2013 Record: 3-13
Projected 2014 Record: 9-7
The Washington Redskins match the Texans with a projected six-win improvement, and they earn the top spot on our list because 9-7 would put them squarely in playoff contention.
The potential is there for the Redskins to again reach the postseason, as the team won the NFC East only a year before last season's train-wreck campaign.
The biggest problem for Washington last season was the drop-off in performance from quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin saw his combined touchdown total drop from 27 to 16 and his passer rating tumble from 102.4 to 82.2, as the previous season's knee injury clearly limited him.
He eventually retreated to the bench in favor of backup Kirk Cousins.
According to USA Today's Jim Corbett, Griffin is now without the bulky knee brace he sported last season and looks like a "completely different player." This means we should see at least some of the magic that helped Griffin lead Washington to the playoffs in his inaugural NFL campaign.
The addition of wide receiver DeSean Jackson should certainly help Griffin as he looks to rebound.
The Washington defense, which ranked 18th overall last season (354.1 yards per game allowed), should see a boost from free-agent defensive lineman Jason Hatcher and rookie second-round linebacker Trent Murphy. Hatcher recently underwent surgery but is only expected to miss four to six weeks.
As long as Griffin and the offense can hold up their end of the bargain, the defense shouldn't be under as much pressure as last season, when offensive points were relatively difficult to come by.
While the Philadelphia Eagles will look to build on last year's playoff season, the division appears to be in a state of flux. The New York Giants went just 7-9 last season, and the Dallas Cowboys have myriad roster questions, including the health of starting quarterback Tony Romo. There is no truly dominant team in the bunch.
This means the Redskins should have as a good a chance as any team to compete within the division. The wild card here is new head coach Jay Gruden, who may try to sprinkle some of his Arena League-inspired tactics into the offense.