RATING: First.
1956: W 8, L 3, T 1. First Playoff: beat Bears 47-7.
COACHES: Head, Jim Lee Howell; assistants, Vince Lombardi, Ken Kavanaugh, Tom Landry, John Dell Isola.

WATCH FOR: Thunderous running attack by Frank Gilford, Mel Triplett and Alex Webster, plus better deep passing to improved End Ken McAfee; the rushing of All-Pro End Andy Robustelli.

OFFENSE: The Giants, possessed of the most consistent running game in the National Football League last year, should be even better in 1957. Addition of 240-pound Jack Spinks at offensive guard gives the champions a most awesome convoy for its great trio of running backs. Chuck Conerly and Don Heinrich can send 500 pounds of fleet blocking ahead of the runners on sweeps with Spinks and Jack Stroud. Ken McAfee, a good receiver last year, is much better this year. Gene Filipski, who relieves either Gifford or Webster, spent 1956 acclimating himself and is a very capable replacement.

DEFENSE: The only loss the Giant defense suffered last year was All-Pro Tackle Roosevelt Grier to the Army. Jim Katcavage, a second-year man, has plugged the hole Grier left very well. The Giant linebackers, Sam Huff, Harland Svare and Bill Svoboda, are the best trio in football and the secondary defenders, led by Emlen Tunnell, are experienced, battle-hardened and wise.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 29 at Cleveland (21-9)
OCT. 5 at Philadelphia, N (21-7)
OCT. 13 at Washington (7-33)
OCT. 20 Pittsburgh (38-10)
OCT. 27 Washington (28-14)
NOV. 3 at Green Bay (no game)
NOV. 10 Chicago Cardinals (23-10)
NOV. 17 Philadelphia (20-3)
NOV. 24 at Chicago Cardinals (27-35)
DEC. 1 San Francisco (no game)
DEC. 7 at Pittsburgh (17-14)
DEC. 15 Cleveland (7-24)


RATING: Second.
1956 RECORD: W 5, L 7, finished fourth.
COACHES: Head, Paul Brown; assistants, Paul Bixler, Howard Brinker, Dick Gallagher, Fritz Heisler, Ed Ulinski.

WATCH FOR: Quick, hard runs of rookie Fullback Jim Brown, who may be another Marion Motley; platooning quarterbacks, with Tommy O'Connell and rookie Milt Plum trading.

OFFENSE: Paul Brown is still looking for a capable replacement for Otto Graham. He is in better shape this season than last, with Tommy O'Connell a year wiser in the ways of the Browns and a likely-looking substitute for O'Connell in Milt Plum. But neither of these quarterbacks is of championship caliber going into the season. Elsewhere, the Brown offense looks very strong, with Jim Brown a great help at fullback and strong running halfbacks in depth. The great Brown machine of recent years is being overhauled, with a record crop of rookies moving in; this may presage a fall-off in the beautiful precision long a trademark of this team.

DEFENSE: Traditionally the toughest defensive team in football, the Browns have lost little here. Their quartet of secondary pass defenders are back intact; Len Ford and rookie Paul Wiggin of Stanford provide punishing pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the end posts, and All-Pro Don Colo anchors the middle of the hefty, mean line, with Bob Gain, another All-Pro.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 29 New York (9-21)
OCT. 5 at Pittsburgh, N (14-10)
OCT. 13 Philadelphia (17-14)
OCT. 20 at Philadelphia (16-0)
OCT. 27 at Chicago Cardinals (7-9)
NOV. 3 Washington (17-20)
NOV. 10 Pittsburgh (16-24)
NOV. 17 at Washington (9-20)
NOV. 24 Los Angeles (no game)
DEC. 1 Chicago Cardinals (7-24)
DEC. 3 at Detroit (no game)
DEC. 15 at New York (24-7)


RATING: Third.
1956 RECORD: W 7, L 5, finished second.
COACHES: Head, Ray Richards; assistants, Tom Keane, Chuck Drulis, Charley Trippi, Bob Nowaskey.

WATCH FOR: Gliding, elusive runs of Ollie Matson, probably the best broken-field runner in the National League today. More running from Lamar McHan the, quarterback, in a split-T offense.

OFFENSE: The Cardinal halfbacks, Matson and Dave Mann, rank as the equal of any pair in the league. At fullback, Johnny Olszewski is small for a pro, but he is a determined blocker and ranked ninth in the league in rushing last year. The Cardinal running is stronger than its passing. Lamar McHan is a good but not great passer, and the offensive ends are in the same category. The Card offensive line is strong everywhere except at center, where a giant (6 feet 6, 306 pounds) rookie may have to carry the load. He is Earl Putman from Arizona State.

DEFENSE: The addition of Tom Finnin, acquired from the Baltimore Colts for a draft choice, shores up the tackle spot in. the Cardinal defense, and the addition of Oklahoma All-America Jerry Tubbs (a first draft choice) adds needed mobility to the Cardinal linebackers. The Cardinal pass defenders—Dick Lane, Lindon Crow, Woodley Lewis and Jim Hill—led the league last year in effectiveness and in interceptions and should be even better this season.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 29 at San Francisco (no game)
OCT. 6 Washington (14-17)
OCT. 13 at Pittsburgh (7-14)
OCT. 20 at Washington (31-3)
OCT. 27 Cleveland (9-7)
NOV. 3 Philadelphia (28-17)
NOV. 10 at New York (10-23)
NOV. 24 New York (35-27)
DEC. 1 at Cleveland (24-7)
DEC. 8 Chicago Bears (3-10)
DEC. 14 at Philadelphia (20-6)
DEC. 22 Pittsburgh (38-27)


RATING: Fourth.
1956: W 5, L 7. Fourth.
COACHES: Head, Buddy Parker; assistants, Charles Cherundolo, Nick Skorich, Harry Gilmer, Walt Kiesling, Lowell Perry.

WATCH FOR: Canny pass catching of End Ray Mathews, new aerial offense under Quarterback Earl Morrall; strong up-the-middle running from Fullback Fran Rogel, and improved running game.

OFFENSE: When Buddy Parker ended his 16-day retirement to coach the Steelers after dramatically resigning from the Lions, he retained most of the offense and defense already installed by Walt Kiesling. It was too late in the training season for radical changes, but Parker has been slowly sifting his ideas into the Steeler attack, and it is beginning to show. Dealing for needed help with a free hand, he has acquired Quarterback Earl Morrall from the San Francisco 49ers to strengthen the weakest link in the Steeler chain. He still needs more and better halfbacks, and Fran Rogel at fullback is very sound but not truly brilliant.

DEFENSE: Parker had to give up one of the league's better linebackers in Marv Matuszak to get Morrall, but the Steeler defense should still be strong. The line is husky and rough, with the veteran Ernie Stautner beefing up the middle and Player-Coach Bill McPeak a knowledgeable, persistent end. The defense will probably hold the team up until Parker's offensive unit learns each other's first names.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SET. 29 Washington (30-13)
OCT. 5 Cleveland, N (10-14)
OCT. 13 Chicago Cardinals (14-7)
OCT. 20 at New York (10-38)
OCT. 27 Philadelphia (21-35)
NOV. 3 at Baltimore (no game)
NOV. 10 at Cleveland (24-16)
NOV. 24 Green Bay (no game)
DEC. 1 at Philadelphia (7-14)
DEC. 7 New York (14-17)
DEC. 15 at Washington (23-0)
DEC. 22 at Chicago Cardinals (27-38)

RATING: Fifth.
1956: W 6, L 6. Third.
COACHES: Head, Joe Kuharich; assistants, Mike Nixon, Dick Evans, Joe Tereshinski.

WATCH FOR: Antelope running of rookie Halfback Jim Podoley, long passing of Quarterback Rudy Bukich; the extraordinary resourcefulness of the league's smallest quarterback, Eddie LeBaron.

OFFENSE: The Redskin offense suffered last year from fragile quarterbacks and too small running backs. It could be that both defects have been remedied by new blood for the 1957 season. Eddie LeBaron, the tiny magician, will have husky, durable Rudy Bukich to spell him behind the center, and the 'Skins have come up with a real find in rookie Halfback Jim Podoley, to go with Tom Runnels, a great runner who proved himself last year. Bukich, a long ball thrower, could soup up the Washington air offense, something which has been lacking in a league dedicated to at least an even split between air and ground attacks.

DEFENSE: Here Coach Joe Kuharich's problems are manifold. The loss of first-string tackle J. D. Kimmel in a late exhibition game (broken leg) leaves a gap in the defensive line which will be hard to fill. The Redskin deep defense leaked like an old umbrella often last season and there is no reason to believe the same players, a year older, are any more effective.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 29 at Pittsburgh (13-30)
OCT. 6 at Chicago Cardinals, N (17-14)
OCT. 13 New York (33-7)
OCT. 20 Chicago Cardinals (3-31)
OCT. 27 at New York (14-28)
NOV. 3 at Cleveland (20-17)
NOV. 10 Baltimore (no game)
NOV. 17 Cleveland (20-9)
NOV. 24 at Philadelphia (9-13)
DEC. 1 at Chicago Bears (no game)
DEC. 3 Philadelphia (19-17)
DEC. 15 Pittsburgh (0-23)


RATING: Sixth.
1956: W 3, L 8, T 1. Sixth.
COACHES: Head, Hugh Devore; assistants, Steve Owen, Charles Grauer, Frank Kilroy.

WATCH FOR: Running pass thrown by Oklahoma All-America Tommy McDonald; thumping running of rookie Bill Barnes; finesse of veteran Quarterback Bobby Thomason in handoffs and passes.

OFFENSE: The Eagles, for several years, had an embarrassment of riches at quarterback with both Adrian Burk and Bobby Thomason. They had no running backs able to wade through a heavy dew; this year, Burk has quit, Thomason decided to come out of retirement late and the Eagles have a strong crop of rookie runners in McDonald, Barnes and Clarence Peaks. By the time Thomason gets his legs under him, the Eagle offense should be set for its best year in a long time. The receivers are good enough to implement Thomason's passing too.

DEFENSE: The Eagle pass defense may suffer from the need to start rookies against the wily ends who inhabit the National Football League. Jimmy Harris, the Oklahoma quarterback, has moved into the lineup at a safety post. The return of Jerry Norton, an experienced hand who missed much of last season with a broken arm, can take up some slack here. The Eagles still have Chuck Bednarik backing up the line, and he is one of the best.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 29 at Los Angeles (7-27)
OCT. 5 New York, N (7-21)
OCT. 13 at Cleveland (14-17)
OCT. 20 Cleveland (0-16)
OCT. 27 at Pittsburgh (35-21)
NOV. 3 at Chicago Cardinals (17-28)
NOV. 10 Detroit (no game)
NOV. 17 at New York (3-20)
NOV. 24 Washington (13-9)
DEC. 1 Pittsburgh (14-7)
DEC. 3 at Washington (17-19)
DEC. 14 Chicago Cardinals (6-20)