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EAST DIVISION

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September 02, 2002|BY NEWSDAY IN PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH BY DIVISION

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Coach: Andy Reid, fourth season.

Last season's record: 11-5, first in NFC East. Lost in NFC championship game to the Rams.

Who's in: LB Shawn Barber (Redskins), S Blaine Bishop (Titans), RB Dorsey Levens (Packers), LB Levon Kirkland (Seahawks).

Who's out: LB Mike Caldwell, C Bubba Miller, S Damon Moore, G Jim Pyne, LB Jeremiah Trotter.

Outlook: Eagles need second-year WR Freddie Mitchell, their 2001 first-round pick, to improve and make the passing game more effective. Untested Barry Gardner and Kirkland fill the void left by Trotter, who bolted the Eagles after a bitter contract dispute. RB Duce Staley is healthy again, and needs to take the heat off QB Donovan McNabb.

Parting shot: Eagles take the next step after a terrific 2001 season. It's on to San Diego. It's on to the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

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DALLAS COWBOYS

Coach: Dave Campo, third season.

Last season's record: 5-11, fifth in NFC East.

Who's in: DT La'Roi Glover (Saints), LB Kevin Hardy (Jaguars), QB Chad Hutchinson (free agent), CB Bryant Westbrook (Lions).

Who's out: TE Jackie Harris, S Izell Reese, C Mark Stepnoski, S George Teague, WR Rocket Ismail (injured).

Outlook: Cowboys need to settle on a permanent quarterback. Quincy Carter gets the nod for now, but the team is also high on Hutchinson, who has given up his pursuit of a baseball career. The defense emerged last season, finishing fourth overall, and influx of free agents Hardy, Glover and Westbrook, as well as drafting of S Roy Williams, should help. The rushing offense remains solid with Emmitt Smith.

Parting shot: The passing offense was last in the NFL in 2001. Even with a modest improvement, the Cowboys could get back to at least .500.

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Coach: Steve Spurrier, first season.

Last season's record: 8-8, second in NFC East.

Who's in: LB Jessie Armstead (Giants), WR Jacquez Green (Buccaneers), OL Rod Jones (Rams), G David Loverne (trade, Jets), QB Shane Matthews (Bears), LB Jeremiah Trotter (Eagles), QB Danny Wuerffel (trade, Texans), DE Renaldo Wynn (Jaguars).

Who's out: Coach Marty Schottenheimer, TE Stephen Alexander, QB Tony Banks, LB Shawn Barber, QB Kent Graham, LB Robert Jones, DE Kenard Lang, C Cory Raymer, G Dave Szott, WR Michael Westbrook.

Outlook: Spurrier comes to the NFL after a brilliant career at Florida, but will his pass-oriented system work at the next level? The defense showed remarkable improvement over the second half of last season. LaVar Arrington had a monster season and is ready to be a star.

Parting shot: Spurrier earned a reputation for creating championship teams with mediocre quarterbacks. If he can do that with the Redskins, he's a genius.

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NEW YORK GIANTS

Coach: Jim Fassel, sixth season.

Last season's record: 7-9, tied for third in NFC East.

Who's in: TE Jeremy Shockey (first-round draft choice).

Who's out: K Morten Andersen, LB Jessie Armstead, T Lomas Brown, FB Greg Comella, TE Howard Cross, S Sam Garnes, WR Joe Jurevicius, G Glenn Parker, G Ron Stone.

Outlook: After a host of free-agent losses--some of the driven by the salary cap, others by choice--Fassel is left with inexperience at several positions. Johnnie Lynn takes over for John Fox as defensive coordinator, although the Giants plan will use largely the same scheme. Chemistry an issue after off-season spat between Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber over Strahan's contract negotiations.

Parting shot: Too much roster turnover, not enough help from outside.

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