NFC East 2013: Key Players

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The difference between being the best and the worst team in the NFC East these days is razor thin. I decided to make a list of players each team could least afford to lose, some obvious, some not. A change of tone today. I’m writing from the fan point of view.

Philadelphia: RB LeSean McCoy. If there’s one thing us Giant fans know about the Eagles is that we can’t beat them. The biggest reason for that is because McCoy runs wild against us. In his eight career games vs the Giants, Shady has averaged 5.5 YPC. With no set plans at QB under new coach Chip Kelly, the running game is going have to carry the offense until either Michael Vick can re-establish himself or Matt Barkley shows he’s ready.

Dallas: WR Dez Bryant. The Cowboys are just the opposite of Philly in that their backfield is a mess and they need to throw the ball. TE Jason Witten has been so good, he’s become like part of landscape. He is their most valuable player without saying.  But in order for Dallas to insert themselves into the playoff conversation, Bryant has to continue on his path to maturity and productivity. When focused, Bryant is one of the league’s most explosive players. In six games vs the Giants, Bryant has scored five TDs and averaged over 20 yards per catch.

Washington: QB Kirk Cousins. When the Skins drafted him right after they took RGIII, they tipped their hand on what they thought of Griffin’s chances to stay healthy. So far, they’ve been right. Cousins could be a potential starter on many teams in this league, and if RGIII continues to leave the pocket with such frequency, Cousins will be called on to keep the Skins on track. His presence will allow Griffin and the Shanahans to keep on taking risks, and a team that is undaunted like that is tough to keep up with.

New York: DE Jason Pierre-Paul. You saw what the Giant defense looked like last year with a disabled JPP, imagine what we’ll look like without him. That’s a distinct possibility, at least for the beginning of the season. It is still unknown how he will respond and rebound from the back surgery he had last month. The team is optimistic, but in researching the injury and it’s effects, it’s a stretch to think JPP can return to 2011 form. Unfortunately for us, we need him to. If he doesn’t, well…you can use your imagination on this one.