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Posted: Thursday July 9, 2009 1:35PM; Updated: Thursday July 9, 2009 3:09PM
Don Banks Don Banks >
INSIDE THE NFL

Sizzling division storylines (cont.)

NFC East

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With scapegoat Terrell Owens now in Buffalo, the pressure is on Tony Romo to finally make a playoff run in Dallas.
With scapegoat Terrell Owens now in Buffalo, the pressure is on Tony Romo to finally make a deep playoff run in Dallas.
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
 
 

1. Tony Romo and Wade Phillips don't need the reminder, but it's time to win (a playoff game or two) in Dallas. Can't blame you-know-who any more.

2. Is Albert Haynesworth destined to be another high-priced free-agent disappointment for the Redskins?

3. Jason Campbell is still the guy in Washington -- at least until someone better comes along. That might wind up being the problem in D.C.

4. The Eagles lost a ton of veteran leadership, but may have gained even more in talent. Will the gains impact their season more than the losses?

5. The Giants couldn't figure out how to replace Plaxico Burress' production late last season. Did the offseason really solve that problem?

NFC South

1. The Falcons and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan put together a storybook 2008 season, but everything's going to be tougher this time around, starting with the schedule.

2. The Saints remain a defense away from Super Bowl contention, which is where new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams comes in.

3. Tampa Bay's whiz kids -- head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik -- can't afford much on-the-job training in one of the NFL's deepest divisions.

4. If Carolina's Jake Delhomme can't get over his playoff game meltdown, the Panthers will continue their pattern of being up one season and down the next.

5. Can rookie quarterback Josh Freeman really make a run at the Bucs starting quarterback job?

AFC South

1. For the Colts, continuity is out and change is in. But will the new look in Indianapolis translate to the status quo in the win column?

2. Even if Kerry Collins returns strong, the Titans need Vince Young to grow up and get back into the picture at quarterback. Or else.

3. In the franchise's eighth year, it's time for Houston to finally stop teasing everyone with those 8-8 records and make a playoff run.

4. If numerous offseason changes don't improve the Jaguars' chemistry issues, coach Jack Del Rio's job status will be a topic from day one in 2009.

5. The Colts released Marvin Harrison in February, which means the No. 3 receiver spot behind Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez is wide open. Pierre Garcon, Roy Hall and Austin Collie will have to try to replace a hall-of-fame talent.

NFC West

1. In the NFL's weakest division, a two-game improvement can punch a playoff ticket. That means Mike Singletary can build on his successful interim head coaching stint and make the 49ers relevant again.

2. Seven of eight Super Bowl losers this decade have failed to make the playoffs the following season. Will the Cardinals make it eight of nine?

3. The last time Jim Mora debuted as a team's head coach, he led the 2004 Falcons all the way to the NFC title game. Seattle hopes another big first season awaits.

4. It's a big year for Matt Leinart. Either he finds a way to push Kurt Warner in Arizona, or we start to think of the Cardinals' 2006 first-rounder as a top 10 bust.

5. The dawn of the Michael Crabtree era in San Francisco is at hand. Opinions vary greatly on the former Texas Tech receiver, but he could make teams that passed on him in the draft pay immediately, la Randy Moss in 1998.

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