Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM
The NFC East looks like it’s going to be very competitive once again this season. All four teams (the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins) enter each season thinking of themselves as a playoff caliber team. It usually doesn’t work out that way…because SOMEBODY runs into some bad surprises.
Last year at this time, the Washington Redskins were considered least likely of the group to make the playoffs. They ended up winning the division while neither of the other three even reached the postseason!
*Philadelphia collapsed amidst turnovers and dissension, leading to the firing of coach Andy Reid
*Dallas suffered bad luck and committed way too many turnovers in close games
*The NY Giants lost their mojo down the stretch in a delayed “Super Bowl” letdown
Who’s going to become this year’s fall guy? You can make a pretty good case that it’s going to be the LOSER of Sunday Night’s NY Giants/Dallas Cowboys game that will be nationally televised by NBC. History doesn’t smile on teams who start the year 0-1…particularly those who play in tough divisions.
*If the Giants lose, that will be a continuation of last year’s late slump and an unimpressive Preseason. The media will continue harping on the possibility that the game (or at least this division) has past them by.
*If the Cowboys lose, that’s a HOME game down the tubes with a schedule that will have more road games going forward. The last thing a “coach under fire” and a quarterback with a “can’t win the big one” reputation need to start a new season is a home divisional loss.
Let’s quickly review last season’s key numbers to get you ready for the first Sunday Nighter of 2013…
NY Giants: 9-7, +17 turnovers, #10 ranked schedule
Dallas: 8-8, -13 turnovers, #4 ranked schedule
The Giants could only get to 9-7 despite having a huge turnover advantage. Dallas managed a .500 record despite a big turnover deficit. That’s one of the main reasons the Cowboys were getting bet by the Wise Guys even at the key number of three. Many consider them to be the better team when luck evens out.
NY Giants: 5.9 on offense, 6.0 on defense
Dallas: 5.7 on offense, 5.8 on defense
It’s a bad sign that BOTH teams had negative differentials here. There are some extenuating circumstances given the strength of schedule each had to endure. You could argue that both were roughly Wildcard caliber teams once you adjust for that. But…no better than Wildcard caliber. San Francisco and Seattle played tough schedules too!
Third Down Conversions
NY Giants: 41% on offense, 42% on defense
Dallas: 44% on offense, 40% on defense
The league average last year was around 38%...so we have offenses who are good at moving the chains behind veteran quarterbacks…but defenses who are way too soft to be taken seriously until they show dramatic improvement in this stat. That’s something to watch for Sunday Night, and through September. Neither team is really going to matter in a championship discussion until they toughen up on defense.
So…the NFC East is going to be competitive this year…but it may not be meaningful in a championship sense until we see meaningful improvement from any of the four entries. We’ll talk more about the Eagles and Redskins the next time we’re together, since that’s the marquee Monday Night game on ESPN.
Sunday is set…as JIM HURLEY has been mapping out his plan of attack for WEEKS since the lines first went up. Possibilities for major releases during the afternoon include New England/Buffalo, Tampa Bay/NY Jets, Atlanta/New Orleans, Seattle/Carolina, and Green Bay/San Francisco. You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about the NFL, or about full season football packages, call us in the office before kickoff at 1-800-323-4453. Remember that you MAXIMIZE your September bankroll building power by including Pennant Race Baseball!
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