November 19, 2017 by squish
Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz have enjoyed probowl caliber seasons this year. (Courtesy of Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Written by Al “Squish” Salucco
No NFC East team has repeated as division champs since the Philadelphia Eagles did it from 2001-04. This year won’t be any different – the Cowboys are done.
Injuries and underestimation were the reasons why my preseason predictions were not “on fleek,” but a lot of my reasoning held true.
Preseason Prediction 11-5
Current Record 5-4
New Prediction 8-8
Just as I said, it has been injuries and suspensions that have hurt this team. Originally I expected Ezekiel Elliot to serve his suspension at the beginning of the season, but he managed to stay out there for the majority of the opening weeks. With him gone until week 15, coupled with the injury to left tackle Tyron Smith, this team is going to hurt.
Dak Prescott has shown that he is the real deal with his 21 total touchdowns to date, but he cannot do it alone. His completion percentage, yards per attempt and qbr have all shown decline this year because this team seems incomplete.
Zeke gave it all he could when he was out there but Dez Bryant hasn’t been himself and Sean Lee can’t stay healthy…DUH.
I would tend to lean towards Dak being this teams MVP but I’m actually going to go with Sean Lee. Why? Because the defense holds opposing teams to 3.5 yards per carry while he’s on the field and allows 5.5 yards per carry with him off of it.
It seems flukey because how can one person make a team a top five run defense when he’s there but make them dead last when he’s off of it? Because he is that good and makes this defense work.
Maybe next year, boys.
Preseason Prediction 7-9
Current Record 8-1
New Prediction 14-2
This team is clearly the best in the NFC and despite all of the buzz surrounding their high-powered offense, they have a top 10 defense as well in terms of yards allowed.
Try to run on them. I dare you. They only allow 66 yards rushing per game – 14 yards less than the next place team. With a top-tier front seven led by Fletcher Cox, this defense will continue to allow this offense to remain aggressive all the way to the Super Bowl.
Averaging the second most points in the league, the Eagles are led by sophomore signal caller Carson “Ginger Jesus” Wentz. His 23 passing touchdowns lead the league and he has taken a huge step forward this year. Prior to the season I said he would be the team MVP, I was right about that as well as saying the team X-factor would be Zach Ertz.
Despite missing a game this year, Ertz ranks 4th among tight ends in both receptions and yards receiving and is tied for the lead in touchdowns with six. His emergence as an elite tight end coupled with a motivated Alshon Jeffrey and an improved Nelson Agholor has this team looking as good as any in the league.
Jeffrey had a slow start but has since taken on a prominent role in this soaring offense as one of three pass-catchers with at least 5 touchdowns joining Ertz and Agholor in that category.
In the preseason I also mentioned that some of their offseason signings didn’t make much sense, specifically Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount. Blount has been hit or miss and Smith has been rather disappointing with only 15 grabs to date.
We can’t forget the trade deadline addition of running back Jay Ajayi which will give this already talented offense another dimension, one that will set up the play action throws to Ertz rather well.
New York Giants
Preseason Prediction 9-7
Current Record 1-8
New Prediction 4-14
Injuries and Benny’s bad hair has turned this team into a dumpster fire. Eli Manning lost his top two targets for the season in one game: Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.
With those two going down there is at least a silver lining for the Giants – Evan Engram is a stud. The team MVP ranks in the top eight at his position in both receptions and yards while ranking third with five touchdown grabs.
If you add that to the promising weeks that Sterling Shepard has had and look forward to next season when OBJ will be back, this offense should be more comfortable and the young backs Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman will be more polished.
But, the defense that everyone thought could be one of the best in the league has clearly given up. COUGH COUGH JANORIS JENKINS COUGH COUGH. When a guy that only has nine fingers leads your team in sacks (Jason Pierre Paul), you’re doing something wrong.
Defense wins games, as they say, and this team has allowed the second most yards in the league…only behind the Patriots…I guess numbers do lie.
Preseason Prediction 6-10
Current Record 4-5
New Prediction 7-9
The first nine games of the season…you like that? You like that, Kirk? Cause I like your play, I just think you could use some help besides Chris Thompson.
Thompson leads the team in both rushing and receiving with just under 800 total yards between the two categories and has maximized his big play potential; he has three plays of 49+ yards this season.
His emergence was perfect for the Skins who saw their lead back, Fat Rob Kelly, become sidelined with injuries. Although rookie Samaje Perine is a better between-the-tackles runner, it has been Thompson that has stolen the show. You know who hasn’t? Former Ohio State Buckeye Terrelle Pryor.
After a breakout year last year totaling 77/1,007/4, Pryor has posted 20/240/1 this season. It was a low risk/high reward signing that hasn’t panned out and it looks like Pryor will be somewhere else next season.
It’s hard to dislike this team. They have a cast of characters that include talented youngsters and wily old vets. At seasons end I believe this team will be considered one of the best teams to not make the playoffs.