The NFC East is expected to be very tight once again this year. Bovada Online Gaming in Las Vegas predicts that all four teams in the division will win between seven and nine games. Thus, 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 the Giants will drop to fourth place this year...
ON THE OTHER HAND: WHY THE GIANTS WILL WIN THE NFC EAST IN 2013
Ahmad Bradshaw was a cap casualty. His replacement, David Wilson, is fast and talented but unproven, especially as a blocker. Martellus Bennett departed in free agency. His replacement, Brandon Myers, is extremely productive as a receiver but one of the worst blockers in the league. At safety, Stevie Brown is a ball hawk, but he's no Kenny Phillips (when healthy). Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka can't fully replace Osi Umenyiora. And I'd probably prefer a Kiwanuka-Chase Blackburn-Michael Boley linebacking corps to Keith Rivers, Dan Connor and Jacquian Williams. On paper, this team got a little worse.
The Giants actually had better luck with injuries than any team in the division last season. According to data mined by Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News, New York starters missed 38 games due to injury, while Dallas, Philly and Washington starters missed an average of 70. The odds don't favor that happening again. Dallas was demoralized after losing Barry Church, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Jay Ratliff; Philadelphia stood little chance on offense with 80 percent of the offensive line hurt; and Washington spent virtually the entire season without top defenders Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather. Those division rivals should have better luck this year, while the Giants will be lucky if they simply remain as healthy as they were in 2012.
They lack players in their prime
I'm not saying they're old. Although, in comparison to the rest of the league and division, they are. But the recent rash of cuts has really created a dynamic in which few Giants are in that late-20s career sweet spot. We're about to see a bunch of unproven guys like Williams, Wilson, Justin Pugh and Brown team up as starters with declining veterans like Tuck, Cullen Jenkins, Corey Webster, Antrel Rolle, Chris Snee and David Baas.