The last Superbowl NFC Winner were the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 in who were in the final again last season – it’s 26 wins vs 23 in terms of versus NFC vs AFC respectively and the NFC is getting stronger and stronger.
There are no clear winners to predict in any of the four divisions – the NFC West four seasons ago was a laughing stock with a 7 win team getting into the playoffs – now that division is one of the strongest.
The season proper starts on September 7th (NZ time).
The “cold” division only has one team with an indoor stadium these days with the Minnesota Vikings borrowing the local College ground whilst their new stadium is built. The Vikings are in the second year of head coach Mike Zimmer who had a competitive unit last season under rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. This year he has the return of Adrian Peterson who was banned last season for child abuse allegations (settled out of court). Zimmers defensive mind should see the Vikings a playoff contender, and maybe get 8-9 wins.
The Green Bay Packers are the elite amongst the NFL in terms of fan base and success however star wide receiver, Jordy Nelson, is out for the season injured. Their defence last season was also an issue – this year may be a struggle.
The hapless Chicago Bears have ex Broncos coach John Fox at the helm, however even he will struggle to get the best out of quarterback Jay Cutler who rates himself way higher then should be allowed.
The Detroit Lions made the playoffs last season and were controversially knocked out in the first round. They could easily win the division this year.
“America’s” team, the Dallas Cowboys, are at last the talking point for the right reasons as they traditionally fall a game short of the playoffs. Last season they made it and won their first round game before succumbing to a Green Bay team to a controversial disallowed touch down. Losing their key running back Demarcus Murray to division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles could play a big part as to where they finish this season, which could also be the last for the eternal Tight End Jason Witten.
The New York Giants have a quarterback in Eli Manning who has two Super Bowl rings, however if you saw him lead the Giants last season you would wonder how. This season though he may look better under the new offensive system they implemented last season. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr is worth watching alone for his hand work during catches.
The Philadelphia Eagles are still adapting to Coach Chip Kelly’s college offence, or is Kelly still adapting to the NFL ? He surprised everyone trading his quarterback Nick Foles for the injury plagued Sam Bradford from St. Louis. Oh and he also signed a backup quarterback called Tim Tebow.
The Washington Redskins are the NFC’s equivalent of the AFCs Oakland Raiders in terms of dysfunction. A second round draft pick three years ago Quarterback RG3 is now apparently so unpopular his offensive line make sure he has no protection and his first preseason appearance lasted one half and a concussion. The Redskins could be picking another no. 2 draft pick next year if this story continues.
This could be the most competitive division in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints faded last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012 however they still have Drew Brees who has one of the best arms in the NFL. They will be up there again this season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will provide most eyes for the neutral with draft pick no. 1 Jameis Winston running the team from his quarterback position. The eyes will mainly be on his potential off field antics, with a chequered college career that included both a sexual assault allegation and a shoplifting charge. The Buccaneers could be a different proposition this season.
The Carolina Panthers have both a menacing defence and a quarterback who has the goods in Cam Newton. The Panthers have recently just missed the cut playoff wise however last season they made it only to go out in the first round. They will be looking to do better this season.
The Atlanta Falcons were another team that faded badly last season however now they have a new head coach, out the Seattle system, in ex defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Matt Ryan is a solid quarterback who with the right players around him has the goods to go all the way.
In 2010 the Seattle Seahawks won this division by winning only 7 games. Now the Seahawks and 49ers have both appeared in the last three Superbowls as the NFC representative.
The Seahawks will still be smarting after last year’s Superbowl defeat where one bad decision in the last minute of the game cost them. The addition of star tight end Jimmy Graham will only strengthen them further. Already pundits are saying they are the favourites to get there again.
The San Francisco 49ers will become Australasia’s team if ex NRL star Jarryd Hayne makes the cut. Two stunning performances in preseason have already made him a fan favourite. He certainly has surprised so far. No disrespect intended however the 49ers overall are a weaker team then last season and with new coach Jim Tomsula at the helm he will have his hands full with the retirement or loss to other teams of 14 players from last season’s roster.
The Arizona Cardinals also have a “Down Under” association with fullback Paul Lasike trying out for the team. An ex rugby player from Waikato he has not made the impact Hayne has however credit is still due. This is a key season for the Cardinals with a number of senior players at the sunset of their careers, the main one being Quarterback Carson Palmer.
The St Louis Rams are one of those teams that are always a preseason favourite to make the playoffs however they always seem to fail to deliver. Coach Jeff Fisher is in his 4th season now and has never tasted the playoffs with the Rams. They have good personnel – maybe this season could be their best chance however it would more than likely via a wildcard spot.
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