NFL Predictions Part II: NFC

Here in the second installment of the NFL season predictions we are turning our attention to the NFC. I’ve always considered myself more of an NFC guy than an AFC guy, primarily becuase my beloved Bears play in the NFC, so of course this means that I’m bound to royally screw up these predictions. I’m also going to make at least one prediction that I never would so at the very least this could be exciting if still completely wrong. But here goes are best stab at how the NFC divisions are going to shake out. Once again the * means the wild card teams and the teams are listed first to worst. Enjoy and let us know what you think.

NFC East

  1. Dallas: Despite the inevitable T.O. drama that will ensue, Drew Bledsoe has revitalized his career in his second stint under Parcells and Terry Glenn is running routes like few others in the game. The offense should put up a ton of points and the defense will rebound from a disapointing year behind the game changing ability of Roy Williams.
  2. NY Giants: Eli Manning will undoubtebly continue to develop but for his sake lets hope that “Oops I crapped my pants in a big game” gene has skipped over him. Another big question is when is Tiki Barber going to hit that wall, but I have a feeling that it won’t happen in a big way this year.
  3. Philadelphia: Sorry Doug, but this is going to be another year without the playoffs in Philly. I’m not sure what to make of this team really, Donovan will clearly be better than last year now that he is healthy but unless he reverts to his old ways and starts running more the Eagles will have a tough time moving the chains with that recieving corps.
  4. Washington: Joe Gibbs has to be really regretting his decision to return to the Redskins, but part of it is probably his fault too. Mark Brunnell was never really the answer at QB and that Clinton Portis injury smells like one that is going to hang around all year and threaten to rear its ugly head.

NFC NORTH

  1. Chicago: This certainly sounds like a homer pick, but I really think the Bears are going to control this rather weak division. The Bears defense is going to be scary good and the offense should be respectable enough to crush the likes of the Lions. Rex Grossman or Brian Griese it doesn’t really matter, I mean Trent Dilfer does have a Super Bowl ring after all.
  2. Minnesota: With a new coach intent on discipline the Vikings have managed to keep their sexcapades limited to an alley rather than coming by sea. This is another team that I’m not impressed by their offense or defense, but they’ll finish second in this division because of how truly bad the next two teams are.
  3. Detroit: I can’t believe these guys aren’t going to finish last in the division because it seems like the front office has been systimatically make the team worse in recent years. The draft strategy has been so good, only picking skill position players, but couple that with an obvious nose for talent and the Lions have been setting themselves up for a decade worth of success. Wait I think I screwed that up, the Lions have been setting themselves up for a decade of crappiness.
  4. Green Bay: Despite Brett Favre’s contention that this is the most talented team he has ever played with, the fact remains that this is a terrible football team. The defense may be improved but every major aspect on offense is probably been downgraded. Favre himself isn’t the same, Ahman Green has to prove he’s healed, they cut their second best back in Najeh Davenport and they lost a number one reviever in Javon Walker. Even growing up hating the way Favre dominated the Bears its still sad to see such a great player come down to this.

NFC SOUTH

  1. Carolina: The defense will carry this team as the running game relying on DeShaun Foster may be suspect. For whatever reason Jake Delhomme seems to win games and make good decisions so that’s always a positive thing to have going for a team.
  2. Atlanta*: Another year in what passes for the West Coast offense should do Vick some good, especially if the loss of T.J. Duckett causes some more wear and tear on Warrick Dunn in short yardage situations.
  3. Tampa Bay: Chris Simms would have to turn into an All-Pro type quarterback for this team to make a playoff run. The defense isn’t what it used to be, but Cadillac Williams certainly gives this team hope that the offense can pick up some of the slack.
  4. New Orleans: So these are the lucky bastards that benefitted from Houston going defense with the first pick. Drew Brees fresh off his new contract should sufficiently suck this year in no small part to the lack of a real offensive line. So the season comes down to seeing Reggie Bush develop which can be exciting enough in itself.

NFC WEST

  1. Seattle: Shaun Alexander is the real deal when it comes to running backs and Matt Hassleback has quietly emerged as a big time quarterback. The real question will remain if the recievers will continue to drop passes at an alarming rate.
  2. Arizona*: I realize this is a trendy pick, but hear me out. Depsite how I like to make fun of Kurt Warner he has shown he can spread the ball around and the Cards have a couple nice young recievers to bring those passes down. Edge brings instant legitimacy to the running game despite the mid range offensive line. In addition, and maybe most importantly they have what looks to be a pretty easy schedule, partly because they play in the weakest division in football. This could easily fall apart very quickly, especially with Denny Green at the helm, but I’m sticking with it.
  3. St. Louis: The offensive genius is gone and not a whole lot of improvements have been made so I don’t see the Rams making much of a run this season.
  4. San Francisco:Alex Smith may or may not be a good pro quarterback, but its probably not going to happen with this level of talent surronding him. Its going to be another long season in the Bay Area, but despite the winning streak that cost the Niners a run at the number one pick last year I think they have a real shot at earning it this year.
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7 comments
  1. I’m going to start of by saying I like your Arizona pick. I have the Cardinals as a playoff team as well. Warner has the potential to push the 5,000 yard mark this season, as long as he can stay healthy.

    I would put the Giants ahead of the Cowboys, but that is a close call. The Giants are my pre-season Super Bowl Champ pick, so I might be a bit biased there.

    As far as the NFC North goes, we might be able to agree that its the worst division in football. (not sure if you agree with that, but I sure do). That being said, I think the Lions will come out on top. I did not say that as a Lions fan last year, or the year before. In both of those years I predicted the Vikings to win the division. This year, they are showing me nothing. I consider that team to be almost as bad as Green Bay. Everybody agrees that Chicago has a stellar D, but I don’t think it has gotten any more stellar since last year. Their offense is so pathetic that its not even funny. I think the Bears will be lucky to win 8 games. Detroit will win the North by default.

    Other than that, I liked the rest of your predictions. Good job.

  2. I realize you mentioned the NFC West to be the worst division in football, but I would make the argument that the North is far worse. At any rate, I think the AFC has the NFC’s number again this year.

  3. Well I’m not sure where you get the Lions winning the north from Champ but lets look at it a little closer. Clearly, as I freely admit, the Bears’ offense is not good. The running game will be solid with both Benson and Jones in the backfield, and the offensive line which doesn’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve. The quarterback position is a huge question mark, but either Grossman wil get hurt, suck royally or be efficient enough to get wins. If its one of the first two Brian Griese is a completely viable option at quarterback. Quite frankly I would take either one of those starters over Jon Kitna. Neither the Lions or the Bears have good wide recievers despite the Lions wasting big cash and high draft picks on them. So I fail to see where you think the Lions offense is that much better than the Bears. So then if we match up defenses, I know that you aren’t going to say that Detroit has the edge there. Is it possible that you are relying on special teams, cause if that’s the case you might as well pack up the season now. I would also have to argue that the Bears have an easier schedule outside the division than the Lions. The two biggest tests for the Bears will be at New England and hosting Seattle. The Lions have the same games, flip home field, but they also have to play Dallas while the Bears get to host Tampa Bay. Sorry Champ but i’m not sure I follow your logic on the whole Lions thing.

  4. I think Jon Kitna will fair off better in the Mike Martz-offense than either Grossman/Griese in the Chicago offense. Roy Williams is a stud, and the Lions have Cory Bradford this year to back him up. Look for Kitna to put together some 400-yard games, which should be good for wins here and there. They are no Superbowl-bound team, but they should win this division by default.

  5. Martz might be worth a little credit, but I’m not sure he takes a career back up quarterback and changes him into a division winning quarterback (Kurt Warner aside, cause Kitna has had his shot and hasn’t proven he has that kind of talent). As far as the recievers go, Roy Williams was a stud in a COLLEGE, and he’s been about average since then. He’s a big wideout, more of a possession type reciever in my opinion rather than a speedester that Martz has utilized so well in the past. And I know I am writing about the NFL but I honestly have never heard of Cory Bradford so we’ll see how that goes. Another thing, how many first year, rookie head coaches have won their division? Yeah I can’t think of too many either, but I’m sure that if there is one or two they didn’t inherit a team in such disarray as the Lions are. If they win the division, kudos for you for going out on a limb and picking your home team, but I’m not sure there is much of a rational basis for it is all I’m saying. Even if the Bears don’t win the division I still don’t see how the Lions are better than the Vikings.

  6. I must admit in my zest to explain why the Lions will not be winning the division I forgot to comment on your prediction about Kurt Warner. 5,000 yards? Have you been drinking that home brew again? As far as I’m aware only one guy has hit the 5,000 yard mark that being Dan Marino in 1984. Thats a pretty sacred record you’re casually throwing around with an injury prone, past his prime, former grocery stock boy. While Warner was the last guy to even get close that was in a different offense a number of years ago. I didn’t think you could top your Jason Marquis winning twenty prediction but your back to back calls on the Tiger’s ten years of all around goodness coupled with Kurt Warner on the heals of Dan Marino really takes the bar to a whole new level.

  7. I never said he is going to throw for 5,000 yards. I said he has the potential to do so, as long as he remains healthy. I realize his health is a major concern, and that its a distinct possibility that be breaks his thumb sometime in the first 5 weeks. However, if he can stay healthy, I think he has a legitimate shot and making a run for 5,000 yards. I don’t think that number is as sacred as you made it out to be, and it will be broken in the next couple of years. Kurt Warner already threw for over 4,800 in a season, and I’ll take his chances with Boldin/Fitzgerald over Holt/Bruce. He is still capable, and he has amazing weapons in place. Edge could be good for 1,000 yards in the air himself.

    As far as my Jason Marquis prediction goes, I realize he is going to fall short. However, he made a good run at it, and was on pace to hit the 20-win mark well into late July. He will still hit 15, and end up with a better mark then most probably thought he would. The guy is a future 20-game winner, I just jumped the gun by a couple of seasons.

    As far as the Tigers and the decade of excellence go, I want to remind you of a conversation we had in early April during a poker game. The Tigers and Brewers were tied for the best record in baseball (something like 5-1 I believe), and I made the then bold prediction that the Tigers would win their division. I said I liked their chances better than the Twins or Indians, and that they were a very similar team to last year’s White Sox. You countered with the prediction that if either of the teams (Tigers or Brewers) would make the playoffs, it would surely be the Brewers.

    I don’t predict the Tigers to win every year, I usually predict they hit .500, which is bold in and of itself given recent history. I knew they had a special thing going this year, and I went out on a limb to support my team. With the whole decade thing, I am simply saying this team won’t sink back to their depths in the basement. I am not saying they are going to win 10-straight World Series. I am saying they will be a regular Philly/Atlanta like contender who has a shot every year to be in the hunt. When evaluating this team’s pitching, I don’t even think that is going out on too far a limb.

    I respect your predictions and realize I tend to do some that are more “outside the box”. We’ll see who wins the NFC North come December.

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