NFC East Preview: Can New York Giants win the division?

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

A team-by-team look at the NFC East.

Who will win the NFC East? As we wait for the New York Giants to open the season Sunday night vs. the Dallas Cowboys, let's take a look at the division.

SB Nation has put together an amazing team-by-team preview of the 2013 NFL season. If you haven't perused it, spend some time today while you wait for the New York Giants to face the Dallas Cowboys to give it a look. The work below borrows heavily from it, and what I have done is added my own thoughts to much of what SB Nation provided.

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New York Giants

Head Coach Tom Coughlin
2012 Record 9-7 | 2013 Schedule
Key Additions DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson, LB Dan Connor, TE Brandon Myers, OT Justin Pugh
Key Departures RB Ahmad Bradshaw, DE Chris Canty, LB Chase Blackburn, TE Martellus Bennett, RB Andre Brown (short-term IR)

What I wrote for the SB Nation Preview:

The Giants seem to be forever stuck somewhere between eight and 10 wins per season. The defense looks improved from last season when it was 31st in the league, especially if Jason Pierre-Paul (back surgery) is healthy.

Eli Manning has a host of receiving options, and an explosive running back in David Wilson. The Giants are driven by the desire to be the first team to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium. They may fall short of that goal, but they should make the playoffs.

I will stick to that. Heading into the season this does not feel like a great team. As Tom Coughlin has said, it feels like a "work in progress." It feels like a team that won't be as good Week 1 as it could be Week 17.

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Tony Romo [Photo by Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports]

Dallas Cowboys
Head Coach Jason Garrett
2012 Record 8-8 | 2013 Schedule
Key Additions C Travis Frederick, LB Justin Durant, S Will Allen
Key Departures RB Felix Jones, DE Marcus Spears, CB Mike Jenkins, LB Victor Butler
Team Blog Blogging The Boys

What Dave Halprin of BTB wrote about the Cowboys for the SB Nation Preview:

Dallas had one very big issue coming into the offseason: the offensive line. The Cowboys made a few personnel changes along the line and so far in training camp and in preseason games that unit looks markedly improved. On defense the change to a 4-3 Tampa-2 defense is also working well, already producing turnovers in the preseason, which is something Dallas’ defense was very poor at doing last year.

Linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter are poised to excel in this scheme. The Cowboys offense has an array of weapons at the skill positions, with Dez Bryant ready for a huge year. If the offensive line produces and the team can stay away from crippling injuries that doomed their defense last year, Dallas should have a very good year.

Valentine's View: When it comes to the Cowboys, I am undoubtedly in the 'I will believe it when I see it' category. Every year the expectations from analysts and fans are huge, and every year the Cowboys find a way to fall short. One playoff victory since 1996 and no playoff appearances since 2009 is all you need to know. Show me things will be different this time.

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Robert Griffin III [Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports]

Washington Redskins
Head Coach Mike Shanahan
2012 Record 10-6 | 2013 Schedule
Key Additions S Bacarri Rambo, TE Jordan Reed, CB David Amerson
Key Departures LB Lorenzo Alexander
Team Blog Hogs Haven

What Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven wrote for the SB Nation Preview:

Continuity is king if teams want to field a consistently successful team, and with 23 of 24 starters returning, all the tools for a return trip to the playoffs are there for Washington. RGIII is healthy and Kirk Cousins has proven to be a solid backup.

So long as Trent Williams and Barry Cofield stay healthy, the team goal of winning the Super Bowl carries water. Fred Davis and Brian Orakpo are welcome additions back into the lineup after being out for the majority of 2012.

Valentine's View: Continuity might be king, but it might also lead this team to backslide right out of the playoffs. Let's see how the Giants and other NFL teams adjust to all the pistol and read option stuff the Redskins and other teams run, and if they do will Washington have answers? Can RGIII stay healthy? Are they the team started 3-6 last season, or the one that finished 7-0? I think this team takes a step backwards. A little like the Cowboys it's a case of 'show me you can do it again' for the Redskins as far as I'm concerned.


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Chip Kelly [Photo by Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports]

Philadelphia Eagles
Head Coach Chip Kelly
2012 Record 4-12 | 2013 Schedule
Key Additions OT Lane Johnson, TE Zach Ertz, DT Bennie Logan, DT Isaac Sopoaga, LB Connor Barwin, CB Bradley Fletcher, S Patrick Chung, CB Cary Williams
Key Departures WR Jeremy Maclin (IR), WR Arrelious Benn (IR), DT Cullen Jenkins, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Team Blog Bleeding Green Nation

What Jimmy Kempski of BGN wrote for the SB Nation Preview:

The Eagles are going to score a lot of points no matter who their QB is. Throughout the preseason the Eagles were in the top six in rushing yards, passing yards and total yards, despite running a rather vanilla version of Chip Kelly’s offense, which will most certainly look a lot like the one he ran at Oregon. The Eagles are loaded at RB, they have a nice compliment of WRs and TEs, and their OL has the potential to be special, as long as they stay healthy.

Conversely, they’re going to give up a lot of points. The weak link of the defense appears to be the secondary. The CBs might be OK, but "OK" is probably their ceiling, while their safeties continue to be a position of weakness since they lost Brian Dawkins to Denver almost five years ago. Expect a fun team to watch, but one that should view eight wins as a success.

Valentine's View. The Eagles will be better -- they should have been better than they were the past two seasons, anyway. They will be interesting to watch, and difficult to play against because of Kelly's fast-paced offense. Kempski is right, however, that 8-8 would be a huge accomplishment for this team.

Ed's Predicted Order of Finish

Giants 10-6
Cowboys 9-7
Redskins 8-8
Eagles 7-9

I see this as an incredibly tight division, like it always is. Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys fans will call me a homer for picking the Giants to win the division, but I don't believe I am doing so just to keep you folks here at Big Blue View from destroying me.

The Giants have plenty of question marks entering the season -- but almost every NFL team is in the same boat. I just can't see this team missing the playoffs four times in five years, there's too much talent and the organization is too good. They probably have to win the division to get there, so since I see them making the playoffs I have to earmark them as division winners.

SB Nation Predicted Order of Finish

Redskins 11-5
Cowboys 10-6
Giants 10-6
Eagles 7-9

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