Time for the NFC Preview. (AFC Preview here)
Estimated wins this year are in parentheses:
EAGLES (9 wins): The Eagles are the mark of consistency in this division. They haven't really improved any this year, but they aren't much worse either. Andy Reid has this team running like a well-oiled machine, as we saw last year when Donovan McNabb got hurt and Jeff Garcia stepped in easily. The Eagles are the team to beat in the East.
REDSKINS (9 wins): This team will live or die by QB Jason Campbell. If he improves significantly this year, they could easily win more than 9 games and blowout this division. However, I think he could be a solid quarterback who can put this team in playoff contention, possibly Super Bowl contention.
GIANTS (7 wins): Bye bye Tiki Barber. Bye bye Tom Coughlin. Hello Bill Belichick.
COWBOYS (6 wins): I feel it is safe to say Wade Phillips is a HUGE step down from Bill Parcells. The Cowboys highlight film this year should be titled "Ray Handley Does Dallas".
BEARS (10 wins): Exactly WHICH team in this division will challenge the Bears? Even losing Thomas Jones and (possibly) Lance Briggs will still leave the Bears strong enough to beat this division's sorry bunch of losers.
LIONS (7 wins): I will give GM Matt Millen credit: He got the best player in last April's draft. WR Calvin Johnson will be a legitimate superstar in the NFL. But even that won't be enough to save this sorry team.
VIKINGS (6 wins): Just four words: starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Somewhere, Daunte Culpepper is laughing his butt off.
PACKERS (5 wins): Bret Favre getting another year older cannot be good for this team, even though he did play alright last year. Still, if I was playing for this team, I wouldn't feel like I was playing for a Super Bowl. I would feel like I was playing to get some old quarterback into the record books.
SAINTS (12 wins): Actually, 12 wins might be a conservative guess. This team looks ready. Other than injuries, there is no reason this team can't win 14-15 games.
PANTHERS (8 wins): The Panthers are a good team, but not great. After a few mid to late season losses, expect the "Bill Cowher is going to the Panthers" rumors to start flying, and the Panthers will mail in the rest of the season.
BUCCANEERS (7 wins): If you look at all the quarterbacks on the Bucs preseason roster, there is one decent one: Jeff Garcia. The last time he started 16 games was 2002. He is 37 years old. Expect the Bucs to start strong with Garcia before he gets hurt.
FALCONS (5 wins): The Falcons will be a real "dog" this year. Seriously though, they have a new coach installing a new system and a quarterback with legal problems. The backup quarterback (Joey Harrington) is mediocre on his best days.
49ERS (10 wins): This team will surprise a lot of people this year. Alex Smith is starting to become a good quarterback. Frank Gore may be the next Marshall Faulk. They picked up solid receivers in Darrell Jackson and Ashley Lelie, to go along with Arnaz Battle. TE Vernon Davis can only get better in his second season. The defense started to look better last year. This team will make the playoffs AND will contend for the Super Bowl.
RAMS (8 wins): The Rams will live or die by Steven Jackson. That said, I still see too many questions with their defense.
SEAHAWKS (7 wins): Mike Holmgren is looking like a strong candidate for the hot seat. This team won a weak division last year, and the main players aren't getting any younger.
CARDINALS (6 wins): The Cards got the right head coach. Now they just need an offensive line and a defense. If the Cards get any more than 6 wins, then you can call Ken Whisenhunt a genius.