MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - I don’t know how much more competitive it can be, since the division title wasn’t decided until the final game of the regular season and the top three teams were separated by two games. But it will be a close race from start to finish – it always is. We obviously expect the Giants to challenge for the title. The Redskins should be better in year two of RG3 and the return of their Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker to their defense. The Cowboys have tremendous skill players and are always competitive. Philadelphia has an intriguing new coach in Chip Kelly. It should be quite a race.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - The Cowboys will come back just as strong, if not stronger if they can stay healthier next year and improve their offensive line in the draft. Their transition next year to a 4-3 defense under Monte Kiffin will be smoother than most people think. The Eagles won’t turn it around completely next year but I could see them being dangerous in the second half of the season under Chip Kelly. The Redskins success will be based completely on how healthy Robert Griffin III is. They have cap issues, but should improve defensively with the return of Brian Orakpo.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - It’s tough for a division to be more competitive since the last two titles came down to a winner-take-all in the final week of the season. But looking at it top to bottom, the strength of the division looks like it will continue to rise and remain one of the toughest in the NFL. This will only be bolstered by what I believe will be an improved Philadelphia team, while the other three make adjustments here and there for a run at the 2013 title.
The NFC East boasts more talent at quarterback than any other division.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - I will say yes on the assumption that both RG3 and Michael Vick stay healthy. They would join
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - This was really close with the NFC South, but I have to give them the nod. The Eagles still have big question marks at quarterback, and Robert Griffin III is banged up. In the NFC South meanwhile, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman are all locked up as starters and have all add levels of success in the league. It was close, but I’ll go with the NFC South.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Even if we knew Robert Griffin III would be healthy and the Eagles had a stable quarterback situation, I’d still lean toward Fiction - . What Griffin did as a rookie was spectacular – most notably the five interceptions – but I need to see another year. So I guess that means it comes down to the NFC North or NFC South, and I’m going to give the edge to the division with Aaron Rodgers in it. I also think the AFC North can’t be overlooked now.
The read-option offense will remain a formidable scheme around the NFL in 2013.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - Two reasons: defensive coaches are pretty smart two and will spend this offseason figuring out a way to stop it and there aren’t enough available talented quarterbacks to run it productively and consistently.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - It will be formidable but not common because most teams simply don’t have the athlete at quarterback to run that scheme. But for the teams that do use it, it will be effective.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Yes, defensive coaches, especially in the NFC East, will spend the offseason scheming for it, but those offenses will be doing the same thing. What we saw in 2012 was the evolution from a gimmick into a sustainable system. You just need to look at the college game to see where the league is heading with the talent.
Two NFC East teams will make the playoffs next year.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - I like the Giants as NFC East champions and the Redskins as a Wild Card.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Two didn’t get in this year, but I think with an overall easier schedule for the entire division, two teams will garner ten or more wins next season and get into the playoffs. The Giants will likely be one of those teams.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - There’s a reason the NFC East hasn’t had repeat division champs in eight years, and that’s because of the parity in the division. The quality is there for a Wild Card to come out of the east, but I think these teams just beat each other up so much that no one runs away with an impressive overall record.
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