If you’re anything like me, you relish the opportunity to make bold and slightly outlandish proclamations about the future that might, or might not, work out. So here, without further ado are some things that could happen, some that should happen, and a few that absolutely, positively won’t happen, NFC edition. Feel free to make fun of me later on when your team makes me look like a fool.
Winner: Green Bay Packers. This is a Packers team with Super Bowl aspirations and a motivated Aaron Rodgers at the helm. The defense has been spotty for the Pack in the last few years, and it’s kept them from the top of the NFC mountain. They’ve brought in Ahmad Brooks and drafted well. That unit should be solid. If they can prevent big plays reliably, they can contend for the NFC title.
Hot Seat: John Fox. Who’s taking snaps in Chi-town? Mike Glennon? Mitch Trubisky? Doesn’t matter. Either way this is a 4-win team at best. It’s gonna get ugly.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Atlanta fans, stop screaming at your computer and hear me out. The architect of your great run to the Super Bowl is now coaching in San Francisco. The QB formerly known as “Matty Ice” is going to have a rough time getting over that loss, as is the defense as a collective. The Falcons will take a step back as many Super Bowl losing teams do, but not a huge one. The Buccaneers are loaded and Jameis Winston is going to take a quantum leap forward this year, mainly because of experience and the difference that new weapon DeSean Jackson will make. I see this division as strong from top to bottom, and parity will reign. 12 wins should take the division. It wouldn’t shock me if both NFC wildcards came from the South this year.
Hot Seat: Sean Payton. I think the Saints did a smart thing by trying to beef up their running game to help Drew Brees. Sadly, I don’t think it will work. Their O-line isn’t solid enough to protect Brees, and they likely aren’t strong enough to open the kinds of holes Adrian Peterson will need to make a difference. I think this is a bottom-of-the-division team that wins 8 games. The Saints have been sliding, it’s clear that they need a shake-up.
Winner: New York Giants. Hear me now. Believe me later. The Dallas Cowboys will regress significantly this year. A sophomore slump for Prescott and a suspension for Zeke. It’s going to be a rough first couple of weeks. Add in the fact that in the first six games, they Cowboys will have to face the Giants, Broncos, Packers and Cardinals and it’s a recipe for disaster. They could easily lose ALL of those games and start 2-4. The Giants have a steady hand at QB in Eli Manning, the league’s most exciting receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. and a flashy new weapon in Brandon Marshall. The defense should be better this year, and I see them winning the division at 11-5.
Hot Seat: Jay Gruden. The team in DC have lost two of their most potent offensive weapons, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. These are the guys that turned Kirk Cousins into fool’s gold. Well, Kirk Cousins “YOU LIKE THAT? YOU LIKE THAT??” I didn’t think so. Bottom of the division. Second tier QB getting elite money. This is how coaches lose jobs.
Winner: Seattle Seahawks. I think the Seahawks might be the class of the NFC right now. Time will tell if Russell Wilson will get into high gear again after playing with a few injuries last year, but the defense looks strong. There’s no reason whatsoever that the Seahawks couldn’t host the NFC Championship game.
Hot Seat: Jared Goff. I know that I’ve been mostly talking about coaches here, but honestly, I can’t see a coach in danger here. SF locked up Kyle Shanahan to a six-year deal, and they will be, by far, the worst team in the division. Arizona will contend for a wildcard berth, and the Rams just signed 31-year-old wunderkind Sean McVay. None of these guys is going anywhere.
Back to Goff. If the Rams underperform and battle SF for the basement, my guess is that they will move on. But they shouldn’t. Goff has real upside potential.
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.