In the past, I’ve blindly predicted the Giants to win the NFC East with no sort of evidence to back it up. One thing I’ve learned in doing this is humility, because they Giants have learned new and interesting ways to ether my soul and pride in the last four seasons. So with each soul-crushing finish and nuclear meltdown-like loss, I’ve learned what claims to make and not to make. I’ll probably never look at the Giants with a neutral eye, but you know what? Fuck that non-sense. If you aren’t passionate and optimistic about your team, and don’t believe they can win every game, you’re pulse is probably faint and your nuts are probably microscopic.*
2016 brings a clean slate, and that’s all an overly-confident, grammatically questionable, amateur-blogger like myself needs to fire up a playoff prediction. Sort of like last season, it’s a season of great opportunity for the Giants. Given the putrid state of the NFC East, the Giants health, offensive growth, defensive retooling and schedule, they will win the NFC East for the first time in FIVE FUCKING YEARS. The last time the Giants won the East, if you had told me that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for President, I would have responded like:
Each team in the NFC East brings a unique situation with them into this season, and it’s the fluidity or lack-there of that will dictate why we will get the results we do. There’s been a ton of action and we haven’t even kicked off our first Sunday of the season. So what’s going on with each team and why will that determine how their season goes? Let’s find out:
Washington: Our defending champions and most certainly only by default. Washington came into last season with only expectations of picking inside of the top ten in the draft this past spring. Their QB situation was a nightmare, and their ownership continued to be meddling and foolish. By virtue of the NFC East being a disheveled mess, Washington emerged on top. Think of it as the only boat on a lake that didn’t burst into flames and sink. They played a last place schedule, went 3-5 on the road, did not beat a single good team, and at that, got completely and predictably lit on fire by every competitive football team they faced. They got bounced at home in the playoffs by a truly good team. Also, what an indictment Kirk Cousin’s contract situation is on the Washington QB. They have muddled in QB mediocrity, finally have a good season from their signal-caller, and they still won’t play ball with him. Something is definitely afoot, and all will be revealed this season when they play the likes of Green Bay, Minnesota, Carolina, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.
Philadelphia: L. O. L. What a heaping pile of crap the Eagles have turned out to be. I cackled manically at the notion that people actually picked this pathetic roster of players and coaches to win the Super Bowl last season:
After a blind and expensive spending spree, the Eagles turned around and shipped off DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso and most recently Sam Bradford, all of whom were acquired for last seasons Super Bowl run.
They mortgaged the future for Carson Wentz, paid $9M for Chase Daniel to be the back-up, hired Doug Pederson because it seemed literally no one wanted this job. Even Tom Coughlin, who had recently suffered through four straight seasons of frustration, wanted no part of the Eagles situation. They are going to start a rookie quarterback, and give him a 5’6 running back as his best offensive weapon.
They have a halfway decent defensive front, but beyond that there is too much turmoil going on in Philly for me to think they pose any threat to this division. Which is hilariously pathetic literally this division could be had by any philandering fart of a quarterback. The fact that America is somewhat confident in Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins to compete for this division with a two-time Super Bowl MVP is a sad, sad indictment.
Dallas: Now we come to a team that I’m chomping at the bit to roast. How, in the name in all that is good and pure, do people genuinely believe in this team? Let’s analyze Cowboys logic–
The rebuttal to questioning a rookie quarterback running the offense: ” We have Zeke carrying the ball.”
Okay? So you’re going to ease the offensive burden on your rookie quarterback with another, unproven rookie? You’re buying into hype as a Cowboys fan? No way, so unlike them.
I will not fully flame the Cowboys, because they do have the best offensive line in football and it’s not even close. Their back-ups would be a significant upgrade for most offensive lines.
Sadly, that doesn’t make the rest of their roster something to be proud about. Outside of offensive hogs and Dez Bryant, this team does not remotely impress me. Their pass rush is as anonymous in the NFL as I am. As a Cowboys fan, you would actually have confidence in a secondary that has a starting corner you’re actively trying to get rid of?
The Cowboy’s keeping Tony Romo off of short-term IR tells you what you need to know about this team. Last season, the Cowboys may have rushed Tony Romo backed to salvage a 2-7 season, only for him to suffer the very same injury that put him out in the first place. It’s a move that is going to backfire again since the Cowboys are totally unable to learn from their mistakes.
The team around the quarterback isn’t like Minnesota’s, who have the defense and running game combo needed when your starting signal caller goes out. Dallas does not have even remotely the defense needed to dictate a game, and when is inevitably and frequently Dak Prescott is asked to fire away in a shootout, things will go south for the Cowboys.
Giants: What other team in the division made the significant improvements in the off-season where needed? The Giants closed out 2015 as one of the best offenses in football, but watching their defense made me wish I was blind. Every week, their mind numbing ineptitude came shining through. Star players blowing off digits, dropping game winning interceptions, getting sliced up like a hot-knife through butter–it just did not end.
Thankfully, Jerry Reese overhauled basically the entire defense. A revitalized JPP played inspired football the second half of the season, and joining him on the defensive line is a healthy Jonathan Hankins, Damon Harrison, the leagues best run-defending tackle, and Olivier Vernon, who is showing in the pre-season why he was so coveted and some handsomely compensated during free agency. The secondary, the lesser of two defensive evils last season, added players through a variety of mediums, and now have some serious players defending passes.
If you want the simplest reasoning as to why the Giants will win the NFC East, and why every other team may not finish with a winning record, consider who has the best QB, the best pass rush, and the best playmaker.
Quarterback is no-contest, as anyone who actually thinks Eli isn’t ten notches better than Cousins and two rookies needs a straitjacket. Manning is coming off two straight seasons of his best football, and with more weapons at his disposal, the offense can comfortably be predicted
Odell Beckham Jr is the best player in the entire division. There are few players as dangerous as OBD, given him combination of speed, athleticism, catch-radius, finesse and feel. He’s one of the best route runners I’ve ever seen, and catches practically anything. His burners have him breaking home runs on a consistent basis, and he always toasts the other teams best. Sherman, Norman, Butler. The Giants find ways to always get the ball in his hands, and as long as he’s on the field, their offense is going to be dangerous.
While I consider (begrudgingly) Philadelphia’s front seven to be the divisions best, I think the Giants natural pass rush give them an edge over the other three teams. I love the additions they made (cause I wasn’t signing those checks), and I can feel a cohesion that makes their defense dangerous this season.
I’m predicting a 11-5 season this season. Given their strength of schedule, established and steadily improving offense, personnel additions and the state of the NFC East, its really a no brainer. I’m going to be cocky and obnoxious as all hell this season. No more Big Blue Balls, the Giants are drinking tears this season.
* Browns fans: I totally get why you wouldn’t be optimistic. Your city and it’s teams have consistently betrayed your confidence, and I get why you would check out before the season even begins. Sometimes it’s good to just know a bad thing when you see it, and not sign up for definite heartbreak.