Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL Preview: NFC and Super Bowl Pick

To read Part 1 about the AFC, click here.

Now it's the NFC's turn and the task of this conference is the supplant the Super Bowl champions, unlike in the AFC (no matter what Rex Ryan says). Does anyone have enough to do so? Here's the predictions.

(*-denotes Wild Card)

NFC East: 1. Giants 2. Cowboys 3. Redskins 4. Eagles

The thing that no one noticed about the Giants is they lost no one of significance (expect those who were terrible on defense). They have a very underrated passing attack, better safeties and an improved defensive line. If Bradshaw stays healthy, the run game will have success. The Cowboys have the attention, but their offensive line isn't good. No home game Super Bowl for them. The Redskins will be better with Donovan McNabb, but he doesn't stay healthy enough and the lack of weapons will keep them out of the playoffs. As for the Eagles, Kevin Kolb will struggle this year and the defense still is in need of improvement.

NFC North: 1. Packers 2. Vikings* 3. Bears 4. Lions

The Packers are the team everyone seems to be picking and I'm following right behind them. Aaron Rodgers will take his rightful place alongside Peyton, Brady and Brees as the best QB's in the league and they are capable of going far despite an average defense. Determining where the Vikings and Bears will finish was tough. Are the Vikes capable of returning in the NFC title game? Does Jay Cutler get better with Mike Martz? I opted for Minnesota over Chicago because it could get ugly if the Bears start slow. Lovie Smith is clearly on the hot seat. I would love the Lions if this was the West (either conference). The North is too tough this year, but next year...look out.

NFC South: 1. Saints 2. Falcons* 3. Panthers 4. Bucs

For once, the South could stay constant in back-to-back years. The best thing going for the Saints, that no one's talking about them and they're defending champs. Best thing that could happen to them and maybe will keep them grounded. Atlanta should return to the playoffs with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner coming back from injury. I also expect the Falcons defense to be improved with Dunta Robinson in the secondary. The Panthers are another team with uncertainty hanging over them with John Fox's job. They won't bottom out, but with QB a question mark, they probably won't be better than 8-8. Tampa is still in strong rebuild mode and they seem years away and it's likely not Raheem Morris to get the job done.

NFC West: 1. 49ers 2. Rams 3. Cardinals 4. Seahawks

It's clear that the Niners are now the best team in the West. The Cards have lost too much, particularly Kurt Warner (the downgrade from Warner to Derek Anderson is the biggest in 2010). Seattle is Pete Carroll's team now and that doesn't inspire hope (proved by Mike Williams being the number 1 WR). The Rams I think will be 2nd once Sam Bradford begins to get confidence. I wouldn't be shocked with them finishing 6-10. The Niners will go 10-6 as now Alex Smith seemingly is getting comfortable at quarterback and with talented players like Patrick Willis, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore as well as an improved offensive line.

1st Round: Niners over Falcons, Giants over Vikings

Divisional Round: Saints over Giants, Packers over Niners

NFC Championship Game: Packers over Saints

Super Bowl: Packers over Steelers

As for tonight's pick, I have the Saints (-6) over the Vikings in the opener. I'll have the rest of Week 1 picks Saturday morning.

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