Browsing all articles tagged with NFC West
Sep
10

NFC Predictions part 2, Matt's Picks

Mark, that post… one word… DYNAMIC. But I don’t think you’re what you used to be… just kidding.

I would disagree with some of your picks, let’s start with the most important and most competitive division, the NFC EAST.

NFC EAST

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. Washington Redskins

3. New York Giants

4. Dallas Cowboys

The Eagles are coming off a successful season and playoff performance. They went 9 and 6 last year and will have new options on offense with Michael Vick involved and DeSean Jackson in his second year. The Defense definitely will have a difficult time adjusting to the losses of Brian Dawkins at free safety and the late Jim Johnson as their defensive coordinator. But, they still have playmakers and by mid-season I think the defense will be the third best in the NFC East.

The ‘Skins have made a big investment into Haynesworth and with the drafting of Orakpo they have two players that get to the quarterback like me trying to get to a pizza hut buffet (love those). In theory, the addition of Haynesworth will draw double teams and allow other lineman such as Andre Carter and Philip Daniels to make more plays on the quarterback, which in turn will create more turnover opportunities for the secondary and linebackers. We’ll see if that’s what happens (I think it will).

The ‘Skins offense was the primary problem last year, but with Derrick Dockery coming back after his time in Buffalo and  along with the development of Malcolm Kelly and Campbell’s second year in the offense, we’re going to see more big plays. The Redskins and Jim Zorn are more committed to throwing the ball downfield this year which should free up more lanes for Clinton Portis with less men stacked up on the line.

While the Giants lost Plaxico Burress and Derrick Ward they picked up Chris Canty on defense and have a healthy Osi Umenyora this year. Remember in the NFC East, defenses can and often do carry the day. The Giants’ defensive line is deep and will keep the Giants in games, even though Eli Manning doesn’t have Plax to throw to. Also, the Giants have 7 WR’s on their 53 man roster. I can’t imagine them not being able to find someone to contribute. Whether it’s Hakeem Nicks the rookie, or Sinorice Moss, someone will step up and make plays for Manning and Coughlin.

The Cowboys are the ones that should be at the bottom of this list. T.O. was definitely a locker room problem but he also was a problem for opposing defenses. Had he lost a step last year? Probably. Drops? Lots. But losing a big, strong, still fast, physical receiver like Owens without having a replacement hurts Romo more than I think it hurts Eli Manning. Romo and the Cowboys running game is a bit more spotty than the Giants, with Barber providing some occasional big games but overall not really consistent. Wade Phillips is still one of the most incompetent coaches in the NFL with Jerry Jones as the most meddlesome and detrimental outside the city limits of Oakland. That means Cowboys struggle this year and questions about Tony Romo will be a major theme throughout the last half of the season.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Minnesota Vikings

3.Chicago Bears

4. Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers is supposedly the next big thing as long as Ryan Grant stays healthy. I’ll buy that. Honestly, it’s a toss up for me between Minny and GB. Favre has the most amazing running back the league has seen in years and will have less pressure to win games by himself, but I still think they’ll have some problems this year with some untimely picks late in games (such as in NY when his shoulder was bothering him. Who knows if it will even hold up the whole year?).

Cutler is overrated and doesn’t have anyone to really throw to. Hester? There are only so many WR screens and quick slants that you can do in a game, right? I think Spurrier showed us that. I kind of just take joy out of putting Cutler and the Bears down here since it will be fun to see him blame everyone else this year.

Detroit is going to be better than last year (I know it’s tough to improve on perfection) but with a rookie qb, it’ll be difficult to take out their division opponents. I hope Jansen has a stellar year there though, their O-line will surely benefit from that pickup at least.

NFC West

1.San Francisco 49ers

2. Arizona Cardinals

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. St. Louis Rams

This is a shocker pick, I know. But San Fran is going to squeak out some wins this year and even though they are a young team, they have guts because of their coach. Singletary will be able to get Vernon Davis this year to play like he’s supposed to and if the qb situation can stay stable with Hill, his development begins. Frank Gore is still a force, and the ability to run the ball is what puts them over Arizona in my book.

As for Arizona, I love them but I don’t know if Kurt Warner will be able to go the whole year healthy. Who knows if Boldin can keep it together, too. If he can’t, you’ll see doubles on the human highlight machine that is Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not saying he can’t beat them, but it’ll be tougher unless Arizona develops a running game with either Hightower or their rookie back Wells (I know the hype on him is huge, but I’m not convinced till I see it in the regular season against the pro’s).

I don’t have much different to add to Mark’s comments on St. Louis and Seattle. Seattle added Edgerrin James this offseason so, we’ll see if that helps their running game but the only thing it shows me is that it’s a bit crowded and they must not have much confidence in Julius Jones to add him.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Carolina Panthers

3. Atlanta Falcons

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drew Brees is one of the most accurate quarterbacks of the league and overall one its most consistent players also. I’m a huge fan of  his. Players like Colston and Bush coming back from injury will clearly help and I think Shockey will finally have a breakout year again. I think the main difference with the Saints this year though is going to be their hiring of Gregg “double G” Williams for the defensive coordinator position. The Saints have been held back by pathetic D while Brees has been in town, and this year it should START to turn around.

Carolina, if healthy will beat Atlanta in this spot. Now, what’s the chance Carolina stays healthy? Not very good. If Donovan McNabb were a team, he’d be the Panthers probably.  But, Mark and I have to have some different picks right? I know Atlanta has Tony Gonzalez this year, an excellent running option with Turner but Carolina’s D > Atlanta’s D. Tampa is rebuilding, has a new coach and a lot of work to do till it gets back to when Dungy formed it as a super bowl contender (when Gruden took over).

Playoffs?!

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. New Orleans Saints

3. San Francisco (or Arizona)

4. Green Bay

5. Washington 

6. Minnesota

What are your thoughts?  Who do you think will be a surprise in the NFC?  Who do you think wins the NFC [B]EAST?