Hayden’s 2017 NFC regular season predictions

Will the Cowboys make the Super Bowl?  Will Cam return to his 2015 level? Can Rodgers win his second? Is Wentz here to stay? Is Jared Goff a bust?

Here are my 2017 NFC team predictions:

AP GIANTS COLLAPSE FOOTBALL S FBN USA TX
In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) calls out at the line of scrimmage during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. New York was about to put a damper on another festive prime-time opener Sunday night. Instead, the Giants were stunned 27-26 on a winning drive by Tony Romo after Manning admittedly made a crucial mistake. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) ORG XMIT: NY165

NFC East:

New York Giants: 12-4

The Giants will improve on an impressive 11-5 season last year with a very strong 12-4 campaign. The addition of Brandon Marshall to replace the departing Victor Cruz provides the giants with a tremendous deep threat to pair with Odell’s speed. With little other activity this offseason, their running game remains a concern, the addition of D.J. Flucker with provide some aide. No changes were needed with their quickly improving young defence that will provide a tremendous challenge to all other teams in their stacked division. If Manning can deliver a quality season this team can go very far.

Dallas Cowboys: 12-4

With the recent 6 game suspension of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys will drop 1 more game than their surprise season 1 year ago, and will drop to Wild Card 1. The Cowboys also lost a lot of free agents, with key players Doug Free,  Ronald Leary, and Brandon Carr all leaving. This is now Dak’s team, Tony Romo isn’t looming over his shoulder anymore, he has been given the keys to a very strong offense with many stars like Dez Bryant, Darren McFadden, Ezekiel Elliott, and Jason Witten, who will soon be replaced will the impressive first rounder Taco Charlton.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6

In Carson Wentz’s second season at quarterback, he will lead his Eagles to an impressive 10-6 record, an improvement on there 7-9 effort last year. The Eagles had a good offseason will the additions of Legarrette Blount, Ronald Darby, and Alshon Jeffries.  The Eagles defence will have some improving to do to compete at the next level but within the next few years we could be seeing Philadelphia return to the top of the NFL. If the Eagles weren’t in this dense division with the Cowboys and Giants they would have made the playoffs.

Washington Redskins: 6-10

The Washington Redskins will regress from their 8-7-1 record a year ago will a 6-10 record. Kirk Cousins will put up lowered numbers will the major offseason losses of Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Terrelle Pryor will help but he isn’t capable of being the number one option on a winning team. What they lost on offence they gained on defence will some decent additions unfortunately with 6 of there games coming against the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants they will struggle to win. And with tough out of division games as well it just isn’t their year.  
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NFC West:

Seattle Seahawks: 10-6

The Seattle Seahawks will follow up there 10-5-1 season a year ago will a 10-6 record this year. This is understandable due to the minimal changes there are to the roster from last year. This is a good and bad thing, on the one hand they will still have a tremendous defence especially with the return of Earl Thomas, on offence the will still struggle with a subpar offensive line and a revolving door at running back. Fortunately for them they still have the loudest fans in football giving them the advantage they need to make the playoffs once again.

Los Angeles Rams: 8-8

Former number one pick Jared Goff will lead his Rams to a 8-8 record, a major improvement on their 4-12 record a year ago. With many new additions to the team including a new Head Coach in Sean McVay the Rams will begin to improve. The addition of Sammy Watkins to replace the departing Kenny Britt will provide the young Goff with a bona fide number one receiver to pair with Todd Gurley who will have a bounceback year from his disappointing 2016. In a division with struggling offences their improved defense will lead them to their 8 wins.

Arizona Cardinals: 7-9

Veteran Quarterback Carson Palmer will continue to regress this season again leading his team to a 7-9 record, even with stars on offence like David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. An uneventful offseason on offence won’t help, the additions made on defence will provide a small boost to an already impressive defence. The Cardinals will be looking for a quarterback to take over the team at the end of this season, and they make a good choice this team could be competing at a high level again very soon with all their young talent and their tremendous coach.

San Francisco 49ers: 4-12

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off of a horrible 2-14 season, new coach Kyle Shanahan and new gm John Lynch will see an improved 4-12 record this year. The 49ers had a very busy offseason adding some decent players on both offence and defence. Unfortunately they were unable to complete a rumoured trade with the Redskins to bring QB Kirk Cousins to San Francisco, if they are unable to add a better QB soon, either through trade or draft, they will be at the bottom of this division for a while.  

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Jan 1, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles as Detroit Lions defensive end Devin Taylor (98) pressures during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

NFC North:Green Bay Packers: 12-4

The Green Bay Packers will improve of their somewhat average season of 10-6 with 12-4 record this year. Aaron Rodgers will once again prove why he is the second best QB in football, and with offseason offensive addition Martellus Bennett he will have an improved passing game, his offensive line will be downgraded but his mobility will help minimize the impact. Free agent additions on defence will also help a veteran defence. The Packers also lucked out by having their game against the Cowboys come at a time when Ezekiel Elliot will be suspended, putting them atop the conference.

Detroit Lions: 8-8

The Detroit Lions will take a step back from their record of 9-7 last season with a 8-8 campaign this season. While the lions had a very productive offseason for their defence and their offensive line, Matt Stafford still has very few weapons at his disposal. The lions will enter the season with one of the league’s worst depth at wide receiver. This below average offence will have major difficulty with one of the ;league’s worst schedules, featuring out of division games against the Giants, Falcons, and Carolina. If the lions can draft a quality running back and sign a good receiver this team could be good real soon.

Minnesota Vikings: 5-11

The Minnesota Vikings will follow up their 8-8 season a year ago with a disappointing 5-11 record this season. Sam Bradford will have a very poor season and might get replaced by returning QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings lost Adrian Peterson the best player on their team in the offseason and replaced him with the inferior Latavius Murray, this is a common theme, almost every player they lost they replaced with a worse version, another example is switching Cordarrelle Patterson for Michael Floyd.  Couple this with a difficult schedule and the result isn’t good.  

Chicago Bears: 4-12

The Chicago Bears will take a small step forward in 2017 with a record of 4-12, which is an improvement on their previous season’s total of 3-13. The Bears had a very poor offseason which included one of the dumbest trades in a while, the Bears traded 2 thirds and a fourth round pick to move up one spot to draft Trubisky even tho San Francisco wasn’t going to take him. The Bears also lost key offensive piece Alshon Jeffries, the did finally part ways with Jay Cutler and instead signed Mike Glennon, thi move won’t have much affect on what should be a miserable season.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) scores a rushing touchdown against Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Green-Thompson (54) in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons: 12-4

The Atlanta Falcons will avoid the super bowl hangover by putting up 12 wins and 4 loses an even better record than they had a year ago. The Falcons replaced departing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan with long time college coach Steve Sarkisian, and signed two time pro bowler Dontari Poe to replace Dwight Freeney. They also locked up running back Devonta Freeman in order to solidify their young core group of talented offensive players. Even with a difficult schedule the Falcons will prove they were no one year wonder a make a strong return to the playoffs feeding from the heartbreak of last year.     

Carolina Panthers: 11-5

Coming off of an extremely disappointing 6-10 season filled with injures the Carolina Panthers will fight their way back to the playoffs with an impressive 11-5 record. Cam Newton won’t be quite M.V.P. form be he will be much better than last year, and with the progression of sophomore Kelvin Benjamin the Panthers will have strong passing game. While Carolina’s defence will be weakened by the lost of Tre Boston, the addition of veteran Julius Peppers will bring leadership to a young defence. And all the speed and explosiveness they lost in Ted Ginn Jr. will be replaced by Christian Mccaffrey.  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-7

Jameis Winston will continue his climb up the QB ranks by turning in a quality season with a 9-7 record, while this only matches last year’s total the division overall has improved. It was an eventful offseason for the Bucs, however they did make a key pickup of Desean Jackson who when paired with Mike Evans will make a nasty wide receiver duo.  Defensively there is still much to be done to begin competing on the next level, This team could very easily have a much better record if it wasn’t for the strong division they find themselves in.     

New Orleans Saints: 6-10

The New Orleans Saints will take another step back from their former glory with a middling 6-10 season compared to their 7-9 effort a year ago. Even with offseason additions like Adrian Peterson and Ted Ginn Jr. the loss of Brandin Cooks hampers their offence who still find themselves without a decent offensive line. Failing to complete a trade with the New England Patriots for corner Malcolm Butler has left a major hole in their defence in a division with several very strong offenses. It truly is a shame that such a great quarterback like Drew Brees will finish his career with such a poor roster.

 

Game by game predictions:

Schedule Prdic

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