Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NFC Preview 2013

Sorry about the delay, but let's finish the 2013 NFL forecast by taking a look at the NFC.

NFC East:

If the Giants are going to get back to the postseason, it's going to be with the cast they now have. They let running back Ahmad Bradshaw (Indianapolis) and defensive standouts Osi Umenyiora (Atlanta) & Chris Canty (Baltimore) go via free agency, and almost lost wideout Ramses Barden, who re-upped when he couldn't find anyone on the open market. However, after what happened last season, the hill is steeper.

That's because Philadelphia finally cut coach Andy Reid (Kansas City), and brought in college whiz Chip Kelly from Oregon. The Eagles then drafted Matt Barkley out of USC, but all he'll do at the start of the season is carry a clipboard for Michael Vick. They tried shopping Nick Foles, but found no takers. Barkley will be well served waiting his turn instead of being thrust into the spotlight immediately, unlike his predecessor at USC, Mark Sanchez (Jets). Dallas is the same, and will remain so as long as owner Jerry Jones, who still thinks he knows how to build a team and won't hire a GM, wears too many hats. Washington won the division last year, blessed not only with Robert Griffin III at QB, but also Kirk Cousins. Rex Grossman's days in DC may be yet numbered, especially if comeback kid Pat White, who washed out in Miami 4 years ago, can prove he can still play. Washington returns almost the same cast, and will have Subway pitchman Griffin at QB on opening day.

Back to the Giants. Running backs David Wilson & Andre Brown won't be sneaking up on anyone this year, and the defense has to step up to make up for the losses. Like the Jets, the Big Blue got an ex-Panther, Dan Connor (who was in Dallas last year) via free agency, but he promptly got into legal trouble. Must be something in the waters down in Charlotte.

Projected order of finish:

1. Philadelphia. 2. Washington. 2 (tie). Giants. 4. Dallas.

NFC North:

The Green Bay Packers are the NFC's answer to the New England Patriots, except they don't take shortcuts to success. They never have to. As per usual, the division is theirs to lose, and as long as Aaron Rodgers and friends don't get sidetracked making more of those stupid commercials for State Farm, they'll be fine. Maybe they can loan out Clay Matthews, Jr. to the WWE to straighten out the mess there after the season. I digress. Detroit may be a player for sure, now that they swapped out Jahvid Best, who at last check hadn't signed anywhere, for Reggie Bush at running back. Bush is revitalized, or so it seemed after he ran through the buttery Patriot defense last week. If only Ndamakong Suh can go through a season without getting into trouble. Minnesota made another mistake, letting receiver Percy Harvin go, as he followed Sidney Rice to Seattle. Not smart. Chicago dumped coach Lovie Smith for Marc Trestman, but that won't change things in the division by December.

Projected order of finish:

1. Green Bay. 2. Detroit. 3. Chicago. 4. Minnesota.

NFC South:

They're raving about Carolina after the Panthers beat the Super Bowl champion Ravens last week. Meh, whatever. They got Ted Ginn, Jr. from San Francisco via free agency, which will prove costly to the Niners. Tampa Bay's defense improved with the acquisition of Darrelle Revis from the Jets, but 2nd year coach Greg Schiano needs to improve the offense, too. Atlanta gets Osi Umenyiora to shore up the defensive line. 9 years ago, they did the same thing, getting John Abraham from the Jets, and he's still around. New Orleans seemingly stands pat, but this is the toughest division in the league, and now all 4 teams are contenders.

Projected order of finish:

1. New Orleans. 2. Atlanta. 3. Carolina. 3 (tie). Tampa Bay.

NFC West: 

As noted, San Francisco gave up Ted Ginn, Jr., and that will weaken special teams as well as the offense. They also gave up on ex-Giant Brandon Jacobs, cutting him before the post-season, denying him his 2nd straight Super Bowl appearance. Not sure where Jacobs is playing, if at all, this year. Seattle added Percy Harvin to their collection of receivers, giving Russell Wilson an extra burner to throw to. Nice. Arizona starts over, having jettisoned coach Ken Whisenhunt and QB Kevin Kolb. Back to the drawing board for the Cardinals. St. Louis doesn't look like anything changed there, either, but they won't be in the cellar.

Projected order of finish:

1. Seattle. 2. San Francisco. 3. St. Louis. 4. Arizona.

Wild cards: Washington & San Francisco. Sorry, Giants fans.

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