Who Will Win The NFC?
We’re made to think that the NFL is highly competitive and that the best squads from each division will battle it out at the end. However, it’s painfully obvious the NFC is the more competitive conference. It’s not even close. With all the legit playoff contenders squaring off, the final stretch of the regular season will be a bloodbath.
At the top of the conference are the Philadelphia Eagles, the Super Bowl favorites until the sky fell and Carson Wentz tore his ACL. The Eagles were the league leaders until this sudden injury last week. With an 11-2 record and the number 1 seed, the Eagles were on pace to win the NFC. With this setback, all hope is looking grim. They play the Raiders and Cowboys to end the season. I expect them to win one of the last two games and finish a minimum of 13-3, but once in the playoffs, it’s anyone’s guess how they’ll fair with Nick Foles.
The Minnesota Vikings have been an interesting team. Sitting at a current record of 10-3, the Vikings have every piece to the puzzle, minus a franchise quarterback. However, given Case Keenum’s recent hot streak, he has kept the job but still hasn’t escaped the controversy of being replaced by Teddy Bridgewater. They should be able to defeat the Bears and a Packers team who will be without Aaron Rodgers the rest of the way. This would have them finishing with a 13-3 record and likely the second seed.
The Rams are a team I personally didn’t have faith in (and I’m not alone in that thought). With a young quarterback, an unproven team, and a new coach, it was hard to buy in. Especially considering the bulk of their early wins were against sub-500 teams. However, after the recent games against the Saints and Eagles, I am now a believer in this team. While I don’t expect them to win the NFC, I still think they can make a run. The Rams should finish with wins in both of their remaining games, giving them a remarkable 12-4 record. Losing to the Vikings, earlier in the year, they won’t have the tiebreaker, and therefore I expect them to finish 3rd behind the Vikings.
The Saints are the most balanced unit at this point. They have a future hall of fame quarterback, the best running back combo in NFL history (argue me!), and a savvy coach. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been ripping off huge chunks of yards all season. They have multiple 200-yard games between them, and the sky’s the limit for this team offensively. Additionally, the Saints possess a great defense to go along with this staggering offense. I expect them to close out the season and finish with a 12-4 record, and despite the quality of the NFC South, the Saints will win the division.
The Panthers are the NFC version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (The Steelers have that title in the AFC). Cam Newton has been pedestrian at best all season. If he didn’t have rushing abilities, he’d be a low-end quarterback. He’s had many games with below 200 pass yards, and for the majority of the season, the run game has struggled. Their remaining schedule is really difficult, and they’ll likely lose to the Falcons, leaving them with a record of 11-5.
The Falcons are a team that is nowhere near the caliber they were last season. Given their new offensive coordinator, the offense has looked unremarkable to terrible, especially in comparison to how great they were last year. Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, two great players, have had abysmal seasons. Luckily for the Falcons, their scoring has improved and I think will get better as the season progresses. I see them finishing 10-6.
There is a team I think has a great chance to sneak into the playoffs. The Seahawks are led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Russell Wilson always give his team a shot at the postseason. The Seahawks are injured and with a struggling offensive line and a tarnished secondary, they without a doubt have serious issues. Once again, with Wilson behind center, I have faith in them moving forward. Despite a somewhat difficult schedule, they should still finish 10-6.
So with after all this nonsense, where does this leave the final standings?
1st – The Eagles
2nd – The Vikings
3rd – The Rams
4th – The Saints
And after all the tiebreakers in place…
5th – The Panthers
6th – The Falcons
That all being said, I believe the Saints come out of the conference of death behind a balanced offense and defense.