The best division in football all season long has been the east. However it is now time to shift that talk from the NFC East to the AFC East. The AFC East has 4 teams that all have a shot at the top right now, whether all 4 are great teams, or it’s a division of mediocrity is a topic for another time. The Giants have taken control of the NFC East and look to run away with it, but the real reason we have to stop talking about the dominant NFC East is because we have to finally accept what I’ve have been saying all year long (on Free Ballin’ with JB and Pauly, Thursday nights from 6-7 on WMUCsports.com); the Eagles are not only not that good, but their not a top team at all. The Eagles were predicted to do very well this year in the east because of the return of Donovan Mcnabb, that’s it!
The whole concept of pre-season predictions has gone too far, all our talk is based off them when in reality we don’t know anything about the upcoming season. The Giants and Redskins were predicted to finish 3rd and 4th in the NFC East respectively. In week 6 with a record of 3-3 the Eagles were being called the best 3-3 team in the league…why???? Because in the pre-season they were predicted to do well. More importantly this past team just tied the previously 1-9 Cincinnati Bengals! The Eagles went into Cincinnati and couldn’t beat an atrocious Bengals team, and it was the Eagles fault. The Bengals didn’t go in there and play unbelievably, they played like the Bengals! They made mistakes, turned the ball over and were completely ineffective on offence, and even missing a game winning field goal with 7 seconds left in overtime. The Eagles offense, more to the point Donovan Mcnabb lost them this game. The Eagles defense showed up, sacking Ryan Fitzpatrick 8 times, (the second time they’ve gotten that many in one game), which puts them back into the league lead in sacks as their tied with the Steelers with 36. The defense did their part not allowing the Bengals to get anything done, but Mcnabb and company didn’t show up to this one at all. Mcnabb threw 3 interceptions, and lost a fumble, that’s something that should earn him consideration as a top quarterback in this league? To top it all off Mcnabb showed his ridiculous football IQ after the game by telling the world he had no idea the NFL had ties. Do you really not know that Donovan? Have you ever looked at the standings in the newspaper and seen that there is a T column, for ties? Yes that column is usually filled with 0’s but its there for a reason? At the rate this game was going this game could have gone into 5 overtimes before someone scored which would have meant that the two teams would have played over 2 games in one day; which if the Eagles had any shot of anything would effectively end that. The best was yet to come when Mcnabb said I just wonder what would happen in the Super Bowl or playoffs. Really Donovan, you don’t think the NFL would keep playing and end the tie, you know just like the 2003 playoffs when the Panthers beat the Rams in DOUBLE OVERTIME? Just for good measure Donovan, those Panthers won that game and went on to beat your team in the NFC championship game the following week. Does Donovan Mcnabb watch any sports at all, look at every other sport that has ties, especially soccer in which many games end in ties, and its premier tournament the World Cup final is viewed by more people then the Super Bowl; hey Donovan has that game ever ended in a tie? Of course not, because like any logical event, any playoff game in any sport keeps going until there’s a winner.
The Eagles are not a good team by any means, they’re good on reputation, and that reputation is that they had a solid team which took advantage of a weak NFC and went to 4 strait NFC championship games. The problem being they lost 3 of them! Deshaun Jackson has a lot of talent, but I don’t know if we can call him a star in this league yet, other then that could you name one star this team has added since they played in the Super Bowl? They had a powerful defense where they have since lost star players and Steve Spagnuolo who has proven to have overtaken his former mentor as a defensive coordinator. There’s talk that this is Mcnabb’s most talented receiver group ever; but he has never had a great receiver group to begin with. This season the eagles have 8 players with over 200 yards receiving, but of those 8 only two of them have over 250 yards recieving, doesn’t sound like there’s any real receiving threat in Philly, just whoever has the hot hand. Most importantly like we’ve said all year Donovan Mcnabb is not the guy to get it done in Philly, I’ve said it all year (on Free Ballin’ with JB and Pauly, Thursday nights from 6-7 on WMUCsports.com) and its time that the Eagles realize that so they can move in the right direction, and its time that the media realized this so they can stop the propaganda that the Eagles are a good team and actually can do something this season.
Despite the fact that Giants have the most difficult remaining schedule in the NFL it is looking more and more likely that they will run away with this division. Not just because they're better then every other team they still have to play, but their division is actually surprisingly week. The Cowboys are looking lost, even though they just got back Tony Romo, but at the same time they're also only being talked about because of pre-season rankings. The team that most people thought could hold up with the Giants, the Redskins seem to have lost their magic. They’ve lost their last two games knocking them off the pace for the division, but the big problem here is their past two games were lost at home and at night. The Steelers are a top team in the AFC, an important statement game for the Redskins and the Cowboys; their top rival is always an important game to win. The Redskins dropped both games in front of their home fans. Being at the University of Maryland I’m around a lot of Redskins fans, and they are good fans who get very fired up and are very passionate about their Redskins. As fired up as they get for a Sunday afternoon game they are about 10 times more fired up for a night game, and they have that stadium rocking. If the Redskins couldn’t feed off their fans tremendous energy for night games this team is in trouble especially since this team has to play 4 of its last 6 on the road. The silver lining to that is that 3 of the Redskins 4 losses have come at home, so maybe it’s a good thing to be playing more road games.
Meanwhile in the AFC East, the Jets have jumped to the top with a big win over the hated Patriots; the Dolphins are shocking the world with their 6-4 record, the Patriots are still the Patriots and can’t be overlooked, and Buffalo, at 5-4 has cooled a bit but still has a winning record. Though the Jets are in first place the Pats are still a force in that division. I said when Matt Cassel took over for Brady he would be successful because the Patriots run such a simple offense. The fact that it took Cassel this long to break out is because the coaches had him playing an ultra-conservative offense when he first stepped in. The fact that the coaches had him playing that ultra conservative offense, only furthers my belief that the reason Tom Brady become Tom Brady is because the Pats didn’t put him into this conservative offense because they knew the opposing teams defensive signals and knew what defense they would be facing, therefore they knew where Brady could and couldn’t throw the ball. But Cassel has now stepped into this offense and is proving he could throw the ball in the NFL, which keeps the Patriots as a top force in the AFC East. The Jets have seemed to have found their stride led by not Brett Favre but their defense, even beating the Patriots for just the second time in god only knows how many games, I lost count several years ago. I don’t know if the Dolphins are a playoff team, but they sure are making a statement, and they have a weak remaining schedule so they could crash that party. Buffalo’s hot start seems to have cooled down and its looking like they’ll finish out the season in the cellar of the division, but their not a team that could be overlooked, and with matchups against each team in the division still remaining Buffalo could still jump over each one of these teams. Hell this entire division is so close that it could finish in a whole variety of ways. That’s what makes a competitive division, and the fact that these teams beat teams outside their division, makes it the best division in football.