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Joyner: Eagles NFC East Favorites

Leading the way for your Friday morning headlines on July 13 is a piece from's K.C. Joyner, explaining why he believes the Eagles will win the NFC East in 2012. Last season, Joyner went against the grain that predicted a division title for the Eagles and pegged the New York Giants as division champs-to-be. Painfully, we know how that one turned out. This time around, Joyner says, he expects the tide to swing back towards the Eagles and he lays out 10 reasons why. The whole piece is well worth reading, but here's a sample of why Joyner thinks the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East.

"Luck should be on Michael Vick's side

The aforementioned article touting the Giants as 2011 NFC East favorites detailed how Vick was due for a drop-off, in part because he was one of the most fortunate passers in the league in 2010.

This fall, the tables are completely turned. Vick still had a penchant for risk-taking last season (3.4 percent bad decision rate (BDR), ranked 26th), but he also had a lot of unlucky breaks, as 48.3 percent of the possible interception chances he had were turned into picks by the opposing team. If Vick gets back to a standard level of fortune (which is roughly 40 percent of potential picks turning into interceptions) and improves his BDR by a slight amount, he could remove at least three to five turnovers from his 2011 statistical résumé.

Jeremy Maclin is primed for a breakout season

As I explained in my 2012 TFS Fantasy Football Draft Guide, there were four wide receivers who posted an 8.0 YPA or higher on at least 40 short passes and a vertical YPA (VYPA) of 10.0 or higher last year: Julio Jones, Victor Cruz, Mike Wallace and Maclin. (Note: Vertical passes are aerials thrown 11 or more yards downfield.) That's rare company to be in, and Maclin posted those numbers after an offseason that saw him battle an ailment at one point thought to be lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Maclin should be healthy to start the season, plus he is heading into a contract year.

An ability to force opposing passers into a lot of mistakes

Philadelphia has the rare combination of a strong pass rush and a high forced BDR (a metric that gauges how often a team forces opposing quarterbacks into mental errors that lead to turnover opportunities). The Eagles were one of only five teams to rack up at least 40 sacks and post a forced BDR of 3.0 percent or higher."

Elsewhere around the Eagles' sphere ...

How does LeSean McCoy stack up as a receiver?

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