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I have already broken down every team in the AFC and picked the New England Patriots to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, so why not break down the NFC and give you my prediction on the outlook of the NFC this season.
Wednesday night was the kickoff of the 2012 season as the Dallas Cowboys went to New York to take on the defending Super Bowl champs, the Giants. Both teams came out kind of sluggish on offense, but with some big time plays by Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and a big fourth quarter by Miles Austin the Cowboys came away with a big time divisional win on the road, 24-17. But, the person who made the real difference was the Dallas Cowboys break out receiver, Kevin Ogletree, who had 8 rec, 114 yds, and 2 TDs. But, the Giants did not play bad, leading me to this:
NFC East Prediction: 1. Dallas Cowboys 2. New York Giants 3. Philadelphia Eagles 4. Washington Redskins
I’m not going to lie, before the game in New York I would not have picked the Cowboys to win this division, but that game changed my mind. The Cowboys looked strong against the defending champs and if they can play like that all season it’s hard for me to pick against them. Tony Romo did exactly what he needed to do: win. That’s the key in Dallas and if he plays like that, where he is moving around and making more time for himself it’s hard to beat the Cowboys when their recievers are as good as they are. Also, DeMarco Murray looked really good running the ball and made something out of nothing whenever he needed too, rushing for 131 yds. Finally, Dallas played great defense. The Giants picked on rookie corner Morris Claiborne a little bit, but that’s about all the Giants got on offense, especially in the first half. So, if Claiborne improves, with that defensive line and Brandon Carr playing the other corner, things looked good in Big D this season.
The Giants did lose last night, but their season is far from over. I still think this is a playoff team that can win between 10-12 games. Eli Manning looked good, it’s not his fault Victor Cruz got interfered in the end zone and it wasn’t called and that sure-handed Cruz dropped three passes. The Giants defense didn’t look bad either, they gave up a couple of big plays, like the one to Dez Bryant down the sideline in the first half and the big 40 yard run that DeMarco Murray broke in the second half where he avoided about seven guys before he even got out of the back-field. So if they Giants just sure up some tackling and eliminate big plays, which will come with more game experience, they will be just fine. Remember, it was only the first game of the season.
NFC North Prediction: 1. Green Bay Packers 2. Chicago Bears 3. Detroit Lions 4. Minnesota Vikings
Even though the Packers lost this weekend I still think with an explosive offense and a solid defense they are the favorite to win the north. They just have so many weapons on offense and the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers.
The Bears didn’t look great against the Browns, but they still got the W. They have a more explosive offense this year adding Brandon Marshall along with stud running back Matt Forte. Not to mention the stout defense they always put out.
The Lions only beat the Rams by four, but their passing offense is great. Matthew Stafford has really has become a primetime QB and they have the best reciever in league, Calvin Johnson. If they defense, who played good Sunday, can keep it up and they can run the ball the Lions definitely have a chance at making the playoffs.
Even though the Vikings won on Sunday, they beat the Jaguars. Adrian Peterson looked really good, so they could have a chance t0 win some games if he stays healthy, but this team definitely has less talent than any other team in a pretty strong division.
NFC West Prediction: 1. San Francisco 49ers 2. St. Louis Rams 3. Arizona Cardinals 4. Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers are definitely the favorite and my pick to win the division, especially after a statement win on the road in Green Bay, who went 15-1 last year. The 49ers have a good running game, a good enough passing game, and an extremely talented defense. They also have a really good coach in Jim Harbaugh. The sky is limit with this team.
Othe than San Francisco this isn’t a very good division and all of the teams could finish 2-4. I personally think the Rams have the best shot at second place because they have a decent offense that will get better and an experienced head coach, Jeff Fisher. The whole team will need to pick it up, but they could potentially go around .500.
Like I said, no one in this division can do very much other than the niners. If the Cardinals want to do anything this year they need to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and see where it gets them, because other than him they don’t really have anyone on offense. Their defense looked okay, but it will have to improve if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
To round out, to me, what is the worst division in football, I have the Seattle Seahawks. First of all, what were they thinking in the red zone against the Cardinals? They need to throw the ball better and get Marshawn Lynch back if they want to win games. The defense did look good which is one positive. That and those new uniforms.
NFC South Prediction: 1. Atlanta Falcons 2. New Orleans Saints 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4. Carolina Panthers
The Falcons looked very good against the Chiefs on Sunday, scoring 40 points. Their offense is just so explosive with both Julio Jones and Roddy White, I also think Michael Turner, who had just 32 yds, will have much better games than this. If Matt Ryan plays like this all season they could easily win 12 games. If the defense gets better this team could have a chance at making a run in the playoffs.
The Saints have an extremely good passing game, but other than that this team is not very good. They have a lot of weapons to throw too starting with TE, Jimmy Graham, and a very good QB, Drew Brees. The Saints need to find a way to stop opposing offenses if they want to make it to the playoffs. They gave up over 450 yds to a team with a rookie QB.
Next, Tampa Bay. They didn’t look great, but they didn’t look terrible. They don’t have many recievers, but they did run the ball okay. They also had a very good run defense even against the Carolina Panters, who have a QB who can run the ball. Which is impressive to give up 10 yds rushing to any team in the NFL.
Finally, we have the Carolina Panthers. They need to learn how to run the ball before they do anything because 10 yds rushing just doesn’t cut it. Cam Newton looked good throwing for over 300 yds, but it’s hard to win games with that kind of rushing effort. They couldn’t score points because the Bucs knew they were passing the ball everytime. The defense did look pretty decent though.
NFC Playoff Standings:
1. San Francisco 49ers, west
2. Green Bay Packers, north
3. Atlanta Falcons, south
4. Dallas Cowboys, east
Wild Cards: 5. New York Giants 6. Chicago Bears
NFC Representative in the Super Bowl: San Francisco 49ers