Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys, when they get their full roster eligible, should be able to grow from last year and again be the top team in the East. Quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will have a lot of pressure to perform on the same level as their rookie season. When Elliott returns from his suspension, that duo will determine the fate of this team. Expect to see Dallas in the playoffs.
New York Giants: It’s hard to ever count out a team led by Eli Manning, who always has a solid season with whatever supporting cast he is given. The Giants put most of their attention on the defense this offseason. If that pays off, they should be able to stay in most games and rely on Eli to control the later stages of the games. Though they won’t catch the Cowboys, the Giants have a good shot at making the playoffs through the wild card.
Philadelphia Eagles : The Eagles are still building. Carson Wentz played well in his rookie season, and he now has more offensive weapons to work with. The defense is a problem area for Philadelphia, which should cause them to struggle for much of the year. The Eagles will fail to make the playoffs, but fans can have hope that they are still on the upswing.
Washington Redskins: There’s not much to cheer about for this Washington team. Kirk Cousins is a bright spot at quarterback, but he lacks a strong supporting cast. The teams has holes on both sides of the ball that will prevent them from being strong competitors this year. The Redskins will fall well short of a playoff spot.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks should run away with the division this season. The made a few moves recently to shore up the already strong defense, trading for Sheldon Richardson and Justin Coleman. With a lack of competition from most of their division, Seattle will comfortably claim a playoff spot this year.
Arizona Cardinals: Arizona should finish second in the division this year, but that is more of a result of the lack of strength of the other teams than their own strength. David Johnson has turned into a premiere running back, but the rest of the offense remains a question. Similarly, the defense has studs at the cornerback position, but the rest of that unit will have to prove themselves.
San Francisco 49ers: Deciding between the bottom two teams of the West is tough, because they’re both so bad. The 49ers have Brian Hoyer at quarterback, and that won’t scare anyone. The defense that was so strong in the earlier parts of this decade is in a major rebuilding state, so the 49ers will have to temper their expectations for this season.
Los Angeles Rams: Growing up in Saint Louis, it still saddens me to type this name. However, it is nice to see Stan Kroenke’s team struggle so much after they ran out of town. Having been bad for so long, the Rams have a lot of former high draft picks on the roster, but they haven’t been able to put it all together and win games yet. That trend will continue this year, and the Rams will once again be in the cellar.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers will be surrounded by a solid group of receivers, and that alone will be enough to make the Packers compete for the division title and a playoff spot. If the defense can improve on its poor showing from last season, then Green Bay will have a complete team that will be a formidable opponent in the playoffs. Twhey should claim a spot this season, and the defense will determine how far they go.
Detroit Lions: The perennial question remains the same for Detroit: Can Matthew Stafford finally get his first playoff win? Can he finally validate the massive contract they pay him and bring some success? Ameer Abdullah needs to have a strong performance this season to give Stafford some balance in the offense. Even in a tough division, the Lions look like a playoff contender, and will fight with Green Bay for the division title.
Minnesota Vikings: Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook are one of the best running back duos in the league, and should shoulder most of the offensive load for Minnesota this season. That’s good news for Vikings fans, because their quarterback is Sam Bradford, who has yet to prove that he can win in this league. The Vikings have a decent team this season, but should miss the playoffs because they have two stronger teams in their way.
Chicago Bears: This season is part of a rebuilding stage for the Bears. Both sides of the ball have a lot of holes, and they will not be able to fill enough of them to be competitive in this stacked division.
Atlanta Falcons: Expect to see the reigning NFC champions make a return trip to the playoffs. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones remain the most lethal offensive duo in all of football, and will have the motivation of last year’s Super Bowl loss to carry them through this season. The Falcons have the tools to make a return Super Bowl trip this year.
Carolina Panthers: One question will dictate the season for the Panthers: which Cam Newton will we see? If he returns to his form from a few years ago, making plays with both his legs and his arm, the Panthers will be a playoff contender. The organization has said they want to be more careful with him, though, so that he doesn’t take too many big hits. If they limit his mobility, the Panthers offense could struggle.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints should be a mediocre team this season. They haven’t made any eye popping additions, and Drew Brees will be able to shoulder a large load on the offense as he always does.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers are another team that has some quality young players that still need some time to develop. Jameis Winston has shown promise at quarterback, but he is in a division full of high profile quarterbacks to compete against. The Buccaneers will hold their own for a chunk of the season, but should fall short of the playoffs.
75% accurate NFL preview – NFC