2019 NFC Preview

Yesterday, we looked at the AFC and crowned the Chiefs as the champs (here). Now, let’s look at the NFC and see who they’ll play in the Super Bowl, as well as who we will the NFL’s biggest awards.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4

Dallas Cowboys: 10-6

New York Giants: 6-10

Washington Redskins: 1-15

Even with Zeke, I have the Eagles as the best team in this division. As long as Wentz stays healthy, I think the Eagles have the most complete roster in the NFL. This division has the benefit of playing the AFC East, which for the Eagles and Cowboys should be three wins. The Eagles also have the benefit of playing the Patriots in Philly, which gives them a chance to sweep the division. People are pretty low on the Giants but after some losses, I expect to see Daniel Jones in there, who absolutely looked like the sixth overall pick this preseason. Being able to play the Bills and Dolphins as well as the Redskins twice should mean they get some wins. And while we are talking about the Skins, I think they may be one of the worst teams in football. The only win I’m giving them is maybe Miami. Or they could beat the Giants in Washington. But they really don’t have a strength anywhere on the team. Add to the fact that they are perennially one of the most injured teams in football, you might as well give these guys the number one pick now.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: 13-3

Green Bay Packers: 13-3

Minnesota Vikings: 7-9

Detroit Lions: 3-13

A lot of people expect the Bears to take a step back this year. And I was initially in that group. They now have to play a first place schedule instead of a last place one, they place the AFC West instead of the AFC East, and there’s no way their defense can get turnovers at the same rate as last year. However, after really looking at their schedule, I think they can actually have a better record than last year. The key is that they play some of their toughest opponents (Chiefs, Saints, Chargers, Cowboys) at home. Chicago is a tough place to play, so playing top tier teams there is a huge advantage. Plus, I expect Trubisky to take a big step forward this season as a quarterback. I fully expect the Packers to also rebound. Aaron Rodgers is going to go out and show the world that he’s the best QB in the game. Plus, having a fresh new offensive mind should be a huge boost. As for the Vikings, I think they’ll fall victim to being in a division with two great teams. Also, I don’t think much of Mike Zimmer as a coach. He tries to meddle too much in the offense despite being a defensive guy. This offense could be electric if he decided to let them air it out and not ground and pound everything. While the top three teams are pretty good, the Lions are easily the worst team in this division. Matt Patricia took a team that was 9-7 for three straight years and made them 6-10. The rest of the division (particularly the Packers) did a lot to improve this offseason. The Lions didn’t seem to make any big moves to put them in the right direction.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: 12-4

New Orleans Saints: 12-4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-9

Carolina Panthers: 7-9

The Falcons just haven’t quite been the same since that devastating loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. However, their offensive numbers have still been solid and their red zone numbers improved last year (after being their biggest weakness two years ago). I expect to see them continue to improve and make a run at the division. I also expect to see the Saints take a small step back. At the end of last season, we saw Drew Brees’ numbers drop off, particularly on the deep ball. Some speculate that he had a shoulder injury while others attribute it to age. Either way, that’s a big unknown for the Saints, especially with a 41 year old quarterback. I actually expect the Bucs to look like a decent team last year. This offense was potent last year and with Bruce Arians running it this year, I expect it to get even better. The Panthers also have a big question mark with their QB. Cam Newton had a bad shoulder last year and it showed, as the team went from 6-2 to 7-9. He already injured his foot this preseason. Cam Newton has a history of being banged up because of his physical play style and the league’s refusal to call penalties on him like they do other, less physical QBs. Add to that the fact that their aren’t a lot of weapons on this offense outside of McCaffery and we could be looking at another mediocre season for the Panthers.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: 13-3

Los Angeles Rams: 10-6

San Francisco 49ers: 4-12

Arizona Cardinals: 3-13

Probably the biggest surprise on my list, I have the Seahawks winning this division handily. The Seahawks looked great last year. Despite the death of the Legion of Boom, they were still a solid defensive unit. Russell Wilson is one of the best and most exciting quarterbacks in football and can easily carry this offense. Drafting DK Metcalf was a great move for them as well. Although DK is very raw as a receiver, one thing he does well is run vertical routes. And with Russell Wilson being the best deep ball thrower in the game, that could make for a very potent offense. As for the Rams, I think they have a lot of big question marks. Jared Goff was also not great down the stretch and he was completely exposed by Belichick in the Super Bowl. Todd Gurley also basically disappeared from the offense. While I certainly don’t expect this team to be bad, I do they they’ll be a little less dynamic than they’ve been. Everyone keeps waiting for the Niners to make that big leap forward and be a playoff contender. If that’s going to happen, it won’t be this year. Garropolo is coming off an ACL tear and honestly, hasn’t shown us enough yet to make me believe he can carry a team. The offensive weapons are lacking, particularly at receiver. Kittle and Coleman are great, but Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin are the starting receivers. While they aren’t bad, they certainly aren’t number 1 receivers. This defense should be decent, but it certainly isn’t good enough to carry the squad. And last, we have the Cardinals. What they should’ve done is kept Rosen and either traded the first pick or used it to draft some stud defensive player. I don’t hate the pieces on this team. They have some good players on both sides of the ball. But my biggest worries are Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury. While Kyler is dynamic and a great athlete, I don’t think he’s a very good QB. As for Kingsbury, well he wasn’t very successful at Texas Tech, despite having Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. If you can’t win with Mahomes in college, then I don’t know how you win with Murray in the NFL.

Playoffs

  1. Seattle Seahawks: 13-3
  2. Chicago Bears: 13-3
  3. Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4
  4. Atlanta Falcons: 12-4
  5. Green Bay Packers: 13-3
  6. New Orleans Saints: 12-4

As you can see, I think the NFC is pretty stacked, boasting 6 teams with 12+ wins and 8 with 10+. For the first round, we have the Eagles vs Saints and Falcons vs Packers. Like I said, I think the Eagles are the most complete team. Plus, Drew Brees in Philly in December? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. For Falcons/Packers, Aaron Rodgers seems to struggle against the Falcons in Atlanta. However, I think this time he’s able to beat them. For the divisional round, this gives us Seahawks vs Packers and Bears vs Eagles. Unfortunately for Rodgers, he isn’t able to exact his revenge from his 2014 NFC Championship loss. However, the Bears are able to do just that, beating the Eagles after their tough loss in the Wild Card round last year. Despite the Eagles being the better team, the home field advantage wins out for the Bears. For our NFC Championship game, we have Bears vs Seahawks. Unfortunately for Bears fans (like me), the bright lights and pressure are just too much for a young QB like Trubisky. Experience wins out and the Seahawks move on to play the Chiefs for the Super Bowl.

NFC Champions: Seattle Seahawks

Once again, Russell Wilson has the experience over Mahomes and Seattle’s defense is able to slow down the Chiefs just enough for the Seahawks to squeak out a win in Super Bowl 54.

Super Bowl Champions: Seattle Seahawks

 

Awards

Let’s also look at who will be receiving some of the major awards for the NFL’s 100th anniversary.

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

OPOY: Saquon Barkley

DPOY: Khalil Mack

OROY: Dwayne Haskins

DROY: Josh Allen

Coach of the Year: Matt Lafleur

-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)

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