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NFL Season Outlook: NFC

Time to break down the NFC for the upcoming NFL season

The+Cowboys+will+miss+Elliott%27s+production+in+the+first+six+weeks+of+the+season
The Cowboys will miss Elliott's production in the first six weeks of the season

The Cowboys will miss Elliott's production in the first six weeks of the season

Kevin Terrell/Associated Press

Kevin Terrell/Associated Press

The Cowboys will miss Elliott's production in the first six weeks of the season

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After looking at the AFC, it’s time to take a look at the NFC. Hopefully this year will be much more competitive on this side on the NFL. First we’ll start with the powerhouse of the conference in the NFC East.

NFC East:

This has to be the best division in the NFC, with all four teams potentially fighting for the division title. The Cowboys and the Giants have very potent offense, the former dominating the ground with a monstrous offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott, and the latter airing it out, now with Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. Those two should be the favorites here, and the Giants get a slight nudge as their defense is a hair better. Also, with Elliot suspended for the first six weeks, the Giants get an added bonus in their attempt to win the division. Luckily for the Cowboys, Darren McFadden should be able to handle the rock just fine. However, if Kirk Cousins improves and if Jordan Reed stays healthy(ish), then the Redskins have a shot as well. The Eagles look like they are improving, especially after they signed Jeffery, but Carson Wentz needs to get better for them to be legitimate.

 

Predictions:

Giants 12-4

Cowboys 11-5

Redskins 9-7

Eagles 8-8

 

NFC West:

This division is the weakest it’s been in a while. The Rams have a good defense, but pretty much rely solely on Todd Gurley on offense. It’s hard to score when you are one dimensional, although Sammy Watkins could change that. The 49ers are still in rebuild mode, so nothing crazy should be expected from them. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were banged up and Carson Palmer was a shadow of his MVP candidate self. However, if the Cards stay healthy, and Palmer can throw like he did in 2015, then David Johnson can lead them to a solid season. Lastly, the Seahawks, the king of the division last year, will probably reclaim the throne in the NFC West. Richard Sherman and the secondary is not what it used to be, but it should hold up. The key for the Seahawks will be Eddie Lacy, if him and Rawls can be a solid grinding one-two punch then they should improve.

 

Predictions:

Seahawks 10-6

Cardinals 8-8

Rams 3-13

49ers 2-14

 

NFC North:

This division would be much more competitive if the Lions didn’t shoot themselves in the foot so often. If they played more carefully they could challenge the Packers, especially when Stafford plays like a magisterial gunslinger. Also, their defense is solid enough to compete, so in essence, it boils down to being smart. Now, the Vikings are a legitimate threat too, especially if Teddy Bridgewater is half as good as Rodgers, and the division could be theirs thanks to their explosive young defense. However, Rodgers holds the keys in the north, and it doesn’t seem likely that he will let the Packers slip up. As for the Bears, well, it’s best to just leave it at rebuild mode.

 

Predictions:

Packers 10-6

Vikings 10-6

Lions 8-8

Bears 2-14

 

NFC South:

This division could get very interesting this year. The Buccaneers could continue to develop with Jameis Winston under helm, but they will need to continue to play solid on defense, and the run game will have to improve. Meanwhile, the Saints signed Adrian Peterson who could be very explosive in that system, even if he barely has anything in the tank. Not to mention that the Saints play in quite a few dome games, but their schedule seems to be very difficult, with the Vikings and Pats to start off the season. However, the Panthers and Cam Newton will look to prove that last year was just a fluke, and if they can fire on all cylinders, they could be a threat. Realistically speaking, the Falcons should win this division again. Their defense is young and getting better, while their offense is explosive. In addition they should be hungry for the super bowl, after losing 28-3.

 

Predictions:

Falcons 12-4

Bucs 9-7

Saints 7-9

Panthers 7-9

 

So, it looks like the NFC will be in the hands of the Cowboys, Giants, Falcons, or Packers, with the rest of the teams fighting it out to fill in the remaining playoff spots. With some luck, the Bucs or the Vikings can make things more interesting in this playoff picture.

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