NFL Predictions 2011: Eagles Will Take NFC East Over Giants, Cowboys

The NFC East should play out this year very similarly to how it did in 2010.

The NFC East is easily the toughest division in their conference and one of the toughest in the NFL. Even though the Eagles have won the division six of the last 10 years, the majority of those seasons were the "old" Eagles with Donovan McNabb at the helm. The "new" Eagles, led by Michael Vick, have just as good of a chance to win again this year, though.

Last year, the Eagles won the division with a 10-6 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers. Even though the Giants also finished with a 10-6 record, they failed to make the playoffs, getting beat out for a Wild Card spot by the Packers and the New Orleans Saints. After beginning the season with a 1-7 record, the Cowboys bounced back, winning five of their last eight games to finish 6-10. The Washington Redskins also finished with a 6-10 record, coming in last place in the division.

Things won't be very different this year.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (2010 Record: 10-6)

What Bleeding Green Nation Thinks:

Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Ronnie Brown, Jason Peters, Steve Smith, Asante Samual, Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin. Yeah, they're going to be pretty good and anything less than probably 11 wins and an NFC East title will be considered a huge disappointment. But of course, the expectations are that this team is talented enough to break the Eagles now 51 year championship drought.

What I Think:

Name drop much? There's no question that the Eagles are one of the most talented teams in the NFL and that the Eagles probably win the prize for having the best offseason. That prize will likely be the division championship and a trip to the playoffs. If Mike Vick can play as well as he did last year, this team will be tough to beat. 

Record Prediction: 12-4 Division Winner

2. New York Giants (2010 Record: 10-6)

What Big Blue View Thinks:

This is insanely difficult to predict. The Giants show flashes of tremendous potential, then flashes of awful football. they could go anywhere from 6-10 to 11-5 depending on whether they reach their potential or keep shooting themselves in the foot. Like last season, the second half of the schedule is also brutal. I will go with 10-6, same as last season. Let's see if it's good enough to get into the playoffs this time.

What I Think:

The Giants are a good team but there are some questions on offense. They'll be working with a tight end that doesn't have a ton of experience, having lost Kevin Boss to the Raiders in free agency, but with Steve Smith officially gone to the Eagles, Mario Manningham will step up as the team's No. 2 receiver coming off a nine touchdown year last season. Re-signing Ahmad Bradshaw was a big deal for this team and should help their offense put points on the board. Defensively, the unit is strong in the front seven but with the injury to rookie Prince Amukamara's foot, the secondary is weak. After the bye week, the Giants play the Patriots, the Saints, the Packers and Jets along with their division opponents. If that's not a rough second half of the year, I don't know what is.

Record Prediction: 9-7

3. Dallas Cowboys (2010 Record: 6-10)

What Blogging The Boys Things:

The Pythagorean formula, which uses points scored and points allowed to measure team strength, projects 9.2 wins for the Cowboys based on their last eight games of 2010. Going strictly by wins over the same period, the Cowboys could be a 10-6 team in 2011. Football Outsiders are less optimistic and profect 7.5 wins for the 2011 Cowboys.

Aggregated, all three methods suggest that based on their 2010 record, the Cowboys should be a break even or slightly better team, and that is probably not unrealistic given last year's performance and new coaching regime. Anything higher than that is probably a bonus at this point in time, but if the Cowboys could start strong, and head into the early bye week with a 3-1 or at least a 2-2 record, there's one thing Cowboys fans have learned last year: anything is possible down the stretch.

What I Think:

Getting Tony Romo back will be a huge boost for this team. Even though Jon Kitna did a good job when he took over for Romo when he broke his collar bone, but Romo is a much better quarterback. With Miles Austin coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Dez Bryant poised to have a breakout sophomore season and Jason Witten at tight end, the Cowboys with Romo could move the ball through the air with ease. They will improve from last year's 6-10 record, but they still have to play the Eagles and Giants twice along with opening their season against the Jets and playing the Patriots.

Record Prediction: 9-7

4. Washington Redskins (2010 Record: 6-10)

What Hog's Haven Thinks:

The Redskins are a tough team to predict. Year two of Mike Shanahan has shown massive upgrades to the defensive and offensive lines, which were easily the two most frustrating parts of the squad last year. I correctly predicted the Redskins at 6-10 last year, and I think they'll repeat that number this year.

What I Think:

The Redskins are going to struggle this year. Right now, Rex Grossman on top of the depth chart at the quarterback position, but it could easily change to John Beck at some point this season. Grossman won the job in the preseason, but he still has thrown just as many interceptions as touchdowns in his career and I don't think anybody really believes he's the long-term answer at the position for this team. The addition of Tim Hightower to the backfield should help the offense, but not enough to move the ball consistently. They have a fairly easy non-conference schedule, aside from playing the Jets and Patriots, but they still play the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles twice.

Record Prediction: 6-10

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