NFL Season Preview: NFC

In less than a week, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the NFL season. It’s time to go over a quick preview of the upcoming season, this time covering the NFC. You can read the AFC preview here.

NFC-logo

NFC East:

Unlike the AFC East, the NFC East should be a very competitive division. Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles finished last in the division with a 7-9 record. Now that’s a good division. The Dallas Cowboys are the defending division champs, but the Ezekiel Elliott situation is still up in the air. It is possible that Elliott will be allowed to play the full season as he and the NFLPA take the NFL to court over his 6 game suspension. However, there has not been an announcement about that yet. It will also be interesting to see if Dak Prescott can build on a surprisingly good rookie year. The New York Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. and the newly acquired Brandon Marshall at the wide receiver position, giving them possibly the most dangerous receiving tandem in the league. And then there’s the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins will be playing for a new contract, and offseason addition Terrelle Pryor could prove to be an elite receiver. The Eagles added Alshon Jefferey, giving Carson Wentz a go-to receiver, and their defense should still make them a tough team. This is one tough division to predict. However the Elliott decision plays out will have a huge impact on the division.

Predictions:

  • New York Giants 10-6
  • Dallas Cowboys 9-6
  • Washington Redskins 9-6
  • Philadelphia Eagles 5-11

NFC North: 

Expect the Green Bay Packers to win the North for the sixth time in seven seasons. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best QBs the league has ever seen, and he is surrounded with talented weapons like Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and Martellus Bennett. The Packers defense might prove to be an issue, but the offense should make up for it. The Minnesota Vikings will begin the second year of the Sam Bradford era. People are excited for rookie running back Dalvin Cook, but the Vikings offensive line was atrocious last season. Matthew Stafford just became the highest paid player in NFL history after the Detroit Lions gave him a five year contract worth $135 million. Stafford lead the Lions to the playoffs last year, but the NFC should be tougher this year. The Chicago Bears are playing for the future, despite the fact that they gave Mike Glennon a huge contract to start until second overall pick Mitch Trubisky is ready to play.

Predictions:

  • Green Bay Packers 13-3
  • Minnesota Vikings 9-7
  • Detroit Lions 6-10
  • Chicago Bears 2-14

NFC South:

The Atlanta Falcons ran away with the division last year, and they were one half away from winning the Super Bowl. The biggest change the Falcons experienced was offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan leaving to coach the 49ers. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has never coached in the NFL before, but he’s had numerous gigs in college football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a surprise last season, and this offseason they added DeSean Jackson. Last year they missed the playoffs at 9-7, and I think they’ll be battling for a playoff spot again this year. The New Orleans Saints traded away WR Brandin Cooks, and other WR Willie Snead is suspended the first 3 games of the season. However, never doubt Drew Brees, I expect the Saints to put up big numbers. The Saints also added Adrian Peterson, but he will be splitting time with Mark Ingram. The Carolina Panthers made the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, but last season was a major disappointment. If Cam Newton can stay healthy, it’s possible for the Panthers to have a bounce back year, but don’t expect a trip to the Super Bowl.

Predictions:

  • Atlanta Falcons 13-3
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
  • New Orleans Saints 9-7
  • Carolina Panthers 7-9

NFC West:

The last division we will be previewing is the NFC West, and it should be an interesting one. Pete Carroll has lead the Seattle Seahawks to 5 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins. Expect that streak to be extended to 6. The Seahawks defense is still one of the best in the league, and it was bolstered when they traded for DT Sheldon Richardson last week. Russell Wilson is a good QB, and he might have a new favorite target with Jimmy Graham being fully healthy for the first time in forever. The only team in the West that might give the Seahawks a run for their money is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals had a very disappointing season last year, but they seem primed for a bounce back. QB Carson Palmer took a beating last year, but if he can preform decently, the defense should be able to carry the team. Plus, don’t forget about stud RB David Johnson. For the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers there has been a lot of change this offseason. Both teams have new head coaches. The Rams traded for Sammy Watkins, giving Jared Goff a go-to receiver. Meanwhile, the 49ers are rolling with journeyman Brian Hoyer at QB.

Predictions:

  • Seattle Seahawks 12-4
  • Arizona Cardinals 11-5
  • San Francisco 49ers 5-11
  • Los Angeles Rams 3-13

 

Predicted Playoff Seeding:

  1. Atlanta Falcons
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. New York Giants
  5. Arizona Cardinals
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Green Bay Packers are my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year, but this should be more closely contested than the AFC.

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