Major Additions:
RB Dorsey Levens, DE Osi Umenyiora, DT William Joseph, CB Rod Babers, K Mike Hollis, P Jeff Feagles, KR/PR Brian Mitchell.
Major Subtractions:
TE Dan Campbell, OT Mike Rosenthal, G Jason Whittle, P Matt Allen.

Offense This Year: The New York football Giants are an offensive powerhouse. Last year, QB Kerry Collins led the NFC in passing yards with 4,073, RB Tiki Barber had almost 2,000 total yards, WR Amani Toomer had the second most receiving yards in the NFC (1,343) and no one could stop rookie TE Jeremy Shockey, especially late in the season. This year, the Giants will get WR Ike Hilliard back from injury, which gives them three great receiving options (four if you count Barber), and the G-Men also signed RB Dorsey Levens, who will spell Tiki Barber for a few plays a game. One concern that New York has to have is the right side of the offensive line. While the left side was kept intact, the right guard (Jason Whittle) and the right tackle (Mike Rosenthal) both signed with other teams. However, the Giants had almost the same concern last year, and ended up with one of the best offensive lines in football, thanks to line coach Jim McNally, one of the best in the buisness. Candidates for the two jobs are G Tam Hopkins, G David Diehl, OT Ian Allen, OT Barrett Brooks and OT Jeff Hatch.
Defense This Year: This 10th ranked defense in 2002 has only improved itself. At defensive end, Michael Strahan and Kenny Holmes combined for 19 sacks. The Giants drafted DE Osi Umenyiora, a pass rush specialist, who will see some action in 2003. In the middle, DT William Joseph was drafted to take the place of aging DT Keith Hamilton, who is coming off an injury. Cornelius Griffin is great defensive tackle, who will play alongside Joseph. New York has some problems at linebacker, particularly with OLBs Brandon Short and Dhani Jones, who play inconsistently. MLB Mike Barrow is still a very effective player, but his best days are behind him at the age of 33. The Giants have two shutdown corners, Will Allen and Will Peterson. They also drafted CB Rod Babers, who most likely will take Jason Sehorn's place. At safety, the G-Men have stud Shaun Williams and an average Omar Stoutmire, but no depth behind those two.
Schedule and Intangibles: Giants' special teams were awful last year. They have improved themselves in that area tremendously this offseason. They signed KR/PR Brian Mitchell away from the Eagles, which was a great move. They also signed P Jeff Feagles and K Mike Hollis. During the last ten years, the Giants have been close to .500 in September and October. However, during the month of November, they are 19-26, and in December they are 29-17. At home, they are a mediocore 50-38 since 1992. The G-Men have to play a lot of tough, non-divisional games this year. They have to go up against the likes of Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, New York Jets, New England, Buffalo and St. Louis. Each week will be a tough battle.

Analysis: It seems as though the Giants have surpassed the Eagles as the top team in the NFC East.

Projection: 10-6 (1st in the NFC East).


Philadelphia Eagles (Last Year: 12-4).
8/26 Update:
Duce Staley is back in camp, but there is a lot more concern here. Not only will the Eagles not get a pass rush from their front four, it also seems that CB Troy Vincent has lost a step.

Major Additions:
FB Jon Ritchie, TE L.J. Smith, DE Jerome McDougle, LB Nate Wayne, LB Mark Simoneau, P Kyle Richardson.
Major Subtractions:
RB Dorsey Levens, FB Cecil Martin, WR Antonio Freeman, G Doug Brzezinski, DE Hugh Douglas, LB Shawn Barber, LB Barry Gardner, CB Al Harris, S Blaine Bishop, P Sean Landeta, KR/PR Brian Mitchell.

Offense This Year: Note to Eagles management: Michael Vick did not have a stud receiver, so the Falcons traded for Pro Bowler Peerless Price. QB Donovan McNabb will once again have to go with untalented receivers James Trash and Todd Pinkston. This offense has remained unchanged, with the exception of FB Jon Ritchie, who will make a nice weapon for McNabb. The Eagles also drafted TE L.J. Smith, but no tight end in a west coast offense is ever successful in his rookie year. It'll be interesting to see what happens with RB Duce Staley, who is holding out. The Eagles may move Staley, and go with a running back by committee, featuring Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook.
Defense This Year: This defense, usually near the top of the NFL rankings, has taken multiple hits this offseason, and will not be an elite defense in 2003. Most importantly, the Eagles foolishly chose not to resign DE Hugh Douglas, who provided 12 sacks last year. Considering that Philly currently does not have a pass rusher who can produce anything close to double digit sacks, they will have to blitz in order to put pressure on the quarterback, which is something they did not do often last year. While it won't matter against most teams, it will matter against division rival New York, who will expose players such as CB Bobby Taylor when the Eagles have to go one on one against Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard and Jeremy Shockey. Speaking of Taylor, he might not even be on the Eagles because he is holding out as well. Philadelphia may opt to go with either Lito Sheppard or Sheldon Brown to take his place. If that happens, they will be thin at defensive back. At defensive tackle, they are set with Corey Simon and Darwin Walker, but will struggle against the run because of weak MLB Mark Simoneau, who will not even be close to what Levon Kirkland was (who was not even close to what Jeremiah Trotter was). Simoneau has seen his fair share of injuries over his first three years in the NFL, and he wasn't even that good to begin with. Philly also lost LB Shawn Barber, and replaced him with less talented Nate Wayne. While the Eagles still have stud players on defense like DT Corey Simon, CB Troy Vincent and FS Brian Dawkins, they will not be a top ten defense like they have been over the last few years.
Schedule and Intangibles: Losing KR/PR Brian Mitchell to the Giants was not a good move at all. They weakened their special teams, while helping their rival get better. The Eagles are convinced that Brian Westbrook can take Mitchell's job, but he is unproven. Losing punter Sean Landeta does not help their special teams either. They signed inferior P Kyle Richardson to take his place. With a worse defense and a less effective punter, the Eagles will give up a lot more points this season. Mysteriously, like the Steelers, the Eagles' best month is October, where they are 26-17 since 1992. Philly is 25-20 in Decembers, but are at or below .500 during the other two months. Over the last decade, the Eagles are 56-32 at home, which is good enough to be the NFC's fifth best home record over that period of time. The Eagles face a rough schedule. Every non-division team that they will battle was at least 8-8, with the exception of Carolina. The other teams that the Eagles have to play are Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, New England, Buffalo, New York Jets, Green Bay and San Francisco.

Analysis: A tough schedule, a huge turnover on defense, two major players holding out and no depth at most positions is a recipe for disaster. I think the Eagles will be fortunate if they make the playoffs.

Projection: 8-8 (2nd in the NFC East).


Washington Redskins (Last Year: 7-9).
8/26 Update:
The Redskins don't seem to be pleased with Patrick Ramsey, as they were trying to acquire Mark Brunell from the Jaguars.

Major Additions:
QB Rob Johnson, RB Trung Canidate, WR Laveraneus Coles, WR Taylor Jacobs, WR Patrick Johnson, G Randy Thomas, G David Fiore, G David Dockery, DE Regan Upshaw, DT Brandon Noble, K John Hall, KR Chad Morton.
Major Subtractions:
QB Shane Matthews, RB Stephen Davis, WR Derrius Thompson, WR Chris Doering, TE Walter Rasby, G Brendan Stai, DE Carl Powell, DT Daryl Gardener, CB Darrell Green, S Sam Shade, P Craig Jarrett.

Offense This Year: Steve Spurrier's Fun N' Gun offense will be a lot more effective this year with more speed and talent at almost every position. At quarterback, Patrick Ramsey is already better than the pair of Florida quarterbacks that inhabited the position last year. Ramsey is entering into his second year, and should be a lot better than he was in his limited action last year. One thing that Steve Spurrier can not do is yank him if he is struggling. Spurrier can not play "Musical Quarterbacks" this year. At running back, the Skins let go of Stephen Davis, who didn't really fit into this offense. To replace Davis, the Redskins signed Trung Canidate, who gives them more speed and better catching ability at that position. At receiver, Laveraneus Coles was added and gives the Redskins even more speed. Washington also addressed their interior offensive line problems, by adding three guards: Randy Thomas, David Fiore and David Dockery. If the Skins can run the ball effectively with Canidate, and Patrick Ramsey can avoid getting benched, they will be too fast for many defenses.
Defense This Year: Even though they have great players like DE Regan Upshaw, LBs LaVar Arrington and Jeremiah Trotter and CBs Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot, the Skins will struggle to stop some offenses this year. Most importantly, they lost mastermind defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. At defensive end, aging Bruce Smith had 9 sacks last year, but no other defensive lineman had more than 4 sacks. Addition Regan Upshaw will fix that problem, however, the Redskins have major problems at defensive tackle. They lost DT Daryl Gardner to Denver, so they have to start Dan Wilkinson and Brandon Noble at defensive tackle. They will not be effective there. LaVar Arrington is a monster linebacker who had 11 sacks in 2002. Jeremiah Trotter is decent at middle linebacker, but Jessie Armstead really stuggled at the weak side. The Redskins do not have depth at linebacker either. At defensive back, Washington has two shutdown corners, but they do not have a decent nickle, nor do they have good starting safeties. Perhaps Steve Spurrier should take a safety in the draft, instead of another Florida bust.
Schedule and Intangibles: Kick returner Chad Morton will provide a few extra touchdowns. John Hall will provide stability to the kicker position. Punter Bryan Barker is one of the worst in the NFL. Washington is a losing team in every month during the last ten years, except for December (23-23). At home, they are barely over .500 since 1992 at 46-41. Like the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the Redskins have a pretty tough schedule. Some of their games include: Miami, New England, New York Jets, Buffalo, Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Philadelphia twice and the New York Giants twice. With that schedule, it'll be tough for Steve Spurrier to improve the 7-9 record that he achieved last year.

Analysis: If Patrick Ramsey plays well, and Trung Canidate runs well, the Redskins might find themselves in the playoffs. If they manage to get there, they will struggle because of their below average defense.

Projection: 7-9 (3rd in the NFC East).


Dallas Cowboys (Last Year: 5-11).
8/26 Update:
Quincy Carter has been named the starter. I knew Bill Parcells would make the right decision.

Major Additions:
FB Richie Anderson, WR Terry Glenn, TE Jason Witten, TE Dan Campbell, OT Ryan Young, C Al Johnson, LB Al Singleton, LB Bradie Johnson, CB Terrence Newman, CB Donald Mitchell, P Toby Gowin.
Major Subtractions:
RB Emmitt Smith, WR Rocket Ismail, G Jeremy McKinney, DT Brandon Noble, LB Kevin Hardy.

Offense This Year: Dallas' offense had major problems in 2002. Their offensive line allowed the second most sacks in the NFL (54), and both quarterbacks (Chad Hutchinson and Quincy Carter) struggled. This offseason, the Cowboys improved in some areas, and got worse in others. They signed OT Ryan Young and drafted C Al Johnson, so if both of those players are able to start (Ryan Young had injury problems last year), their offensive line will be much better. Second year WR Antonio Bryant will be better this year, and will start alongside either Joey Galloway or free agent signee Terry Glenn. Other additions that will help out a lot are FB Richie Anderson and TE Jason Witten. With all of those weapons, this offense is set up so an average quarterback and/or running game can succeed. However, the quarterbacks and the running game are awful. The Cowboys let go of RB Emmitt Smith, and were counting on Troy Hambrick to take his place. All Hambrick did was show up to camp overweight. RB Michael Wiley, who has barely played in his career, will probably become the starter. As for the quarterbacks, both Hutchinson and Carter can not start in this league. New head coach Bill Parcells has a history of making mediocore quarterbacks look like stars, and if he makes either Hutchinson or Carter look like a stud QB, he could be the best coach of all time. With no passing or running game, the Cowboys will struggle to score points every week.
Defense This Year: The Cowboys' defense kept them in many games last year, and they added some players like LB Al Singleton and CB Terrence Newman, a shut down corner. With those additions, not only do the Pokes have seven solid starters at linebacker and defensive back, they have good depth. However, all of this stuff might not matter much, because the defensive line is subpar. The two defensive ends, Greg Ellis and Ebenezer Ekuban only combined for 7 sacks. DT La'Roi Glover is the only good player on the line, but the other defensive tackle is Michael Myers, who should not be a starter for any defense.
Schedule and Intangibles: Bill Parcells brings a winning attitude to the Cowboys. If they retained Emmitt Smith, they could be a .500 team. The Cowboys are one of the best home teams over the last ten years at 60-28. Even though they had a 5-11 record, Dallas has one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. They have one easy game with Arizona, but the other fifteen are pretty tough. They have to face Atlanta, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Miami, Buffalo, New England, New York Jets, Philadelphia twice and the New York Giants twice. They might not win any of those games.

Analysis: Bill Parcells is one of the best coaches in NFL history, and the Cowboys will make the playoffs in 2004, if they find a suitable quarterback and running back. This year, they don't have much of a chance.

Projection: 5-11 (4th in the NFC East).


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