The Power Couple NFL Season Preview: NFC

Summer is, sadly, officially over and football season is about to begin. The Power Couple will be here to watch it all unfold with some spot-on analysis and probably a few less than spot-on predictions. To start things off, here are our early thoughts on the NFC divisions. 

NFC East 

Kelly: Well this one changed over the last few weeks – has any division undergone as much turnover as this one with just days to go until the start of the year? So because of that, I’m going with Mr. Reliable – Eli Manning.

  1. New York Giants
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. Washington Redskins
  4. Philadelphia Eagles

Sorry Carson, I like you but I think you need a year or so. I also “don’t like that” much about the Redskins even though they captured what was kind of a crappy division last year. The Giants offensive line still gives me, and Eli for that matter, some nightmares, but I think they’ve improved on defense, especially on the defensive line. I think that if the o-line can give Manning like five seconds for him to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz (maybe) or rookie Sterling Shepherd they can make some magic happen in what looks to be a less-than stellar division.

Max: Nahhh, I don’t like that.

  1. Washington Redskins
  2. New York Giants
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Philadelphia Eagles

Yes, the Giants improved their defense. But only because it ranked dead last in the entire league last season. Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, an aging Leon Hall and a rookie Eli Apple is not enough to impress me. The Cowboys, for the second-straight year, are a Romo away from running away with this division. I think their offensive line is the best in the league, but they won’t have enough without their starting QB.

Kirk Cousins was surprisingly above-average last season and I believe he’ll do enough to win the NFC East, the worst division in football.

NFC North

Kelly: Aaron Rodgers. Period.

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are clearly the class of this division, especially with Jordy Nelson back and a slimmed-down, new P90x version of Eddie Lacy. After them, I’m split on the Vikings, especially with Sam Bradford at the helm, but the combination of Adrian Peterson and their defense could be enough to overcome Bradford’s mistakes. Sorry Lions fans, the loss of Calvin Johnson is quite big and I don’t think your team has entirely realized that.

Max: I have little to argue with here.

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Chicago Bears

The Bears are a team that did this last year:

This could’ve been a great division to watch if not for Teddy Bridgewater’s injury. I’d probably have picked the Packers to win it anyway and it will be an even easier road for them now. With Rodgers in line for a bounce back season and contract year Eddie Lacy, the Packers will be a high-scoring offense.

NFC South

Kelly: Although their performance in the Super Bowl certainly didn’t show it, I still think the Panthers are the class of this division.

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. New Orleans Saints
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another team that people are high on that I am not – the Bucs. I like their team, but I think that they need more weapons on offense and more talent on defense before I entirely trust them. I think Drew Brees has one more incredible season left, but unfortunately for him, I think Cam Newton + Jonathan Stewart + Kelvin Benjamin will be better. The Panthers defense will suffer a bit without Josh Norman, but I still think they have enough in the tank to take this division. Sorry Julio Jones, I think you’re the only star on a lackluster Atlanta team

Max: Another division with a clear winner.

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. New Orleans Saints

Cam having even more weapons than last year does not bode well for the rest of the league. He’s always been a dynamic runner, but he really took his passing to another level last season and adding Kelvin Benjamin to that will make for another NFC South title.

I’m also expecting a lot out of Jameis Winston. He’s got receivers and a good running back and looked more and more comfortable as last season went along. I think he gives the Bucs enough and the terrible defenses in New Orleans and Atlanta hold the Saints and Falcons back.

NFC West

Kelly: This division will send its top two teams to the playoffs and I’m having a hard time selecting which one of the top two will be first, but here’s my best guess:

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Los Angeles Rams
  4. San Francisco 49ers

I picked the Cardinals because they kept their team mainly intact and I expect David Johnson and Michael Floyd to have even better years which certainly can’t hurt this team. I expect Seattle to be formidable on defense as they usually are, but I do think there is a slight question at running back just because Thomas Rawls hasn’t played a full season as the starter and I don’t think Doug Baldwin will perform better than he did last year. Still, I expect them to make the playoffs and wouldn’t be shocked if I outperform the Cardinals.

I would be shocked however, if either the Rams or the 49ers finish better than 8-8. They’re just not that good. Both teams have huge question marks at QB and I could argue at WR as well. Their defensive abilities will be overshadowed by the lack of offense from both of these teams – except in the games Todd Gurley wins by himself.

Max: This is definitely the tightest division race in the league, but I’m going a different way.

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. Los Angeles Rams
  4. San Francisco 49ers

When in doubt, pick the team with the better quarterback. After the way last season ended, I worry about Carson Palmer. Their offense is so much fun to watch, there’s nothing quite like spreading the field with four dynamic receivers and chucking it deep, but it needs a good QB. I think Palmer may just be done.

The Seahawks developed an unbelieveble offensive rythym late last season and I think it continues on into this one. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett give Russell Wilson two playmaking receivers and Thomas Rawls proved he could be a capable successor to Marshawn Lynch. That offense, plus the defensive leadership of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, will be enough for Seattle to win the division.

Playoff Picks

Kelly- Giants, Packers, Panthers, Cardinals, Seahawks (WC), Cowboys (WC)

Max- Redskins, Packers, Panthers, Seahawks, Cardinals (WC), Vikings (WC)

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