How they got better - The got better by releasing a couple duds in their secondary, adding Antrell Rolle, and perhaps getting back a healthy Kenny Phillips. They also healed up on the defensive line which was awful last year. They also have a young group of skill players that I hate to admit, are pretty damn good.
How we can beat them - Their front 7 is going to have to play a LOT better than last year to even be a top 15 defense. Besides Boley they don't have anyone that has played at a high level consistently (even Boley wasn't that great last year) and they are pretty thin should any injuries occur. Their DTs need to step their game up as they were pretty soft up the middle and of course Osi Umenyiora needs to turn up his game. Their offensive line was a dominant force for awhile but even they tailed off last year and as it ages their play could possibly continue to tail off.
Conclusion - I think we can easily score on their defense this year with our guys. Even Donny had 73% and 65% completion % on their defense. I do expect the defense to be better and I truly believe our defense will be improved as well with new pass rushers making them beatable.
How they got better - I think Shannahan is a good coach and that alone will make them a better team. If Trent Williams can protect McNabb it would be a huge boost for the offense.
How we can beat them- Even with McNabb at the helm and a good coach they really don't have the talent on the offensive side of the ball. When McNabb won games with average skill players we usually had a very good line, the Redskins don't. They have an old backfield of washed up RBs and They have a couple of guys on defense who are starting to get up there in age such as London Fletcher (who I like a lot). I think DeAngelo Hall can be had and is over rated, Landry blows coverages and Horton had a down year too. If they can make the switch successfully to a 3-4 they might be a real good defensive team still. However, that is largely contingent on Haynesworth who isn't really happy about the switch. If Big Al doesn't play they have a pretty big hole at the most important position in a 3-4 (NT)
Conclusion: They don't have the offensive fire power and their defense could struggle if Haynesworth decides to be disgruntled all season. Plus, the switch to a 3-4 might not be a smooth one.
How they got better - They really didn't acquire anyone in the off season but they did try and get a little younger on the line which was probably the right move. They're pretty talented all around and if Dez Bryant ends up being the player he's been touted to be they could be really strong on the offensive side of the ball. Have a lot of good young players too.
How we can beat them - I think their line might be getting up there in age, they have a fairly big void in the secondary at the safety position and they're trying to convert a corner who wasn't that great to begin to fill it (sound familiar anyone?). They also had a league low of ZERO players sent to the IR last year which is super lucky. I don't see that trend to continue and they are thin in depth at a few positions
Conclusion: Right now they are the team to beat in the NFC E, but they aren't without flaws. Thank you Jerry for the Roy Williams trade.