2018 NFC Record Predictions

WITH a Super Bowl win last February, the Philadelphia Eagles can now take themselves off a list no franchise wants to be on. There are 12 teams without a Vince Lombardi trophy in their cabinet, five of which are from the NFC. One of those teams is the Minnesota Vikings, who with a new star QB are one of the favourites to do what Philly did a season ago. A handful of NFC South rivals can be found on the list as well, one of whom I think is a real chance to go all the way to the NFC title game. Regardless of if they are still on that list or not all each and every one of the 16 teams will be trying to best each other for a shot at winning this year’s Super Bowl. Here are my predictions for every NFC team’s win/loss record.

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NFC North

Minnesota Vikings (2017 – 13-3, lost NFC Championship Game)
AFTER finishing just one win shy of a Super Bowl appearance the Minnesota Vikings have all the tools to contend again in 2018. Sheldon Richardson adds another imposing frame to their D and a healthy Dalvin Cook should shine out of the backfield. However, perhaps the biggest player movement story of the offseason was quarterback Kirk Cousins taking his talents to Minneapolis. With the spotlight well and truly on him, everyone wants to know how Cousins will perform, as the former Redskin boasts a less than impressive 26-31-1 record in 58 career starts. My tip is he lives up to the hype and the Vikings will claim a hotly contest NFC crown.
Predicted Record: 13-3

Green Bay Packers (2017 – 7-9, missed playoffs)
THE depth of the roster will be a big talking point all year. Aaron Rodgers is back though and he has a shiny new toy in Jimmy Graham to utilise. Any time you have a healthy Rodgers on your squad you are going to win a bunch of games, but the NFC North isn’t a cakewalk anymore. With Mike McCarthy only under contract for one more season, the championship window for the Packers is closing. Not closed, but certainly closing.
Predicted Record: 11-5

Chicago Bears (2017 – 5-11, missed playoffs)
THINGS changed dramatically for the Chicago Bears over the weekend. Acquiring Khalil Mack from the Raiders boosts their chances of breaking a seven-year playoff drought considerably. The rest of their roster is starting to take shape after what has been a long rebuild with talented skill position players and a promising signal caller in Mitchell Trubisky. I like this team but it will take a while for them to adapt to Matt Nagy’s system and the strength of their conference means a .500 finish seems likely.
Predicted Record: 8-8

Detroit Lions (2017 – 9-7, missed playoffs)
A major overhaul of personnel on and off the field has shaken things up for Detroit. Time will tell if it was for the better as Matt Patricia tries to get the most out of an interesting defensive unit. On the offense side of the ball, finding a competent running back will be the Lions key to success for the 312th straight season. If Stafford can get some solid support then Detroit might finish closer to 8-8. I’m not so optimistic.
Predicted Record: 6-10

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2017 – 10-6, lost Divisional Round)
I’M expecting big things from ATL this year. They are another year removed from that loss and are poised to make another Super Bowl charge. $30 million dollar man Matt Ryan will have a bevvy of options in the passing game and the Falcons might boast the most dominant one-two backfield in the league (sorry Saints fans). Atlanta has the firepower to dominate the conference once again and I expect the Falcons to be right in the mix for another NFC South title.
Predicted Record: 11-5

New Orleans Saints (2017 – 11-5, lost Divisional Round)
THIS might be the most balanced Saints team we have seen in the Brees/Payton era. Their smart drafting paid off big time last year with their most recent crop of draftees all starring as NOLA claimed their first division banner since 2011. New Orleans owns blue-chip players all over the field and thanks to that top to bottom talent, you can expect them to return to the playoffs in some fashion this year.
Predicted Record: 10-6

2018 NFC Season Preview 1Image from canalstreetchronicles.com

Carolina Panthers (2017 – 11-5, lost NFC Wildcard Round)
LAST season the NFC South sent three teams to the playoffs with an 11-5 record earning the Panthers the final wildcard slot. Carolina once again faces an uphill climb to return to the postseason and they now must do so with some fresh faces. Even with a new look offense run by recently appointed OC Norv Turner, the receiving core still revolves around Greg Olsen and the versatile Christian McCaffery. The play of those two stars and Newton himself will be the key to moving the chains for the Panthers. Thomas Davis’ suspension hurts them though and that coupled with learning a new offense might mean a slow start is in store. If Cam can return to his 2015 MVP form (which isn’t out of the question) and the Panthers hit their stride on D though, anything is possible. That ‘if’ is going to be hard to pull off in their uber-competitive division.
Predicted Record: 9-7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2017 – 5-11, missed playoffs)
ON numerous occasion the Bucs have let me down after I have given them a big pre-season wrap. Once again they seem destined to take up residency as the 4th best team in the South with no real light at the end of the tunnel either. Stuck in limbo between contending and rebuilding Tampa Bay has some exciting players and there is definitely talent on the Buccaneers roster. We have seen flashes from Jamies Winston when he is healthy, but with a three-game suspension to open the season I think more doom and gloom is likely this year for the former Heisman winner. An overhaul to the defense might spark a revival, but if another 4/5 win season is on the cards both the QB and head coach can start looking for new gigs.
Predicted Record: 4-12

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2017 – 13-3, won Super Bowl)
DON’T expect the Eagles to have a Super Bowl hangover in 2018. Sure, their early schedule is intimidating and Carson Wentz’s return date is still in limbo. Make no mistake though, this Philadelphia team is better than the won that won the Super Bowl a year a season ago. Of course, defending the Vince Lombardi trophy is incredibly tough to do, but the Eagles are the best bet in recent memory to pull off the rare repeat. They have looked sloppy in the preseason and 12 wins might be a touch high considering Wentz’s status. Regardless of if they go back-to-back and win it all, I am at least predicting back-to-back division crowns for Doug Pederson and Co.
Predicted Record: 12-4

2018 NFC Season Preview 2Image from philly.com

New York Giants (2017 – 3-13 missed playoffs)
NEW York is one of the toughest teams to project this year. I tipped the Giants to make the playoffs in my 2017 predictions and they responded by winning just three games. Injuries were a big factor in their year from hell and they were quick to address some glaring needs. The offensive line will need to improve dramatically as they rely heavily on their front five to keep Eli Manning upright and help Saquon Barkley (not that he needs much help) get open for explosive runs. Even at the age of 37, I think Manning can help them scrape to a winning record and they have enough playmakers to put points on the board. Should Manning fall apart or Odell Beckham succumb to injury again, it could become ugly very quickly though.
Predicted Record: 9-7

Dallas Cowboys (2017 – 9-7, missed playoffs)
SEVEN of Dallas’ 16 games this year come against teams who made the playoffs a season ago. Despite the high turnover in playoff teams annually this does not bode well for a Cowboys outfit trying to find it’s feet. All eyes will be on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to keep them out of the gutter as the loss of veterans like Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant starts to take effect. The young duo will need support from a new look receiving group and we still have no clear idea of who is the No. 1 guy. Defensively, they have the players to emerge as a top-10 unit with Sean Lee and DeMarcus Lawrence leading the charge. I don’t know what it is though, I just can’t get excited about Dallas in 2018. This might be the year that Jason Garrett runs out of lives and unless you own Dak or Zeke in fantasy, I’d steer clear of Cowboys games this season.
Predicted Record: 5-11

Washington Redskins (2017 – 7-9, missed playoffs)
I have no idea where to peg Washington this year. Maybe they are a serious sleeper and will emerge as a playoff team? It’s not crazy to think with Alex Smith coming to town. He has proven time and time again that he can boost your regular season win tally and now he will really be put to the test as he tries to revive an offense that can’t dodge injury. Washington has already lost Derrius Guice for the year with their stud rookie tearing his ACL in the pre-season, while tight end/main receiving weapon Jordan Reed has only played over 12 games once in five seasons of pro football. With a tough slate of games to close out the year the first few weeks could define the Redskins this year and they seem destined for another double-digit loss column.
Predicted Record: 5-11

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams (2017 – 11-5, lost NFC Wildcard Round)
I saw a Tweet earlier today that mentioned the Los Angeles Rams were in the conversation to acquire Khalil Mack. It would have been enormous if L.A. landed the edge rusher after already getting their hands on the likes of star talent in Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Brandin Cooks this offseason. Adding a lot of big names to a contender can sometimes lead to chemistry problems and there are a few big ‘personalities’ to manage in this Rams locker room. That being said, if they can all come together on a common goal of winning then that’s exactly what they’ll do. LA is clearly a better a team on paper than a year ago and after getting their toes wet last season, expect a return trip to the playoffs.
Predicted Record: 12-4

San Fransisco 49ers (2017 – 6-10, missed playoffs)
ONE of the most talked about teams all pre-season hinges on their new handsome quarterback. After trading for Jimmy Garoppolo midway through the 2017 campaign, the 49ers can now unleash him for a full 16 games. His 5-0 record last year suggests that San Fran should be a force this year, but I’m not so sold. Jimmy G’s end to the last season can be taken with a grain of salt and he hasn’t shown the best ability to protect the ball (five interceptions in five starts). DeForest Buckner deserves some recognition for his work on defense and adding a big name like Richard Sherman helped to generate buzz during the offseason. I still think San Fran is a year away from being a legit playoff threat though, especially without Jerick McKinnon in the backfield.
Predicted Record: 8-8

2018 NFC Season Preview 3Image from reviewjournal.com

Seattle Seahawks (2017 – 9-7, missed playoffs)
THE NFL community remains divided over Seattle’s place in the standings this year. I can wrap my head around the underdog talk fueled by the ‘nobody believes in us’ mantra, but Russell Wilson can only do so much. A healthy running back room could change things with Chris Carson showing enough promise in 2017 and the Griffin twins could fuel a defensive revival. Unfortunately for Seahawk fans, as the Legion of Boom crumbles before our very eyes I’m not buying it
Predicted Record: 6-10

Arizona Cardinals (2017 – 8-8, missed playoffs)
IT’S easy to sit here and say that the Cardinals success hinges on their quarterback play in 2018. But seriously the Cardinals success hinges on their quarterback play in 2018. This is by no means a bold statement, with every team likely screwed if they lose their starter. Arizona is in hotter water than most though and they only have themselves to blame. They knew they were playing with fire by giving Sam Bradford an expensive (ish) deal, but if he can get a healthy Sam Bradford then their potential win-loss record changes considerably. We’ve heard this story before and if Bradford once again turns to glass the team could crumble around him. Similarly to the ‘Russell Wilson scenario’ the offense can only lean on superstar David Johnson so much as he returns from injury and with plenty of change since last season, everyone is going to take a while to gel in Arizona.
Predicted Record: 4-12

Playoff Teams

  1. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
  4. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)
  5. New Orleans Saints (10-6)
  6. Green Bay Packers (10-6)

SHOULD the standings play out this way then it would be tough to go past a Vikings/Eagles NFC title match. Don’t sleep on the Falcons though, who is one of my sneaky picks to win it all this year. The Rams might make some noise, but Minnesota is my pick to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.

Peace ✌

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