So we are two weeks away from the NFL season starting, and no one could be more excited than yours truly. It’s a great time of the year, especially with the college football season kicking everything off Labor Day weekend. But we aren’t here for that, we are here to talk about the NFL, more so the NFC. Who will win their divisions? What teams will go from early draft teams to playoff teams, and who will slide and fall in their division? These are my official predictions for each division, and what teams have a shot at making the wild card spot.
I wanted to get this division out-of-the-way because of the fact that this division is the worst of all of the divisions in the NFL. For all the attention we give them, this division has only produced one playoff win in the last four years. On top of that, this division had only one team above .500 . So who wins it this year? Can the New York Football Giants have a comeback season and win a division they had in there grasp? Can Philadelphia get right and challenge for the eastern crown? What about the Cowboys?
Prediction: Washington wins it again.
As much as I hate to admit it, Washington is the only team that got significantly better on both sides of the ball. New York didn’t really get much better on offense, focusing solely on a defense that looks a bit top-heavy, Philly who got better on offense while sacrificing their defense and Dallas is…Dallas. With the pickups of Josh Norman in free agency, Josh Doctson, Su’a Cravens and Kendall Fuller in the draft, Washington got more potent on both sides. Plus quarterback Kirk Cousins will be looking to prove he is a big money contract player this year and will ball out. Now if you’re wondering why I didn’t pick Dallas, I’ll answer your questions with two of my own: Can Dak Prescott actually do well once Romo goes down and with all that offensive power, who is going to play defense, seeing how most of their defense is either gone, arrested or suspended? That’s what I thought. Moving on.
2. NFC North
This division annoys me because I don’t want to be bias because this is my home division, so I’m going to be as honest as possible. This division had a lot of turnover from last year, with Megatron retiring, Jordy Nelson coming back to Green Bay, the Vikings getting a new home and Chicago trying to get better on defense. But who wins this division?
Prediction: Minnesota wins it….barely.
Okay, follow me here. As far as I’m concerned, this division is a three-way race between Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay. I think the team that has the most divisional wins out of this triple threat wins it and I see Minnesota doing that. I think Green Bay actually comes in worst than Detroit, due to the fact that Green Bay is replacing an entire front seven of their defense, while Detroit somewhat replaced their need at wide receiver with the pickup of both Anquian Boldin and Marvin Jones. But Minnesota will win it all because they have it all on offense and defense. As long as they avoid injury, expect the vikings to get to the postseason for a second season in a row.
Okay, lets just skip the intro for this division, and get to who I think will win the division. If you haven’t guessed already, its Carolina. I don’t care about Josh Norman leaving the defense, the Panthers defense is still just as dangerous as they were last year. They also still have Cam Newton, who is hitting the opening peak of his prime and is going to be a threat for a back-to-back MVP trophy. On top of all of that, the Panthers went 18-1 without their main weapon on offense in Kelvin Benjamin. And now they have him back, fully healthy. Yeah this isn’t even fair, Carolina has this division on lock.
This division is always a hard one to figure out, as we know that Seattle, the reigning champ, can win it, but with the recent upgrades the Arizona Cardinals and now Los Angeles Rams have made, it becomes even harder for them to do. Sure Seattle didn’t lose any major pieces on either side of the ball, but they didn’t get bigger and badder in the offseason. It’ll be interesting to see who wins this division, but here is my prediction.
Prediction: Seattle wins the divisional title, but not by much.
Now the reason I say this isn’t because of the series they will play against Arizona, but the one they will play against Los Angeles. I think the idea that the Rams finally have their franchise quarterback in Jared Goff will cause problems for them. Dude is an absolute surgeon on the field and Seattle has to know this going into the season. But fortunately for Seattle, he will make mistakes which will cost Los Angeles a game. Seattle has the lucky opportunity that they know how to beat Arizona, who will give them issues, but its nothing they can’t handle. They also have the fortune of having a second season in which tight end Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson can bond and work together to win games through the air. While I still think this will be a tough as nails division, it will be a good one to watch.
Teams that will Fight for a Wild Card Spot
Okay, it would be foolish to say the Packers can’t make the playoffs. The Packers have their offensive weaponry back at 100%, but it will be tough for them this year. Both teams in Detroit and Minnesota that have given them problems in the past got better, while Green Bay lost a majority of its defense. If Green Bay can make its offensive onslaught carry the team, expect Green Bay to be the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
Okay, I don’t think this team makes the playoffs this year but I would not be surprised if they are one of the teams fighting for a wild card spot. Arizona has always been a threat to win their division and if they can find a way to either sweep or split their series with Seattle, then you are looking at the 2016 NFC West champions. Arizona has a great running back and receiving corps and has a defense that can keep up with the best teams in the league. Hopefully this leads to a postseason berth, if not more.
Okay, I’m going to not try to sound like a complete homer when I talk about the Detroit Lions being a possible Wild Card team but they are. Lets point out two things: Last year, they were two winnable games away from making the playoffs, having a better record than 3/4’s of the NFC East. Secondly, they did all of this without recently retired Calvin Johnson and DeAndre Levy. Now that Levy is fully healthy and coming back, this team is more dangerous on defense. They also have the fortune of playing not one, but two of the worst divisions this season in the AFC South and the NFC East. On top of that, the offense looks to be more up-tempo and the pickups of Boldin, Marvin Jones and the draft picks of Taylor Decker and A’Shawn Robinson will pay big dividends in the future.
Now I can’t lie, this is a bit of a stretch, but the Rams are in somewhat of the same boat as Detroit. They have a capable team to not win the division, but make a strike towards the postseason. Like I mentioned in the NFC West portion, the kid is an absolute surgeon and the last thing you want is this kid getting comfortable in the pocket. Because if he is able to sit back in the pocket and choose his shot, no one is beating him right now. Plus with weapons like Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin, expect some fireworks in the Coliseum.
Well those are predictions for the NFC, what are yours? Come back tomorrow to see my predictions for the AFC.