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NFC East Challengers

Today's post about the Patriot beat writers liking the Cowboys brings up an interesting question:  What teams will challenge the Cowboys for NFC supremacy?

Contenders... Giants, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks

Surprises?... Redskins, Lions, Panthers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams

Pretenders... Bears, Falcons, 49ers

CONTENDERS:

GIANTS - You cannot rule out the Super Bowl Champions.   Especially given the fact that this team beat up on our very own Cowboys last time they met.  Strahan is a loss, but this team has a solid D... the question remains whether Manning is for real.

EAGLES - This is a proud team that is always contending.  The question mark here is how much gas McNabb has left in the tank.  Defensively, they continue to look tough.

PACKERS - The Rodgers watch is on.  The nucleus of a 13-3 team returns with a chip on it's shoulder after a tough playoff loss to the Giants.  If healthy, Al Harris and Charles Woodson anchor a tough D.

VIKINGS - The Williams brothers anchor a monster defensive front that will keep Minnesota in games.  The big Q: Can AP make up for Tavaris Jackson's short-comings?

SAINTS - This is the team that scares me.  They were to hot pick to go all the way last year, only to lay an egg.   A loaded offense, a solid defense, and Sean Patton at the helm.  After the beating they put on us in '06, I can see some good hype for a Cowboys - Saints NFC Championship game.

SEAHAWKS - This team almost belongs in the Surprise category, except it's hard to count out any Holmgren-led team.  JJ as the featured back can't be worse than last year's efforts, but spells trouble for their playoff hopes.

SURPRISES?...

REDSKINS - This team played inspired ball just to make the playoffs last year.  I don't expect the same this year, as the loss of Taylor will show it's affects.  This is yet another team banking on mere "potential" when it comes to QB.  I like Campbell, but much is being put on his shoulders this year.  Prediction:  Portis is this year's S. Alexander = bust.

LIONS - The greatest 10-6 preseason team ... ever.

PANTHERS - It is hard to get excited about a team that looked so consistently horrible last year.  Depth chart at QB = Moore, Testaverde, Carr.  Say no more.

BUCCANEERS - The Bucs QB depth chart is approaching mythic status.  Translate:  mediocrity rules.  I have always liked Garcia, but I don't think he's the answer for the Bucs this year.  Last year's playoff run was more a lack of competition.

CARDINALS - This is the easy "surprise" pick... but until the Cardinals prove it on the field, they remain the "Lions of the West"

RAMS - Getting Steven Jackson back makes Bulger a better QB... the team that had a hard time winning a game without Jackson will be back in contention this year.

Pretenders... Bears, Falcons, 49ers

The not ready for prime time teams have one thing in common - unproven leadership at QB.  Doesn't it always seem to be the case that weak teams somehow have decent defenses.  Watch for these teams to keep games close with solid D.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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