MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - I’m picking the Philadelphia Eagles, but not because I think they’ll be significantly better than Dallas or Washington. Then again, maybe they will be. We don’t know what they Eagles will be like, and that what makes them so tough. Chip Kelly has brought his high-speed, high-scoring offense from the University of Oregon. NFL coaches really don’t know what to expect. The defense is reportedly going to be a 3-4, but the eagles are largely keeping that under wraps. In short, the Eagles are a mystery. And that’s what makes them so tough.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - RG3’s knee scares me and the Redskins defense, especially the secondary, still leaves a lot to be desired. I can’t say the Eagles because of the all the uncertainty around their quarterback situation and how their head coach will adjust to the pros. I don’t know if the Cowboys will be better than the Redskins, but I think there’s less of a chance of a huge drop-off from them because of an established quarterback and explosive offense. They have their own problems on defense and on the offensive line that need to be resolved. So I’ll very unenthusiastically go with the Cowboys.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I think the Redskins will actually take a step back this season because rookie success – like that of Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris – are sometimes followed by a dip the following year, with or without injury. Filling that void, I believe, will be the Eagles. There is substance behind the hype and attention that Chip Kelly’s style receives. Yes, there is a track record of high-profile college coaches who were unable to cut it in the pros, but there are also those who have done the opposite and succeeded. From what he’s shown so far and the way he’s conducted business, I think Kelly will be the latter.
The 2013 NFC East champion will finish with a record better than 10-6.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - The last time the NFC champion was better than 10-6 was 2009, when Dallas and Philadelphia were both 11-5. The division is too tightly bunched for one team to win 11 or more games. But if any team can do it, it’s the Giants.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Like in past years, I think these teams beat each other up. The NFC doesn’t have many soft spots either, making their schedules outside the division tough once again too. Whoever wins the division does it with ten games, and I don’t think anyone else makes the playoffs. And by the way, we won’t know who that team is until the final game of the regular season. What, you thought this season would be easy?
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - I think it will be a two-team race this year for the division. The NFC East cannot get any tighter than it has been the past two seasons, and I think this is the year where something gives and we see some separation.
The NFC North is the strongest division the Giants face this year (The Giants play the NFC East and North and AFC West in 2013).
MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - The NFC East is always the toughest division. It has less to do with the quality of the teams than the intensity of the rivalries. Every division game is a hard-fought struggle.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - This is a really tough question. I’m going to rule out the AFC West only because they have a team in their division that I would be very surprised if they made the playoffs in the Oakland Raiders. I can see scenarios this year that any team in the NFC East and NFC North make the playoffs, including the Lions who lost a ton of close games last year. The Giants do matchup well with the Packers, the best team in the North, so I’ll say the NFC East is the toughest division.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Like John said, I’ll rule out the AFC West because two of its teams finished with four wins or fewer last season. I was going to give the edge to the NFC North because they sent two teams to the playoffs in 2012, but the NFC East teams are battle-tested and tougher outs over the course of a season. Aside from Green Bay, I think the North teams have a ceiling, while the NFC East teams do not.
Of all the new Giants – not including rookies -- tight end
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - With an asterisk. If he catches 79 passes, as he did last season in Oakland, he’ll have a huge impact with the Giants.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I think Brandon Myers will prove to be a huge weapon for
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - In the early going – and it is early – it appears Myers and linebacker Dan Connor will have the biggest and most immediate impact with their new team in East Rutherford. But I’ll say Myers because of what he did last season and there is more competition for Connor at his position.
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