Early NFC win-loss projections for the 2020 NFL season

With the 2020 NFL schedule officially released, Lead PFN NFL writer Cole Thompson breaks down his early projections for next season's NFC standouts.

Now that the draft is over and we have an idea as to what rosters will generally look like, we can break down some win-loss projections for each team. Where will your favorite franchises finish and who has the best chances of representing the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl?

With the 2020 NFL schedule being released this past week, let’s take an early look at the NFC and who is looking set for a postseason push.

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Early NFC win-loss projections for the 2020 NFL season

NFC East 

Dallas Cowboys: 10-6

The only way Dallas won’t make the postseason is if Dak Prescott sits out the whole year. Even then, Andy Dalton just became the top backup quarterback in his favorite city, so they’ll be set.

Giddy up for a season of success in the Lone Star State — specifically on the offensive side of the ball. With the addition of CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys could set the tone against the Rams to open the season. Throw in the fact that of all the NFC rosters have the most manageable schedule on both sides of the coin.

Good ole Jerry Jones has had a nice run of good deeds this offseason. Now, let’s see if he can finally get that Lombardi trophy back to Arlington. If they can win two of three against the 49ers, Vikings, and Ravens, expect the Mike McCarthy era to be the sunrise of success the fan base has been waiting for.

Philadelphia Eagles: 9-7 

The Eagles might have reached for Jalen Reagor, but they addressed both their needs at cornerback and wide receiver. Now, it’s time to see if those needs can translate over to the regular season by the form of wins.

The Eagles should be flying high until Week 4 against San Francisco. After that, the Ravens could ruffle their feathers in Week 6. Games against Pittsburgh, Dallas, Cleveland, and Green Bay on the road will give fans a better picture of how the season will end.

Still, with a more relaxed schedule for Philadelphia, expect the Eagles to post a similar record, but perform stronger to begin the new decade.

New York Giants: 6-10

Joe Judge will be in for a more stringent test than he ever was in New England. That said, the Giants should only continue to grow with the young stars taking the next step.

New York will face Dallas and Philadelphia twice next season, but games against Washington and New England could have them picking up quality wins. The team will play host to the 49ers in Week 3, hoping the Niners are still suffering from a Super Bowl sour taste. They’ll also have to travel to Baltimore, who, at this point, could be set to test everyone for the Lombardi trophy.

New York won four games in 2019, meaning expectations for the team are low. If they could grab a meaningful win over Arizona, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, things could be heading in the right direction.

Washington Redskins: 5-11

Ron Rivera has never had anything less than a six-win season. If Dwayne Haskins and the offensive line prove they’re capable, perhaps he won’t. For now, though, let’s not hold our breath.

The team will be hard at work figuring out how to fix their losing ways, but games against Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are going to sting. The 31st-ranked offense will be going up against four top-10 ranked defense from last season and still need to find ways to beat teams at their speed like Cincinnati and Arizona.

Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and an improved defense should keep the Skins alive late in games. The problems will come on offense and if Haskins can take the necessary jumps. Until you see it, don’t believe it.

NFC North

Minnesota Vikings: 11-5

If you can’t keep it, replace it. That’s the Viking’s war hymn, and they proved they’ll address needs come draft night as much as possible. With the departures of Stefon Diggs, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes, much will be asked of Justin Jefferson, Jeff Gladney, and Cameron Dantzler.

If the offensive line continues to flourish, it should allow Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins to lead the charge in the division. Games against New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Houston, and Seattle on the road will test the younger warriors, but they could rebound at home against the likes of Tennessee, Atlanta, and Jacksonville.

If the rookies reach their potential this season, the Vikings are a sure-fire Super Bowl contender. And with the drama ensuring around the rest of the division, they could be the easy pick.

Green Bay Packers: 10-6

Last season, Green Bay went 13-3, winning the NFC North and securing a first-round bye. Maybe a receiver could have pushed them down to Miami, but instead, they feel comfortable with who is on the roster. That could be a problem with games against Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco and Tampa Bay — all rosters who are expected to make runs for the playoffs. Still, three of the rosters finished in the bottom half of pass defense last year.

Will Green Bay diminish? A little. Are they still a playoff contender? Much like their “at home” schedule announcement, it wouldn’t be the postseason without them.

Chicago Bears: 8-8

The Bears are going to be the “what if” franchise so long as Mitch Trubisky is under center. Most times, 8-8 is enough, but a poor season with the former No.2 pick is going to hold back a franchise ready to win now.

Much like the team, Chicago’s schedule is right in the middle. Perhaps the cold weather could help Matt Nagy and Co. earn a pair of wins over New Orleans and Houston. Their road trips against Indianapolis and Tampa Bay are going to hurt them should Trubisky be the deciding factor of the team’s fate. 

Chicago isn’t a bad team, but if the quarterback position isn’t resolved, expect nothing better than another middle of the road season in the Windy City. 

Detroit Lions: 4-12

Did Detroit get better this offseason? Absolutely. Will it be enough to contend in the NFC North? Probably not — in fact, it won’t.

The Lions will be tested with one of the hardest schedules this year. On top of facing the division devils, games against Tennessee’s defensive front or Chicago’s secondary will likely lead to a pair of losses. Plus, Houston on Thanksgiving or a road trip down to Atlanta could be decided within the first drive.

Animal Crossing first made headlines in 2001. That was 10 years after the team won their last playoff game. The hit game will still be trending before the Lions make another postseason appearance.

Continue for win-loss projections of both the NFC South and West.

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