Friday, September 26, 2008

Our Thoughts: Does Plax's Suspension Shift the Balance of Power in the NFC East?

Sum: No, it doesn't. As I discussed in my Pre-Season Faux-Cast, Eli can do just fine without "talent" at the wide-receiver position, plus the Giants have lots of depth there. In the second preseason game (Cleveland), Eli completed 4 of 7 pass attempts, and none of the recipients were named Plaxico, Amani or Steve Smith. In fact, in that game, none of those three "starters" even caught a pass, and that was one of the two all-important weeks of the pre-season. So, I think the Giants will be fine for the ONE game they're Plax-less. Sure, Plax and Eli have the "connection" down pat, but Eli is a team leader now, and he can lead his team without Burress. Now, if this were last season prior to Shockey's injury, or anytime before, my answer would be much different. The balance of power in the NFC East still has Cowboys-Eagles-Giants at the top with the Redskins a semi-distant second. At least for now.

Armin: Not so much, in my opinion. Dallas is the team to beat in the NFC (B)East. Washington is going to finish last. The battle will be between the Eagles and Giants. However, before Plaxico was suspended, it was not too hard...not TOO hard...for me to say that Philly was playing like the better team. We also saw Steve Smith step it up a little lately, and he looks like he could be a weapon. Toomer is usually "Old Faithful" on 3rd downs. If Eli can create an even better connection with Kevin Boss, the Giants should be ok. I guess the big question is: Will Plax become a problem?

Clement: Determining the 'Balance of Power' in the NFC East won't occur until a few more weeks. Anything before that is speculation supported with speculation. The real key in the coming weeks is which NFC East team can win a game on the road (memo to Zorn and the Skins). It's fun to call Dallas "October's Team", but everybody for years had the same issues (and made excuses) for Peyton and the Colts. It's Romo's third season and the team's defense is still gelling with new additions all over the field (Thomas, Jones, Jenkins, etc.) In reality, New York suspended Burress for far more than missing a practice during a bye week. He just earned a FAT contract and isn't representing the team well with recent reports of potentially missing several meetings and possible potential domestic disturbance issues. Washington isn't allocated for last place, not yet. Every team still needs to answer several questions before we can analyze who is who. Dallas seems at the top right now; however, the Giants are an incredible road team and that isn't something I'm willing to pass up. Eli will have a lot of work to do without Plax for a week, obviously. What I'm really interested in is how the Giants balance their platoon of 3 backs. It doesn't take a fantasy owner to realize that Brandon Jacobs needs more than 12-15 carries a game to impose his size, strength, and will on an opposing defense.

Paymon: In a word, YES, it most certainly does. At a maximum, only three NFC East will make it to the playoffs. In reality, some weaker team will rise from the scrap-heap to claim the second wild card slot. The season is not decided in September, but Dallas certainly has the look of the best September to December team in the NFL, let alone their conference and division. As noted, Philadelphia and New York were in a dead heat for second billing with most giving the Eagles a slight edge. Washington, who was expected to be the doormat of this division, have reeled off two straight wins, albeit at home, against decent competition and Jason Campbell looks worthy of being an NFL quarterback. You can think of this as a one-game suspension. You can also think of this as a potential chemistry killer. Chemistry - the very reason that the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions. Though the Giants are off to a 3-0 start, their competition is a combined 2-7, and they had to eek out an overtime home victory against the winless Bengals. Long story short, the margin for error is too little for chemistry issues in addition to the existing set of personnel losses. Plax's ego minus his production is too big a loss, because I do not think he will let it go (even though he is likely at full fault for whatever it is that he did) after he returns to work two weeks from now. Also, his presence allows for players like Toomer to dominate on 3rd down and Smith to roam the field out of the slot.


Anonymous said...

I think the whole Plax situation does not affect anything. Let's not forget that last year was a distraction as well due to his demanding a new contract. That worked out pretty nicely for the Giants.

As for the NFC East, I would not be surprised if the Eagles finish last again this year. Not due to lack of talent, but lack of depth. Donovan McNabb hasn't played a full season since 2003, and he's not getting younger. He's banged up now, as is Westbrook. In the NFC East, typically each team loses one-two big names a year. If the Eagles lose either of those two guys, it's over.


Armin said...

Thanks Bill.

We needed a comment from a Giants fan. Between the 4 of us, we have two Skins fans, a Philly fan, and a closet Cowboys fan.

I think people have to realize that Coughlin doesn't play favorites. If Plax deserves to be suspended, he will be.

Hopefully Steve Smith picks it up, after I told a friend to trade for him in a fantasy league, thinking it was the Carolina Steve Smith.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, that's one of the things I take the biggest pride in being a Giants fan for. Not just Coughlin, but the entire Giants organization does not suffer fools gladly. If someone messes up, they get punished and if they don't shape up, they get shipped out (eg Shockey). I'd kill myself if I was a Bengals fan. It's practically death row over there.

I see Toomer moving to the left side, Smith taking Toomer's position on the field, and Hixon/Moss coming in to stretch the field. If we're lucky, we might even see Manningham for a couple of plays. Giants should be fine.