Tearing apart my “50 NFC East predictions” from August

This guy is clueless.

I had THIS brought to my attention today, so I thought it would be fun do a little progress report and revel in my cluelessness:

1 – Anthony Spencer will have one awesome game early in the season, which will inspire Jerry Jones to give him a contract extension in which he wildly overpays.  Spencer will be released less than 3 years later.

He never had that “awesome game.”

2 – The Giants won’t lead the league in giveaways this season like they did in 2010.  They also won’t lead the league in takeaways like they did last season.

One right!  (although it was a layup).

3 – Kurt Coleman will lead the Eagles in tackles, partly because he’s really good, but also because he’ll have to.

Got benched early in the season for a few games, and is 2nd on the team in tackles anyway. Has 20 to make up on Jamar Chaney.

4 – This could be London Fletcher’s last season.  He probably won’t be headed to Canton, but he should be.

OK, not a prediction, still on board with the thought though.

5 – Jason Pierre-Paul is suddenly expected to have a monster year.  I think he’ll be good, but people need to calm down a little bit there.

Monster year.

6 – If Keith Brooking isn’t a starter, will he still do his dumb pregame thing?  I mean… After yelling “We’re gonna hit them in the mouth, we’re gonna bloody their nose, we’re gonna eat their babies,” etc, you can’t really cap it off by saying “Alright guys, I’ll see you in the locker room after the game. 1-2-3 WIN!”

I think I was just sort of trying to make fun of Brooking here by saying he’s not good anymore.  And he’s not.

7 – For the past year or so, I’ve been killing the Redskins for changing from a 4-3 to a 3-4 when they had players that perfectly fit their 4-3 scheme.  The Redskins basically said to their players “You adjust to what we want to do,” rather than adjusting their scheme to fit their players’ strengths.  It would almost be hypocritical to not criticize Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd for trying to do the same.

Whoops, Mudd has been great.  Jason Kelce has been a find at center, Danny Watkins looked like a disaster in the preseason but wound up playing really well, Evan Mathis’ athleticism has fit in perfectly, and Jason Peters and Todd Herremans on the edges have been dominant at times.  Dead wrong here.  Plus, is there any better comedy than when Mudd does the little side bump on crutches with LeSean McCoy after the RB scores?

8 – What’s the best 1WR-2WR-TE combo in the NFC East?  Gotta go with the Cowboys there on the shoulders of Jason Witten.  But the Cowboys have absolutely no depth at WR behind those guys, and TE depth, once thought to be a strength, really isn’t anymore.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but that best combo has arguably been Nicks-Cruz-Ballard.  Wow.

9 – Tim Hightower will have 1,400+ yards from scrimmage.  What the hell are the Cardinals thinking?  Hightower for Vonnie Holliday and a late 2012 pick?  Seriously?  And I’m as big a believer in Kevin Kolb as you’ll find, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2?  Really?  The NFC East is treating Arizona like that guy in your fantasy football league that doesn’t have a clue.

In the 5 games he played, Hightower would have been on pace for about 1277 yards, but he tore his ACL.  I can’t beat myself up too much on this one.

10 – With an OL that includes 2 rookies and a 2nd year guy with just 109 NFL snaps under his belt, Tony Romo better beef up his life insurance.  Ditto that for Michael Vick and the two rookies at C and RG that he’ll be playing behind.

Those young guys have gotten Romo banged around a bit, and Vick has taken a beating as well, although Vick’s punishment has been a result of his own decision making.

11 – The Redskins will not finish last in the division.

Yes they will.

12 – Is Jay Ratliff still an awesome player?  I’m not sure I saw it in 2010.  He’s a guy I’ll be watching closely the first few weeks of the season.

Really good player. Not awesome.

13 – The Redskins’ defense, at least on paper, looks pretty good to me.  They’ll be in the Top 20 this year, statistically.  That may not sound like a big deal, but it is considering they were 31st last season.

They’re 12th.  And12th is extremely impressive considering their offense can’t consistently hang onto the football.

14 – The Cowboys’ “3 bullies” will combine for 5 sacks or less.  Departed Cowboy Stephen Bowen will have at least 4 on his own.

The “3 bullies” are Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, and Kenyon Coleman.  So far, they have 3 combined sacks.  Bowen has 3.5.  Looking decent on that one.

15 – Giants LT William Beatty, assuming he doesn’t get hurt, will lead the division in penalties.

He has 3.  Lots of guys have more.

16 – Redskins fans will complain excessively about Brian Orakpo being held by opposing offenses, when Trent Cole, DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora are held just as much.

They did in the comment section of the original post.  Win.

17 – Marion Barber.  Marc Colombo.  Leonard Davis.  Roy Williams.  And now Andre Gurode.  Terence Newman, you might be next.

Newman is actually having himself a nice bounce-back season.

18 – Speaking of Roy Williams and Marion Barber, what in the hell are the Bears thinking?

Well, if they were in the NFC East, they be the division leaders on tiebreakers.

19 – Let’s come back to Newman: Last year, per Football Outsiders, Newman was targeted 83 times and gave up 9.1 yards per target, or roughly 755 yards on the season.  Mike Jenkins was targeted 80 times and gave up a staggering 10.5 yards per target, or roughly 840 yards.  By comparison, the Eagles starting corners, again per Football Outsiders, fared slightly better.  Nnamdi Asomugha was targeted 31 times, and gave up 5.9 yards per target, or roughly 183 yards.  Asante Samuel, meanwhile, was only targeted 36 times, and gave up an astoundingly low 3.2 yards per target, or roughly 115 yards.  Also, despite being targeted just 36 times, somehow Samuel picked off 7 passes, often times when he wasn’t even the defender being targeted.

Oof, it’s a good thing I came back to Newman again so I could be wrong twice.

20 – In a related note, Samuel will pick off 10+ passes this season if he can say healthy.

Asante Samuel has been an abomination this season.

21 – OJ Atogwe has the best profile pictures in sports.

Well, yeah.

22 – Bigtime year upcoming for Mario Manningham.  Thinking 1,100 yards and 10 TDs.

Nope.  He’s been thoroughly outplayed by Victor Cruz.

23 – Alan Ball was an unmitigated disaster at FS for the Cowboys this year, but he’ll been a decent nickle/dime corner.  Nickle if the Cowboys cut Newman, dime if they don’t.

So far so good.

24 – Brandon Jacobs has a career per carry average of 4.6.  Ahmad Bradshaw has averaged 4.8 for his career.  Neither will be north of 4.5 this season.

Nailed that one.

25 – Osi Umenyiora will have 8 sacks or less in 2011.

He already has 7.

26 – Felix Jones finally puts it together and has a good season.  Rushes for over 1,000 yards, catches 50+ passes.  Stat line similar to Shady McCoy’s 2010 season.

Nope.

27 – DeMarco Murray will barely see the field, at least early in the season.

Got the “early in the season part right, but this is a mega-failure.

28 – The Cowboys defense is in for another really tough year.  They were 23rd in yards allowed in 2010.  They’ll be worse in 2011.

Vastly improved.

29 – Shady McCoy will have the best offensive numbers in the NFC East this season.  Think Brian Westbrook in his prime.

Dare I say, better than Westbrook in his prime?

30 – Apparently, Phil Costa went to my old high school.  I wonder if he would have tired to give me a wedgie if we went to school together.

He would have.

31 – I’m rooting for Jeremy Maclin to have a monster season.  I don’t care if that sounds biased or not.  Great kid.  Deserves it.

His numbers are great. The drop at the end of the Atlanta game and the fumble at the end of the Niners game weren’t.

32 – I would advise LaRon Landry to just keep his mouth shut before he faces DeSean Jackson this year.

Well, the Eagles beat the Redskins pretty comfortably earlier this year.  Don’t remember Landry chirping too much, and don’t remember DeSean Jackson doing much of anything against anyone this season.

33 – Prince Amukamara is set to return mid-way through the season. The ideal situation would have been to ease him into action gradually, but Prince will be forced to play way more than Perry Fewell would like, due to the absurd number of injuries to the Giants CB rotation.  Expect Prince to get toasted early and often in his first tastes of NFL action.

Wrong about the forced into action part.  TBD on the toasted part.

34 – If Michael Vick gets hurt early in the season, the Eagles will put Vince Young in even though Mike Kafka is currently the better option.  Also, on a side note Cowboys fans, Kafka > McGee.

Kafka played early, but VY was hurt.  Not sure I really care anymore about any Kafka-McGee debate

35 – I don’t know if John Beck or Rex Grossman will start for the Redskins Week 1, and I’m not sure if I even care anymore at this point.  However, Mike Shanahan will change his starting QB at some point this season, and not necessarily because of injury.  Maybe twice… and maybe not even back to the original guy.

Twice! Ha, got one.

36 – Trevor Laws gets cut, signs with the Giants.

Nope.

37 – The NFC East rookie of the year (not that there’s actually an award for that) will be  Ryan Kerrigan.  I took the following video of Kerrigan at the NFL Combine, and I must have been shaking like a crack baby.  If you can watch this without getting nauseous, you’re a better man than me.

It’s probably DeMarco Murray, but the notion that Kerrigan would be good was correct.

38 – Martellus Bennett, upon return from his high ankle sprain in 2-4 weeks, may find that the #2 TE job is no longer his.

Well, he’s still getting #2 TE playing time, but he shouldn’t be.

39 – You know how teams just avoiding throwing at Nnamdi Asomugha for so many years because it was simply easier to pick on the other side?  I think I sorta covered that earlier.  Corey Webster better prepare for a very boring season manning his corner.

I don’t know that Webster has been avoided to any really noticable degree, but he has had a good season. Not sure how to grade myself on this one.

40 – Matt Dodge, and not Steve Weatherford, will win the Giants punting job.

Matt Dodge may not ever play in the NFL again.

41 – The Eagles will trade Joselio Hanson for either a 4 or a 5.

Or they’ll cut him, and sign him back to the team a few days later. Potato potahto.

42 – Speaking of slot corners, Orlando Scandrick got paid WAY too much money.

Still think he did.

43 – Michael Vick may very well “regress to the mean,” as many are predicting.  But so will their atrocious red zone defense, which was historically bad.  In fact, the Eagles’ red zone defense was the worst since the 1988 Oilers, a team that doesn’t even exist anymore.

I Eagles have been better in the red zone this season than they were last year, but I’m not about to defend the Eagles defense for a second here. They’ve been atrocious in big spots all season. Most unclutch defense ever.

44 – Giants and Cowboys fans might argue that the Redskins overpaid for Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, respectively, and I’d be inclined to agree.  However, there’s little question those two guys will massively upgrade their DL.  I don’t think Redskins fans will be missing Ma’ake Kemoeatu anytime soon.

It has been a massive upgrade, even if those guys aren’t setting the world on fire.

45 – The Giants aren’t really going to use Bear Pascoe as a FB again this season, are they?

No.

46 – I think I might keep a running tally of how many times announcers call Casey Matthews “Clay” Matthews this season.  I would set the over/under at 15, but I’m not sure how long Casey will keep his job as a starter.

Casey DID get benched, and I’m pretty sure we reached 15 anyway.

47 – Don’t be surprised if the Giants pick up two corners when teams cut down to 53, not just one.

They did eventually sign a couple corners (Brian Williams and Justin Tryon).

48 – If Steve Smith is ready to go Week 1, truly is healthy, and produces right away, the Giants front office is going to have some serious egg on their face.

(Gagging)

49 – Tashard, please, for the love of God, no matter what charity it might be for, you don’t ask the opposing QB for an autograph right after the game… especially after a loss.  And don’t let him pat you on the head afterward like you’re his little buddy.

Well, no, you don’t.

50 – The Eagles will win the NFC East… handily.

Done after just 9 games.

My batting average would get me sent down to the minors.

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    It’s all good Jimmy. Predictions are meant to be bold and fun. We all can’t be amazingly right all the time like me.

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  133. Immynimmy says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I agreed with around 70% of what you said.

  134. ameer says:

    Hey Jimmy not to rub it in but you also said in the comment section that the phillies would probably win it all so that’s one more that you got wrong.

    1. giants fan says:

      NA has been good, especially in man coverage. Whenever you put a player in zone, he’s going to give up passes – that’s the nature of the scheme.

      1. Stephen says:

        its just frustrating to see him in zone so much, or whenever Juan tries to turn him into Charles Woodson. Thats especially frustrating.

  135. giants fan says:

    To be fair, #48 wasn’t as much of a prediction as a truism.

  136. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    Yes, but what would your OBP be?

    Didn’t do that bad I think considering how impossible sports can be to predict.

  137. KD says:

    Think you’re being too hard on yourself JK, you seem to be on par with if not better than most of the national league-wide predictors. Of course, the fact that most of your wrongs dealt with Philly and Dallas might be swaying my judgment a bit, haha.

    I gotta call you out on our Twitter debate from the preseason, where I contended that Asomugha wasn’t as good as advertised because he had never been asked to move outside his comfort zone on a regular basis. You and Dana Jacobsen owe me a little slice of ‘you were right’.

    Mudd’s work with your line has been impressive. I wouldn’t put all of the pressure issues on Vick’s decision making, but defer to you as you watch them more and closer than I. I honestly don’t see what you do in Jason Kelce, I notice a lot of up the middle pressure on Vick. Ratliff pushed him around in that first matchup and Vick’s athleticism kept him from getting sacks.

    1. I was pretty wrong on the Giants stuff too.

      As for Nnamdi, he was a little off early, but has been great lately. Cowboys did nothing against him. Ditto that for the Bears. He shut out Fitzy whenever he covered him. Not even close to serving up a “you were right” on that one.

      1. KD says:

        Agree on Arizona and Dallas game- Chicago game… 1 tackle, 1 missed tackle. 4 times targeted, 1 pass breakup, 26 yard completion including 12 after the catch and a DPI on a pass to Knox. I guess in terms of yards on him, Bears did nothing. That definitely isn’t a good game though and where I think the raw stat is misleading.

        But with Atlanta game, those are really the only three ‘Nnamdi’ games that he’s played, right? He’s had several missed tackles and several pass interference calls that would skew his stats if completed.

        1. I can name other games he played really well too. I just happened to name his last three. You’re nitpicking. It’s football. Corners are going to give up plays here and there. There’s no way you can look at a stat sheet and say “one 26 yard gain and a dpi – bad game.” That’s two plays, and really, I don’t even remember the 26 yarder off the top of my head.

          He’s been one of the very, very few Eagle defenders I’ve been happy with. I watch these games 2 and 3 times each. It’s not like I don’t have a clue of what I’m talking about here.

          1. KD says:

            It was 3rd and 16, Nnamdi was lined up on in the slot on Bennett and in man coverage. He just left Bennett alone as Cutler was staring down the receiver. It was on the Bears FG drive that put them up 10-0, I’m surprised you don’t remember it after watching the game 3 times. Big, drive-sustaining completion.

            He also released Hester to try and chase down Cutler when he slid him a shovel pass that went for a first down (plus subsequent late LB hit that put Bears in first and goal) on the drive where they went up 27-24.

            I’m sure you remember the DPI against Knox. It was on 3rd and 11 from the Philly 24 on the Bears game-winning FG drive.

            How is that nitpicking? With DRC and Asante on the field, QB’s have much better matchups than going against Nnamdi, but when they do, he hasn’t been lockdown. He’s 28th in the league in Catch% at 53.8%, and that doesn’t include at least 3 DPI calls on him, in his own red zone.

            1. KD says:

              sorry, should read game-clinching, not game-winning, as Philly made it into long FG range but went for it on 4th and 10 from their 39 because they needed a TD.

              1. KD says:

                duh- retract that, they were from their own 39, didn’t have FG opportunity

            2. So you’re blaming Nnamdi for a late hit by one of his teammates, but you’re NOT nitpicking?

              I think it’s pretty clear you have no interest in evaluating his body of work objectively, so I’m not sure I feel like debating this for the next 3 hours.

              1. KD says:

                Wow, out of all the evidence I presented, you choose to focus on the late hit that I CLEARLY was not putting on him? Really?

                Then you say I have no interest in being objective, when it’s clear in this case that it’s you ignoring evidence? That’s pretty weak.

                Nnamdi is tied for 2nd among all cornerbacks in missed tackles this year, with 9. He is bottom 10 in number of imposed penalties by a cornerback with 5. The receivers he’s covered have a catch rate of 54% and 15.5 yards per reception. On the plus side, he has 7 ‘stops’for the year and has only given up 217 yards on the season.

                But those aren’t things that we can use to objectively evaluate his 2011 performance? Cool.

                I’m not saying he’s a bad corner, he’s obviously talented. QBs would rather throw at someone else than throw at Nnamdi. However, when thrown at, his play this year has been average. You’ve replied to me three times and have yet to provide any counter to my arguments with any thing except “I watch the games, I know what I’m talking about”.

                I think it’s pretty clear why you don’t want to have this conversation.

              2. Effing eff. You DON’T have any interest in being objective. You don’t.

                “It was 3rd and 16, Nnamdi was lined up on in the slot on Bennett and in man coverage. He just left Bennett alone as Cutler was staring down the receiver.”

                Again, I don’t recall the play, but if he “just left Bennett alone” as you’re saying, there’s a pretty good chance it was a ZONE coverage, no? Teams often show man at the snap, then get into their zones. Football 101. But not nitpicking.

                “He also released Hester to try and chase down Cutler when he slid him a shovel pass that went for a first down”

                OK, so on a broken play when he has to choose to go after the QB or the receiver (either way, they’re getting a good gain), the result of the play is on him? Not nitpicking.

                “(plus subsequent late LB hit that put Bears in first and goal)”

                Oh, but you “clearly” weren’t “putting that on him.” Then why mention it at all? Not nitpicking.

                “He’s 28th in the league in Catch% at 53.8%”

                If a QB throws for 54%, his team is going to replace him. But not nitpicking.

                Look, the DPI against Knox is legit, as are the other penalties, most notably lining up offsides this past week against Arizona (a play I’ll bet you didn’t even know about or else you would have mentioned it, but hey, when you can spew PFF numbers instead of actually watching the games, well…).

                The Giants game was bad. I recall him biting on a double move to Crabtree in the SF game that was pretty costly. As I initially noted, it was dicey in the early going. But that wasn’t enough for you.

                Otherwise, last 4 games, he’s been great. You mention a couple bad plays, and somehow that means you were “right” that he’s some sort of overrated player having some sort of awful season. Even when some of your examples are weaksauce.

                I could go on all day and point out the good plays he has made all season, particularly the last 4 games.

                Let’s use your very own team for example. He covered Dez Bryant and Jason Witten throughout the night, and neither of them did much of anything on Nnamdi. How many players in the league can switch back and forth and successfully shut down Jason Witten and Dez Bryant? He also made an awesome tackle in that game. DeMarco Murray looked like he had a wide open field and a huge gain when Nnamdi dove in front of an offensive lineman at Murray’s knees and got him to the ground – My description of that play doesn’t do it justice. Awesome play. He made a great diving pick in that that game too, on a ball that Martellus Bennett couldn’t bring in.

                On about half the passing plays against the Cardinals, Nnamdi was on Fitz. Blanked him. Goose egg. On plays where Nnamdi wasn’t assigned to Fitz, he went off for 7-144-2, I think. Had a pick in that one too.

                In the Redskins game, he knocked Chris Cooley out for the season on a big hit. He drilled Roy Helu and his helmet popped off. Meanwhile, the Skins avoided him in the passing game.

                Use your mickey mouse “53.8% catch rate” stats to manufacture nonsense arguments all you’d like.

                I really didn’t know what to expect when the Eagles brought him in. I’d be a liar if I said I actually watched a ton of Raider games during Nnamdi’s tenure. I see what he is now. He’s a great player, period.

              3. Barry says:

                Sorry KD, JimmyK is right. I hate the Eggs, but Asomugha can play.

              4. KD says:

                Jimmy, seriously, pull up Game Rewind as I did. Watch the play again. Nnamdi clearly had the responsibility on Bennett and the pass was completed 3 yards to Nnamdi’s left and 2 yards behind him. He wasn’t passing him off to anybody.

                And seriously, stop acting as if you are the only one watching the game. It was a Monday night game, I obviously was watching it. However, because I don’t cover the Eagles, I rely on outside sources to backup my memory from a game two weeks ago. A game in which, even though watching it 3 times, you can’t remember the pass that was completed on Nnamdi. You don’t see the irony in what you are claiming?

                I pulled up the game and watch several defensive series to find the plays discussed. My eye-test recollection was that Nnamdi allowed a big pass and a DPI. I pulled up PFF, as well as the NFL play-by-play to see the specifics of those plays and what else was transpired with him.

                Nnamdi was targeted 4 times. He allowed a big completion and took a pass interference penalty. He made one tackle on play he wasn’t targeted, and missed a tackle on another.

                If that is a “great” game by your standards, then so be it.

                You want to poo-poo the fact that 54% by a QB wouldn’t be good, which completely ignores the obvious fact QB’s don’t throw exclusively on #1 receivers which renders the comparison moot. It also ignores the fact that there are 28 corners who allow less completions to the receivers they cover. Am I saying there are 28 corners better than Nnamdi? Of course not. I’m saying that his performance on the year has been less than elite.

                And why would we discuss the Dallas game? I told you I agreed in your assessment that he played outstanding against Dallas and Arizona. I provided examples from the recent game where I didn’t think he played well.

                Why are you even listing plays against Dallas? Why aren’t you listing great plays he made against Chicago, the game we’re discussing?

                Look, I said Nnamdi hasn’t played great this year. You replied, he didn’t play well at the beginning of the year, but these last few games he has. I replied, In two of them yes, but not against Chicago. Why all the theatrics? Tell me what he did well in the Chicago game because that, as well as his performance on the year as a whole, is what we were discussing. You want to go back to the Washington game? Go back to the Giants game, too.

              5. slandog says:

                DAMN Jimmy, you just owned that boy! And now look he won’t even come back and play. He took his ball and went home!

              6. KD says:

                LOL @ slandog… release his nuts and look up to the reply 12 minutes before yours

              7. slandog says:

                LOL, good one. I did but I didn’t refresh before I posted so your response wasn’t up yet. So release your nuts and relax a bit, it does happen. Just like a CB won’t stop every completion coming his way. Once you realize that, you’ll realize that Jimmy is completely killing you on this argument.

              8. KD says:

                for S&G, what’s the argument I’m making SD?

              9. Steve D. says:

                KD,

                From Tommy Lawlor’s game review from the Chicago game (http://igglesblitz.com/philadelphia-eagles-2/game-review-bears-30-eagles-24/):

                “DRC got confused on a play where he and Nnamdi were playing man on a couple of WRs to the right side. Nam stuck with his guy. DRC also tried to cover Nam’s guy, leaving someone wide open for easy pitch and catch.”

                I’m pretty sure that this is the 3rd and 16 play that you keep referring to. At least from Tommy’s point of view, Bennett was DRC’s responsibility on that play, not Nnamdi’s.

              10. slandog says:

                That NA isn’t as good as advertised. You also think that since he had a bad game against the Bears (subjective in your opinion a bad game) that he’s not a good signing or as good as advertised.

                You’ve also brought up a few other games, and early in the season he wasn’t playing well. I believe that Jimmy was saying that in the past 4 games he’s really brought up his play. Your argument is that in the Bears he didn’t play well. Ok, well still 3 out of 4 is pretty good. And on top of all of this he’s learning a new defense under a new DC. So I’d say he’s doing pretty well, looks like he’s playing as well as advertised.

              11. KD says:

                So, I’m incorrect for saying that he isn’t as good as people expected him to be, but the fact that in 4 (St Louis, New York, San Francisco, Chicago) of the 9 games he’s played he didn’t play well.

                Yet, I’m losing the argument?

                Cool.

              12. “So, I’m incorrect for saying that he isn’t as good as people expected him to be, but the fact that in 4 (St Louis, New York, San Francisco, Chicago) of the 9 games he’s played he didn’t play well.”
                _________________________________

                LOL, translation: “I have a subscription to Pro Football Focus, and they have Nnamdi ‘in the red’ for those games.”

            3. KD says:

              “LOL, translation: “I have a subscription to Pro Football Focus, and they have Nnamdi ‘in the red’ for those games.””

              ——————————————-

              Translation: These games offer evidence that Nnamdi hasn’t been as good as advertised, and even though I admitted that earlier, if I belittle the person making the argument I’ll seem correct.

  138. PE says:

    This was a fun read, Jimmy. Definitely do this again next year… and try to improve your average, jerk!

    Might we even see a (possibly shorter) playoff edition for the NFC East team(s) that make the playoffs?

    1. “Might we even see a (possibly shorter) playoff edition for the NFC East team(s) that make the playoffs?”

      Sure, why not?

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