Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/3/12

For Big Blue, six games out of every 16-game schedule are against their NFC East Division Rivals: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. The 2011 New York Football Giants swept Dallas, split with Philadelphia and went winless against Washington. How will this slightly changed 2012 Giants team fair against each?

Head Coach Tom Coughlin will undoubtedly preach his “one game at a time” mantra, but it’s not breaking news to know that the team that wins the division is most definitely in the playoffs. These games are also the ones that almost always come down to the last few minutes and can go either way – meaning win-loss records going in mean absolutely nil. Division opponents know each other the best and can find that one area of weakness and exploit it as long as possible during a 60-minute gridiron battle.

Since the upcoming season is to be opened at home against the Dallas Cowboys, they will be perused first. Most Giants fans will be quick on the draw to place all of their woes on QB Tony Romo. While he isn’t Eli Manning, it’s unfair to put the team on his back. He can’t handle that. They have offensive line issues as well as defensive line issues. They’re trying to repair the secondary, but if no one can get to the gunslinger (besides Demarcus Ware), how does that help their defensive backfield? The Giants clearly had offensive line concerns last year during their first meeting and yet Manning got his job done as did the blue receivers. Jason Garrett is under massive amounts of “Jerry pressure”. Jones has already passed comment about Romo and seemingly has had to defend his own decisions annually. Until the Cowboys become a team with a clear-cut leader, the G-men can still pull together to hand them continued heartache.

Ask a Washington Redskin fan about the New York Giants and they’ll recall the two “W” over them last year as if they won the big game in February. Some fans do have a distorted view of their team, but… The 2011 Redskins had a defense that helped them enough into possible opportunities for the offense to take control; that never happened. Turnovers happened. For a team that used to capitalize on a positive turnover ratio, last year they couldn’t hold onto the rock and they couldn’t overcome that. Place a brand new quarterback under center and one wonders if he (along with a questionable Mike Shanahan) can make the changes necessary – especially in the NFC East where the defenses are all about getting the ball back into the offense’s possession. You need an offense that’s complete, however. No game in the division is a given, remember? Yeah, so does Coughlin.

Now for the Philadelphia Eagles, the shortest trip to the worst division rival atmosphere – for fans as well as the New York Giants. A hostile environment isn’t the problem in Philly. Some place blame on head coach Andy Reid. Others place it on offensive line coach-turned defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and his “Wide 9” scheme. The jokesters out there are still faulting former-Eagle Vince Young’s “Dream Team” statement. Each one can actually be part of the collective cause.

Andy Reid definitely has a different coaching technique than Coughlin (who got his team to become All In and Finish), so there’s a bit of a discipline question still open. The players got ahead of themselves with the dream team talk and instead of bonding and forming a team; they remained ego-driven parts. While the Eagles defense can still create turnovers, the issue was more at the point of attack – tackling and assignments. Hey, the Giants had the same type of problems early on too, but remained on track and overcame the youth, inexperience and those injuries too. Schemes obviously can be part of the problem, but not entirely. On the other side of the ball, Michael Vick and his offensive line aren’t feared as they were in early 2010 (wonder who drew-up the blueprint on how to attack him). LeSean McCoy is “the guy” now.

Each NFC “Beast” team has their offseason points to address. One is just addressing them as experienced World Champions.

Also…

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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