2016 Season Preview — NFC

The NFL Season kicks off on Thursday. Today and tomorrow I'll make my regular season predictions. Today I'm covering the NFC. Tomorrow, the AFC.

NFC West:
1. Arizona Cardinals 12-4 — The Cardinals were a great team last year and, arguably, got better over the off-season. They should win the crown here.
2. Seattle Seahawks 11-5 — For a few years it was the Seahawks and 49ers vying for the division crown. Now it's the Seahawks and Cardinals. They should be neck-and-neck all season.
3. Los Angles Rams 8-8 — Jeff Fisher claimed on Hard Knocks the team would be 11-5 this season. I don't see it. I think they finish right around .500.
4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12 — Chip Kelly might turn this team around, but it won't be this season. The 49ers are in a brutal division and lack talent, especially on offense.

NFC North:
1. Green Bay Packers 12-4 — I think the Packers return to form this season.
2. Minnesota Vikings 10-6 — This is a solid team that wants to compete for a Super Bowl. I think they have the talent to return to the playoffs, but I think they'll lag behind the Packers.
3. Detroit Lions 7-9 — The Lions are just OK on both sides of the ball.
4. Chicago Bears 5-11 — I think this re-building project has some more work to do.

NFC South:
1. Carolina Panthers 10-6 — I don't think the Panthers are the dominant 15-1 team of a year ago, but they should still win the division and contend.
2. Atlanta Falcons 7-9 — The Falcons still have work to do.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9 — I think the Buccaneers are coming on as a team and could be in the playoffs next year.
4. New Orleans Saints 5-11 — I just don't think the Saints are better enough.

NFC East:
1. Dallas Cowboys 9-7 — There are a lot of reasons not to believe in the Cowboys, including the injury to Tony Romo. But I think Dak Prescott will be OK, and Ezekiel Elliot will improve the team. The defense will struggle a bit, but I think they can be just good enough to sneak into the playoffs.
2. New York Giants 9-7 — I think the Giants will be neck-and-neck with the Cowboys all season, but finish just out of the playoffs again.
3. Washington Redskins 7-9 — I like Kirk Cousins, and I think the Redskins are a decent team, but I think they come up a little short in 2016.
4. Philadelphia Eagles 3-13 — This is a rebuilding year for the Eagles. I think they'll be competitive in games but won't be successful in terms of record.

NFC Playoffs:
1. Arizona Cardinals
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Minnesota Vikings

Wild Card Round: Seahawks over Cowboys; Panthers over Vikings
Divisional Round: Cardinals over Seahawks; Packers over Panthers
NFC Championship: Packers over Cardinals


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