New York Giants
2011: 9-7, first in East.
Super Bowl XLVI.
They're going all the way: Go ahead, keep talking about the Jets' quarterback circus. The Giants quietly will thank their lucky stars for Eli Manning, who tied a league record last season by directing seven fourth-quarter comebacks. Losing Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham won't kill them.
They're doomed: Everybody remembers the Giants' out-of-nowhere Super Bowl run, as they should, but this was also a team that the 5-11 Redskins swept last season. Surviving this division is no breeze, and the Giants don't have a ground game as a fallback.
Now hear this: "It kind of got out of hand. There was a lot of roughhousing." — Cornerback Prince Amukamara, on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul dumping him in a cold tub, a scene posted on the Web. Was the incident a hint of a fissure in an ostensibly rock-solid team?
2011: 5-11, fourth in East.
Last season in playoffs: 2007.
They're going all the way: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III is as charismatic as he is athletic, and that's saying something. The Redskins already have a stout defense … so maybe this team can play with anyone.
They're doomed: A quick check, and … yep, Dan Snyder still owns this team. That means the Redskins are the offseason Super Bowl champs-to-be, but they're heading for another disappointing year. That's a hard pattern to break. This team needs a killer instinct; it lost six one-possession games last season.
Now hear this: "There's really no true face of the franchise, because if we all just had faces, we'd all be dead. There has to be a heart, some legs, some arms, some skin." — Griffin.
2011: 8-8, second in East.
Last season in playoffs: 2010.
They're going all the way: With last season's foray into fantasy football an unmitigated flop, the Eagles have added a few standouts to their defense — linebacker DeMeco Ryans and draft picks Fletcher Cox (DL) and Mychal Kendricks (LB) — and the team's offensive line has matured, although it will dearly miss All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters (Achilles injury). The team is loaded with offensive weapons.
They're doomed: The reins are securely in the hands of quarterback Michael Vick, but is the football? He had 14 interceptions and 10 fumbles last season. Although coach Andy Reid insists Vick is his guy, he would have loved to have landed Peyton Manning. That's telling.
Now hear this: "When I was growing up and the great 49er teams, the great Packer teams, and the great Cowboy teams … We have a chance to be that. We have a chance to develop a dynasty." — Vick.
2011: 8-8, third in East.
Last season in playoffs: 2009.
They're going all the way: The Cowboys were aggressive in free agency this offseason and made the move of the day in the first round of the draft when they traded up to grab LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Are they deranged in thinking they belong atop the NFC East?
They're doomed: The place might be named Cowboys Stadium, but it feels more like Giants Stadium. The Cowboys haven't notched a home victory over the Giants since 2008, and they are 5-7 in the division over the past two seasons. Jerry Jones can talk about beating up on the rest of the East, but those are just words until the Cowboys actually do it.
Now hear this: "Jerry Jones owns this football team. He has owned it for 23 years, so he can do anything he wants." — Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Jones inviting fans to come watch the Cowboys "beat the Giants' " backside.