The NFC is filled with talent, especially in the West and South divisions. Last season, it was a race to the end for the West, domination by the Saints, Aaron Rodgers leading a 13-3 campaign and the East…well, being the East. Here we take a look at the NFC and rank the divisions based on the teams and how powerful they are. Keep in mind, past performances (Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl win) are not taken into consideration.
#1 – NFC West
Arguably the most competitive division in the NFL, the NFC West is stacked with talent through all of their four teams. The 49ers are going to try to mirror the successful season they had last year and get back to the Super Bowl. There is still plenty of talent on the defense to keep up with the likes of Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. Jimmy Garoppolo should continue to be a good quarterback, but the Shanahan curse continues. Maybe we’ll see this powerful defense lead them to a Lombardi Trophy.
Arizona is the ‘wild card’ of the West. They have the potential to be good, but they can be bad. The Cardinals stole DeAndre Hopkins away from Houston and also got rid of a banged-up David Johnson. Kyler Murray is a star quarterback who is on the rise. Kliff Kingsbury seems to know what he is doing. If they keep going with Murray and use their weapons correctly, they could be a scary team. Think about it: Kyler Murray, Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins, and Larry Fitzgerald. This could be the next all-star offense.
Seattle returns with MVP-caliber quarterback Russell Wilson. Injuries in the backfield held them back from getting past the Divisional Round, but a return from Chris Carson should help get them back on track. As long as Wilson is under center for the Hawks, this team will likely always be a lock for the postseason. All they have to do is figure out this Clowney issue…
Los Angeles is arguably the worst team in the division. Their Super Bowl hangover continues, especially after their 9-7 finish and missing the playoffs. Jared Goff will have to prove that he is worth the money they are paying him this year. They’ll have to play better with fewer mistakes this year to keep pace with this tough division. It might be a while until the Rams are back into the Super Bowl mix.
#2 – NFC South
Kind of the complete opposite of the West, this is the “Senior Division”. Must-see TV is one way to describe Tampa Bay. Tom Brady joins the Bucs’ ship to get sailing to a Super Bowl title. It’s going to be a hard offense to stop this year. Brady gets the young receivers he’s been looking for in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and his old friend Rob Gronkowski. It might only be a few years that this team is considered a contender, but once Brady calls it a career, if they don’t have the right guy under center, the Bucs might go back to their mediocre days.
New Orleans brought back Drew Brees to continue his Hall of Fame career and hopefully get one more ring. They also added Emmanuel Sanders to help the offense get going as well. New Orleans also added Malcolm Jenkins to help the secondary. Alvin Kamara should have a bounceback year after an average performance for part of the season. It’s a Super Bowl team, but they can’t seem to get going in the playoffs. Hopefully, they are not matched up against the Vikings in the 2020 postseason.
Atlanta is a sleeper team this year. Matt Ryan is still a top-10 quarterback, and the addition of Todd Gurley could prove to help the offense. If Gurley is a bust, then it was a mistake. They fought for the head coach’s job at the end of the year, so Dan Quinn is still there. If they don’t make the playoffs this year or post a bad record, don’t be surprised if Quinn is out of Atlanta.
Carolina hasn’t been the same since their Cam Newton days. A new system under Matt Rhule will take some time to develop into a working one. For now, the rebuild continues and they’ll work with their draft picks and what they have.
#3 – NFC North
Aaron Rodgers needed help to stay at the top of the division this year, but drafting Jordan Love doesn’t help unless he is used like Taysom Hill. Still, they’ll either be the 1st or 2nd team in the division, but not getting Rodgers the desperate help he needs does not help the offense improve. The Vikings are right behind the Packers and yet again upset the Saints in the Superdome. Dalvin Cook is set to hold out if he doesn’t get the deal he wants, which leaves room for a backup to shine.
Chicago brought in Nick Foles to compete with Mitch Trubisky, who has not lived up to expectations, especially when compared to other quarterbacks in his draft class. Foles could start as early as Week 1, leaving Trubisky on the sidelines and possibly out of Chicago this year.
The Lions continue to try to build the Patriots dynasty, but you can’t do that without Bill Belichick. If Stafford stays healthy, then they do have a chance to compete for a few wins this year. Head Coach Matt Patricia needs to keep the team competitive throughout the year because he is on the hot seat and Detroit could move on from him after this year.
#4 – NFC East
On paper, this division is the worst in football. It seems as if the Cowboys always open up as the favorites to win the division, but then crash and burn every year. On the bright side, they fired head coach Jason Garrett and still have a solid defense intact. Prescott, Elliott, and Cooper will continue to lead the offense as well. The Eagles always seem to take the division, but injuries continue to be their Achilles heel.
Consistency and durability for Carson Wentz is also an issue. For the G-Men, they’ll continue their rebuild now under the leadership of Joe Judge. It was a hiring that even shocked Giants fans. Many see this team as a sleeper this year, but Judge has plenty of work to do with a roster in need of improvements everywhere. He will also be assisted by Garrett, who is not leaving the division.
The Redskins are in for a rebuild as well, which leaves new HC Ron Rivera with plenty of work to do. The defensive line is stacked, but there’s plenty of more holes to fill for the team. Unfortunately, Chase Young can’t play on offense.