Coach: Andy Reid (126-81-1).
Last season's record/finish: 8-8/second.
Skinny: The Eagles won their last four games of the season and hope that it will carry over to 2012. Michael Vick has played a full season only once in his first nine years, and keeping him healthy will be the key to the Eagles season, one that has the chance to last deep into the postseason.
Coach: Jason Garrett (13-11)
Last season's record/finish: 8-8/third.
Skinny: Since winning Super Bowl XXX in January 1996, the Cowboys own just two playoff wins and have continued to underachieve. Quarterback Tony Romo (31 TD passes, 10 interceptions) puts up impressive statistics, but he also has a habit of careless plays in clutch situations, and that must change.
Coach: Mike Shanahan (157-119)
Last season's record/finish: 5-11/fourth.
Skinny: All eyes are on rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has energized the team. But he will be throwing to an average receiving corps. Shanahan has won just 11 games in his first two seasons in Washington, and, despite all the enthusiasm with Griffin, this looks like another season in the basement.
Green Bay Packers
Coach: Mike McCarthy (63-33)
Last season's record/finish: 15-1/first; lost to the New York Giants in the divisional round.
Skinny: MVP Aaron Rodgers (45 TD passes, 6 interceptions) leads a high-powered offense that led the NFL in scoring (35 points per game). The Packers remain the division favorites and Super Bowl contenders, but a better season from the defense will be needed.
Coach: Jim Schwartz (18-30)
Last season's record/finish: 10-6/second; lost to New Orleans in the wild-card round.
Skinny: The Lions made the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season with quarterback Matthew Stafford staying healthy and throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 TDs. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (96 receptions, 1,681 yards, 16 TDs) is impossible to stop one-on-one, but the defense, with a below-average secondary, must improve.
Coach: Lovie Smith (71-57)
Last season's record/finish: 8-8/third.
Skinny: The Bears were 7-3 when quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a season-ending broken thumb, and if he and running back Matt Forte can stay healthy, Chicago will be a serious playoff contender. The defense is showing some age, but still has impact players such as defensive end Julius Peppers (11 sacks).
Coach: Leslie Frazier (6-16)
Last season's record/finish: 3-13/fourth.
Skinny: The prognosis is bleak, especially with running back Adrian Peterson coming off an ACL injury. Defensive end Jared Allen (22 sacks) is one of the few playmakers on a unit that was 31st in the NFL scoring defense, allowing 28.1 points per game.
New Orleans Saints
Coach: Joe Vitt (4-7)
Last season's record/finish: 13-3/first; lost to San Francisco in the divisional round.
Skinny: Highland High graduate Vitt will take over the team after his six-game suspension for the bounty situation that cost coach Sean Payton the entire season. With all the upheaval this is still one of the NFL's best offenses, and with quarterback Drew Brees (5,476 yards passing, 46 TDs) the Saints should be a major player.
Coach: Mike Smith (43-21)
Last season's record/finish: 10-6/second; lost to the New York Giants in the divisional round.
Skinny: Quarterback Matt Ryan of Penn Charter School has guided the Falcons to the playoffs three times in his four years, but Atlanta is 0-3 in those postseason games. This should be a playoff team, and second-year wide receiver Julio Jones (54 receptions, 959 yards, 8 TDs) appears ready for a breakout season. Former Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel brings his gambling style to the defense.
Coach: Ron Rivera (6-10)
Last season's record/finish 6-10/third.
Skinny: Center Ryan Kalil has guaranteed a Super Bowl win, and that may be getting a too far ahead. But the Panthers could contend for a playoff spot. Quarterback Cam Newton (4,051 yards passing, 21 TDs, 706 yards rushing) exceeded expectations as the 2011 No. 1 overall pick and must avoid the sophomore jinx.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coach: Greg Schiano (first season)
Last season's record/finish: 4-12/fourth.
Skinny: Quarterback Josh Freeman took a step back, throwing 16 TD passes but 22 interceptions, and he should benefit from the addition of free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson (60 receptions, 1,106 yards, 9 TDs for San Diego). This is a team that won 10 games two years ago. But getting back to .500 would be a good achievement under Schiano, the former Rutgers coach.
49ers Coach: Jim Harbaugh (13-3)
Last season's record/finish: 13-3/first; lost in the NFC championship game to the New York Giants.
Skinny: The 49ers have all 11 starters back from a defense that was second in the NFL in points per game allowed (14.3) and first in the NFL in turnover differential (plus 28). Even with Alex Smith (17 TD passes, 5 interceptions) at quarterback, the 49ers are an overwhelming favorite to win the division and should make a Super Bowl run.
Coach: Ken Whisenhunt (40-40)
Last season's record/finish 8-8/second.
Skinny: The offensive line, not a strength to begin with, was delivered a big blow when left tackle Levi Brown suffered a torn triceps. The options at quarterback are bleak with starter John Skelton (11 TD passes, 14 interceptions) and former Eagle Kevin Kolb (9 TDs, 8 interceptions). But with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (80 receptions, 1,411 yards, 8 TDs), the Cardinals should be a competitive team.
Coach: Pete Carroll (47-49)
Last season's record/finish 7-9/third.
Skinny: Rookie Russell Wilson has been named the starting quarterback on a team that doesn't seem likely to unseat San Francisco as division champion but could pose some problems. The receivers don't stand out.
St. Louis Rams
Coach: Jeff Fisher (142-120)
Last season's record/finish: 2-14/fourth.
Skinny: The Rams were last in the NFL in scoring, averaging 12.1 points per game, and quarterback Sam Bradford (6 TD passes, 6 interceptions, 70.1 passer rating) looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued second season. Defensive end Chris Long (13 sacks) is part of a defense that must carry the team if the Rams want to improve.