As time passes, things are not always what they once were, but they aren’t as bad as some make them to be either. Take the NFC East for instance. This division has seen its share of disappointments this season. The New York Giants are in the midst of a four game skid after starting 5-0. The Philadelphia Eagles suffered an inexcusable loss to the Oakland Raiders. Right when the NFL community began entertaining the idea of the Dallas Cowboys being the best team in the NFC, they lose to the Green Bay Packers, a team that is struggling to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. And then there are the Washington Redskins. I think we all know about the “three ring circus” that’s happening in the Nation’s Capital. Many feel such moments have lowered the value of this once anointed division. I beg to differ! In the midst of all this confusion, NFC East teams are collectively 19-17, which puts the division in a three way tie with the AFC North and NFC South for the second best combined win-loss record in the league. Not only that, the division has allowed 728 points from opposing offenses, which is second fewest only behind the AFC North. Maybe the NFC East isn’t what it used to be, but it is far from inferiority. Since all four teams are in action this week, let’s see how they, along with the other 28 teams fair this week:

Panthers over Dolphins The loss of Ronnie Brown has tamed the wildcat. It’s likely that Pat White will be plugged into the attack, but he’s not the runner that Brown is.

Colts over Ravens- The game of chess that Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis have played at the line of scrimmage in past games have been nothing short of epic. Given the decline that Baltimore’s defense is on, I’m not too sure if this week’s meeting will carry the same potency.

Cowboys over Redskins- The directions that these teams are heading have no bearing on how interesting this game will be. Dallas will get the edge on the strength of home field advantage. The ‘Boys do not want Washington’s first visit to Cowboys Stadium to mirror the result of its last visit to Texas Stadium.

Lions over Browns- Congratulations NFL Scheduling Committee, you found a matchup that stumped me. The loss of Joshua Cribbs will prove to be costly for the Dawg Pound.

49ers over Packers- I know Green Bay’s offensive line did a solid job of protecting Aaron Rodgers last week, but I’m not sold on that unit. Mike Singletary finds a scheme that will force Rodgers to revisit that feeling of claustrophobia.

Bills over Jaguars- Call me naïve, but the firing of Dick Jauron could be the beginning of something new in Buffalo. Interim head coach and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has shook things up by naming Ryan Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback for this game. Maybe he foresees this change resulting in the return of one Terrell Owens.  Or maybe my sanity should be questioned, but still it’s a fresh start.

Steelers over Chiefs- With the disposal of Larry Johnson and the suspension of Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City’s chances of an upset have become slimmer than what they were when those players were active.

Vikings over Seahawks- It looks like more woeful days are ahead for the injury riddled Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, Brad Childress’ decision to bring in Brett Favre grows wiser.

Giants over Falcons- Coming off a bye week, Big Blue looks to end its four-game losing streak and it’s very likely to do so against an Atlanta team that could suit up without Roddy White And Michael Turner.

Saints over Buccaneers- As the season progresses, New Orleans is finding itself escaping tougher battles. Playing Tampa Bay should allow the new Greatest Show on Turf to have a star-studded performance.

Cardinals over Rams- Arizona seems to have reclaimed its hold on the NFC West from last season. Barring anything bizarre, this game should bring the Cardinals a step closer to being two-time division champions.

Chargers over Broncos- Lesson learned…never again will I let San Diego’s start dictate the direction of their season. This team slowly comes out the gate time and time again, only to stand atop the AFC West mountain.  What happened to the gallop Denver had during it’s 6-0 start?

Patriots over Jets- Given the frustration from last week’s loss to Indianapolis, this game is not going to come down to a critical fourth down conversion situation. Watch how New England bullies Gang Green.

Bengals over Raiders- Although Cedric Benson is out and there are uncertainty about Larry Johnson’s contributions, Oakland’s problems run deeper than JaMarcus Russell, who was demoted for Bruce Gradkowski. Best wishes to you in getting your receivers to catch your passes.

Eagles over Bears- The supporting cast of LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson will see to it that Donovan McNabb’s homecoming will be a sweet one.

Titans over Texans- If Tennessee continues its upward climb and at least finishes the season at .500, you have to place running back Chris Johnson into serious consideration as an MVP candidate. Whether you look at the 0-6 start or the recent three game winning streak, Johnson has been the one consistent bright spot in the Titans’ surprisingly disappointing season.

I finished 9-6, which gives me ownership of a 94-50 season mark. I have seven weeks to reclaim double-digit wins. Can it be done?  Stay tuned! As always, enjoy the games and be sure to check in next week.

By Antoine Hoffman


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