ICYMI, I made my AFC Predictions earlier today which can be found right here: https://www.4downnation.com/4-down/2018-divisional-predictions-afc-edition/
Lets get to the NFC!
It’s hard to go away from the defending Super Bowl Champions in the East. They have depth throughout the line-up, and most importantly right now at Quarterback. When Carson Wentz returns he will likely continue on from where he was last year before the injury, but until then they are blessed to have a guy like Nick Foles. Mike Wallace should be a good fit with the team, where he won’t be asked to catch 10 balls a night, but still has the ability to make splash plays when the team needs a spark. The Dallas Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott back for the whole year which is huge, for him and Dak Prescott. The depth at Receiver really dropped off this year with the release of Dez Bryant and retirement of Jason Witten. The New York Giants had one of my favorite drafts selecting RB Saquon Barkley out of Penn State and OG Will Hernandez out of UTEP. Add the addition of Nate Solder, the Giants could turn into more of a running team, and allow Veteran Quarterback Eli Manning to become more of a game manager. The Washington Redskins are an interesting team, trading for veteran QB Alex Smith, who won’t shoot the lights out, but all he did was win in his time in Kansas City. Derrius Guice was a huge loss for the team, but there will be plenty of intrigue around the team with veteran back, Adrian Peterson.
The Chicago Bears may finish last in the NFC North, but if your jersey says Rodgers, Cousins, or Stafford on the back of it, you are not taking them lightly. The Bears made some noise by acquiring Khalil Mack from the Raiders over the weekend, and by pairing him with Leonard Floyd, may have the best pass-rush duo in the division. The Green Bay Packers will once again be competitive, simply by having Aaron Rodgers return to the line-up, and the addition of Jimmy Graham will be huge, especially in the red zone. The Lions should compete once again, but unfortunately due to the talent in the division, I can’t see them finishing any higher than third. The Minnesota Vikings have to be looking at this season as Super Bowl or bust. They were one of the best teams in the league this year, and upgraded at the most important position on the field.
The NFC South will be a fun one to watch in 2018. The New Orleans Saints start the season as the favorite, and deservedly so. They were an extremely unlikely play away from going to the NFC Championship game last season, and have only improved since then. The Atlanta Falcons should be tough as well, with a loaded offense already, the team selected WR Calvin Ridley out of Alabama in the first round of the 2018 draft. Matt Ryan will have plenty of options out there which will make it tough for opposing defenses. The Carolina Panthers also selected a WR in this springs draft, in DJ Moore. They also signed Torrey Smith out of Philadelphia, so Cam Newton will have pieces to work with. At running back Christian McCaffrey will have to carry the load with Jonathan Stewart now with the Giants, but all indications are that he is ready for the task. Defensively they have some players, but selfishly I’ll be watching Julius Peppers. At 38 years old, how much does he have left? Finally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I love what they did on the defensive line, adding JPP and drafting Vita Vea. The hype was real with this team last year, will it come a year late?
A year ago at this time, I didn’t think the Rams would win 5 games. I blame Jeff Fisher for this. Sean McVay came in and turned things around in a hurry, turning Jared Goff into a Pro-Bowler, and Todd Gurley into an Offensive Player of the year. I expect the success to continue. The 49’ers will be fun to watch, especially with the Jimmy G magic. They have invested a lot of draft picks along the defensive line and could compete for a Wild Card spot if all goes well. The Seahawk find themselves in a weird spot. The Legion of Boom has dissolved with Richard Sherman heading to San Fran, and Kam Chancellor no longer with the team. Earl Thomas has ended his holdout, but it looks like this will be his last season in Seattle. For the team to compete, Russell Wilson is going to have to put the team on his shoulders. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals enter the 2018 season with Sam Bradford starting at Quarterback. They probably won’t finish the year that way, but they do have first round pick Josh Rosen waiting in the wings which is a plus. They have enough talent on the team to be a tough match-up week to week, but probably not enough to win many of them.
*Wild card team