The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Still No. 1


When training camp began, I reluctantly agreed with many of my colleagues that the Cowboys were the best team in the NFC and maybe the NFL. Or at least the team with the most talent. But I didn't pick them to win the conference title because I want to get away from the herd.

So what did I do? Join the herd that was picking Green Bay.

In any case, I'm not sure what one week can tell me other than that Tony Romo still manages to lose games with bad decisions and that Alex Barron cemented the "first round bust'' title that he earned with the Rams Sunday night by becoming a practice balloon for Brian Orakpo. Yes, the Cowboys have offensive line problems and yes, they are probably overhyped as they always are. Heck, ESPN has two or three or four beat reporters on them every day -- two or three or four more than the NFL's 31 other teams.

Whoops. Make it 30. Forgot about Minnesota's Favre reporter.

In any case, Dallas is what it is -- I saw a poll last week that said the NFC East is by far the most followed division in the NFL. I'd attribute that to the Cowboys but I'd also note that it has four large markets, including the largest, so there are other factors.

It used to be the best.

Since 2004, it's never failed to put at least two teams in the playoffs and in 2006 and 2007, three of the four teams made the postseason. Now? It's only pretty good because all four teams have problems, some big, some smaller. And making a judgment off one week....

Silly. The only thing I'd do is suggest that I'd rank the Redskins third instead of fourth -- ahead of the Eagles but behind the Cowboys and Giants.

Yes, the Cowboys are still No. 1 although Romo is still a loose cannon, that OL is shaky and Dez Bryant, who Jerry Jones seems to think will morph into Michael Irvin in an instant, looks more like a lost rookie whose talent won't emerge until much later -- like next season.

The Giants?

A lot of their defensive problems last season stemmed from injuries. Their pass rush was back Sunday against Carolina and their safeties -- Kenny Phillips, returned from injury plus free-agent acquisitions Antrel Rolle and Don Grant -- turned a huge 2009 weakness into a 2010 strength. They also have (Redskins and Cowboys note) the best YOUNG receiving trio in the NFL: Steve Smith (drafted 2007), Mario Manningham (2008) and Hakeem Nicks (2009).

The Redskins had a good defense last season under Greg Blache and it's better this year under Jim Haslett -- Brian Orakpo is every bit as good as DeMarcus Ware and DeAngelo Hall only has to keep his focus on the game to be among the league's best cornerbacks. But Donovan McNabb can't do much more with an offense with old legs (Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson) and literally no one to throw to but Chris Cooley and an aging Santana Moss.

Philadelphia may have tanked the year when it traded McNabb. Now Kevin Kolb is out and Michael Vick may end up starting a QB controversy because he wants to play even when Kolb is healthy. Not good.

How does it break out?

Hey, we're entering the second week. There are 240 games left.

By Dave Goldberg  |  September 14, 2010; 12:05 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Dave Goldberg , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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