Tuesday, August 29, 2017

NFL 2017 Preview, conclusion: NFC South & West

Let's just get right to it.

NFC South:

Atlanta could've won the Super Bowl, if but for some bone-headed plays against the Evil Empire (New England). QB Matt Ryan enters his 10th season in the league, looking to take the next step forward and bring the Lombardi Trophy home, which would properly christen the Falcons' new stadium. However, don't discount Carolina. Yes, the Panthers had an off year, and QB Cam Newton is recovering from some injury issues, but I suspect strongly they'll be in the thick of things. In Tampa Bay, it's year 3 of the Jameis Winston era. Running back Doug Martin begins the season suspended, which takes away some offensive depth. New Orleans will fight for a playoff spot, but one wonders if Drew Brees will have any more chances after this season.

Projected order of finish:

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

NFC West:

In their first year back in Los Angeles, the Rams were undone by the stubborn mule mentality of then-coach Jeff Fisher, who was gone before the season was over, simply because he didn't see any value in letting QB Jared Goff take his chances as a rookie. Seems as though that will keep the Rams out of the playoffs for at least another year. Arizona and Seattle are still the class of the division, and will remain so until the Rams and San Francisco can move back into contention. In the case of the Niners, the post-Colin Kaepernick era can't begin soon enough, but there is still some fallout from Kaepernick's antics last year, as players around the league are still taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. The situation is worse now with a deranged lunatic in the White House. Digression over. I see the Niners falling back to pre-Joe Montana numbers. As in, buried deep in the basement. The Seahawks will ride their defense, more so than QB Russell Wilson, back to the playoffs, but they're not running away and hiding. If the Cardinals can keep Carson Palmer healthy the entire season, they could take the division.

Projected order of finish:

1. Seattle.
2. Arizona.
3. Los Angeles.
4. San Francisco.

Wild Cards: Giants, Arizona.

Of course, I could be wrong.

No comments: