We’ll cover the NFC in this version, in my opinion currently the best conference in the NFL.
NFC East – How hard is it to pick the reigning Super Bowl Champions to come out on top of their division? It seems like a no-brainer. But there’s a lot going on here. The problem is those damn Giants themselves. They play .500 ball until really matters, get hot, and win a Super Bowl. Hello? Which is the real Giants? If I gotta pick a team, it’s New York and here’s why. The Dallas Cowboys are annual folders, and in 2012 they’re already behind the 8-ball with injuries. The Philadelphia Eagles have pinned their hopes of success on a quarterback who can’t stay healthy. The Washington Redskins are going to be better, and could be surprisingly tough, but aren’t there yet.
NFC North – How the Packers didn’t get it done last season is beyond me. But they’ll win the NFC North in 2012, although the rest of the division is rapidly catching up. The Chicago Bears are a playoff team if Cutler stays healthy and the Lions, well, I’d like to say that the Detroit Lions are playoff caliber but they’re undisciplined on and off the field and will probably self-destruct in the second half of the season. The Minnesota Vikings depend too heavily on Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder is a big unknown right now.
NFC West – The San Francisco 49ers will take this one just because of their defense. I’m still not sold on Alex Smith. I think the rest of the NFL will have him figured out in 2012 and he’ll revert to form. I’m torn about the Seattle Seahawks because I like both Marshawn Lynch and Matt Flynn, but Pete Carroll sucks big time in my book. The Arizona Cardinals have a shot at being decent if they abandon Kevin Kolb, pin their hopes on John Skelton, and the Cardinals can stabilize their sucky offensive line. The St. Louis Rams are losers again. Not enough time has passed for new coach Jeff Fisher to get them into contention but I think long term he’ll get the job done.
NFC South – The New Orleans Saints will rise from the detritus of an astoundingly painful offseason and win this division again in 2012. But it’s going to come down to the last game of the season. Surprisingly, I think the Carolina Panthers are the real threat here in the NFC South. Atlanta puts too much faith in Matt Ryan. Julio Jones doesn’t impress me, and neither does their defense which looks to be susceptible to the run in 2012. Tampa Bay could be better but something’s hincky with Josh Freeman.