2011 NFL Preview: NFC

September 8, 2011

The NFL season officially kicked off about 15 minutes before I started typing this sentence, so it seems odd that I am just not getting around to putting up my season preview. Of course, if any of you remember last year’s NFL preview posts, you know that they are not nearly as in-depth as my college football previews.

So, as long as I finish this post before the game ends, I’m in the clear. I’m watching the Oklahoma State vs. Arizona game, anyway…

Here is my 2011 preview of the National Football Conference.

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

3. New York Giants (8-8)

4. Washington Redskins (4-12)

Why They’ll Win: Dallas is coming off of a very disappointing 2010 season, but there should be a lot of optimism in the Cowboys’ locker room. Their defense last year was atrocious, but should be better for two reasons. One reason is that it can’t get much worse, and the other is that Dallas poached defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from Cleveland, who should be able to get the most out of what is a talented defensive group. Dallas may end up having the same record as Philadelphia, but sweeping the season series against the Eagles is what will give the Cowboys the division.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers (12-4)

2. Chicago Bears (10-6)

3. Detroit Lions (8-8)

4. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

Why They’ll Win: It will be hard for Chicago to win the division again, especially with concerns on the offensive line. Detroit is getting better every year, but isn’t there quite yet. Picking Minnesota to win this division would be a very bold decision to say the least; they have the talent, but banking on Donovan McNabb is a huge risk. That leaves the defending Super Bowl champion Packers, who will feel even better about their chances now that players such as Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley are back from injuries that kept them out the majority of last season. It’s extremely hard to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but the Packers are still a good bet to win their division.

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)

2. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)

4. Carolina Panthers (2-14)

Why They’ll Win: This is a division that will put up gaudy offensive numbers all season long. The Falcons bolstered what was already a formidable offense in the offseason, trading up in this year’s draft to get wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones and Roddy White give Matt Ryan two talented targets to throw to, which should result in a lot of points. The most important games in this division will be the ones featuring Atlanta and New Orleans, and the games should be a shootout. This year, Atlanta will get the best of New Orleans in these high scoring games.

NFC West

1. St. Louis Rams (9-7)

2. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)

4. Seattle Seahawks (5-11)

Why They’ll Win: This division will once again bring up the debate about whether or not every division should automatically get at least one team into the playoffs. However, every team in the division is making progress, even if the overall records may not indicate so. St. Louis has a solid defense, and assuming Sam Bradford continues to improve, will boast the best quarterback in the division hands down. Arizona could put up a fight depending on how well Kevin Kolb does in the starter role, but they probably don’t have enough on defense to steal the division.


Wild Card

Philadelphia (Wild Card) vs. St. Louis

Winner: Philadelphia

New Orleans (Wild Card) vs. Dallas Cowboys

Winner: New Orleans


Philadelphia vs. Atlanta

Winner: Atlanta

New Orleans vs. Green Bay

Winner: Green Bay

Conference Championship

Green Bay vs. Atlanta

Winner: Atlanta

– K. Becks

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