Why The Washington Redskins Will Run Away With The NFC East This Season
In the 2012-2013 NFL season, the NFC East came down to the wire. The division crown was up for grabs in a historic week 17 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. In that game, Alfred Morris rose to the occasion and showed the world what he was made of, rushing for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. While his performance helped boost the Redskins to victory, we cannot ignore the main reason the Redskins won that game; Tony Romo. Yes, I said it. Tony Romo was the one who put the dagger in the Cowboys season…AGAIN.
The truth of the matter is, the Dallas Cowboys will never be a major threat until they get rid of Romo. While he may put up big numbers and look good on paper, he can never win the big game. He is known around the country as a professional choke artist and rightfully so. He consistently blows the Cowboy’s chances at having a successful season by either throwing game-losing interceptions or committing game-losing fumbles. In 6 seasons as the Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo has won only 1 single playoff game. The Cowboys have plagued themselves with the “Romo curse” for 6 more years by signing him to new contract, which in return, eliminates them as a true threat in the NFC east.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in a rebuilding stage. This will be the first year since 1999 that Andy Reid will not be the head coach. Instead, the Eagles hired Chip Kelly, the previous coach of Oregon, to replace him. Chip’s fast-paced style of offense worked well in college, but in the NFL, everything is fast-paced. Also, the setup for each play can only go as fast as the referees allow it to go, which means that the ball cannot be snapped until the referees are set up and ready for the next play. One can only assume that an NFL player is more fit and has more stamina than the average referee, so the players on the defensive side of the ball shouldn’t have a huge problem with keeping up with the fast pace offense the Eagles will attempt to run due to the fact that everybody has to wait on the referees to get ready for each play. To add to the stress of the team coming off one of their worst seasons in the past decade, their star WR, Jeremy Maclin, is out for the season with a torn ACL, which instantly weakens their passing attack. The loss of Maclin wasn’t the only issue the Eagles had with a receiver this offseason. Riley Cooper also made waves throughout the media by being taped blurting out a racial slur outside of a Kenny Chesney concert which went viral on the web. The Cooper incident brought a flood of unwanted attention to a team that is trying to reconstruct its entire offensive and defensive schemes, which in return, will prove to be too much controversy for the first year head coach to handle.
The New York Giants pose as the biggest threat to the Washington Redskins, but the Giants are a team of hot streaks and cold streaks. When the team is at their peak, it is difficult to beat them, but when they aren’t, their execution and game play is laughable. This proved true in their last two super bowl runs. They peaked at the end of the season, which gave them the momentum required to make a super bowl run. It also proved true last year. The Giants hit their peak towards the middle of the season as opposed to the end, which resulted in the team’s self-destruction. If the Giants peak at the wrong time next season, they will once again crumble and ruin their chances at winning the NFC East.
The Washington Redskins, on the other hand, peaked at just the right time last year. The Redskins went on a seven game winning streak to clinch the division. One underlying fact that most people don’t think about when they discuss last year’s Redskins, is the fact that they were hit hard by the injury bug.
Brandon Meriweather, Adam Carriker, Fred Davis, Pierre Garcon, Brian Orakpo, and Robert Griffin III are just a few notable players that got injured last year. When you take all of those injuries into consideration, it is truly amazing that the Redskins even had a winning record last season.
All of those players, except Adam Carriker who had to undergo another surgery to repair his torn quadriceps, are returning to the active roster in 2013. Brian Orakpo is poised to have a breakout season. The outside linebacker tandem of Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will create relentless pressure on opposing teams and the two should be collecting sacks all season. Fred Davis is entering the last year of his contract, so he knows that he must perform in order to stay on the roster. Prior to Davis’ injury last season, he was one of Robert Griffin III’s favorite targets and he will likely ease back into that role and have a huge impact from the tight end position yet again this upcoming season. Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon will prove to be one of the deadliest aerial threats in the NFL. The duo made their mark last year within the first quarter of the two working together, when Robert Griffin III threw his first touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon; an 88 yard play that set the tone for the Redskin’s season. Perhaps, it was a little bit of foreshadowing of what the elite duo can and will do for years to come.
The Redskins have now tasted a little bit of success, but the players say that they are hungry for more. When the Washington Redskins take the field on Monday Night Football in week 1 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, the team will be tested under the bright lights, being showcased in their first prime time game of the season. The team now knows that they can win the division, and the Redskins will defend their NFC East division crown because the Cowboys still have Romo under center, the Eagles are in a rebuilding stage, and the Giants are too inconsistent. If the Washington Redskins can stay healthy next season, the possibilities are limitless and they can easily run away with the NFC East.