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NFC East 2013 Preview: Washington Redskins Not Just Battling Dallas Cowboys

Updated on June 20, 2013
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Year in and year out proves that there is probably no more competitive division in the NFL than the stacked NFC East. Early signs say fans can expect more of the same. Whether the reigning champion Washington Redskins can repeat is the big question. With a lot of worries lingering about their star quarterback, it seems like the perfect chance for the other three teams to stake a claim early in 2013.

Philadelphia Eagles - Chip Kelly show begins with quarterback derby

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To replace a coach like Andy Reid who had so much success, the Philadelphia Eagles knew they needed a name with star power that could keep fans invested in the team looking towards the future. They didn't disappoint. Chip Kelly comes in after setting college football fields ablaze with his speedy, innovative offense. Huge chunks of the Eagles roster has already been overturned with new pieces like tackle Lane Johnson and defensive end Connor Barwin joining the ranks. Excitement is somewhat limited but interest in the team is sky high as the Kelly Experience will kick start 2013 with a wide open battle for the starting quarterback job.

Michael Vick remains an early favorite but his hold on the job is nowhere near secure. In addition to backup Nick Foles, who replaced him last season, the Eagles brought in former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon from Pittsburgh and then made a big splash by taking USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the fourth round of the draft. Any one of these players could rise up to challenge for the job. It all depends on what Kelly is looking for, which nobody exactly knows. That is part of the intrigue, and is a reason the Eagles are so hard to predict for the coming season.

New York Giants - Eli Manning dealing with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks

Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks
Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks | Source

Having several talented weapons is a luxury most of the time for quarterbacks. On the other hand it can become a big problem when two of them sit in the last year of their contract at the same time. That is the reality facing the New York Giants. Quarterback Eli Manning knows his success in 2013 hinges on having Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz on the field with him. So far both receivers have made that difficult. Each chose to hold out from off-season minicamp practices. Cruz eventually signed his restricted contract tender but appears no closer to a long-term deal. Nicks returned as well, insisting his absence wasn't contract related. Either way the Giants have a problem on their hands. Looking ahead to 2014 they could have enough salary cap space to sign both players but it might take either some contract restructuring or one of them taking less money than they want. That is almost always a recipe for disaster. With uncertainty on the depth chart behind them, New York must do everything possible to satisfy both players if they want to keep up in the division.

Dallas Cowboys - Tony Romo may battle growing pains of the defense

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Most quarterbacks over 30-years old don't get fat, new contracts unless they win a Super Bowl, or even a playoff game. Somehow Tony Romo defied the odds and got a six-year deal worth $108 million at age 33. Experts called Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys crazy for doing so. Now it seems the decision had a method to the madness. Not only does Dallas have no succession plan in place if Romo decided to test free agency, but a massive shift in defensive schemes will put considerably more pressure on the offense to carry the load. Having a veteran like Romo under center is a big help, regardless of his lacking ability to finish. Two-straight 8-8 seasons linger with fans but the team is confident in their quarterback. Romo is tough, athletic and experienced. His protection should be better than in 2012 and his favorite receiver Dez Bryant is blossoming into a star. If young players like Travis Frederick and Gavin Escobar can step up, then Dallas has the talent to compete.

Washington Redskins - All eyes are on knee of Robert Griffin III

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Everything appeared pointed up for the Washington Redskins. They beat Dallas for the division title then had the Seattle Seahawks on the ropes in the wild card round of the playoffs. Then Robert Griffin III tore his ACL. Now the 2013 prospects for the team seem cloudy at best. Free agency and the draft offered little comfort due to prior commitments and penalties. All hope for the season seems to hinge on how quickly RGIII can return to the form that won him Rookie of the Year. They do have an able backup in Kirk Cousins who seems good enough to start on other teams and the defense should get big boosts from the return of Brian Orakpo and the arrival of rookie corner David Amerson. Whether that is enough to keep the Redskins in control in a division like the NFC East is impossible to answer. Though early gut feelings are filled with doubt.

Which team has the best chance to win the NFC East?

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    • kkingcrabb profile image

      Billy Joseph Ethridge 4 years ago from Georgetown, S.C.

      I agree they just can't put it together, and I don't see where they have done anything to change that. The player I feel sorry for is DeMarcus Ware he is one of the rare gifted athletes headed to the HOF.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Kkingcrab, I agree with you, Jerry Jones is a moron & part of the problem, Romo is not a leader and consistently chokes under pressure, and I can certainly understand his heart being questioned. But my initial statement was the Cowboys were probably the most talented, you can have all the talent in the world, but without the other factors (leader, heart, character, etc) your not going win and that's why they continue to come up short every season. But they do have a lot of talent.

    • kkingcrabb profile image

      Billy Joseph Ethridge 4 years ago from Georgetown, S.C.

      Alpha I don't have a bias for the Cowboys, I have a working knowledge of how the game works. If you were a bad team last year and you did nothing to improve the talent on your football more than likely you will end up right back where you were when this started. Oh and by the way you can blame the Cowboys problems on Romo but you need not look any further than Jerry Jones to see what is wrong with the Cowboys. Al Davis proved that an owner should not interfere with the coach if he wants a winning football team. As long as Jones is trying to make all decisions personnel and football related the Cowboys will remain behind Washington and New York. This isn't bias this is fact.

      Oh and by the way your statement that they had better statistics than the Giants, where did that get them last year? You can't judge heart and character and the Cowboys don't have much of either. Statistics mean nothing it's wins that count.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      The Giants should be better in that department this year. Their defensive tackle presence got a big boost. Whether that is enough to solve their problems is up for debate, but New York always seems to summon up some defensive mojo when they need it. Otherwise they can lean back and watch Eli work, since he owns the Cowboys anyway.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Understood EJ, everyone has their opinion, mine was based on statistics, Dallas was better than the Giants in every major statistical category last year with the exception of rushing & interceptions. Even had more sacks (although only 1 more) it was that vaunted front line of the Giants that teams use to fear in pasts years. You cant disregard a teams talent simply because you don't like them.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      He's entitled to his opinion, and he's not completely wrong. There is a reason for him to feel confident.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Your reasoning is sound. New York and Washington have the two best coaches in the division and the quarterbacks to make the plays. Dallas has nothing but questions and Philadelphia is busy transitioning. I would say Dallas improved their offensive line, got better coaching on defense with Kiffin and Marinelli, and another tight end to compliment Witten. Is it enough? Doubtful. But they are still a threat.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      @kkingcrabb, well first off I was born and raised in Chicago and have been a die hard Bears fan since 1976, however I do give credit where its due. Your response shows how incredibly biased your opinion is, obviously having a dislike for the Cowboys, so it really wouldn't matter what I said/or facts presented, your opinion, is just that, your opinion.

    • kkingcrabb profile image

      Billy Joseph Ethridge 4 years ago from Georgetown, S.C.

      The NFC East belongs to Eli Manning and the Giants. Second place belongs to the up and coming Washington Redskins. Anyone who thinks Dallas is the best team in this division has got to be a delusional hardcore Cowboy fan. They will be battling the Eagles for 3rd. Alpha you have issues if you think Dallas has the most talent in this division. No way they have more talent than the Giants or Redskins and exactly what did Dallas do in the offseason that made their team better than last year?

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Sound reasoning. Romo has shown nothing to this point that he can beat a good team when he absolutely has to have it. Not that his teammates have done him any favors, but still. Washington is teetering a little bit with RGIII. I'd say the Giants are favorites if only because they don't have any glaring issues.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      I have to agree with lions44, this division is up for grabs. The Cowboys are probably the most talented team, but as long as they have Tony Romo under center (which he just signed a 6 year contract) I think they will fold/choke at the most inopportune time. When money is on the line, he consistently cracks under pressure. So I would go with the Giants or Washington.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Amazingly I think Dallas is the most consistent threat to win that division, but I'm not sold on that new defense they expect to roll out. If I had to choose, I would go Giants then a slim lead for the Cowboys over the Redskins with Philly making it miserable for everybody in the rear.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 4 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I predict chaos this season in the NFC East, with every team being inconsistent. I'm not sold on the 'skins. I do believe Dallas will be significantly better. The Giants will be their usual streaky selves. They never put together two real good seasons in a row, so who knows. The Eagles are the wildcard. But I still don't see them winnnig more than 6 or 7 games.