2012 record: 10-6
Biggest addition: WR Donte Stallworth
Biggest loss: CB DeAngelo Hall
What’s the story: Robert Griffin III. The health of the young quarterback, as well as his relationship with his coaching staff will affect the way the season turns out in a big way. If he is healthy, and playing like he did last year, there should be no reason why he does not lead the ’Skins back to the playoffs. With almost all its personnel back, it could be a breakthrough year for Washington.
2012 record: 8-8
Biggest addition: S Will Allen
Biggest loss: LB Dan Connor
What’s the story: There is a lot riding on this season in Arlington, especially Jason Garrett’s job. He has been stripped of playcalling, and owner Jerry Jones brought in Monte Kiffin to run the defense. If the ’Boys don’t make the playoffs again, look for Garrett to be let go. Tony Romo got a huge contract extension, and will look to justify the money he is getting. If they get off to a fast start, as they should with the way their schedule is set up, they could gain the confidence to get them over their December slumps and get back in the playoffs.
New York Giants
2012 record: 9-7
Biggest addition: DT Cullen Jenkins
Biggest loss: DE Osi Umenyiora
What’s the story: The Giants are very similar to the team they had last year. They did not suffer very many departures. Eli Manning will still be Eli Manning, but he does not have much support behind him. David Wilson will be the starting running back for Big Blue. The play of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will determine how well the season goes in East Rutherford.
Green Bay Packers
2012 record: 11-5
Biggest addition: DE Datone Jones
Biggest loss: SS Charles Woodson
What’s the story: The Packers are going to be good, once again. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and will lead another high-powered offense. The questions for the Pack come on the other side of the ball. Will their defense be able to hold down the other high powered offenses, and solid squads from the NFC North? For the most part, they should be able to and have another playoff season.
2012 Record: 10-6
Biggest addition: WR Greg Jennings
Biggest loss: CB Antoine Winfield
What’s the story: The Vikings are a very interesting team in 2013. One of the main story lines is just how good Christian Ponder can be. Last year he was helped by a historic season by Adrian Peterson, but more responsibility will fall on him this year. He won't have the weapon of Percy Harvin on the outside, but they did pick up Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round who can help hedge the loss. They might not be as good as last year, but there is much room for optimism.
2012 record: 10-6
Biggest addition: TE Martellus Bennett
Biggest loss: LB Brian Urlacher
What’s the story: The Bears are in much of the same position they were in last season, other than having a new coach in Mark Trestman. Jay Cutler is still their quarterback, and still has weapons behind him such as Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Yet, the question remains if he can bring the offense to the next level to be Super Bowl contenders. The front four on defense will be the strength on the other side of the ball, highlighted by Julius Peppers. The Bears are going to be a tough team to judge until the season gets started.
2012 record: 4-12
Biggest addition: RB Reggie Bush
Biggest loss: T Jeff Backus
What’s the story: The Lions are probably going to struggle again this year. After losing their final eight games of the 2013 season, they signed Matt Stafford to a big contract to ensure that he will be their quarterback of the future. While bringing in Bush is a good move forward, the team still lacks discipline. Talent is not the problem with the Lions, as they showed in 2011 when they went 10-6. If they can take care of their business, and go about it in a professional manner, you could see an improvement, but that is a big if.
2012 record: 13-3
Biggest addition: DE Osi Umenyiora
Biggest loss: CB Brent Grimes
What’s the story: The Falcons will be one of the best teams in the NFL once again this year. With the additions of veterans Umenyiora and running back Steven Jackson, an already potent team will be even more dangerous. The question for Atlanta is whether its defense can keep up with its offense, and finally get them back to a Super Bowl.
New Orleans Saints
2012 record: 7-9
Biggest addition: CB Keenan Lewis
Biggest loss: OLB Victor Butler (torn ACL)
What’s the story: The Saints will be back to their regular form under Sean Payton, who had to step away from coaching last season after a suspension from the NFL. New Orleans will have one of the more fast-paced and dynamic offenses in the league, led by Drew Brees. The defense should hold its own, with a variety of pass rushes from new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Saints will be fighting for the NFC South crown again this year.
2012 record: 7-9
Biggest addition: PR Ted Ginn Jr.
Biggest loss: OLB Jason Phillips
What’s the story: The Panthers closed last year winning six of their last seven games, and look to continue that momentum come this season. Cam Newton will once again be the life and death of the team. The defense, especially the secondary, is the biggest question. If the Panthers can stop the elite passing attacks of division rivals Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, they could have a successful season. That likely won’t happen.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2012 record: 7-9
Biggest addition: CB Darrelle Revis
Biggest loss: RB LeGarrette Blount
What’s the story: The Bucs will have a hard time this season. Not only are they trying to compete in a loaded division, but they have plenty of questions. Josh Freeman is still relatively inconsistent at the quarterback position, and their defense is still trying to find some sort of pass rush. With no high profile running back, Tampa Bay might have to rely on Freeman more and more, which could end up being a fatal.
2012 record: 11-5
Biggest addition: CB Antoine Winfield
Biggest loss: KR Leon Washington
What’s the story: The Seahawks will only continue to improve on last season’s run, led by quarterback Russell Wilson. He has plenty of weapons around him to help. The defense will once again be a force, and could be the determining factor if this teams gets to the Super Bowl. Even though Percy Harvin is out for a substantial amount of time, the Seahawks should have as much success, if not more, than last year.
San Francisco 49ers
2012 record: 11-4-1
Biggest addition: WR Anquan Boldin
Biggest loss: WR Ted Ginn Jr.
What’s the story: The Niners are coming off their most successful season since the 1990s. The trend could continue into this season. Coach Jim Harbaugh and company have decided that Colin Kaepernick was the quarterback for the future, so they let Alex Smith go. While he proved himself last postseason, he still has just 10 starts under his belt, so experience is an issue. Without Michael Crabtree (Achilles’ tear), he could find himself relying more on the running game with LaMichael James.
St. Louis Rams
2012 record: 7-8-1
Biggest addition: OT Jake Long
Biggest loss: RB Steven Jackson
What’s the story: The Rams had a season in which they went 4-1-1 in one of the toughest divisions in football, yet still came out with a losing record. This season, Sam Bradford has one more year under his belt, but he has less around him. With the departure of Jackson, the running game immediately takes a hit, which puts more pressure on the young quarterback. Even though there were signs of promise last year, St. Louis will take a step back.
2012 record: 5-11
Biggest addition: QB Carson Palmer
Biggest loss: RB Chris Wells
What’s the story: The Cardinals did not fare well last season. After starting 4-0, they lost 11 of their last 12 to finish the season. That was mostly because of the quarterback situation. Arizona has since overhauled their quarterbacks, and brought in Palmer. This is a quick fix for a long term problem for the organization, and Palmer will not bring outstanding productivity to the Cardinals. They will struggle all year.