2009 NFC East Preview

Kevin Sansone, Senior Stat Boy

September 09, 2009

The NFC East has produced the last two Super Bowl champions - will 2009 make it a third? After several years of acquiring pieces for a championship run, it's looking like this might be the year for the Mallards to put it all together. They'll face tough opposition from the defending champion Snapdragons, Adrian Peterson and the White Guys, and a re-tooled Big Boys team that may have put together the best draft in recent years.

Team Capsules

Fightin' Mallards

Roethlisberger. Ryan. Jackson. Turner. Colston. Johnson. It feels like these core players have been around forever yet the Mallards still sport a career 30-47-1 record and zero playoff appearances. After the early success of the Merry Men in the late 90's, and then their downfall the last few seasons, it was clear that most of owner Steve Dugas' attention was elsewhere. But the repeated failures of the Mallards to get over the hump have left many wondering where that attention was going. Becky? Megan Fox? Log-splitting? The players listed above are finally ready to make their presence known. A healthy Mallard team is one the most dangerous in the NFC, and there is little doubt they will improve on their sub-.500 record from a year ago. If Leon Washington or Ted Ginn emerges as the go to guy at the flex position, then this team could be headed deep into the playoffs.

Projected Record: 9-4


When thinking about the 2008 Dragons Super Bowl championship team, the best comparison I can come up with is the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Good but not great, came out of nowhere, shocking postseason run, etc. Can the 2009 version of the Dragons do it again? I think so, but it will be more difficult. Based on the improvements within the division, the Dragons won't find it quite as easy to win 9 games this year. A lack of depth at running back could end up being Jon's ultimate downfall as he must rely on Gore and Forte staying healthy the entire season. The 2009 draft did not offer much in the way of help for the Dragons either. Jon's hopes that Glen Coffee would fall to him at #16 were dashed when the Eaters snagged him at #13. Clayton and Walker will at most be bye week fill-ins for Gonzalez, Morgan, Welker and Ward. However, the foundation is there for another run and the wild card (or a division title) is definitely a possibility. Aaron Rodgers is an underdog MVP candidate and another strong season could have the Dragons hoisting their second straight trophy at the end of the season.

Projected Record: 8-5

White Guys

The White Guys won 7 games last year on the backs of super trio Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald and Roddy White. Those three are back, but who else is there to help lead this team? There are as many backup QBs as there are WRs on this team (3) and depth remains an issue. The bottom line is that the White Guys are always that team that no one wants to face because of their potential for big scores from Peterson and Fitzgerald, but they still have a ways to go in a tough division. With a year of seasoning from rookie QB Mark Sanchez and a good draft in 2010, the White Guys could be back next season as a team to beat in the NFC East.

Projected Record: 5-8

Big Boys

Kudos to Chris Davidson for pulling off a stunner of a draft day trade with the Brothers; a trade most of us did not see coming. Gone is longtime Big Boy Reggie Wayne, the best receiver on a thin WR corps. Welcomed into the fold are two of the top running back prospects in the 2009 draft Knowshon Moreno and Donald Brown. Davidson's roster activity seemed to be less about making waves in 2009, and more about going for a title in 2010 and beyond. The number one question facing the Boys as they prepare for this season is who will take over in the absence of Reggie Wayne? The easy answer is that no WR on the Boys roster will be able to match that kind of production. Devin Hester and Donnie Avery are the most likely to step up, but should Chris find himself in position to make a playoff run, a trade for a veteran WR may be necessary.

Projected Record: 4-9

Preseason Superlatives

Division MVP

Adrian Peterson, White Guys

The former YFFL Rookie of the Year is easily the best non-QB in the YFFL. After seeing a slight dip in his scoring in 2008, expect Peterson to cross the 100 point barrier for the second time in his career.

Most Underrated

Aaron Rodgers, Dragons

It's tough to think of Rodgers as being underrated, but had Jon started Rodgers in Week 1 and 2, we would have seen his name on the YFFL MVP ballot. That is something no one is talking about.

Most Overrated

Thomas Jones, Boys

I don't think there is one person out there who thinks Jones can repeat his 110 point performance from last season. But if he does, move him up to the Most Underrated category.

Breakthrough Player

Anthony Gonzalez, Dragons

Gonzalez is entrenched as the Dragons #2 receiver behind Wes Welker. Expect his point total to at least double in 2009.

All Division Team

QBAaron RodgersDragons
RBAdrian PetersonWhite Guys
RBMatt ForteDragons
WRLarry FitzgeraldWhite Guys
WRCalvin JohnsonMallards
TEZach MillerWhite Guys
KMason CrosbyMallards
UTMichael TurnerMallards