The NFL Depot
by Dave Mest
2012 NFL East Preview & Picks
Welcome back one and all to the NFL Depot! I’m your host Dave Mest!
Starting this week, I’m going to bring you my predictions for each Division and we will have our handicapper Tarn Slater’s picks, and also Bay Ragni will make his way to the Depot with his picks.
So it’s time to hit you with the “tag line”. Let’s get to it!
To start things off, it’s only fitting, to go with the home of the Super Bowl Champs. That’s right the NFC East! After putting a lot of thought into this division, it came to me that this one isn’t going to be as easy as I thought. I think for the most part all four teams will be better than last year, but just how much is anyone’s guess.
This division was a toss-up for me, the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys all could swap out the top three spots. This division could easily send three teams to the playoffs.
The next question How good will the Redskins be?
1. New York Giants: I’m finding it hard, to not put the Giants in this spot. They did have some key departures, but I think they still have a great core group. The last time I checked, teams win titles not
One or two players. The Giants, seems to have re-loaded instead of drafting for need. They have enough talent that they can draft the best player on the board. It seems that the aging players they left Walk, Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham (who both went to the 49ers) were replaced in the draft with David Wilson and Rueben Randle.
Eli Manning still has a lot of weapons, look for Victor Cruz to have a big year, Hakeem Nicks needs to pick up some slack while Rueben Randle gets up to speed in the Giants’ offense.
This also should be a big year for Ahmad Bradshaw, but David Wilson should steal some carries, because the Giants like to use multiple backs. The Giants still have the same players on defense as well. Justin Tuck and Pierre-Paul will wreak havoc, while a veteran secondary and strong linebacker play should lead the Giants to a Division Title and a solid playoff spot.
The three key points:
1. The Giants seem to play up or down to competition, more Consistent play is needed.
2. Which Eli Manning will show up? The Super Bowl MVP or The mistake prone Manning. A lot of the Giants Season hinges on Eli’s play.
3. Can the Giants avoid the Super Bowl hangover?
Dave’s pick: 11-5
2. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are a hard team to get a grasp on. They had a great draft, but still have a lot of question marks. The Eagles’ offense would benefit with a run first approach, LeSean McCoy has become one of the top backs in the NFL.
There is no reason why McCoy shouldn’t have 225 to 250 carries that would open up the Eagles passing game, and would take pressure off Mike Vick.
With a healthy Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, who needs to prove last year was an off year, should provide the Eagles a passing game needed to win in the NFC East.
The Eagles do have to hope Demetress Bell can fill the big shoes left behind, by the hurt All Pro Jason Peters(Peters tore his Achilles tendon). The Eagles must also hope DeMeco Ryans can fill the void at middle linebacker.
The Eagles must also hope, their new look defensive back field stands the test of time.
The three key points:
1.The Eagles must shake the “Dream Team” label ,and prove they can win when the pressure is on.
2. Mike Vick must prove he can be the QB he was two years ago, or it will be a long year in Philly.
3. The players the Eagles brought in via-free agency, last year, must prove them self’s worthy of the big paydays.
Dave’s pick 10-6
3. Dallas Cowboys: Dallas should and could be higher, but lack consistent play. Until Tony Romo proves he can be a leader as well as a QB, Dallas will always is a mid-tier team. It seems the Cowboys can’t get all the pieces to fit together.
The bright spots for the Cowboys are all the young offensive players. Lead by DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, and Austin Miles.
The Cowboys still have one of the best tight ends in the league, in one Jason Witten. Witten, should still but up solid numbers, and once again be a go to guy.
If the Cowboys could get their defensive backs to match their front seven, they will be in great shape.
DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee will be the powers that drive the defense. But, I don’t think Dallas’s number one pick, which they traded up for, Morris Claiborne and the arrival of Brandon Carr will not be enough to cover the weak safety play.
The three key points:
1. Can Tony Romo lead this team?
2. How well did DeMarco Murray’s ankle heal? He could take some of the heat off Romo with a good season.
3. Jason Garrett must tighten the leash, and bring this team together, or this might be his last year as the Cowboys coach.
Dave’s pick 9-7
4. Washington Redskins: A lot of questions lie with the Redskins, starting with the number two pick overall Robert Griffin III, or RG3 as he has quickly become. I think RG3 could have a season compared to NFL Rookie of the year Cam Newton. Like Newton, the Skins have a strong run game with the all-purpose back Roy Helu, so that should take some pressure of RG3.
Washington also signed Pierre Garcon in the off-season, in hopes Garcon will give them the deep threat they have lacked. The Skins need to find out who will play opposite of Garcon, will they go youth with Leonard Hankerson, or will Santana Moss have one more year left in the sun, and Josh Morgan Should be in the mix too.
The defense has a lot of question marks, just like the rest of the team. The Front 7, led by Brian Orakpo, the ageless London Fletcher and 2nd year player Ryan Kerrigan, will be a sold unit.
The Skins problems lie within their secondary, LaRon Landry Left as a free agent, and DeAngelo Hall has slipped.
As far as Washington’s safeties go, is anyone’s guess, but it should be address in camp. Look for the Skins to mix it up with different combos, till they find the right mix.
The three key points:
1. Mike Shanahan must have patience with RG3, he must give him room to grow, or Shanahan could find himself out of a job.
2. Stay away from a QB controversy, RG3 should be the starter. Drafting Kirk Cousins made no sense.
3. Washington could turn some heads, but the defense must come together to do so.
Dave’s pick 7-9
On to our guests, Bay Ragni, CEO of this great site, and the Depot’s Handicapper, Tarn Slater.
Bay’s picks Tarn’s picks/odds
1. New York Giants 12-4 1. New York Giants 11-5 / 6-1
2. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 / 8-1
3. Washington Redskins 8-8 3. Dallas Cowboys 9-7 / 10-1
4. Dallas Cowboys 6-10 4.Washington Redskins 8-8 / 17-1
So that bring another week to an end. Next week I’ll bring my NFC North preview to the forefront, with the Depot’s Handicapper Tarn Slater’s picks, as well as Bay’s picks too.
Till next week, See Ya! You
can hit me up on Facebook Dave Mest Jr or on Twitter @blitzburgh6