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2014 NFC East Preview: Where Do The Cowboys Fit?

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Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) scores a touchdown past New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (24) in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

 

The NFC East has been absolutely cruel to the Dallas Cowboys over the last three seasons.  In thirty years of following the NFL, I can never remember one team losing the final game of the season to a different divisional foe three straight seasons and missing the playoffs because of it.  In each of those last three seasons, the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles have each won the division, all at the Cowboys’ expense.

Still, this appears to be the easiest route to the playoffs as the other divisions all have two or more teams that can easily find their way in.  It is true that the NFC East is the weakest division in the conference, but that does not mean it won’t be competitive.  Today we will preview the division and look at some of the odds that Vegas is putting out there for how well each of these teams will do as well as the odds for each to reach the playoffs and Super Bowl XLIX.

NEW YORK GIANTS
2012 Record/Finish – 7-9, 3rd in NFC East
Key Additions - RB Rashad Jennings, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, G Geoff Schwartz, WR Odell Beckham
Key Subtractions - DE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, WR Hakeem Nicks, T David Diehl
Offensive Ranks - 28th (scoring), 28th (total yards), 19th (passing), 29th (rushing)
Defensive Ranks - 18th (scoring), 8th (total yards), 10th (passing), 14th (rushing)

The Giants success has historically revolved around their defense.  Sure Eli Manning can come up with the more than occasional lucky play, but the defense has always been what drives this franchise.  Unfortunately for New York, the defense is in a state of flux and showing obvious signs of decline.  The 2012 and 2013 Giants have posted the lowest totals in regards to sacks that this team has seen in a while.  Five different times last season, the defense gave up 35+ points.  These are all ominous indications that the 2014 season could be one of the worst the “G-Men” have seen in a while.  The reason?  If you can believe it, the offense is likely to be worse than last season, if that’s possible.  A change in offensive philosophy with a new coordinator has started out horribly this offseason and the inconvenient truth is that Eli is also in decline, posting 44 TD’s and 42 INT’s over the last two seasons while never eclipsing 4,000 yards in either season and leading the league in picks last season.  Lastly, a brutal stretch of games in weeks six through twelve which has them at Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle while facing Indianapolis, San Francisco and Dallas at home should put the Giants out of their misery before Thanksgiving.

Vegas odds to win the division – +350
Vegas over/under win total – 8
Predicted Order of Finish 6-10, 4th place

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Dez Bryant Jason Witten Tony Romo

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