Reviewing the League - NFC East and NFC West 2

September 08, 2005|By Previews compiled by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

1 PREDICTED FINISH

2004 record: 13-3, first place, lost Super Bowl.

Coach: Andy Reid (seventh season with Eagles, 71-37).

Key stat: Averaged only 28:26 of possession time.

Schedule: They'll play a rough schedule, which comes with winning the division.

2005 opponents

9-12 at Atlanta, 9 p.m.

9-18 San Francisco, 1 p.m.

9-25 Oakland, 1 p.m.

10-2 at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

10-9 at Dallas, 4:15 p.m.

10-16 Open date

10-23 San Diego, 1 p.m.

10-30 at Denver, 4:15 p.m.

11-6 at Washington, 8:30 p.m.

11-14 Dallas, 9 p.m.

11-20 at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

11-27 Green Bay, 4:15 p.m.

12-5 Seattle, 9 p.m.

12-11 N.Y. Giants, 4:05 p.m.

12-18 at St. Louis, 4:15 p.m.

12-24 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

1-1 Washington, 4:15 p.m.

WR Terrell Owens (above) grudgingly returned to the team and the hope is he'll play ball and shut up about his salary. Losing LB Ike Reese is a big blow for special teams and field leadership. Reid may not be able to put a 20-carry runner on the field and will have to continue shuttling players. Still, they're the best team in the NFC.

New York Giants

2 PREDICTED FINISH

2004 record: 6-10, second place.

Coach: Tom Coughlin (second season with Giants, 6-10; 10th season overall, 78-74).

Key stat: WR Amani Toomer had 51 catches but no TDs.

Schedule: This is not an oppressive schedule, plus they get an extra home game against the Saints.

2005 opponents

9-11 Arizona, 4:15 p.m.

9-19 New Orleans, 7:30 p.m.

9-25 at San Diego, 8:30 p.m.

10-2 St. Louis, 1 p.m.

10-9 Open date

10-16 at Dallas, 1 p.m.

10-23 Denver, 4:15 p.m.

10-30 Washington, 1 p.m.

11-6 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

11-13 Minnesota, 1 p.m.

11-20 Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

11-27 at Seattle, 4:15 p.m.

12-4 Dallas, 1 p.m.

12-11 at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.

12-17 Kansas City, 5 p.m.

12-24 at Washington, 1 p.m.

12-31 at Oakland, 8 p.m.

If they can get a healthy season from TE Jeremy Shockey and the anticipated progress from QB Eli Manning (above), the Giants can take a quantum leap. There's solid defense here and some good upgrades in the secondary. But they rely too much on RB Tiki Barber.

Washington Redskins

3 PREDICTED FINISH

2004 record: 6-10, fourth place.

Coach: Joe Gibbs (14th season with Redskins, 146-75).

Key stat: Had fewest passing plays of 20 yards or more.

Schedule: Seahawks and Broncos will be difficult. But they've also got the Bucs, Raiders, Cardinals and Cowboys (twice).

2005 opponents

9-11 Chicago, 1 p.m.

9-19 at Dallas, 9 p.m.

9-25 Open date

10-2 Seattle, 1 p.m.

10-9 at Denver, 4:15 p.m.

10-16 at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

10-23 San Francisco, 1 p.m.

10-30 at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

11-6 Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m.

11-13 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

11-20 Oakland, 1 p.m.

11-27 San Diego, 1 p.m.

12-4 at St. Louis, 4:05 p.m.

12-11 at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

12-18 Dallas, 1 p.m.

12-24 N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

1-1 at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m.

The 2004 debacle wasn't what Gibbs had in mind, but maybe he has found out the nature of players' commitment has changed under free agency. He has re-thought how to use RB Clinton Portis, but they have almost no other playmakers on offense. On defense, S Sean Taylor's problems with the law are a constant source of aggravation and worry. They need a major comeback year from LB LaVar Arrington (above).

Dallas Cowboys

4 PREDICTED FINISH

2004 record: 6-10, third place.

Coach: Bill Parcells (third season with Cowboys, 16-17; 18th season overall, 165-123-1).

Key stat: Dallas didn't have one return or defensive TD in 2004.

Schedule: Playing the Eagles twice is a task, but this is not a tough schedule.

2005 opponents

9-11 at San Diego, 4:15 p.m.

9-19 Washington, 9 p.m.

9-25 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

10-2 at Oakland, 4:15 p.m.

10-9 Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m.

10-16 N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

10-23 at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

10-30 Arizona, 1 p.m.

11-6 Open date

11-14 at Philadelphia, 9 p.m.

11-20 Detroit, 1 p.m.

11-24 Denver, 4:15 p.m.

12-4 at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

12-11 Kansas City, 4:15 p.m.

12-18 at Washington, 1 p.m.

12-24 at Carolina, 1 p.m.

1-1 St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

Parcells (above) can coach. But do the Cowboys have the necessary

talent? Another veteran quarterback (Drew Bledsoe) steps into the breach and, though he can still heave it, he has become less and less effective, a fact that showed up with the Bills in 2003 and 2004. He's throwing to WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and Peerless Price, who've all seen better days.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

1. PREDICTED FINISH

2004 record: 6-10, third place.

Coach: Dennis Green (second season with Cardinals, 6-10; 12th season overall, 107-80).

Key stat: WR Anquan Boldin had just one TD catch.

Schedule: This sort of schedule could push a mediocre team into the playoffs.

2005 opponents

2005 opponents

9-11 at N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m.

9-18 St. Louis, 4:05 p.m.

9-25 at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

10-2 S.F. at Mexico, 8:30 p.m.

10-9 Carolina, 4:15 p.m.

10-16 Open date

10-23 Tennessee, 4:15 p.m.

10-30 at Dallas, 1 p.m.

11-6 Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

11-13 at Detroit, 1 p.m.

11-20 at St. Louis, 1 p.m.

11-27 Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m.

12-4 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

12-11 Washington, 4:05 p.m.

12-18 at Houston, 1 p.m.

12-24 Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.