Here is part two of my division winners in each conference. Let’s examine the NFC teams.
I’m going to pick the Superbowl winning Philadelphia Eagles to win this division. As for why: 1) They still have Carson Wentz as their QB. 2) They have a strong WR core in Jeffery, Agholor, and Wallace. 3) Last year they traded for RB Jay Ajayi and still have Clement, Smallwood, and Sproles. They have kept the same team in place and that’s why they win this division. Dallas will be great in the running game with Elliot and they bolstered their defense to make it strong, but their passing game has some big holes to fill in receiving. New York has done well with adding a new dimension to their game by adding Barkley, and getting a healthy Beckham Jr. will only help, but they need to fix their defense to challenge in this division. In Washington, they need to develop and find more talent to compete with these other teams.
Although this division has two top teams, I see the Green Bay Packers taking it. Green Bay has a healthy Rodgers to lean on once again and he just makes the players around him better. With a good defense and average running game they should beat out Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings will be a close second, but I think its going to take a little time for Cousins to get on the same page with his wide receivers. They will have to click early on to keep the pressure on Green Bay. In Detroit, they will need to find a running game to contend with Stafford’s passing. Also, building a stronger defense will help them immensely. And in Chicago, the simple plan for them is to keep working on their rebuild. The additions on both sides of the ball have been what this team needs. Although they will turn a few heads this year, I think they still need some time to gel before making a real push in this division.
In this division I think the Saints get it done. They have all the pieces needed to make a big run this season. With Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, etc., they are healthy at every position and are also a talented and veteran team that can do what they need to, to win this division. As for the Carolina Panthers, we all know what Cam Newton can do and we also know how strong their defense is. But I think that, even though they got Greg Olsen back, their wide receiving core needs to prove themselves. With the Atlanta Falcons, the big thing with them would be getting Julio Jones healthy and more involved and Matt Ryan finding that drive that took them to the Super Bowl two years ago. In Tampa, Winston needs to show he has what it takes to elevate this team. If they can find a complete defense, it would take them a little farther as well.
This division also has two close teams, but the L.A. Rams will get the win here. If Todd Gurley does what he did last year, and Jared Goff takes another step forward this team will have little trouble winning this division. Add in a sold WR group and this team will be looking good for a long time. The San Francisco 49ers are a close second, but Jimmy Garoppolo needs to take the leap that Goff did last year to vault this team to the next level. Although they have solid wide receivers, they lost RB Jerick McKinnon, which makes their running backs a little susceptible. Russell Wilson will keep things interesting in Seattle, but lacking a proven run game and a defense that has taken a step or two backwards will keep this team from being very competitive. In Arizona, the return of David Johnson will be huge for this team. I think that having a rookie at QB and a very thin group of wide receivers prevents this team from going where it wants to go this season.