The NFC East is expected to be extremely tight once again this season. Bovada in Las Vegas predicts that all four teams in the division will win between seven and nine games. With that in mind, you can make perfectly reasonable arguments in favor of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins finishing first, or last, in the league's most popular division.
Here are the arguments for why Washington will return to the basement in 2013...
ON THE OTHER HAND: WHY THE REDSKINS WILL WIN THE NFC EAST IN 2013
Those pesky league-imposed cap sanctions
It's a miracle the 'Skins didn't take more hits in the offseason while operating with an $18 million salary cap handcuff, but they managed to survive, even adding some role players on the free-agent market. But Washington, who was already lacking a first-round pick as a result of the 2012 trade for Robert Griffin III, couldn't retain versatile linebacker and key special-teamer Lorenzo Alexander and wasn't able to do much to improve weak spots at right tackle and safety. Meanwhile, the Eagles made a splash on the open market and in the draft, while the Giants probably fared a little better than the Redskins.
RG3 can't stay healthy
Reports continue to indicate that Griffin is making great progress as he rehabs from early-offseason reconstructive knee surgery, and it's encouraging that he's already moving around and throwing passes, but the defending Offensive Rookie of the Year still has a long way to go. And even if he does return in time for the Redskins' Sept. 9 opener, there's no telling how long it'll take for him to be himself. Without the RG3 we all know and love, the 'Skins won't stand a chance.
They might not have shored up the secondary
Key defensive backs Madieu Williams and Cedric Griffin are gone, and while neither played well enough last year to be missed greatly, the 'Skins weren't able to replace Williams on the open market and don't know what they have in rookies Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo at safety. With Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson both question marks, that's trouble. At corner, Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall are coming off bad years (although Hall redeemed himself late), and free-agent acquisition E.J. Biggers might not be enough to fix a pass D that ranked 30th in football last season. They survived with a bad secondary in 2012, but they might not be so lucky in 2013.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!