Well this took a while. I've been struggling with my NFC picks a lot more than my AFC. There are many things up in the air about some of the better teams in the NFC. Anyway, here we go.
1. Dallas Cowboys
First things first, I'm not sold on this team. The offensive line is not that great after letting Flozell Adams walk. Doug Free is a hard worker, but this is the NFL and you don't see "Rudy" playing on any of these teams. Tony Romo puts up pretty good stats, but he is not an elite quarterback. He is a choke artist in the post season and that's that. Now, the things I like about this team. They have excellent wide receivers and a good stable of running backs, and their defense is one of the best in football. Their defensive questions are solely dependent on the play of safeties Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh. If they play well, the defense will be what wins games. I think the Cowboys win the division this year, and that's about it. 10-6.
2. New York Giants
I could easily see the Giants winning the division this year. But something usually happens in New York that leaves the fans wanting more. They have a good offense led by Eli Manning, but this year the defense is going to be what keeps them from being a true contender. They don't have a pass rush, and they don't have a great secondary. The end. 9-7.
3. Washington Redskins
Most people think Donovan McNabb made the Redskins instantly better. I agree. Too bad better for them will be a 9-7 record and 3rd place in the NFC East. The Albert Haynesworth Saga continues to be detrimental to this team because Mike Shanahan seems to be concentrating on where Haynesworth is going to go instead of how his team is going to perform. I actually think the Skins are one year away from being atop this division.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
I think the Eagles are flat out stupid for trading Donovan McNabb. Kevin Kolb is unproven and not anywhere near the QB McNabb is. The defense as a whole is a shell of it's former self and everyone will realize that this year. LeSean McCoy is a good young runner but he has a few injury concerns. The Eagles fans will be throwing batteries again by Week 7. 6-10.
1. Green Bay Packers
This is the best team in the NFL. Their offense is balanced all across the board. They have a consistent running game and a prolific passing game. The defense is one of the best in the NFL when healthy, and that may be a concern. Al Harris is out for the season, and that puts Tramon Williams replacing him in what was the NFL's best cornerback tandem. I think this team has the chance to go undefeated this year, but they'll come up a little short of that going 13-3 and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.
2. Minnesota Vikings
Way too many questions about this team. Brett Favre's health? Can they move the ball with efficiency without Sidney Rice? Disclaimer: Brett Favre is probably my favorite football player of all time, but he's literally a grandfather now. Would he have come back had Longwell, Allen, and Hutchinson not shown up at his house a few weeks ago? I don't believe so. I do know that he came back because he loves the game and wants another shot at glory, but I don't think it will happen this year. 11-5 and an early playoff exit.
3. Chicago Bears
Yes, they have Julius Peppers, yes, Mike Martz is running the offense, and yes, Jay Cutler is a serviceable quarterback. No, they will not make the playoffs, no, Brian Urlacher will not return to his old form, and no, Jay Cutler will not throw less than 20 INT's. On the upside, he could very well throw 30 TD's. 8-8 is the absolute best I see for this team.
4. Detroit Lions
I like the Lions. I think the offense will be very good this year, and the defense will be better than last year. The only problem is, they are still the Lions. Stafford, Johnson, Best, and Pettigrew will be fantastic players some day, but they're still a couple of years away. Drafting Ndamukong Suh was the best thing to happen for this team since Barry Sanders. He is an All-Pro caliber player as a rookie. Jim Schwartz is doing his best to turn this team around and it will show this year with an 8-8 record.
1. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are in a one horse race this year. I really don't have much to say about this team other than the fact that they're very good. The offensive line is the best in the league and that gives Brees enough time to pick apart almost every defense they will play this year. The secondary is a bit of a question mark for the first six weeks until Darren Sharper comes back. If he's healthy, they'll be good once again. They will easily win this division, but I feel they will come up short this season for the ultimate prize. The Saints will go 12-4, but lose in the divisional round of the playoffs.
2. Atlanta Falcons
Michael Turner is healthy again and the Falcons offense will be very good. Matt Ryan is in his third year, and has a great connection with Roddy White, the man I like to call T.O. Lite. The Falcons defense, however, will be the achilles heel yet again for this team. A lot of the experts are very high on this team, but I just can't find what they're seeing. 9-7
3. Carolina Panthers
They finally got rid of Jake "The Snake" Delhomme, but that leaves them with Matt "My Father Isn't Roger" Moore. I think that Moore will be a serviceable QB, but with Jimmy Clausen breathing down his neck all season, I'm thinking the pressure could get to him and cause a collapse. The running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart is second to none, but teams will be stacking the box all year against them. Steve Smith usually would be the one benefiting from this, but his QB's won't have much time to get him the ball. The pass defense was ranked 4th in the NFL last year, but that was with Julius Peppers putting pressure on the QB. I see the Panthers going 6-10 this year.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It hurts my heart to see this team in the state they're in. I've been a Bucs fan since the mid-90's and I just don't see them doing anything good this year. 3-13 was their record last year, and I see the same thing happening this year. The only difference is, you'll see a lot more fight in this team. They have a solid offensive line, Cadillac Williams is (finally) healthy, and Josh Freeman has several young stud WR's in Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams. Gerald McCoy has been impressing a whole lot of people during workouts and in the preseason as well. I can't wait for this team to get back to relevance, but it definitely won't be this year.
1. San Fransisco 49ers
Alex Smith is a good QB. I said it, and I'm proud of saying it. He's had 5 different offensive coordinators in his NFL tenure, but he's finally got the same one two years in a row. Frank Gore is a 1,500 yard back, and there are pretty good weapons on the outside as well. The defense is led by LB Supreme Patrick Willis and they move to the ball as well as any defense in the league. It also helps that every other team in the NFC West is garbage. 10-6.
2. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals let Anquan Boldin walk in the off season and recently released their "starting" QB Matt Leinart. Defensively they lost Myron Rolle and Karlos Dansby. Oh, but they still have Larry Fitzgerald and up and coming Beanie Wells. They picked up Joey Porter, but I don't see him being enough for the defense. Just like the 49ers, they play in the NFC West which leaves them with a chance. 9-7 and Larry Fitzgerald will call Kurt Warner every day and beg him to come back.
3. Seattle Seahawks
Dear Seahawk fans,
We recently acquired Pete Carroll as your new head coach. We know that he has had no success in the NFL, but we promise you he's going to give it his best effort. Along with knowing he's had no success, we have given him full control on all personnel decisions. We regret to inform you that Mr. Carroll has not yet named a starting running back, and he also let go of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Do not fret Seahawk fans, Matt Hasselbeck is STILL our starter even though he hasn't been healthy in 4 years. We want to show our players the same loyalty we show you. We did have one big signing in the offseason though. We traded for Charlie Whitehurst!!! He's our new starting backup quarterback. Thank you Seahawk fans. We promise you that if you stick with us for the next 4-7 years, we will be good again.
The Proud Owners of the 4-12 2010 Seattle Seahawks
4. St. Louis Rams
This is the last team I'm writing about, and I'm glad it's the Rams. They are terrible. They have a rookie QB, and not ONE wide receiver that would start on another NFL team. Maybe not even college programs. Their big move was to trade for the Cowboys 3rd string linebacker Bobby Carpenter. That will really make a difference. I truly feel sorry for Steven Jackson and the poor saps that purchase this team. Just because it's late and I think the Rams are that bad, I say they will go 0-16. The End.
I hope you all enjoy the posts, and let me know if you have any objections. I'm sure some of you Rams fans will. If there even are any. I don't know of one.