If you haven’t read it yet, read my AFC preview first (https://jpierro21blog.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/2014-nfl-season-preview-afc/) because my Super Bowl prediction will be included at the end of this post. Without further ado, here is my breakdown of the NFC this year.
Much like the AFC North, I think this division could be up for grabs as well, with the Giants playing the role of Cleveland in that they’re the least likely to finish on top. If RG3 stays healthy, him and newly acquired weapon Desean Jackson can light it up on offense with a balanced running attack from Alfred Morris. Health will be the most important factor for the 2012 NFC East Champs. For the defending division champs, I expect much the same from last year. Nick Foles and Lesean McCoy lead an up tempo Chip Kelly offense and the Eagles are certainly talented enough to win the division again. Finally, there are the Dallas Cowboys. Having finished 8-8 and lost the division to each of the other three teams in three consecutive years, I’m picking the Cowboys to finally come out on top this year. They’ve always had the talent, but questionable coaching, off the field controversy, injuries, and inconsistency have plagued them in recent years. There’s no reason they can’t break through this year in a division that doesn’t have a powerhouse team.
There may be a shake up in this division in 2014. The Green Bay Packers have traditionally been the favorites the past few years, but their defense does not look good at all and I don’t think even Aaron Rodgers will be able to make up for it on offense. The Vikings have questions at quarterback, but Bridgewater has the potential to at least give the Vikings some game through the air, and Cordarelle Patterson is always a threat. In addition, new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has said he is going to use Adrian Peterson in the passing game more this year which I think is a great idea. Detroit is coming off of a disappointing season and nothing they did during the offseason indicates they will be much better this year. Finally, I think Chicago is similar to Dallas in that they certainly have the talent to win the division and have been close in recent years, but haven’t quite pulled through. I think Jay Cutler is ready for a breakout year with the emergence of Alshon Jeffery alongside Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte out of the backfield. Along with a solid defense, I think the Bears are 2014 NFC North Champs.
The Carolina Panthers, led by a great defense and the arm of Cam Newton, look to build on last season’s breakthrough year in which they finished second only to the Seahawks in the conference during the regular season. Their defense should be great once again, but the loss of wide receivers Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell on offense could be an issue for Cam Newton. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin may have to play a big role, and could be a possible offensive rookie of the year candidate. The Falcons are coming off a very disappointing season after reaching the NFC Championship the year before. A healthy Julio Jones this year should help, but I don’t think they will be much better. The Buccaneers parted ways with star corner Revis in the offseason and still don’t have a reliable quarterback, while Drew Brees and the Saints are more than capable of winning the division this year, which I think they will by a game or two over Carolina.
This division looks to be the best in the NFL. Even with the loss of Sam Bradford, the Rams have a good enough defense to still compete. They could post a 7-9 season and still finish last in the division this year. Defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle looked as good as ever in the season opener, and I think they will eventually come out on top again in the division. San Francisco and Arizona are both capable of clinching wild cards but I like the Cardinals more than the 49ers this season. I think wide receiver Michael Floyd will have a big year and the Cardinals defense is among the better ones in the league. The 49ers have questions on offense and defense, and I’m not sold on Kaepernick under center either.
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Chicago Bears
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Arizona Cardinals
6. Philadelphia Eagles
NFC Champion: Chicago Bears
Super Bowl Champion: Chicago over San Diego
Let me know what you guys think about the NFC in the comments down below. Like the post if you enjoyed reading, comment if you have feedback, and share with others.