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Way-Too-Early 2019 Playoff Predictions: NFC

It’s that time of the year again. Every die-hard football fan is looking for some information or speculation to satisfy their appetites until preseason. In effect, it is the perfect time to make rash predictions about the upcoming season. Make your claims now, so that in a few months you can say “I told you so” … Or pretend it never happened.

Do not be led astray by would-be prophets however. These are the TRUE winningest teams of the 2019 season.

NFC North – Packers, Lions, Bears, Vikings

Winner: Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

— The Vikings might be one of the most well-balanced teams in the NFL. Dalvin Cook, Stephon Diggs, Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, and an above average offensive line will be putting up a lot of points in 2019 as long as they stay healthy. On Defense, stars like Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Danielle Hunter will continue to assert dominance and Minnesota will have one of the top defenses in the league once again.

— Only a healthy Aaron Rodgers can truly threaten this stacked Minnesota team next year. Even if he returns to MVP-caliber in 2019, Rodgers needs more threats to look for and a stronger defense to compete with the Vikings. They attempted to address the receiver and defensive back positions in the 2018 draft, but it will be some time before these players are ready to compete.They did pick up a solid veteran presence at tight end through free agency however, which may prove useful in short-yardage situations.

NFC South – Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints

Winner: Carolina Panthers (11-5)

— Cam Newton is ready to return to MVP form in 2019. He is one of the most athletic
quarterbacks to ever enter the NFL, sitting at 6’5 and casually outrunning linebackers. With proper weapons around him, he will be extremely dangerous in 2019. DJ Moore appears to be an emerging star, performing far above expectations in OTA’s and developing quickly. Christian McCaffery proved to be one of the more versatile backs coming out of the 2017 draft and was their second-best receiver in 2018. The defense, as always, is anchored by Ol’ Reliable Luke Kuechly and will continue to dominate offenses as it has for most of the past decade.

— The Falcons are coming off of a down year. Matt Ryan did not maintain his MVP-worthy production, and Julio Jones is still looking for a restructured contract. That being said, one may never count Atlanta out completely. Julio will do Julio things, Devonta Freeman will be a powerhouse, and Calvin Ridley may be what they need to finally win the Big Game. If Steve Sarkisian can solve the puzzle in time, the Falcons will have a top 5 offense on top of one of the better (and youngest) defenses in the NFC.

NFC East – Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)

— This should come as a surprise to no one. The Eagles won a Super Bowl against Tom Brady and the Patriots without their starting quarterback.

Did they have any holes to fill last year? No. Did they lose any key players in the offseason? Not really. Philadelphia easily has the most talented depth in the NFL, an amazing head coach in Doug Pederson, and will easily manhandle its divisional rivals.

— On a more personal note, I am a Giants fan. It physically hurt to write that paragraph.

NFC West – Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams, 49ers

Winner: Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

— The Rams are the single most underrated team this year. Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley are the defending defensive and offensive players of the year. Jared Goff took an enormous step forward in his career. They added Brandin Cooks, who is a top 5 wide receiver. They needed better defensive backs, so they acquired Aqib Talib (5-time pro-bowler) and Marcus Peters (2-time pro-bowler). They needed someone to help Aaron Donald rush the quarterback, so the signed Ndamukong Suh (5-time pro-bowler). This team is absolutely stacked with young talent and veteran Hall of Fame hopefuls. No other team is more prepared to compete.

Conference Champions – Los Angeles Rams

The Rams and Eagles will both come into the championship game with confidence. The game will start slow, but quickly turn into a shootout in the second half. Fletcher Cox will have a career game and sack Jared Goff twice. In the end however, Todd Gurley will make a play to take the lead, and the game will be sealed with a late-game interception by Marcus Peters.

Rams win 38-34

Author: Addison Willmon

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