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Football.com's Big, Bad NFL Preview Series: NFC East

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In a division that lacks an elite team, Eli Manning and the New York Giants will look to reclaim the NFC East following a major meltdown at the end of the 2012 season. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.
In a division that lacks an elite team, Eli Manning and the New York Giants will look to reclaim the NFC East following a major meltdown at the end of the 2012 season. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.

The NFC East has traditionally been a powerhouse division that features multiple Super Bowl contenders, but competition within the division declined in 2012. The Washington Redskins, led by talented rookie QB Robert Griffin III, overcame a 3-6 start to win out and take the division crown with a 10 win campaign. For Washington, it was a monumental step for a franchise that has not enjoyed much success in recent years, but the team's fast rise can be partially atrributed to subpar play from division rivals. The New York Giants started off red-hot, but a late season collapse ended up costing them a playoff spot while the Dallas Cowboys continued to stay average with another .500 season. As for the Philadelphia Eagles, the team once again failed to live up to preseason hype and limped to a four win season, costing long-time coach Andy Reid his job and pushing several high-priced veterans out of town.

Entering the 2013 season, one thing remains clear in the NFC East: the division does not have an elite team. The Giants could develop into a dangerous playoff team, but they could also flounder again and miss the playoffs. Dallas continues to underachieve and basically has the same roster as last year, so expectations should be tempered. Washington could win the division again if Griffin III comes back fully healthy after tearing his ACL, but the team has other injury concerns, especially in the secondary. And while new coach Chip Kelly could make the Eagles a surprise contender thanks to his fast-paced offensive attack, the defense looks like a major problem and the team continues to lose players to season-ending injury. Every team in this division has flaws, but with so much uncertainty, the NFC East should be a fun race to watch all season long.