NFC East 2009 Preview
1. Philadelphia 13-3 #1 seed
Key Additions: Leonard Weaver, Sean Jones, Ellis Hobbs
Key Losses: Correll Buckhalter, L.J. Smith, Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Brian Dawkins
Key Draft Picks: Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Cornelius Ingram
Overview: The most asked question by Eagle fans is, “How is Westbrook going to hold up?” Westbrook has not played in 16 games in any of his 7 seasons and this season probably won’t be any different but with rookie LeSean McCoy and veteran Leonard Weaver added to the backfield It won’t be as big of an issue as it has been in the past. The loss of L.J. Smith actually has most Eagle fans rejoicing as Smith was perennially one of the worst pass catchers in the league. On the defensive side of the ball the loss of Jim Johnson will inspire a veteran defense. The Eagles have one of the deepest defensive lines in football which allows them to always put pressure on the quarterback. With the offseason additions and a contract extension for Donovan McNabb this should be the Eagles’ year.
2. Washington 9-7 #6 seed
Key Additions: Albert Haynesworth
Key Losses: Jon Jansen, Jason Taylor, Shawn Springs
Key Draft Picks: Brian Orakpo, Kevin Barnes
Overview: For the 93rd consecutive season Daniel Snyder was a big spender in the offseason, giving Albert Haynesworth an insane $41 million guaranteed, pretty ridiculous of a guy who has played more than 14 games only once in his 7 year career. With Haynesworth plugging the middle London Baker-Fletcher should finally get the Pro Bowl nod he has deserved his entire career. Expect Fletcher to be among the league leaders in tackles for the 5th consecutive season. With a healthy Santana Moss and an offense Jason Campbell has used for more than one season expect the ‘skins to break out this year and finally reach the playoffs.
3. NY Giants 9-7
Key Additions: George Wrightster, Michael Boley, Osi Umenyiora
Key Losses: Derrick Ward, Reuben Droughns, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Sam Madison, John Carney
Key Draft Picks: Hakeem Nicks, Clint Sintim, Ramses Barden
Overview: This offseason the Giants found themselves in an unfamiliar position, losing ground in the division. Losing Ward and Droughns leaves them with just the oft-injured Brandon Jacobs and the speedy Ahmad Bradshaw at running back. The wide receiving core with be very young this season and will need Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon to step up this season. The Giants defense will continue to be among the leagues best especially with Osi Umenyiora returning from injury. Still, the offense will be the downfall this season and won’t score enough points to secure a playoff berth.
4. Dallas 8-8
Key Additions: Jon Kitna, Igor Olshansky
Key Losses: Terrell Owens, Greg Ellis, Zach Thomas, Pacman Jones, Roy Williams (S)
Key Draft Picks: Jason Williams, Robert Brewster
Overview: Terrell Owens might have been a huge headache for the Dallas Cowboys offense but he was the only WR who knew how to play last year. The addition of Roy Williams was a disaster and the signing of Pacman Jones also didn’t work out. On the defensive side of the ball the Cowboys have studs in DeMarcus Ware, Chris Canty and Bradie James but the rest of the defense is full of holes that will be only more evident with the departures of Greg Ellis and Zach Thomas. The loss of Roy Williams at safety is actually a blessing, Williams is arguably the worst safety in the league and hasn’t been able to tackle anyone since 2005. The cowboys will face a brutal schedule in 2009 and will be lucky to finish at .500.