NFC East Power Rankings: Why The Eagles’ Offense Will Return Team to Top
By Bob Wankel
Editor’s Note: First in a series that breaks down the predicted finishes of each of the NFC East’s four teams. Let’s start at the top for our first installment, a two-part breakdown of the top team in the division.
Nothing in life is a sure thing–except NFL Power Rankings (forget death and taxes–that stuff is for the weak).
It’s a known fact that a biased writer subjectively ranking teams prior to the start of training camp is a sure-fire way to predict what’s going to unfold in the National Football League once the leaves start to turn all of those pretty autumn colors.
So here we are 93 days prior to the start of the regular season, and, boy, do I have an unabashedly biased set of Power Rankings for you. But some of the results might surprise you. So let’s take stock of the NFC East, taking into consideration free agency, the draft, and each team’s current injury dynamic. In parentheses you’ll see each teams’ predicted finish. Leggo.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)– Awww, yeah. Look at the Eagles blogger picking his team to finish first in the NFC East. What. A. Homer. Yeah, I am. Now you might be asking yourself why I’m defecating on my credibility, but really, it’s a quite calculated defecation. I’m letting you know in advance that you can shred me for wearing my Eagles pom-poms. I’d counter by arguing that such awareness negates my rooting interest. Also, screw off.
It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want, write what I want. You would write too if it happened to you. What up, Lesley Gore?
That got weird. But okay, listen, here’s my rationale. The Eagles have more talent on both sides of the ball than any other team in the division. And I think this team possesses the intangibles to go with it, unlike a year ago. So here me out.
Let’s start with the offense.
Even with the loss of All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters, it appears the Eagles have a hell of an offensive attack. You know the names by now–Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek. Mix in a solid, improving offensive line and this unit has the potential to light up the scoreboard week in and week out in 2012. Really, the only two things that can stop the Eagles from reaching great heights are injuries to key players or the puzzling lack of chemistry that seemed to trip them up at times a year ago. But what I really like about this offense in 2012 is that DeSean Jackson’s head should be on straight, Vick appears to be a quarterback that once again feels like he has something to prove. Frankly, it appears Vick plays more focused in the wake of criticism and doubt. What’s more, the offensive line shouldn’t take time to get going like it did a year ago. Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins should be solid from the jump in a group that includes high-quality players like Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans.
In terms of the intangibles, here’s where the Eagles should get a real boost. Both Reid and Vick know they are playing for their jobs in 2012. Say what you will about Reid and his various shortcomings, but this sounds like a roster that is willing to go balls in to save the blood of their head cocah. When Vick, the unequivocal leader of the team, comes out and says, “I hate to think about it. I hate to think about it. That’s part of the reason I…Let’s just say that won’t happen,” said Vick. “Not on my watch. And I’ll say that in front of the whole world.”
That’s what you want to hear your quarterback saying. This doesn’t sound like an awestruck team, mesmerized by it’s own talent. Rather, it sounds like a team that knows it’s time to put up or shut up. And for those of you that rely on trends–Reid has never missed the postseason in back to back campaigns since become the Eagles’ head coach in 1999.
I don’t expect this team to be without flaws, its fair share of head scratching moments, and frustrating losses. But I look at this schedule, and even when I take into account the few inevitable hiccups, I can’t see them falling short of the 11-win mark.
We’ll be back later with the defense.