Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 NFC Playoff Seeding Predictions

1. Green Bay Packers (13-3): The Packers are basically a lock for winning the NFC North for the fifth straight year due to a lack of competition within their division. Green Bay suffered no major losses in the offseason and managed to re-sign receiver Randall Cobb to create a solid receiving corp for Aaron Rodgers. And even though the Packers must play all four NFC West teams this year, the game against the mighty Seahawks will be in Lambeau.
2. Seattle Seahawks (12-4): After appearing in the past two Super Bowls, the Seahawks are poised for a return to the Big Game in 2016. Quite possible the weakest part of Seattle's depth chart was its receiving corp, but by trading for All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, dual threat quarterback Russell Wilson will lead one of the most productive offenses in the league. The Legion of Boom lost cornerback Byron Maxwell to free agency, but the core of this legendary secondary remains intact. The Seahawks are bound to earn a first round bye for the third year in a row.

3. Carolina Panthers (10-6): Cam Newton suffered career lows in almost every single major statistical category last season after losing receiver Steve Smith. The receiving corp has some great young talent lead by second year player Kelvin Benjamin, along with rookie Devin Funchess. Meanwhile, Carolina's defense is still very solid, especially with the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly being one of the league's best players. The race for the NFC South title last year was more or less a pillow fight, but expect the Panthers to see a lot more difficult competition next season as they look for a third straight division title.
4. Dallas Cowboys (10-6): The loss of DeMarco Murray to the division rival Eagles could be detrimental to the Cowboys next season, especially with such a massive hole now at the running back position. Murray's incredible season with the help of the NFL's best offensive line took plenty of pressure off of quarterback Tony Romo and the rest of Dallas' offense. Moreover, a successful running game gave the defense more time to rest off the field, so it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys can continue to remain relatively solid on defense without Murray.

5. Arizona Cardinals (11-5): Hopefully, Arizona's defense will still be able to find success as last year's defensive coordinator leaves for the head coaching job in New York. Bruce Arians is one of the best head coaches in football, and if quarterback Carson Palmer is able to stay healthy, the Cardinals will have yet another chance to dethrone the Seahawks from atop the NFC West.

6. New York Giants (9-7): Second year wide receiver Odell Beckham appears to be one of the most talented young players in recent memory, and with Victor Cruz returning from a season-ending injury, as well as the addition of running back Shane Vereen, New York's passing game has the potential to be lethal in 2015. New York's pass rush lacks the same talent seen by the two Championship winning teams of the past, so it will be interesting to see if Eli Manning can succeed with more pressure on the offensive side of the ball.

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