2013 Packers Schedule Preview: NFC East

Chris Trotman

The Packers draw the NFC East in 2013. Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how things stand in that division going into the season.

The NFC Divisions play each other on a three-year rotation, and they will play the NFC East in 2013. The locations will be reversed from 2010 and will be identical to the games played in the 2007 season.

Dallas Cowboys

2013 record: 8-8
2010 result (@ Lambeau Field): Packers 45, Cowboys 7

The Packers haven't won in Dallas since 1989 (not counting Super Bowl XLV), and will be making yet another trip to Dallas in 2013. The Cowboys, after a division title in 2009 with a 11-5 record (one of those five losses was a near-shutout against the Packers), haven't won more than eight games in a season since then.

The Cowboys have had tremendous stability on offense since the 2010 game. Tony Romo is still at quarterback, and the Cowboys have retained Miles Austin. Not only this, but they dropped the underachieving Roy Williams while keeping Dez Bryant at their other wide receiver position. Jason Witten, ageless, remains their tight end. At running back, the Cowboys kept Felix Jones until last year, when DeMarco Murray took over as the primary running back. The Cowboys have generally not used a fullback during this time span.

The Cowboys had an old defense in 2010, but that has changed as Keith Brooking and Terence Newman are both gone. DeMarcus Ware is still there, but Bradie James, who was the Cowboys' leading tackler in 2010, is also no longer with the team.

In short, this could be a tough game. Like the Steelers, a lot depends on what the Cowboys look like when the season begins. This being said, the Cowboys have struggled since their division title in 2009.

New York Giants

2012 record: 9-7
2012 result (@ New York): Giants 38, Packers 10

The Giants struggled off a Super Bowl victory last year, but that is largely due to the fact that they snuck into the playoffs with a 9-7 record the year before. They did manhandle the Packers at Giants Stadium last year, and the Packers will need to head to New York for the third straight year to face the Giants.

As is probably expected, there is little turnover from the Giants' roster in 2012 until now. Ahmad Bradshaw is one difference for the Giants on offense, as he is currently a free agent. Martellus Bennett has also left the Giants via free agency to sign with the Bears.

On defense, the Giants are loaded as ever. There has been very little change for New York here.

Unless the Packers find a way to neutralize the Giants on offense and defense, this game could be very difficult for the Packers. The Giants appear to have the Packers' number and defeating them will be a must if the Packers want to consider their season a success.

Philadelphia Eagles

2012 record: 4-12
2010 result (@ Philadelphia): Packers 27, Eagles 20
2010 result--playoffs (@ Philadelphia): Packers 21, Eagles 16

The Packers made history in 2010, becoming one of only two teams to defeat the Eagles in Philadelphia twice in a season (the other being the 1981 New York Giants, who likewise defeated the Eagles in the playoffs). For 2013, the venue switches to Lambeau Field.

The Eagles have the same skill players in 2013 as they did in 2010. There was some insistence that Michael Vick be removed as starting quarterback, but he is still with the team.

On defense, there has been some roster turnover but a lot will depend on who the Eagles use to improve last year's 29th-ranked defense. It is worth noting that the Eagles' big names from 2010 are mostly gone. The biggest difference is that some players who were backups in 2010 are now starting on the Eagles' defense. The biggest change for the Eagles was the departure of Andy Reid as head coach, with the new coach being former University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

This will probably be the easiest game the Packers have against the NFC East. The Eagles, who sagged to 4-12 last season, have made some moves but have kept the same offensive players around who struggled in all phases last season. Making things worse is the fact that this game is at Lambeau. The Packers probably would have blown the Eagles out anyway, but playing the game in Green Bay may be one too many cards dealt against Philadelphia in this one.

Washington Redskins

2012 record: 10-6 (lost NFC Wild-Card to Seattle Seahawks)
2010 result (@ Washington): Redskins 16, Packers 13 (OT)

The Washington Redskins are somewhat of an enigma. The Packers only rarely play them, despite being in the same conference. They have had the most turnover of any team in the NFC East, probably due to their ownership.

On offense in 2010, Donovan McNabb was the quarterback, throwing to Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong, with Chris Cooley as tight end. The running back position was somewhat unsettled for the Redskins in 2010, with Ryan Torain leading the way.

The only skill player who remains is Santana Moss. Robert Griffin III took over as quarterback last year, and the Redskins had a power running game behind him and Alfred Morris. The receiver position was a combined position of three skill players, but the tight end position was somewhat missing in action as the only consistent starter there, Fred Davis, logged just seven starts and is currently a free agent.

On defense, London Fletcher is still around, but many other starters are gone. DeAngelo Hall is also a holdover. The Redskins do appear to finally have some stability in coaching as they haven't continued their carousel that has been commonplace since Daniel Snyder took over the team.

In short, a lot depends on how the Redskins look too, especially Robert Griffin. This game is at Lambeau but more depends on what Griffin does in his sophomore NFL season.

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