Sunny's NFC Season Preview

With our week one picks locked in and the NFL kickoff only two days away, it is time to make some NFC divisional predictions. Here is the breakdown of the upcoming NFC season the way I see it it unfolding:

NFC North

Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Wild Card Contender: Green Bay Packers
Bold Prediction: The Lions do not go 0-16.

In one short offseason, the NFC North has suddenly become a division where quarterbacks are to be feared rather than joked about.

With the acquisitions of Jay Cutler and Brett Favre by the Bears and Vikings, respectively, and Aaron Rodgers with a season under his belt as a starter in Green Bay, the black-and-blue division will turn to the air to put up a considerable amount of points.

The only question mark that remains at quarterback is Detroit Lions' rookie Matthew Stafford. Stafford will be at the helm in week one for the Lions, head coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. Should Stafford falter, the Lions have former Viking Daunte Culpepper waiting in the wings.

The Vikings have too much fire power and too talented of a defense to not win this division, but the Packers will be fighting for a wild card spot with if Greg Jennings can be as productive this year and the defense can play well enough to scrape together nine wins.

NFC East

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Wild Card Contender: Dallas Cowboys
Bold Prediction: Michael Vick catches more touchdowns than rookie receiver Jeremy Maclin.

The NFC East is a consistently tough division to predict winners and this year is no exception. The division will produce no stellar records after the teams beat up on each other and thus wild card berths will be tough to come by.

With a healthy Brian Westbrook the Eagles should be able to narrowly pull out the divisional title.

The Cowboys have the best quarterback in the division in Tony Romo, but he can only throw to tight end Jason Witten so many times.

Washington will be competitive, but they pose no serious threat as long as Jason Campbell is quarterbacking the Redskins.

Finally, the Giants will start their fall from grace with no real receiving core to speak of. Their defense will win some games, but just not enough.

NFC West

Winner: Arizona Cardinals
Wild Card Contender: Seattle Seahawks
Bold Prediction: Mike Singletary gives backup quarterback Alex Smith the reigns by week five.

The NFC West was a one team show last year and will continue to be this year. With the best receiving duo in the game in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, quarterback Kurt Warner will have another great year at the tail end of his career. Look for this division to be wrapped up by week 12.

The only surprise this season will be the increased production in Seattle's offense. A healthy Matt Hasselbeck has a much improved receiving core to work with, so T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Nate Burleson and Deion Branch will put up some respectable numbers.

Steven Jackson will have a 1,000 yard season but, at the end of the day, the Rams just do not have the talent to compete.

Singletary's 49ers will produce two wins this year that will be considered a big upset, but sadly those two wins will be part of a six-win season.

NFC South

Winner: Carolina Panthers
Wild Card Contender: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints
Bold Prediction: Drew Brees braeks Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season.

Besides the Buccaneers, the NFC South is loaded with offensive talent. The Panthers will win the division but not by more than 2 games. The punch of a DeAngelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart backfield with Steve Smith as a deep receiving threat will be sufficient to win the title.

Look for Matt Ryan to have a breakout season with new weapon Tony Gonzalez as the Falcons will have to rely less on stud running back Michael Turner.

In New Orleans, Drew Brees will again throw for 5,000 yards and people will be surprised by the running back tandem of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. If the Saints' defense can ever stop an opponent they will be an extremely dangerous team.

The Buccanears will again have a respectable defense and a decent receiving core headed by Antonio Bryant, but lack any real fire power to compete with the rest of the division.


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