New York Giants

2011 season result: Super Bowl champions

The defending Super Bowl champions New York Giants, have to be considered the favorite to win the division. Eli Manning looks to be in the prime of his career coming off a second Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. The offense also has returning weapons on the outside in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

But, the Giants running game could be an issue this year. Losing Brandon Jacobs in the off-season, the Big Blue will have to rely on injury prone Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson to carry the load. The Giants rushing attack ranked last in the league in 2011. If Eli Manning can have another 4,900 yard passing season, the Giants offense should be just fine.

On the other side of the ball, the Giants finished second in total defense last year. The pass rush is lethal, bringing Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora off the corners. The trio recorded 30.5 of the team's 48 sacks in 2011.

Philadelphia Eagles

2011 season result: 8-8, missed playoffs

After a disappointing 2011 campaign (8-8), the Philadelphia Eagles look dangerous, on paper, once again. The key to their season is the health of Michael Vick, who has not held up in recent years. Vick has played in all 16 games of the season only one time since his career began in 2001. With the speed and explosiveness on the offensive front, (McCoy, Jackson, Maclin) the Eagles will be very hard to stop. LeSean McCoy has to be considered one of the top backs in the league, and the Eagles expect even bigger things from him in 2012.

If the defense's star power can live up to its potential, the team will be very hard to score on. The defensive line is loaded this year and could lead the league in sacks for a second straight year. However, a team that was so good at getting to the quarterback finished 29th in total defense. The question that surrounds the Eagles will be its linebacking core and the depth in the secondary. Again, if everyone stays healthy, there's no denying the Eagles are poised to make a run at the Lombardi trophy.

Dallas Cowboys

2011 season result: 8-8, missed playoffs

Who could forget about the Dallas Cowboys. This is a team that is always loaded with talent and always finds itself in the playoff hunt. It should be very interesting to see how Tony Romo performs under pressure this season. If he crumbles, I think that could be the end for him in big D.

The passing game won't be a problem for Dallas; instead it will be defending the pass. The Cowboys drafted LSU standout Morris Claiborne in the first round, but he joins a secondary that allowed 306 yards per game through the air last season. Sack machine, DeMarcus Ware will anchor an always-pesky Cowboy front four. The key to Dallas success will be its overall discipline and poise in late game situations.

Washington Redskins

2011 season result: 5-11, missed playoffs

Finally, the Washington Redskins start a new era with number two overall pick Robert Griffin III, who will start right away. In recent years, rookie quarterbacks have shown they can come in and make a difference right away (Dalton, Newton, Ponder). If RGIII's skillset can translate to the pro game, we could see an exciting Redskin offense in 2012. A young QB's best friend is a reliable running back, but the Skins finished 25th in overall rushing last season. Second-year men Evan Royster and Roy Helu will share carries this season.

The Redskins will be fueled by their diverse group of linebackers. Veteran London Fletcher is almost guaranteed to record 100 tackles, while emerging stars Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will strike fear in the eyes of opposing teams.


Giants (11-5)

Eagles (10-6)

Cowboys (8-8)

Redskins (4-12)