Picking Which NFL Team Will Win Each NFC Division
Having taken an updated look at the NFL betting odds predicted winners for the AFC divisions, let’s complete the two-part series by highlighting our NFL picks to win the NFC divisions.
Analyzing The Picking Of NFL Teams That Will Win Each NFC Division
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
The Redskins had an anomaly of a season in 2015, surprisingly dominating the Giants and Eagles while taking advantage of Dallas Cowboys‘ injuries to win the NFC East in 2015. Don’t bet on that luck to repeat in 2016, as Tony Romo is back healthy with a hell of a backup in rookie Dak Prescott to take care of things in case he gets injured. The Giants, thanks to their solid Eli Manning-led offense, will be in the thick of things, but New York’s good-not-great defense will most likely rob the team of a few crucial wins. For Philly, Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz have a lot of questions and the defense isn’t that solid so it would be ill-advised to trust the Eagles to fly to the very top of the NFC East.
NFC West: Arizona
Both the LA Rams and San Fran 49ers made some nice moves in the offseason and we should witness better football from them in 2016. But with both teams having iffy projected starters at QB, the NFC West will almost certainly come down to the superior duo of Seattle and Arizona. On paper, there isn’t much to separate the Hawks from the Cardinals, as they both have solid signal-callers, effective offensive backfields and defenses that know how to make plays and come up big in clutch moments. By drafting defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche with a first round pick and trading for 2015 Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones, the Cardinals secondary solved their biggest question mark from last season in the O-line, changing from shaky to downright filthy good. This will make them an improved unit as opposed to the Seahawks, who could take a step back from losing star RB Marshawn Lynch to retirement and an offensive line that allowed 46 sacks last season and has seemingly not improved in the offseason (Russell Wilson was sacked four times by Minnesota in NFL preseason week 2). On that basis, I am inclined to lean on the Cardinals for the AFC West title.
NFC North: Minnesota
Sorry Detroit and Chicago fans, I won’t be talking much about your offseason improvements and whatnots; the truth is that both of you are still ill-equipped to pose a serious threat to the Packers and Vikings who are heads and shoulders above you. Speaking of heads and shoulders, the Vikings and Packers are neck and neck in the NFC North title race. The Vikings were deserving winners of the NFC North title in 2015 with an 11-5 overall mark, ending Green Bay’s four-year reign atop the division thanks to a Week 17 upset in Lambeau. More than that, Minny has made some really solid upgrades on both sides of the football, making them more dangerous (on paper) than they were in 2015. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s offense played the season banged up without key players like Jordy Nelson, yet still finished with a 10-win record. With Nelson back and a decent number of addition’s made in Green Bay to patch holes in the team’s troubled O and D lines, the Packers are as good as ever. With that, both teams are legit NFC North contenders. Obviously, mercurial QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are the trendy pick, and rightfully so, but I’ll be sticking out my neck for Vikings on the basis of their better overall balance. Oh, and I am also a true believer that Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and Minnesota’s otherworldly defense will be kicking ass this year!
NFC South: Carolina
For the sake of not wasting your time, lemme just begin by saying that Carolina is in a class of its own, so it should be able to win this division pretty comfortably. You need any reference for that, look at the highlights of Cam Newton and his gang played in 2015 en route to Super Bowl 50, or better yet, take a look at the manner in which they’ve won the last three straight NFC South titles with barely any competition from the division. On a side note, though, be on the lookout from strong performances from the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones QB-WR combo of Atlanta, a better defense from New Orleans (as opposed to their pathetic 2015 show) plus mega passing yards from the Drew Brees-led Saints offense, and a balanced attack from Tampa Bay featuring a lively combination from QB Jameis Winston and 2015 standout RB Doug Martin.