Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) throws away the ball under pressure from Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) and Ernie Sims (59) in the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys aim to wrangle up NFC East

Since winning the division in 2009, the Dallas Cowboys have been on the outside looking in in regards to the playoffs. A disaster of a season in 2010 and two back to back 8-8 seasons have made the Cowboys the butt of the jokes in the NFL.

Heading into the 2013 season, the vast majority of Cowboys fans have little hope of their team making a run at the playoffs, let alone

Dec 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) talks with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) after the game at FedEX Field. The Redskins won 28 – 18. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

winning the division. Those fans should open their eyes to the rest of the division and see just how wide open the NFC East is and how the Cowboys could be a surprise contender this year.

On paper, the Dallas Cowboys continue to possess one of the most talented teams in the National Football League. Injuries and mental mistakes, however, continue to plague the team each year.

If the Cowboys can overcome these two issues, there is no telling how many games this team can win, especially with a very easy schedule to begin the year. Mix in some help from their division foes, and the Cowboys could be division champs. What kind of help can the rest of the NFC East give the Cowboys?

Washington Redskins: Last year, the Redskins took the league by storm with their young superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III.  No one could stop the Redskins’ zone read offense and they clawed their way to a division title. A lot of so called experts think that they are the favorite to win another division title solely because of their young quarterback. Let’s calm down a bit and tone the expectations down. With Griffin returning from another major surgery, who knows if he will play with the same kind of burst he showed last year. The Redskins also had a huge cap penalty levied against them, so they have had minimal impact in upgrading an aging defense this offseason. Other than Pro Bowl linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, their defense is pretty average.

Philadelphia Eagles: This is a team that is coming off a 4-12 season in which they quit on a coach that was the face of the Eagles franchise for 10 years.  Fans were overjoyed when former Oregon head coach Chip Kelley was named as the replacement for former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid. Kelly could be a success in this league, but so far only one head coach has successfully made the jump from college to the pros and experienced immediate success, and that was 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. The Eagles have minimal talent, and have already lost three players to ACL injuries. It would take a miracle for the Eagles to have any impact on the division race.

New York Giants:  This maybe the toughest challenge to the Cowboys in winning the division. Still locked and loaded with a fierce defensive line, the Giants were only one game away from winning the division last year. However, they still have a lot of weaknesses that could help the Cowboys.  They lost a lot of their offensive punch in former tight end Martellus Bennett and former running back Ahmad Bradshaw.   Key losses on defense, like linebacker Michael Boley, will hurt a squad that is pretty subpar outside of its great defensive line. The Giants won two Super Bowls on the backs of energetic defensive lines, stop that and you stop the Giants.

As you can see, the division is littered with parity and no team has the talent to dominate. With a healthier team and a better focus, there is no reason why the Cowboys can’t be the top team at season’s end.

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Tags: Coaches Dallas Cowboys Division Football Jerry Jones Marty B Michael Boley NFC NFC East RGIII Romo

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