2010 NFL Preview: NFC East part 1
by Nick Parsons
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Here's a look at the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants; I'll be back next time with reviews on the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys O/U 10 ˝
2009: 11-5 SU / 9-7 ATS / 5-3 ATS at home / 4-4 ATS on road / O/U 6-10
The Cowboys start their season (pre) on August 8th in the annual Hall Of Fame Game in Canton Ohio against the Cincinnati Bengals, one day after Cowboys star Emmitt Smith and longtime Bengals coach Dick LeBeau are inducted.
Dallas is favored to win this division.
There's no question that Tony Romo has improved. He went a long way in redefining his image last year, as he played well down the stretch.
He went great lengths in shaking the image that he had of making rookie mistakes late in the season. He led the Cowboys to the NFC East title and their first playoff victory in 13 years. Jon Kitna is a decent backup if needed, while there are still some questions surrounding Stephen McGee.
A solid group of running backs, including Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice will look to batter their opponents. Barber led the Cowboys with 932 yards in 2009; Jones had nearly 700 and had his best game with a 148-yard effort in last year’s wild-card playoff victory over the Eagles.
Romo will be throwing to a talented and hungry group of receivers; of course his favorite target will once again be TE Jason Witten; last year he became the fourth TE in NFL history to have six straight seasons of 60 or more catches.
Starting at WR will be Miles Austin and Roy Williams; also Pat Crayton, Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant. Austin had a breakout year last season; he had 81 catches and 11 TD's for 1, 320 yards. Williams certainly hasn't lived up to expectations and Bryant, the 1st round pick who recently signed, will be set to replace him if he continues to slide.
The Offensive line remains solid; Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode are the leaders.
The Defensive line is led by NT Jay Ratliff who had seven sacks last year; OLB DeMarcus Ware is arguably the NFL's best pass rusher and should be even better this season after battling injuries a year ago. Anthony Spencer will compliment him well. The entire Linebacker squad is as solid as they come.
The Secondary is led by Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman; very solid shutdown corners.
Dallas is hoping that Dez Bryant will turn into a top kick-returner.
It would seem at this point that Dallas has all the pieces in place to duplicate last season’s success, and perhaps even better it; time to look at the schedule: @ Washington; vs. Chicago; @ Houston; vs. Tennessee; @ Minnesota; vs. NY Giants; vs. Jacksonville; @ Green Bay; @ NY Giants; vs. Detroit; vs. New Orleans; @ Indianapolis; vs. Philadelphia; vs. Washington; @ Arizona; @ Philadelphia
Dallas has the chemistry, maturity and skill level to win any and all of these games on "any given Sunday"; obviously that isn't going to happen, but I believe it has a very legitimate shot at duplicating last year’s mark.
Wade Phillips heads into his fourth year as head coach and has finally got the monkey off his back by winning a playoff game; a berth in this year’s Super Bowl, in the new Cowboy Stadium, would see Dallas playing in the first and last game of the 2010 season.
You may want to consider a second look at the OVER 10 1/2 total season wins.
New York Giants O/U 8 ˝
2009: 8-8 SU / 6-9-1 ATS / 2-5-1 ATS at home / 4-4 ATS on road / O/U 11-4-1
I think the best word to describe the 2009 Giants would be: "inconsistent"; without question the phrase "injury plagued" would also be extremely apt.
The offense both starts and ends with Eli Manning; Jim Sorgi and Rhett Bomar are his backups.
The biggest question surrounding New York is its running game; to say it suffered a disappointing year would be an understatement.
Brandon Jacobs has yet to make it through a full season since becoming a starter in 2007; Ahmad Bradshaw enters his final year of his rookie contract so should be plenty motivated; that said, he's also been prone to the injury bug.
DJ Ware, Andre Brown and Gartrell Johnson will all challenge for the third spot.
Kevin Boss remains the "go to" TE; the WR corps includes Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Ramses Barden.
The offensive line remains for the most part untouched and is now a strength of this team.
The defensive line will be looking to bounce back from a subpar campaign; it was ravaged by injury last season and will be an issue again this year.
DE Osi Umenyiora was recently advised to have hip surgery on an injury that's been bugging him since 2006; he's chosen to ignore that advice and will be playing through injury.
The most notable addition to the lineup is WR/KR Adam Jennings who was waived by the Lions on Dec. 29th; as a receiver, Jennings, who has played in 46 games, has six catches for 62 yards and one TD; he returned 54 punts for 337 yards with a long of 37 with no TD's. He's also returned 25 kickoffs for 559 yards and a long of 61.
Here's the schedule: vs. Panthers; @ Colts; vs. Titans; vs. Bears; @ Texans; vs. Lions; @ Cowboys; @ Seahawks; vs. Cowboys; @ Eagles; vs. Jaguars; vs. Redskins; @ Vikings; vs. Eagles; @ Packers; @ Redskins
Tom Coughlin has put an emphasis on running the ball more effectively and to take better care of it; in 2008 this team turned it over 22 times; in 2009 the Giants had 24 turnovers which led to 102 points for their opposition. They will also look to be more effective in the red zone as they converted only 48% of their 56 total possessions into TD's, which ranked them 11th in the NFC.
Looking at this team up and down, I think it's clear that there are more questions than answers; when taking all of the above into account, you may want to consider a second look at the UNDER 8 1/2 total season wins.
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