NFL Preview: Part 2 NFC

Welcome to the League, Randall Cobb

 

Yesterday I brought you the AFC Preview, Ryno style.

Today, you get my pontifications and prognostications for the NFC. Don’t you feel lucky?

The NFC is a far better Conference than the AFC, and half the teams can legitimately vie for playoff contention. The Defending Champ Green Bay Packers are the Class of the NFC, but the Eagles, Saints and Falcons won’t let them crown themselves too early.

Oh, how I love Football season.

 

NFC East

Eagles:  The most exciting team in the NFL is looking forward to another fun season behind the rocket arm of Michael Vick 2.0. Fantasy owners love Andy Reid’s team of offensive weapons, and LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Ronnie Brown are all looking to benefit from Defenses keying in and spying Vick. Philly was the league’s busiest team this offseason, and PETA notwithstanding, the Eagles will win the East and vie to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Cowboys: America’s Team of the 90’s is ready for another season of high expectations and big disappointments. Everyone’s favorite over-rated QB Tony Romo has favorite targets Miles Austin and Jason Witten back, and we all want big things from sophomore sensation Dez “My Momma ain’t no Ho” Bryant. They won’t miss Marion Barber as they still have a strong backfield with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, but Coach Jason Garrett has to find a way to keep this team playing for an entire season and not just a strong game or two at the end of the year. Dallas will be in the thick of the Wild Card hunt, but Jerry Jones will not be pleased come January.

Giants: The Mannings are still represented in the League, but are New Yorkers happy that its Eli? Eli lost the reliable Steve Smith, but he still has last years breakout WR Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham to pick up the slack. Their two headed RB monster of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs is allegedly one of the best tandems in the league, but for some reason they just continually disappoint. Tom Caughlin rarely puts together two straight years, so maybe the Giants have something to look forward to after last year’s suck-fest. I’m guessing not.

Redskins:  Is this team ever going to get their act together? Not this year. When your QB choices are John Beck and Rex Grossman, its time to look forward to 2013. Coach Shanahan got rid of last year’s biggest distraction in Albert Hayenworth, but this team still sucks. The only thing Washington has to look forward to is a backfield of young exciting RBs with newcomer Tim Hightower, Ryan Torrain and Roy Helu. Even Congress has a higher approval rating than the Skins, and there’s no way this team will be the one good thing to come out of crappy DC this year.

"That's right Dogg!!! Oh wait, I can't say that anymore."

 

NFC North

Packers: Thursday night proved there’ll be no Super Bowl slump for the reigning Champions. Aaron Rodgers is bar-none the best QB in the League (screw you Brady) and does things with a football that remind us Miami fans of Dan the Man. This team has the League’s best crew of WRs with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and rookie Randall “I only score TDs” Cobb, so I can’t imagine Green Bay ever throwing for less than 350 yards. Oh yeah, their Defense is nasty, especially their two young LBs AJ Hawk and Clay Matthews. Expect nothing short of an NFC Championship from the North-winning Pack.

Lions: My fingers are struggling to type this, but the Detroit Lions are awesome. QB Matt Stafford is the real deal, and he has plenty of offensive support with Calvin “Megatron” Jackson and Jahvid “Can I stay healthy?” Best, but its the young scary-as-hell defense that will take the Lions into the next level. I dare anyone not to crap their pants if they ran into DTs Ndamukung Suh and rookie Nick Fairley in an alley, let alone when lining up across from them on the field. Assuming the South doesn’t tie up all the Wildcards, Detroit will be in the playoffs this year…mark my words, and cue up the Eminem.

Bears: Chicago makes it real tough to call this Division. By all rights, the Bears should be good, but they never are. Their success will depend on whether QB Jay Cutler will get ANY protection from the League’s most porous O-Line. Unfortunately for Cutler, even if he can stand up, WRs Johnny Knox and Roy Williams suck. Matt Forte can be a force to recon with…but will he? Brian Urlacher and the Defense have to carry this Bears squad, but into January? I doubt it.

Vikings: Adrian Peterson will carry Leslie Frazier’s team to the promised land; his Fantasy Football team that is. This team was shaky last year, and the addition of Randall Cunningham Donovan McNabb won’t help them overtake the Packers. The Vikes lost top WR Sidney Rice, and no one will feel that headache more than Percy Harvin who will now be stuck with #1 coverage. Sorry Minnesota, you got Michele Bachmann AND the Vikings.

Everybody's trying to pull down the Pack.

 

NFC South

Falcons: The Dirty Birds are a good squad but will have some difficulty repeating their 13-3 record from last year. Ryan is a great QB, and has a steller WR in Roddy White to throw to, but things will get a little tougher this year with this stacked Division. Michael Turner has destroyed my fantasy teams too often for me to jump on his bandwagon, but he’ll still have a good year. The Falcons will win the Division, but will come up short playoff time.

Saints: New Orleans came up 1 play short against Green Bay on Thursday night, but their offense has nothing to be ashamed of. Drew Brees is a QB deity, and can make a star out of any of the 8+ people he throws to a game. Hopefully this holds true since they lost WR stud Marques Colston Thursday night. Saints fans will miss explosive Reggie Bush, but they have enough to look forward to in the 3-headed monster of Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Heisman winner Mark Ingram. A team this good should be a lock to win their Division, but the Bucs and Falcons have Super dreams as well. I think their hole-filled defense might be their undoing, and the only reason I don’t have them winning the Division. Even still, with such strong coaching and on-field leadership, anything less than the NFC Championship will feel like a bummer of a season.

Buccaneers: What is this world coming to when The Bucs and the Lions are at the Top of the game? I might have then listed 3rd here, but they’ll still win at least 10 games. Tampa Bay will be a force this season behind young future superstar QB Josh Freeman who has Big Ben’s size and Aaron Rodgers’ cannon. Sophomore RB LeGarrett Blount will climb the RB ranks this year, maybe eclipsing Michael Turner and Matt Forte as Peterson’s Pro Bowl backup. Tampa Bay would be a playoff  guarantee if it wasn’t for a ridiculously tough NFC South, but after the Packers, the Bucs are my team to root for in the NFC.

Panthers: This will not be a fun season for Carolina fans. Sure rookie QB Cam Newton will be a blast to watch develop, but he’s a few years from super-stardom. Their feared backfield of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart is a marketing creation, as opposing defenses have nothing to worry about. Carolina will flounder in the NFL’s toughest Division.

"Trust me bro. Ear Muffs."

 

NFC West

Rams: The West sucks, and the Rams will rule the suckers this season. Young QB Sam Bradford continues to grow, and now has a new weapon in WR Mike Simms Walker to look forward to throwing to. RB Steven Jackson will continue to be the monster he is, and will hopefully get another sick Nike commercial to the tune of Last of the Mohicans under his belt. I’m taking a shot by giving the Rams the Division over the Cards, but Coach Steve Spagnuolo has done something special with this team, and will make a big splash in the NFC this year. Unfortunately, they’ll probably lose in the first round to a team from the South.

Cardinals: The Red Birds’ season will rest solely on the shoulders of new QB Kevin Kolb. Kolb was supposed to be the Eagle’s savior last year, but then they let Mike Vick out of prison. Larry Fitzgerald is psyched to have a real QB throwing to him for the first time since Kurt Warner, but he’ll have to do a lot to earn his new status as the League’s highest paid WR. RB Beanie Wells now has to carry the entire load following Ryan Williams injury. The Cardinal D is the best in this weak Division, so they have to step up for their shot to make the Playoffs over a strong Wild Card pool.

49ers: San Fran is not looking forward to another year of disappointment, so they should probably set the bar real low. QB Alex Smith hasn’t proved he’s a winner yet in his tenure, so this season won’t be any different. Fantasy owners will feel 49er fans’ pain watching RB Frank Gore’s “probable” status week after week, but he’ll do what he always does: kick-ass in the first half, then sit out the second half. New coach Jim Harbaugh will have his work cut out for him, but lets just hope he doesn’t lose his marbles (and his job) like Mike Singletary. The only thing San Fran has to look forward to is watching Steve Young make an ass out of himself on TV.

Seahawks: 2010 will seem like a cake-walk to Coach Pete Carroll, whose team will struggle mightily this year. QB Tavaris Jackson wasn’t good enough on a better Vikings team, so why would he be any good now? Because they brought in his old WR Sidney Rice for him? I’m thinking no. The only asset on this team is Marshawn Lynch, and I’m only saying that because I’m scared shitless of the guy. There’s no way Seattle gets back to the playoffs with 7 wins, so here’s to 2013.

Rams and Cards will fight hard for those 8 wins.

 

Division Winners: Philadelphia, Green Bay, Atlanta, St Louis

Obvious Wild Card Contenders: Dallas, New York, New Orleans, Chicago

Teams that WILL Surprise You: Tampa Bay, Detroit, Arizona

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