2012 NFL Season Previews: NFC East
With the NFL season only a month away, training camps have opened as teams prepare to line up for their pre-season games. As part of that, William Hill will be previewing all eight divisions, beginning their look at the NFC with the East.
After crashing out of the 2009 playoffs, Dallas have been tipped to return to the promise land, yet have contrived to finish 3rd in a tough division for two consecutive years, a fact that is not enjoyed by fans or the owner alike. Under Jason Garrett, things need to change and after a season and a half in charge, they may well be. The formations of a strong run game were seen last year as DeMarco Murray shone in his rookie year, and he is tipped to star in 2012. If Tony Romo can avoid injury, which is by no means a given, the offense has the potential to score big. The off-field issues surrounding big name WR Dez Bryant could lead to distractions, and improvements will be needed in his play if he is to be considered at major threat out wide.
Dallas are a mainstay of the NFL media buzz, and will forever attract attention whether playing well or not, however playing in a division with the defending Super Bowl champions is never easy, before throwing in the tremendous depth in talent at Philadelphia. This could mean that once again, post-season football could elude Cowboys Stadium in 2012.
Prediction: 9 wins, 3rd in NFC East
You can view the Over/Under market for the number of wins Dallas will achieve in 2012 here.
New York Giants
2011 was some year for the Giants. From a ‘Winner takes all' Sunday Night Football game in week 14 against the Cowboys, the Giants went on a great run taking them to a Lombardi Trophy. However such success papered over some serious cracks in the team, thus running the risk of them being exposed over the course of the coming season. However, if Eli Manning can bring the same tools to the table as he did last season, he could carry the offense, whilst Victor Cruz lands back to Earth after the loss of Mario Manningham, meaning he will see a greater coverage than his rookie year.
The defensive side of the ball boasts some of the most talented pieces in the league, yet if they don't pull together, can leave some big holes. Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck will of course bring pressure on the edge; however Prince Amukamara will need to step up at CB.
Prediction: 9 wins, 2nd in NFC East
You can view the NFC East winners market here.
2011's ‘Dream Team' were caught napping early on, and never recovered in order to advance to the post-season. Since then, the team has bucked its ideas up, and whilst suitably stacked throughout, the roster possesses a greater balance. Whilst the franchise looked to develop on a strong tail end to last season, tragedy struck in training camp when head coach Andy Reid's son Garrett died on the Lehigh campus. The NFL as a whole was rocked and the thoughts of all at William Hill are with the Reid family.
With such a tragedy overhanging, it is likely that the Eagles strive to succeed even harder than they would otherwise. The offensive production of the Eagles is not dependant on one player, which is the key to the potential success. ‘Shady' McCoy and Michael Vick are the centrepieces of the offense, but the loss of Jason Peters on the O-Line could lead to weaknesses in it.
Prediction: 12 wins: 1st in NFC East, Super Bowl Champions
You can view the NFC winners market here.
After selling their soul for the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (well, not quite, but three 1sts and 2nd is rather a lot), the Redskins look to kick a new era off in Washington with RG3 as the starting QB. Whether you think he is the future of the Redskins and the NFL, or perhaps he will prove to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history, one thing is for sure, Robert Griffin III will be at the centre of attention this season.
The Redskins have built a solid core recently, and whilst the improvement is obvious, it is not substantial enough to have changed the status of the NFC East just yet. However given a year or two with his star QB, Mike Shanahan will be looking to repeat the success he achieved in Denver more than a decade ago.
Prediction: 6 wins, 4th in NFC East.
You can view the Money Line on the Redskins Week 1 matchup here.