Last week, I gave my predictions regarding every AFC team and whether or not they would surpass their projected win totals in Vegas. Today, I will do the same with the NFC teams. Here are my predictions:

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: 9.5 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

After phenomenal rookie seasons by quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys look to return to the playoffs after their devastating playoff loss to the Packers last season. This Cowboys team returns practically every offensive starter from last season and should continue to dominate the line of scrimmage with their offensive line. The question mark on this team is still its defense. The Cowboys lost several key pieces in their secondary, including Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, and will rely on several rookies to fill the void. The Cowboys did a solid job addressing their defensive needs in the draft but their success will depend on if their rookies are able to perform at the next level. I think the Cowboys win less games than a season ago but still go 10-6.

New York Giants: 9 wins

Prediction: Land on win total

After making the playoffs last season and getting dismantled by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Giants look to rebound behind a strong defense and an air attack led by Eli Manning. The Giants made a splash in free agency by signing Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall to give Eli Manning another target in the passing game to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. However, this team still has no consistent running game and a below average offensive line which are potential red flags for a team that plans to throw a ton of passes every game. If their offensive line can hold up, the Giants should have a great season. I am a little more skeptical and think that the offensive line struggles but the Giants’ talent still drags them to a 9-7 record.

Philadelphia Eagles: 8.5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

After finishing last season at 7-9, the Eagles look to rebound behind second year quarterback Carson Wentz and potentially make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. During free agency, the Eagles signed several wide receivers including Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith to help Wentz in the passing game. However, Wentz struggled last season after teams finally had some game film on him and he will have to make several adjustments in his second season if the Eagles hope to compete in a very difficult division. This team also possesses a below average secondary that should struggle against the likes of Eli Manning, Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins who are all fully capable of putting up huge passing numbers. I think that Wentz regresses a bit this upcoming season and that the secondary is too poor to overcome. I think the Eagles go 5-11.

Washington Redskins: 7.5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

At first look, this line looks suspiciously low. Especially for a team like the Redskins who are usually competing for a playoff spot in December. After going 8-7-1 last season, the Redskins return the majority of their roster with the exception of playmaking wide receiver DeSean Jackson. However, the Redskins were able to find a replacement for Jackson via free agency in Terrelle Pryor. The Redskins also were able to draft Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen in the first round who should pair very nicely with pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan. This team should go 9-7. However, Vegas rarely makes mistakes and I think that Vegas made this line at 7.5 because they knew that the public would bet a lot on the over. For that reason, I think the Redskins underachieve and go 7-9.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers: 10 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

After going 10-6 last season, The Packers look to defend their division title behind future hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers This Packers team retains most of its team from last season and should continue to dominate their division rivals this upcoming season. The Packers addressed their terrible secondary during the offseason by drafted cornerback Kevin King and safety Josh Jones. The Packers also addressed their linebacker depth by drafting ex-Badger Vince Biegel in the fourth round. If their rookies can perform up to par, this team will be dangerous and a potential front-runner to win the entire NFC and reach the Super Bowl. I think the Packers go 12-4 and win another NFC North title.

Minnesota Vikings: 8.5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

After going 8-8 last season, the Vikings hope to return to the playoffs behind quarterback Sam Bradford who set the record for highest completion percentage in a single season last year. However, this team struggled primarily due to issues and inconsistency on the offensive line. The Vikings failed to address this issue during the offseason and instead had to find a replacement for running back Adrian Peterson. Despite having a solid defensive unit and running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, this offensive line will be the team’s undoing for the second year in a row. The Vikings will go 7-9.

Detroit Lions: 8 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

Last season, the Lions went 9-7 and made the playoffs despite collapsing towards the end of last season. The Lions will be led by quarterback Matt Stafford who helped engineer multiple comeback victories last season. The only issue is their last of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions have a very underwhelming receiving corps besides Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. and have injury prone running back Ameer Abdullah projected as the team’s starter. The Lions did do a solid job replacing linebacker DeAndre Levy with Paul Worrilow from Atlanta and also addressed their secondary issues with the signing of D.J. Hayden. However, I think the Lions lack of playmakers on offense will be their undoing and the team will underachieve at 7-9.

Chicago Bears: 5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

Last season, the Bears went 3-13 due to their inconsistent defense and terrible quarterback play. The Bears addressed their quarterback issues by signing Mike Glennon to a huge contract over the offseason as well as drafting Mitchel Trubisky with the second pick in the draft. However, the Bears have a really underwhelming receiving corps after the departure of Alshon Jeffrey and their defense is still a huge question mark. With long time backup Glennon behind center along with no receivers to target, the Bears will probably finish in last place in the division and go 4-12.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: 10 wins

Prediction: Land on the win total

Last season, the Falcons shocked the NFL and made it to the Super Bowl where they blew a 28-3 lead and lost to the Patriots in overtime. This year, the Falcons will try to put that experience behind them and bring the Lombardi trophy to Atlanta for the first time in franchise history. The Falcons return the majority of their starters from last season and even improved on the defensive line after adding Dontari Poe during the offseason. However, the loss of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan could have serious effects on that potent offense from last season. I think that Shanahan’s departure leads to some issues on offense and that Matt Ryan is unable to regresses after the MVP season he had last season. I think the Falcons make the playoffs and go 10-6.

Carolina Panthers: 9 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

Last season, the Panthers underachieved and went 6-10 due to poor play from its quarterback Cam Newton and its secondary. The Panthers added playmaker Christian McCaffrey in the first round of the draft to provide Cam Newton with another weapon in the passing and running game. The Panthers also signed defensive lineman Julius Peppers as Kony Ealy’s replacement after his departure to New England. However, the Panthers still have a below average offensive line and a below average secondary. Pair those issues with glaring concussion concerns regarding Luke Kuechly’s health and I see an 8-8 season.

New Orleans Saints: 8.5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

The Saints went 7-9 last season and struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball. The Saints addressed some of those issues this offseason through the draft after selecting cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the first round. However, their defense is still below average and will continue to give up a lot of big plays in a division full of playmakers. The Saints also lost wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Drew Brees’ favorite target, over the offseason. Although they did find a replacement in Ted Ginn, he is still a serious downgrade in comparison to Cooks and I expect Brees’ numbers to drop as a result. However, the Saints probably made the biggest move this offseason after signing running back Adrian Peterson to form a two-headed monster in the backfield with Mark Ingram. However, this defense is still bad and the Saints will have to average around 33 points per game if they plan on making the playoffs. I do not see that happening and I think that they will go 7-9.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

The Bucs surprised a lot of people and went 9-7 last season despite failing to make the playoffs. They will be led by quarterback Jameis Winston and focused on adding playmaking receivers during the offseason. The Bucs signed deep threat DeSean Jackson this offseason to help stretch the field and drafted tight end O.J. Howard who will provide Winston with another big target over the middle of the field. What allowed the Bucs to jump to a 9-7 record last season was its vast improvement on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucs added several pieces to their defense this past offseason by signing pass rusher Robert Ayers and safety J.J. Wilcox. This Bucs team should be able to build upon last year’s success and I can see them making the playoffs at 10-6.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: 10.5 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

Last season, the Seahawks went 10-5-1 and won their division before losing to Atlanta in the playoffs. Seattle’s biggest issue last season involved its offensive line which failed to provide quarterback Russell Wilson much needed time in the pocket. Seattle addressed this issue during the offseason and signed tackle Luke Joeckel over the offseason. Seattle also addressed its issues in the running game with the addition of Eddie Lacy. If Lacy can get back into shape, he can provide the Seahawks with a physical style of running that they have lacked since the departure of Marshawn Lynch. I think that Seattle will succeed due to its improved offensive line and its strong defensive play assuming that Earl Thomas III remains healthy. For these reasons, I think that Seattle cruises to another division title and goes 12-4.

Arizona Cardinals: 7.5 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

Last season, the Cardinals surprised a lot of people and only went 7-8-1. This team’s success relies on one man: David Johnson. If he can play at the same level that he did last season, he can continue to help Carson Palmer remain healthy and provide him with more opportunities to stretch the ball downfield. This team’s defense had some issues last season but I expect Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson to lead this defense back to an above average level. I think that that last year was a fluke and that the Cardinals rebound by going 9-7.

Los Angeles Rams: 5.5 wins

Prediction: Under the win total

Last season, the Rams went 4-12 primarily due to terrible quarterback play by Case Keenum and Jared Goff. If this team plans on having any success, Goff has to improve and play at a more efficient level. However, somehow this team’s offense managed to get worse over the offseason with the departure of Kenny Britt. If Tavon Austin is the number one receiving option on your roster, you are going to have a bad time. This team has a very solid defense but that will not matter too much when their offense can barely put up any points. I think that Goff struggles due to a lack of quality receivers and that the Rams go 4-12 again.

San Francisco 49ers: 4.5 wins

Prediction: Over the win total

Last season, the 49ers went 2-14 under coach Chip Kelly and struggled due to bad quarterback play from Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick. As a result, the 49ers cleaned house and removed all three of them from the organization. They found a replacement quarterback in veteran Brian Hoyer who should be the team’s starter for the majority of the season. They also managed to upgrade at receiver by releasing Torrey Smith and signing Pierre Garcon. The 49ers also hired offensive guru Kyle Shanahan as their head coach after his phenomenal season with the Falcons last season resulting in an MVP trophy for Matt Ryan. However, this team’s success will depend heavily on its improved defense. The 49ers, in my opinion, had the best draft in the NFL and managed to draft defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster in the first round. I am not saying that the 49ers will be good. However, this team made several drastic improvements over the offseason in its defense and coaching staff and I think that the 49ers go 6-10 as a result.

 

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