In 2011, the NFC East had one of the best battles for a division title in the entire NFL. The NFC East title came down to the last game of the NFL season, with the New York Giants defeating the Dallas Cowboys and winning the NFC East, before going on to win the Super Bowl. Before the four NFC East teams open up training camp next week, there is no better time to look at each team’s chances of winning the NFC East in 2012.
The team with the best chance to win the NFC East is the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Giants have most of their key pieces from the Super Bowl winning team back and should be as dangerous as they were last year. The Giants signed free agent tight end Martellus Bennett, offensive tackle Sean Locklear and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. The Giants will also get back five players that missed the entire 2011 season or part of the season in Terrell Thomas, Marvin Austin, Justin Tuck, Ahmad Bradshaw and Osi Umenyoira. If the Giants are able to stay healthy in 2012, they could have one of the best records in the NFL.
The team with the second best chance to win the NFC East is the Philadelphia Eagles. After winning their remaining four games of 2011, to finish the season at 8-8, the Eagles will use that momentum to win a wild card spot this season. The Eagles were able to make a huge trade and acquire inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans for only a fourth-round draft pick in this past April’s NFL Draft. The two teams also exchanged third-round selections in this past April’s NFL Draft. Philadelphia also re-signed wide receiver DaSean Jackson and re-signed running back LaSean McCoy to a 5-year contract. The key for the Eagles success will be the play and health of quarterback Michael Vick. If Vick is healthy for the entire 2012 season and he plays at the elite level that he is capable of playing at the Eagles could make a deep run in the 2011 NFL playoffs.
The next team with the best chance of winning the 2012 NFC East division title is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys did a good job in trading up and selecting a very good defensive player in cornerback Morris Claiborne out of LSU. They also improved what was a very weak defense last year by drafting defensive end Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and outside linebacker Kyle Wilber out of Wake Forest. Dallas also signed solid free agents in cornerback Brandon Carr, inside linebacker Dan Conner and quarterback Kyle Orton, who will be the backup to starter Tony Romo. They also re-signed outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, who will help anchor the Dallas defense. If Romo can have a sensational season and overachieve then the Cowboys could win the division, but the chances of this happening are not very likely.
The Washington Redskins have the worst chance of winning the 2012 NFC East division title. While the Redskins have definitely improved upon their 2011 team, they are still a couple of years away from winning the NFC East title. The Redskins signed free agent wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan. In addition they signed free agent linebackers Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl and Chris Wilson. After trading up for the No.2 Overall Draft Pick, and drafting quarterback Robert Griffin III, he should be a staple at quarterback for the Redskins for several years to come. If the Redskins were in an easier division, like the NFC West they would be a top contender, but since they are in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, they are definitely long shots to win the 2012 NFC East title.