And the predictions start rolling in. According to the Washington Post:
“The Philadelphia Eagles are favored to win the NFC East in 2014. The Redskins have the worst odds to win the division. But Giants safety Antrel Rolle — in a kind of unusual move nowadays — offered his full divisional prediction to ESPN, and he had the Redskins finishing ahead of the Eagles. (Rolle had the Giants finishing first and the Cowboys finishing last.)”
Okay, a few things: Obviously, though he may not believe it deep down, Rolle had to pick the Giants to win because theirs is the logo on his paychecks. That we totally get. But as WaPo correctly noted, the bigger surprise is the Redskins being put in front of the Eagles in Rolle’s eyes. Rolle said:
“I think if you have the right defensive scheme against the Eagles, you can definitely shut them down … I think we displayed that in the second game we played them [Ed. note: A game where that scheme was deployed against Matt Barkley]. As far as Washington, I think Washington has more weapons, and I think they added more weapons, especially to the offensive system. I think RGIII will definitely bounce back and have a better season this year. And defensively, I think they’ve added a lot of veteran leadership to their defense that’s gonna help them out a whole lot.”
I assume by “veteran leadership” he means part-time ESPN analyst Ryan Clark. Rolle also said about DeSean Jaccson:
“I think he’s definitely gonna help the Redskins out a lot. DeSean Jackson is a phenomenal player in this league, and I think he has a chip on his shoulder. I think he has something to prove. So I wish DeSean the best of luck to go out there and do what he does best, which is to make big plays. But against the Giants it’s going to be a different story.”
Of course it’ll be a different story, since he’ll be facing one of the league’s middle of the pack defenses that gave up around 24 points a game last year.
And for what it’s worth, if you switch the Eagles and Giants, and then the Giants and Cowboys, you’ve probably got the division right.