chicago in Wild Card Round)
Forecaster:  10-6  (6th seed, loses to New York Giants in Wild Card Round)
Random:  12-4  (1st seed, loses to Green Bay in NFC Championship)

W17L's Take:  I know the Eagles went 8-8 last year.  I know they aren't the Dream Team "everyone else" thought they would be last year.  But the Eagles were better than their record last year, and seem to be good every season.  I think all of their star pieces will come together to a point this year, and lead the Eagles back to the playoffs.

Forecaster's Take:  The Eagles will be better this season than they were in 2011, thanks to a high-powered offense and a tendency to run for first downs (I can't believe I just typed that last part but the numbers back it up).

New York Giants
W17L:  8-8
Forecaster:  11-5  (3rd seed, loses to San Francisco in Divisional Round)
Random:  7-9

W17L's Take:  I could see this season turning out two different ways.  The Giants might take a page from its '08 counterpart or last year's Packers, and ride its championship momentum to a number one seed.  Or they might perform at the level they should have been at last year and finish around .500.  I'm going with the second one, just because I thought the team was that bad in 2011.

Forecaster's Take:  The Giants should improve their regular season performance, thanks to its poor running game that will force Eli to throw, and a defense that tires opponents out.

Dallas Cowboys
W17L:  8-8
Forecaster:  6-10
Random:  9-7  (6th seed, loses to Philadelphia in Divisional Round)

W17L's Take:  It's the same as every season.  Dallas has a lot of talent but will find a way to underachieve.

Forecaster's Take:  Defenses don't make mistakes against the Cowboys, and the Dallas defense doesn't force teams to run enough plays against.  The Cowboys will not only underachieve but will be flat out bad.

Washington Redskins
W17L:  6-10
Forecaster:  4-12
Random:  7-9

W17L's Take:  A 5-11 team replaces a rotating cast of quarterbacks with an athletic number 2 pick with one great college season under his belt.  That just sounds like trouble to me.  And for anyone who thinks I'm being unfair to Robert Griffin III, note that I improved the Redskins' record by one win.  You're welcome.

Forecaster's Take:  Even with a boost of luck from the Random predictor, the Redskins aren't even close to being a playoff team.  The culprit:  a terrible offense that has a tough time running for first downs.

For an explanation of the Forecaster and Random projections, go here.  Teams are ranked by total wins over the three projections.

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