Last season, I experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
In pre-season, I said on The Full Monte Show, ” If I was taking one quarterback and one team over the next 5 years it would be Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles”
I also said, “The New York Giants would win the NFC East”
The Eagles won the Super Bowl and Wentz had an MVP like season before a season ending injury. The Giants finished 3-13, it was the worst record since their 4-12 campaign in 2003.
NFC East Preview and Prediction:
Philadelphia Eagles (2017 Record, 13-3): Prediction 13-3.
It is not very often that New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, gets out-coaches in a regular season or playoff game, but that is what happened last year. The Patriots had 2 weeks to prepare for back up quarterback, Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles scored 41 points against the Patriots and Head Coach, Doug Pederson had them guessing on defense all game long. Pederson is a coaching star on the rise and his job will get much easier with the return of his starting quarterback Carson Wentz. In just 13 games, the former North Dakota State star had 33 touchdown passes (1 more than Tom Brady) and threw for over 3,200 yards. Wentz is 6’5, 240lbs and has all the tools to be a Hall of Fame QB. The Eagles have depth at wide receiver with Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor and speedster Mike Wallace. Their running backs could have very good years. Jay Ajayi did a great job late in the season and Corey Clement should be even more productive in his 2nd season. TE, Zach Ertz had 74 catches and 8 touchdowns last year.
The Eagles defense should be better than last season. They added Michael Bennett and re-signed Chris Long to help their pass rush. Tackle Fletcher Cox earned first-team All-Pro honors.
On Paper, the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East.
New York Giants (2017 Record, 3-13): Prediction 11-5.
The New York Giants have had three head coaches in the past 3 years. That is very uncharacteristic for an organization that wants stability. Pat Shurmur will now lead “Big Blue” on the sidelines and in the locker room. The former Vikings offensive coordinator has an array of offensive weapons. This group could become the best Giants offense ever.
- QB Eli Manning
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- WR Sterling Sheppard
- TE Evan Engram
- RB Shaquon Barkley
The Giants selected Barkley, from Penn State, as the #2 overall selection in the draft. Barkley is a once in a decade running back and should win rookie of the year. New York also brought in, veteran Jonathan Stewart, to add to their short yardage running game. If the offensive line holds up and does their job, the Giants should score 30 point per game. The addition of left tackle, Nate Solder, from New England and Rookie guard Will Hernandez from UTEP should provide holes for Barkley and protect Eli.
For decades, The Giants relied on their defense. That was not the case last season. The Giants were 31st in yards allowed per game (373) and 27th in the NFL, giving up 24.2 points per game. James Bettcher will be the team’s defensive coordinator. Bettcher help lead the Arizona Cardinals over the past 3 season. The Cardinals finished in the top 10 in defense, every year Bettcher was there. One thing for sure, he will call blitzes early and often in every game. He is very aggressive and believes in taking quarterbacks out of rhythm.
The formula for Shermur is a simple one. Get a big lead on your opponent, put them in passing situations, and let your defensive coordinator blitz and cause turnovers. Will the formula work?
The Giants are good enough to make the post-season. When Eli plays in the playoffs, he is very hard to beat. Just ask Tom Brady.
Dallas Cowboys: (2017 Record, 9-7): Prediction 8-8.
Has their ever been a more mediocre coach in the history of the NFL than Jason Garrett. He is 67-53 as the Cowboys head coach and 1-2 in the playoffs. The last time the Cowboys made it to the NFC Championship game was 1995. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are no longer the “Big 3” on offense. This is now Dak Prescott’s and Ezekiel Elliott’s team. The Cowboys have no extraordinary wide receivers on their roster so they will look to run Elliott early and often.
The Cowboys game plan is straight out of the 1980’s. They want to “Ground and Pound,” keep offensives off the field by controlling the clock and win games 20-17. It will work against the lesser opponents, but they just don’t have enough playmakers on offense to win 10 games.
The Cowboys won’t make the playoffs and Jerry Jones does something he should have done three years ago, Fire Garrett.
Washington Redskins (2017 Record, 7-9): Prediction 6-10.
(Photo Credit: NBC Washington)
What do you do when teams like Philadelphia and New York get better offensively? You go out and sign a “game manager” at quarterback. That is what the Redskins did this off-season. Washington signed 12-year veteran, Alex Smith to a 4-year, $94 million contract ($71 million guaranteed). Smith is 2-5 in the playoffs. Say it out loud… Smith may be the 4th most productive quarterback in his own division.
In 2017, the Redskins were last in the NFL, giving up 134 rushing yard per game. Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne (first round pick, 13th overall) is just what they needed to plug up a weak run defense.
The Redskins will not make the playoffs this season, and if Smith gets off to a slow start, look for the Washington faithful to boo early and often.
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