There will be no repeat in Gotham this season…
Once again the race to the top of the NFC will be a 16-week battle. Seven teams including the hometown Saints have a legit shot of playing in New Orleans next February.
With San Francisco and Green Bay as the class of their divisions the NFC East and South are there for the taking. The Giants are the defending world champions but will have to deal with Philly, Dallas and the AFC North this season. The Falcons and Bears cannot be forgotten. The Lions, Panthers and Seahawks are improved and looking to make moves as well.
The fight for the NFC Wild Cards will be one of the most entertaining in recent memory.
(Lehigh Valley Live)
Fletcher Cox is one huge piece of an improved Eagles D…
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) – “If Michael Vick stays healthy…” is the unofficial slogan of the Birds. Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s defense could be the league’s top unit. Again, the tools are in place to make a Super Bowl run in what I believe to be Andy Reid’s final season in Philly.
2. New York Giants (10-6) – I know at some point this season, Tom Coughlin’s job will be rumored to be on the line and that’s when the Giants will regain focus and turn it up a notch. Curious to see how the running game holds up against some tough defensive units.
3. Dallas Cowboys (9-7) - The Cowboys will be in the mix until the end. I just don’t think they have a guy in the backfield who makes a difference.
4. Washington Redskins (5-11 ) – The offense is not equipped to fit Robert Griffin III just yet but Washington is headed in the right direction.
Running away from the rest of the division is getting harder for Greg Jennings and the Packers…
1. Green Bay Packers (12-4) – If Cedric Benson can become a workhorse for this team another 15-1 run isn’t a stretch.
2. Chicago Bears (9-7) - The Bears defense is aging fast. Jay Culter has some playmakers around him so let’s see what happens.
3. Detroit Lions (9-7) – I’m surprised that the Lions didn’t do more to improve themselves in the offseason.
4. Minnesota Vikings (5-11) – If the season is in the tank by mid-October, put Adrian Peterson on the shelf.
In his third season, Mark Ingram will carry a heavier load for the Saints…
1. New Orleans Saints (10-6) - The Saints lose a step this year. Too many distractions.
2. Carolina Panthers (9-7) - An improved defense will balance out a potentially explosive offense.
3. Atlanta Falcons (9-7) – A late December slide will cost the Dirty Birds big time.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – After a disappointing 2011, the Bucs are slowly finding their way back. Josh Freeman has a go to in Vincent Jackson and the running game remains solid.
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It’s about time for Michael Crabtree to drop the underachiever tag…
1. San Francisco 49′ers (11-5) – Here’s hoping that an injury-prone backfield holds up. Will Alex Smith become the quarterback that this team can count on?
2. Seattle Seahawks (8-8) – Russell Wilson has enough on his side of the ball to lock down the job permanently. The Seahawks defensive unit will keep them in a few games.
3. St Louis Rams (6-10) – How Steven Jackson suits up for this team every season is a testament to the man’s patience.
4. Arizona Cardinals (5-11) – Someone had to promise Larry Fitzgerald a piece of the team when he re-signed with the Cardinals.
Division Winners: Eagles, Packers, Saints and Niners
Wild Cards: Giants, Panthers
NFC Championship: Eagles over Niners
Super Bowl XLVII: Eagles over Texans