Hello BTB. I've been out of pocket for a minute but I've been reading through the articles and posting when I can. I've also taken some time to sit down and mock out the season (for the NFC) to fill some free time. I'd like to hear other peoples opinions on exactly how this season will pan out. As I stated in the title though, I know you can't necessarily predict what will happen, but you can make a logical guess at least just for fun. If anything you can look back after this season and say you were either on point or way off base with your predictions. On a slight side note: Since these are predictions, I am leaving Brett Favre on my prediction roster because I believe he will play. You don't have to follow that same logic so feel free to account for whatever curveballs you believe will occur.
I'll start with the team records and follow with a breif synopsis of the teams season.
First a glance at the NFC West:
San Francisco 49ers: 12-4. This might sound a tad crazy, but good moves to shore up the line in the offseason help the 9ers take the most flip-floppy division in the football. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati will help improve their run game while also helping Alex Smith stay off his back. Put an improved offense with the turnover forcing 4th best in points allowed defense and you have a recipe for success.
Seattle Seahawks: 6-10. Earl Thomas and Russell Okung are wonderful additions to the struggling Seahawks, but not enough to put them over the hump. Speaking of which, Matt Hasselbeck is getting a little bit to seasoned and is no longer the strong point of the team. They need to inject some youth and soon behind the helm to get into the win column.
St. Louis Rams: 4-12. Sam Bradford can't do it alone, but it will help for him to have Stephen Jackson in the backfield taking some pressure off of him. It'll be another long season in "The Lou", but there's nowhere to go but up right?
Arizona Cardinals: 4-12. From first to worst. Yes the loss of Kurt Warner and Antrelle Rolle is that big of a deal. Matt Leinart has yet to prove himself, and could definately acheive bust status this year if he hasn't already. The loss of a weapon in Boldin doesn't help, and that takes a great slot receiver in Breaston and forces him to line up across from #2 corners. The Cards were the only team that didn't improve in the division, therefore resulting in the drop.
Next lets look at the NFC South:
New Orleans Saints: 12-4. The defending Superbowl Champs following a magical season will have some bumps in the road this year, but still win the division. Darren Sharper turning in one of the best seasons in his illustrious career is coming off microfracture surgery, and plays a vital role in the Saints defense. The offense is great, but the defense has to perform like last year to even sniff at a repeat.
Atlanta Falcons: 11-5. Close but no cigar at taking the division. The Falcons are always a hard team to judge. They have flashes of brilliance, and then return to their underachieving ways. I expect a good season, not great but good.
Carolina Panthers: 6-10. While some people are busy annointing the Panthers and Matt Moore the dark horses for a wild card spot, I for one am not buying it. I think the loss of Julius Peppers doesn't cripple them, but they definately feel it defensively. On the otherside of the ball they have great rushers, a promising QB, but no real targets aside from Steve Smith. When you have a QB from Appalachian State in your WR rotation it doesn't bode well for my confidence in your WR corps.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-15. Hello Gerald McCoy, hello dismal season. McCoy is a great addition, but this defense is not up to snuff and neither is this offense. Look at the bright side though, maybe the 1st overall pick next season will be yours!?
A look up at the NFC North:
Minnesota Vikings: 14-2. Surprise Surprise Favre's last minute decision to come back for a chance at a ring pays off and this team makes a great run. No real peices from last years roster are missing so no reason to expect anything but a great season from the Norsemen.
Green Bay Packers: 12-4. The Pack are back and with a vengeance. No sweep by the Vikes this year. Aaron Rodgers and company roll through the season with a few close calls, but no real threat of missing the playoffs.
Detroit Lions: 4-12. Moving up out of last in the division and rolling onto a 4-12 record... Ok, that might not sound that amazing but the point is the team is getting a bit better. Matthew Stafford will improve while possibly staying healthy trying to stand behind his at times porous line. Ndamukong Suh will do well his rookie year, but like other rookies needs help and experience to be a game changer on a regular basis.
Chicago Bears: 3-13. This is a team clutching, clawing, and grabbing at everything they can get. The reason is they are not a good team. Period. Lovie Smith's job is on the line this year and if they don't do something quickly then it could get ugly. See: Redskins 2009 - Zorn, Jim
And last but not least, the NFC (B)East:
Dallas Cowboys: 12-4. With all the offensive weapons at Tony Romo's disposal, plus the second best defense in points allowed last season the Cowboys look very promising. Few changes have been made so we should see an improved team from last year hungry for more than one playoff win. Plus Jerry badly wants the first home Superbowl ever.
Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5. Kevin Kolb in his first year as a starter should perform rather well in this pass first offense. He is more accurate then McNabb so if they get the short and intermediate route timing down, instead of the deep throw all day this could be a very scary team offensively. Losing Brian Westbrook won't have as much effect on the running game as it will the passing game. LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver are reliable enough for the few rushing attempts the Eagles go to. The defense is going to be under a lot of pressure to perform this year, so if there is a breakdown it will come from that side of the ball.
New York Giants: 10-6. The Giants grabbed a rotational project in Jason Pierre-Paul and acquired Antrelle Rolle. The LB's are still a bit questionable though and it's going to be the weak spot on the defense. The offense has carried this team in the post-Strahan era and I expect that to continue.
Washington Redskins: 5-11. Switching to a 3-4 will give this team some bumps, but the defense will have to do their best to keep the score close this season. The Albert Haynesworth situation is... no I'm done hearing about that. The true problems lie on the offensive side of the ball. Good addition to put McNabb on the roster, but with no targets it's going to be tough. Although McNabb has done it in the past with the same situation, he has yet to prove it in the Washington system. The best 2006 Fantasy Football roster ever in the backfield should be interesting if nothing else.
Ok so this is one man's opinion on what'll happen around the NFC this season. I won't get into the playoffs because this has already become much to long for most readers. Toss your opinions in the ring, tell me I'm off my rocker, whatever you wanna do. Cheers, and Semper Fidelis.