NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North: Chicago Bears
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Los Angeles Rams
Wild cards: Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys
NFC Championship Game: New Orleans Saints vs Philadephia Eagles
NFC Champions: Saints
Super Bowl LIV: Kansas City Chiefs vs New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl Champions: Saints
There’s little surprise when discussing the NFC division winners, as three of the four from last season repeat. The Chicago Bears defense is perhaps the strongest in football and the Los Angeles Rams have a dynamic offense when fully healthy.
The New Orleans Saints take the top spot as they look for retribution from last season’s NFC Championship. And thanks to the return of Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles should be able to claim the NFC East.
The two wild card teams in the NFC are exactly that; complete and total wild cards. Two teams could finish with 10-plus wins and still miss out on the postseason.
By majority vote, PFN predicts the Minnesota Vikings will return to the postseason just two years removed from the NFC Championship Game. Despite the struggles of Kirk Cousins in 2018, a revamped offensive line and healthy Dalvin Cook should add more stability to the offense.
When looking at the three other NFC wild card suitors, each has a flaw that could derail their season. The Atlanta Falcons’ offense should be one of the top units in the league. Their defense, however, could struggle early and cost them some games.
Even with a weak offensive line, Russell Wilson has emerged as a top-five quarterback in the NFL. Part of the reason for his success is his reliable offensive arsenal. It’s going to look different this season with Doug Baldwin being medically forced to retire. That will put pressure on the Seattle Seahawks defense to win games.
On paper, the Cowboys have the best argument. A star-studded defense, impressive offensive line, and talented offensive weapons, this should be an easy pick. The problem is Dallas’ offense has relied on Ezekiel Elliott’s legs. If he continues to hold out, the team will heavily rely on the passing game. That’s a risky proposition.
In the end, PFN narrowly voted Dallas to claim the final playoff spot over Atlanta and Seattle.
We expect New Orleans to return to the NFC Championship game. The Rams defense lost three players and the Bears will need a big season from Mitchell Trubisky. Minnesota and Dallas could win a game or two, but that’s about it.
Philadelphia is probably the second-best team in the conference. They’ll likely head down to New Orleans come late January. Despite Philadelphia having a deep and talented roster, we expect the Saints to bounce back from last year’s heartbreaking NFC Championship Game loss and take home the George Halas Trophy.
The Saints get their chance to win their second Super Bowl down in South Beach against— NOPE, not New England, but rather the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes should be in the running for another MVP title and the Chiefs offense will be scary.
But New Orleans defense is the x-factor. The Saints finished with a top 15 defense while Kansas City was one of the worst units in football a year ago. Despite changes in the front office, the Chiefs still have holes on their unit, specifically in the secondary.
Expect a shootout, but New Orleans will get their revenge on the NFL. By PFN majority vote, the Saints will be your Super Bowl LIV Champions come February 2020.
-Cole Thompson, PFN Lead NFL Columnist