It was just two seasons ago Big Blue hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and reached the pinnacle of the football world. Hungry to make another championship run, the Giants have retooled their roster in an effort to shake things up for 2013. New York parted ways with long-time running back Ahmad Bradshaw, linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Chris Canty earlier this offseason. The Giants bolstered their defensive line by adding tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson during free agency along with re-signing nose tackle Shaun Rogers.
After contract squabbling between star wideout Victor Cruz and the front office, No. 80 agreed to sign his restricted free agent tender while the two sides remain hopeful a long-term deal can be ironed out soon. Fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks did not participate in OTAs and with his contract up at the end of the year, Big Blue could be in for more contract issues on the horizon. With Eli Manning commanding the huddle the Giants are the front-runners for a divisional title.
Robert Griffin III was electrifying last season carrying the franchise to its first playoff berth since 2006. Owner Daniel Snyder, accustomed to making a big splash during free agency, stayed relatively quiet this spring. On the strength of a powerful running game and stout defense, Washington captured the division title pretty handily.
With running back Alfred Morris just scratching the surface of an All-Pro career and Griffin's mobility out of the pocket, expect the Redskins to finish with the NFL's top rushing attack again in 2013. With star linebacker back healthy and in the starting lineup, Washington's pass rush will get a much needed boost. Look for Washington to be in the hunt for a divisional title again this season as they chase New York for NFC East supremacy.
Tony Romo is under the microscope in Big D as the Cowboys try to fight their way out of mediocrity. While Dallas' high octane offense ranks amongst the league's elite, when push comes to shove, Jason Garrett and company have come up short in the big moments. Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will call the plays this season taking the reins from Garrett. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin brings his Tampa two scheme to Dallas; filling in for the recently departed Rob Ryan.
With dynamic playmakers on the outside in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, the Cowboys are capable of going toe-to-toe with virtually any offense in the conference. Dallas' Achilles heel was their No. 31 ranked rushing offense as DeMarco Murray's production slipped behind a subpar offensive line. If Dallas can bolster its running game and contain opponents on the ground, expect the Cowboys to be in the thick of things down the stretch.
Newly hired head coach Chip Kelly hasn't named his starting quarterback just yet, but expect veteran Michael Vick and upstart Nick Foles to duel back and forth during training camp. The Eagles are as talented as they come offensively, with LeSean McCoy posing a home run threat in the running game and wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are nightmares for secondaries to cover.
Philadelphia is a team in transition that will endure its share of growing pains in 2013. While the playoffs are unrealistic for this young squad, don't expect Kelly and company to temper their expectations in a cutthroat NFC East.