The NFL is Back! NFC East Preview

THE NFL IS BACK! LET’S PREVIEW THE NFC EAST ON HALL-OF-FAME SUNDAY

Our summer series of NFL divisional previews always begins on Hall-of-Fame Sunday in early August. We’ll take a look at the NFC East today since the new look New York Giants will be in action against the Buffalo Bills. Then, over the next two weeks, will cover the other seven divisions…each preview pegged to a game or games of interest on each night of action. (After today, our next football report will be Thursday’s look at the NFC West to get you ready for San Francisco/Baltimore on the NFL Network).

Plenty of numbers to run through, so let’s jump right in…

2013 NFC EAST STANDINGS
Philadelphia: 10-6 (+14 turnovers, #25 rated schedule)
Dallas: 8-8 (+10 turnovers, #23 rated schedule)
NY Giants: 7-9 (-11 turnovers, #12 rated schedule)
Washington: 3-13 (-8 turnovers, #17 rated schedule)

Notebook: You can see that turnover differential played a large role in shaping those records, as did schedule strength. Philadelphia may have only been a .500 caliber team if they played a league average schedule. Can they do that well in TO’s two years in a row? Dallas is probably more like a 7-9 team in a neutralized environment. The Giants, who you’ll be watching Sunday Night on national TV, are in a very interesting situation because they’re changing the offense on a team that was better than their record last year. An emphasis on shorter passes should ease their turnover issues, making them a nice sleeper in 2014. Washington hopes RGIII can stay healthy, which is always an issue for quarterbacks who win with their legs.

2013 YARDS-PER-PLAY
Philadelphia: 6.3 on offense, 5.5 on defense
NY Giants: 5.0 on offense, 4.9 on defense
Dallas: 5.7 on offense, 6.1 on defense
Washington: 5.3 on offense, 5.7 on defense

Notebook: Once again the Giants show up as a potential sleeper because they had the best defense in the division by a good bit. They were also slightly on the plus side in yardage differential against a slightly tougher than average schedule. Philadelphia’s new offense started clicking down the stretch last year (granting that much of it came against a soft schedule). Dallas and Washington have a lot to fix on defense before worrying whether or not their QB’s have the right stuff.

2013 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Washington: 40% on offense, 34% on defense
Philadelphia: 39% on offense, 40% on defense
NY Giants: 33% on offense, 40% on defense
Dallas: 35% on offense, 43% on defense

Notebook: Some surprises there…as the veterans struggled badly in a stat they should own…and youngsters performed above league average in a stat they should struggle in. The only good news for the Washington defense is that they forced a lot of punts when not allowing big plays. Dallas was just a JOKE defensively last year, so why is Tony Romo still in all the Preseason headlines?

2014 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
Philadelphia 9 wins
NY Giants 8 wins
Dallas 7.5 wins
Washington 7.5 wins

There’s a lot to like about the Giants making it past the .500 mark. But, you can’t ever be certain that a new offensive system is going to pay dividends right away. Look…if that clicks we’re looking at an 11-win team! If not, things could get ugly very quickly. That’s why you should watch the Hall-of-Fame game so closely…at least to see if the first and second team offense is drinking the Kool-Aid with enthusiasm. Nothing would be a shock in this division given all the volatility. Philadelphia could be gearing up to annual runs at 11-12 wins with their new coach and young QB. Either Dallas or Washington could easily make a Wildcard run with just a few tweaks. Looks like a very entertaining division once again. 

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Our next NFL divisional preview will run Thursday when the first FULL week of Preseason action begins. Here’s this week’s full schedule…

Monday: MLB Series Preview: LA Angles at LA Dodgers
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
Wednesday: MLB TV Preview: Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals on ESPN
Thursday: NFC West Preview…to get you ready for 49ers vs. Ravens on NFLN
Friday: NFC South Preview…to get you ready for Saints vs. Rams on NFLN
Saturday: NFC North Preview to get you ready for Lions vs. Browns on NFLN
Sunday: MLB TV Preview: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Great Week! The pennant races have been sizzling…and now pro football is back. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY this week and through all of August with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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