Welcome back to another 6 in, 6 out article where I will be dissecting the fates of some of your favorite NFL teams. Which teams will miss the playoffs after making them the year before? Which teams will make the playoff leap and grab the newly vacant seats? Today, I will be focusing on the NFC conference, where there is no shortage of competition. If you haven’t already done so, check out Part 1 of this series (https://sportsfanentertainment.com/2017/07/18/6-6-nfl-playoffs-revolving-door-part-1/) where playoff predictions were made for the AFC conference.
Just like before, I will be choosing 3 teams from the conference who will break through to the playoffs, as well as the 3 teams who they will replace. If recent history suggests anything, these predictions will have to be bold to succeed. Don’t believe me? Just look at last year’s playoff teams in the NFC. The top 2 seeds were the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons, and they didn’t even make the playoffs the year before! Even though this may not happen again, it proves that the NFC race is anything but a foregone conclusion.
Get your skeptical faces ready once again because it’s time to see into the future…
Residing in the NFC are legit quarterbacks and lots of them. The list ranges from proven signal callers such as Rodgers, Brees, Wilson, and Eli Manning (all Super Bowl winners) to up and coming stars like Prescott, Winston, and Wentz. There is no easy route to the playoffs, creating a revolving door of teams moving even faster than the AFC. With little room for error, upsets are bound to occur, and NO ONE is safe.
You don’t usually hear a whole lot of positive news coming from our nation’s capital, and this includes its football team. From RG3 drama to dysfunction within the front office, the Redskins haven’t had a ton going for them. This could very well be Kirk Cousins’ last year as their franchise QB before he bolts for a mega deal to the highest bidder. However, this is exactly why Cousins will play at a higher level. What better way to cash in than by leading an average roster to a wild card berth? Lady Luck might also be on their side, as an unexpected team could falter in the NFC East due to a sophomore slump…
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As a popular choice for breakout team of the year next season, the Buccaneers look impressive, particularly on paper. The offensive combination of Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and rookie TE O.J. Howard is no joke. If Winston can continue to develop at his current pace, this has the makings of a wild card team for sure. The Falcons are still in the driver’s seat, but Tampa Bay will pose a threat. I need to see more from the defense, however, if they are to take over the division this upcoming season.
Speaking of high hopes, remember when the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl conversation before last season began? Well, not only did they come up short, they tumbled out of the starting line. Something tells me that season could have ended differently had they beaten the Brady-less Patriots during week 1. Don’t forget this team still has a stout defense, a strong WR core, and a top 3 running back in David Johnson. The hopes all ride on QB Carson Palmer, but I think he can get it done one more time before calling it quits. The NFC West is the most forgiving in the conference, with the Seahawks as the lone obstacle.
I hope I got your attention with this one. That’s right, the #1 seed 13-3 Dallas Cowboys will not be playing football come January. This team was great last year, no question about it, but it’s 2017 now. There are some serious issues the Cowboys must address and prepare for if they want to repeat their winning ways. Let’s start with the secondary. Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox ALL left in free agency. Replacing 4 DB’s is no easy task, and one has to wonder if Byron Jones is ready to lead the next group as a #1 guy. On the other side of the ball, the offensive line lost guard Ronald Leary, and don’t think that won’t affect the running game. Lastly, the NFL has had a full offseason to prepare for rookie standouts Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Additionally, a certain someone could be suspended down the road. In as tough of a division as they are in, I predict America’s team will hit a major bump in the road to the playoffs.
This one hopefully didn’t surprise you as much. The Lions aren’t a team that impressed too many people last season, but they do deserve some credit. They were able to hold their own and pull away with eight 4th quarter comeback wins, which set an NFL record for a single season. Unfortunately, that also shows they were behind an awful lot towards the end of games. Since they still haven’t found a way to run the ball effectively, it’s hard to trust that their success will continue. Matthew Stafford does have ten healthy fingers this season, so he could still prove me wrong.
It seems there aren’t enough playoff spots to go around. With the Redskins and Buccaneers both securing wild card births, it will come down to the Cardinals and Seahawks to win the division or go home. This pick feels the most awkward out of the rest, but something tells me they’re due for a slip-up. The defense is getting older, the offensive line is still bad, and we don’t have a clue what Eddie Lacy will eat for dinner tonight. With the recent trend of likable QBs receiving major injuries, I can’t help but think Russell Wilson is next on the list, especially with the poor protection around him. Pray for good health and low carbs!
There you have it! If you agreed, disagreed, or have your own predictions, please leave them in the comments below. If you have any suggestions for future article topics, let me know as well.