NFC East Challengers

Today's post about the Patriot beat writers liking the Cowboys brings up an interesting question:  What teams will challenge the Cowboys for NFC supremacy?

Contenders... Giants, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks

Surprises?... Redskins, Lions, Panthers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams

Pretenders... Bears, Falcons, 49ers


GIANTS - You cannot rule out the Super Bowl Champions.   Especially given the fact that this team beat up on our very own Cowboys last time they met.  Strahan is a loss, but this team has a solid D... the question remains whether Manning is for real.

EAGLES - This is a proud team that is always contending.  The question mark here is how much gas McNabb has left in the tank.  Defensively, they continue to look tough.

PACKERS - The Rodgers watch is on.  The nucleus of a 13-3 team returns with a chip on it's shoulder after a tough playoff loss to the Giants.  If healthy, Al Harris and Charles Woodson anchor a tough D.

VIKINGS - The Williams brothers anchor a monster defensive front that will keep Minnesota in games.  The big Q: Can AP make up for Tavaris Jackson's short-comings?

SAINTS - This is the team that scares me.  They were to hot pick to go all the way last year, only to lay an egg.   A loaded offense, a solid defense, and Sean Patton at the helm.  After the beating they put on us in '06, I can see some good hype for a Cowboys - Saints NFC Championship game.

SEAHAWKS - This team almost belongs in the Surprise category, except it's hard to count out any Holmgren-led team.  JJ as the featured back can't be worse than last year's efforts, but spells trouble for their playoff hopes.


REDSKINS - This team played inspired ball just to make the playoffs last year.  I don't expect the same this year, as the loss of Taylor will show it's affects.  This is yet another team banking on mere "potential" when it comes to QB.  I like Campbell, but much is being put on his shoulders this year.  Prediction:  Portis is this year's S. Alexander = bust.

LIONS - The greatest 10-6 preseason team ... ever.

PANTHERS - It is hard to get excited about a team that looked so consistently horrible last year.  Depth chart at QB = Moore, Testaverde, Carr.  Say no more.

BUCCANEERS - The Bucs QB depth chart is approaching mythic status.  Translate:  mediocrity rules.  I have always liked Garcia, but I don't think he's the answer for the Bucs this year.  Last year's playoff run was more a lack of competition.

CARDINALS - This is the easy "surprise" pick... but until the Cardinals prove it on the field, they remain the "Lions of the West"

RAMS - Getting Steven Jackson back makes Bulger a better QB... the team that had a hard time winning a game without Jackson will be back in contention this year.

Pretenders... Bears, Falcons, 49ers

The not ready for prime time teams have one thing in common - unproven leadership at QB.  Doesn't it always seem to be the case that weak teams somehow have decent defenses.  Watch for these teams to keep games close with solid D.

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