NFL Season Preview: The NFC

The NFC got significantly weaker this offseason. Pretty much every top team had a key playmaker leave for greener pastures. The good news for these teams is that this has happened to everyone, so the overall hierarchy shouldn’t change that much. Let’s preview all the teams.  

 Green Bay Packers 

After their brutal loss to the Niners last year, the Packers were in a bit of a crunch. They had a lot of key free agents coming up without the cap space to bring all of them back. Green Bay chose to let go Davante Adams in order to save room for Aaron Rodgers – on a $150 million deal that’ll keep him in the frozen tundra for 3 more years. Seriously, that much for the twilight of his career? There is a chance that the megadeal could blow up in their faces spectacularly, especially if he falls off a cliff production-wise. Unfortunately, though, this probably won’t happen until next year. This team is going to be dragged kicking and screaming to the playoffs by Rodgers, and I don’t know about them contending for the Super Bowl this year. I’ll just wait for the NFC championship choke. 


Minnesota Vikings 

Firing Zimmer might have been overdue but it’s good for the Vikings regardless. They are returning most of the same chorus from their playoff run a few years ago, and Justin Jefferson has evolved into one of the best wide receivers in the game. Unfortunately, this is Minnesota we are talking about, and this is Kirk Cousins. This means they’ll win some random game against a team like Buffalo or LA when they’re two games under .500, only to fall apart against Detroit. That secondary is also still a hot mess and will have to be patched up if Minnesota even wants to consider doing anything in January. Their current upside is a 10-7 record and a pounding by a real team in the first round. 

Chicago Bears 

The Bears are an absolute clown show right now. The team is as barren of talent as death valley, and their one key playmaker is angry with management and wants out. They’re going to be in the basement of the league yet again. The only highlight of the season will be if Justin Fields is allowed to unleash his electric running, something last year’s Nagy offense wouldn’t let him do. At least they’ll have their first round pick this year and won’t be giving charity to the Giants again. Now watch them trade their first this year to add at the trade deadline and pretend to be competitive, it would be so fitting for the McCaskeys.  


Detroit Lions 

The Lions are coming off the best season they’ve had in a while. Their record may not have shown it, but what Dan Campbell did in that locker room could have turned their entire franchise around. Unfortunately, they don’t have much in the way of talent, though. Hard work and guts can only get you so far in this league. They won’t be as bad as last year, however. I’ll say about 6 wins. As a Bills fan, though, I really hope they’re as inept in their Thanksgiving game as they were last year.  


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

This is the last shot for the Bucs for a while. Brady will be gone at the end of the season to pursue his cushy ESPN gig while some key free agents will be ready to catch the first train out of town when TB12 retires. Gronk is gone, but the rest of the guys on the roster are relatively the same as last year, minus Antonio Brown for obvious reasons. Replacing Brown is Julio Jones on a 1-year swan song before he, too, hangs it up. Nobody outside of Florida wants them to succeed, and the league will give them every conceivable advantage so that Brady goes out like Peyton Manning did.  


New Orleans Saints 

This roster screams mid at every position. Jameis Winston will be iffy following his torn ACL, and the rest of the team is solid but not elite. Their super-bowl winning coach is gone, and they lost Terron Armstead to the Dolphins, but the rest of their O-line is pretty stout. Maybe they’ll do the unthinkable and sweep Tampa again. Much laughter will be had if that plays out. If they actually make it to the playoffs this year, it’ll probably be a learning experience year for them.  


Carolina Panthers 

I honestly don’t know what to think about these guys. What the Panthers have lacked over the past few years is a solid guy under center, and Baker Mayfield appears to be that man. However, I just don’t know if it’ll be enough. If Matt Rhule reconjures some of his magic from the 2020 season, though, then they could go places. If not, then Baker will be nitpicked for every small mistake and the Panthers will combust and burn out. That defense is looking pretty good, though, particularly their back end. This roster, ironically like the 2019 Browns, is very boom-or-bust. Only time will tell with these guys.  

Atlanta Falcons 

This team still hasn’t recovered from 28-3. It’s shown in the nuking their Super Bowl roster has experienced over the past few years. Ridley is suspended for the year thanks to his gambling. Matty Ice is also gone. Julio Jones was exiled to a division rival, on the same team as the dude that was the benefactor of the choke. This team has a strong chance to go 0-17. It would be hilarious and sad at the same time. They’ll do it in front of red stadium seats for the most part, since the city of Atlanta still doesn’t care about them and their obnoxious tech wonderland of a stadium. 

Dallas Cowboys 

Despite losing a lot of talent this season, the Cowboys are still considered division favorites by virtue of being a little less trash than the other teams in their pathetic division. Amari Cooper got traded after the Cowboys couldn’t extend him, and Randy Gregory left for Denver. I’m expecting about 10, maybe 11 wins out of these guys this year. Their defense will be the backbone of any and all success they experience. No one outside of the Dallas metro area wants them to win, and they have six primetime games this year despite being mediocre and unenjoyable to watch.  


Washington Commanders 

Nope, still not used to the name change. The newly christened Commanders will have to get used to playing in front of tumbleweeds and crickets for this next season. Who in their right mind would travel over 30 miles from DC to watch a bad football team play in the worst stadium in the league? The 8 fans they have left all want Snyder fired, especially after the offseason drama in their front office. It’s going to be a long year for these guys. Hopefully Chase Young stays healthy enough this year to shred offensive lines again.  


Philadelphia Eagles 

The perennial NFC East hype machine somehow shifted to Philadelphia from its usual home in Dallas this offseason. Just like every other NFC East team that is hyped up to oblivion, this team is one of the most overrated in the league. There are people out there that think they could contend for the #1 seed, that’s how bad it is. I honestly don’t see how people view these guys as good. They played on a paper-soft schedule last year, went 9-8, got obliterated in the first round when they had to face a real team, and only made the playoffs because the rest of their conference collapsed like that condo in surfside. However, they have a pathetic schedule, so their win column should be inflated once again this season. Anything less than 10 wins this year and the Philadelphians will want blood. 

New York Giants 

This year will likely go down as one of transition for the Giants. They have had the pieces to return to playoff contention but are held back by Daniel Jones and a ridiculous number of injuries every year. Speaking of Jones, this year is probably the last chance for him. In that kind of system, with those offensive weapons that the G-men have at their disposal? No Excuses. They had a good draft and look to be on the right track under Daboll, but will it be enough to vault them back into relevance? I’m leaning towards no. I could see them upsetting a few strong teams this year, but consistency will be a major issue. Maybe next year.  


Los Angeles Rams 

The defending champs are looking to run it back with roughly the same chorus as last year. Von Miller is gone and OBJ is looking to head elsewhere, but the rest of their championship roster is relatively intact, and no, Aaron Donald did not in fact retire after getting that Super Bowl ring. Speaking of Donald, he’s made headlines this offseason, and not for the right reasons. He was involved in a brawl during a joint practice with the Bengals, in which he imitated Myles Garrett by using a helmet as a weapon. Maybe they’ll suspend him for it eventually, but it looks like he’ll be free to run after Josh Allen in week 1 against the Bills. They’re division favorites but might be weaker than last year. When they play the Chiefs in KC, though, I hope the scorned people of St. Louis make the cross-state drive en masse to boo Kroenke as he sits in his luxury suite. It’s honestly deserved, given how they got screwed over by him.  


Arizona Cardinals 

This team has so many question marks that it’s impossible to truly gauge how they’ll do. Despite the talent on the roster, I have a feeling that Kingsbury will hold them back with his trademark late-season collapse. Kyler is very hit-or-miss and their wide receiver core is iffy too. That defense is going to have to play lights-out down the stretch if they even want to sniff the playoffs. Their upside is probably first-round elimination.  

Seattle Seahawks 

After the last pieces of their 2013 championship caught trains out of town this offseason, the Seahawks now enter a nuclear winter. One look at their roster and dear god, they’re going to be awful this year. It’s what all great teams have to go through in the end, especially if they try to keep the gang around to relive the glory days. The Seahawks did that for years. Now, the bill has come due and it’s time for them to pay up. The sad thing is that the Seattle team that dominated for a decade will be more known for passing the ball on the 1 yard line than for the championship they won the year before. Darrell Bevell will haunt Hawks fans’ dreams until Seattle returns to relevance. In regard to the current roster, there isn’t a whole lot of upside to it. Geno Smith will start and Seattle will probably roll with a tandem at the QB position for the short-term future. At least Lumen Field will still be rocking on game days. That’s at least a positive.  


San Francisco 49ers 

The Niners are going to be playoff contenders this season. With those weapons in Shanahan’s system, that’s all but a guarantee. The question with them lies at quarterback. Trey Lance is starting, but Jimmy Garropolo will not be traded this season. Instead, he will be the highest-paid backup in league history, with incentives that could total north of $15 million this year. That defense didn’t change that much either. Given that the NFC will likely be very top-heavy this year, they should make the playoffs with ease. Anything less and Shanahan may find himself beneath a guillotine next offseason. Jimmy G, too, but that’s already a given. 

Playoff predictions 

The NFC, like last year, won’t be as competitive as the AFC. It is very top heavy, and the only division title that’ll really be in contention is the East, which I see going to the Cowboys. The other divisions will settle as follows: Green Bay taking the North, Tampa taking the South in a landslide, and the Rams running it back in the West. The wild cards are going to be interesting. The Eagles and Niners are locks, but the 7th seed is wide open. I’m going to go with my gut and pick the Saints. It’s looking to be an interesting year.  


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