Today's question: Who will win the NFC East and how many teams from the division will make the playoffs?
Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys: The NFC East has not seen a repeat division winner since the Eagles in 2003 and ’04 under Andy Reid, so maybe conventional wisdom should tell me otherwise. Maybe the departure of DeMarco Murray should tell me that too. Oh well. I’m going with the Cowboys. I think they still have the best offense in the division even without Murray (call it faith in the offensive line), and I think the defense will be better with the additions in the draft and free agency and the return of Sean Lee. But I don’t see another playoff team in the division and that is because of the out-of-division foes. The division is matched up with the NFC South, which could be a good thing, and the AFC East, which I think should be improved.
Dan Graziano, New York Giants: The Dallas Cowboys should end the division's long streak without a repeat winner this year. Chip Kelly’s overhauled Eagles are the closest challengers, and if everyone stays healthy, they look like an intriguing contender. But they have too many guys who are injury questions for me to pick them to knock off Dallas and win the division. I don’t think the Giants or Washington have any right to be in this discussion at this point, so the question is whether the Eagles get in as a wild card, and I’m going to say they just miss. For the sixth year in a row, the NFC East puts only one team in the playoffs.
Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles: Until I see some tangible proof otherwise, I’m going with the team that proved itself the best last year. Yes, Dallas lost DeMarco Murray, but with Tony Romo playing behind that offensive line, the Cowboys should be very tough on offense. The Eagles won the division in 2013, but they are unrecognizable from that team, or even from the 2014 Eagles. They could take a huge step forward, but we just don’t know yet. I do believe that the second-place team in the NFC East -- and it could be Philadelphia, New York or Washington, in that order -- will earn a wild-card berth. So two teams from the NFC East will be in the playoffs.
John Keim, Washington Redskins: It’s hard to repeat as division champions. I would pick the Eagles -- they’re going to be a boom or bust team. I have an odd confidence in Chip Kelly and what he’s doing, though I have doubts about anyone who thinks scheme trumps talent. However, my real concern with the Eagles is quarterback Sam Bradford and his inability to stay healthy. Therefore, I’ll opt for Dallas to become a repeat winner. Entering training camp, it’s hard to predict anyone other than one of these teams to win. The Cowboys have to replace DeMarco Murray, but I think they’ll be able to (though he was a solid all-around back). The once mighty NFC East hasn’t had two playoff participants since 2009; that streak will end as the Eagles reach the postseason.