The NFC East is expected to be incredibly tight once again in 2013. Bovada in Las Vegas predicts that all four teams in the league's most popular division will win between seven and nine games. With that in mind, you can make perfectly valid arguments in favor of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins finishing first, or last, in a division that has come down to the wire each of the last four years.
Let's do exactly that, starting with why the 'Skins will win the division...
ON THE OTHER HAND: WHY THE REDSKINS WILL FINISH DEAD LAST IN THE NFC EAST IN 2013
They won the division last year—duh!
That is a fact. The Redskins earned the top spot in the NFC East last year for the first time this century. Robert Griffin III was the Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the 'Skins to the playoffs despite the fact his top two offensive weapons, Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis, missed a combined 15 games due to injury. With both of those players back and every other key offensive cog returning for Griffin's second season, there's no reason Washington shouldn't be even better in 2013.
Trent Williams and Alfred Morris could be All-Pros
Griffin gets all of the attention,but two 24-year-old budding stars should only continue to improve while taking pressure off of their superstar quarterback. Williams had a breakout third season at left tackle, giving up only four sacks and finally became a consistent pass-protector. Meanwhile, Morris put up a team-record 1,613 rushing yards. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry during the final five weeks of the year and capped the regular season with a 200-yard effort in a do-or-die matchup with the Cowboys.
Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather are back
Based on a fancy formula called "adjusted games lost," the smartypants at Football Outsiders determined that the 'Skins were hit harder by injuries in 2012 than any team in the NFC East (and all but three other teams in football). Also based on data compiled by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, only the Green Bay Packers had starters miss more games due to injury than the Redskins did in 2012. Expect the league's 30th-ranked pass defense to improve immensely with starters Orakpo, Carriker and Meriweather returning to health.
The secondary should be better, too
Not only will a healthier front seven benefit the defensive backfield which struggled for much of the 2012 season, but they've also added four new quality players—E.J. Biggers, David Amerson, Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo—via free agency and the draft. The pass defense was already starting to come around late last season with DeAngelo Hall picking up his play in a big way during the final few weeks of the year. Why wouldn't that spill over into 2013, especially with so much fresh, exciting blood on board? Did that make me sound like a vampire? Whatever, you get the point.