Pro Football Prediction – #2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

The NFC looks to be much stronger overall than the AFC in the NFL.  For Eagles’ fans, that is not good news.  Add to that, even though there have been  seven repeat winners in the history of the Super Bowl, no team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since New England did it in ’04 and ’05.

Last week, I took a look at how I saw the AFC shaking out in their divisions.  This week, I will focus on the NFC.

NFC West

  1. San Francisco 49ers– For me, they have gone from worst to first.  The 49ers did not make the playoffs last year, but they should this year with Jimmy Garopolo.  He was 5-0 as a starter last year and three of those wins were against teams in the playoffs.  Game one is against Minnesota so I will know early if I am dreaming that the 49ers make the playoffs for the first time in six years.
  2. Los Angeles Rams– I should pick this team to win the division. They did it in 2017. Their defense is outstanding.  Jared Goff looks to be a future star; the offense added more weapons; their defense got stronger (Ndamukong Suh now on the team); their young coach, Sean McVay, appears to be a potential genius.  So will they win their division again?  Probably – I don’t know why I picked the 49ers (but I did).
  3. Seattle Seahawks – Oh, remember when this was the team and the venue no other team wanted to face? No more.  Russell Wilson remains their greatest threat, but he has little around him and the historically great Seattle defense is no more.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – Steve Wilks is the new head coach. Sam Bradford will be at quarterback until Josh Rosen is ready.  The emphasis and strength should be on the defense.  This will not be their year.

NFC South

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Their Super Bowl loss two years ago (a game they should have won) appeared to have carried over to last year when they were 10-6 and finished third in their division. They should be over it now.  Their offense looks to be unstoppable with talent at all of the skill positions.  The defense looks good enough.  I’m betting on this team again.
  2. New Orleans Saints– If the defense is good, this team wins. Drew Brees is still one of the elite QBs in the league and even with a decent defense, he usually will get you enough points to win.  And this year, the defense looks quite capable of getting the job done.  They will battle the Falcons for the title.
  3. Carolina Panthers – Remember that the Falcons, Saints, AND the Panthers all made the playoffs last year and could do it again. This is a good, solid all-around football team.  Cam Newton may still have his best years ahead of him.  The defensive secondary is somewhat suspect and may be their downfall.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – They were 5-11 last year and finished last in their division. It was supposed to be much better than that. Their defense improved in the off-season, but the big improvement needs to come from QB Jameis Winston.  We’ll know right away as they open with the Saints, the Eagles, and the Steelers.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers – This pick is completely based on the healthy return of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were 7-9 last year and the primary reason was the broken collarbone suffered by Rodgers.  They added tight end Jimmy Rodgers, a real asset, and the defense looks better.  So, keep Rodgers healthy and they are my favorite to win the North.
  2. Minnesota Vikings–Watch out for the Vikings coming off a 13-3 season. Much of that success centered on the defense and Case Keenum.  Well, the defense is better, but Case Keenum is gone.  Veteran Kirk Cousins takes over and he can be very good with the right team.  They have won the division two of the last three years – could certainly do it again.
  3. Detroit Lions– I like Matt Stafford at quarterback. I also like the Lions (three winning seasons the last four years).  Head coach Matt Patricia is a defensive guru and that is really where they need to improve.   Can they beat the Packers and the Vikings in the four games they play against them?  If yes, then maybe…
  4. Chicago Bears – They have been the North’s last-place team four years in a row and this year should be no exception.  Matt Trubisky starts his second year at QB.  They added some nice pieces, but there aren’t enough to get out of the cellar.

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles won back-to-back East titles in 2004. They won the Super Bowl last year!  Can they repeat in both categories?  It looks like they are even better this year.  They have two solid starters at QB in Wentz and Foles; an outstanding running game; offensive line; defensive group, etc., etc.E-A-G-L-E-S!!!
  1. Dallas Cowboys – Speaking of QBs, Dak Prescott was not as good last year as he was the previous year and the Ezekial Elliot six-game suspension did not help either. They did not, however, improve their receiving corps.  Jason Witten went to ESPN and they lost Dez Bryant.  That’s their weakness.
  2. New York Giants – I so much wanted to pick the Giants ahead of the Cowboys. But they were 3-13 last year.  And their defense was awful – particularly in the secondary where they had some of the worst numbers in the league.  My hope is that Whitehall’s Saquon Barkley finds a way to electrify Eli Manning and the offense and it carries over to the defense.  Go Giants – beat Dallas!!
  3. Washington Redskins – They had two consecutive winning seasons before their 7-9 year in 2018. Kirk Cousins was their best player and he is gone.  Alex Smith takes over coming from Kansas City.  He is good, but Cousins was sacked 41 times last year.  Can Smith survive that?  My guess here is “No”.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Since this seems to be prediction time, before actual games are played, let me suggest to you my choices for the high school football season. Even though it appears that Emmaus should have the best skill position people this year, it is difficult to pick against six-time District champion Parkland.  I also like Beca to be in the mix for the EPC South title.  There are plenty of other teams in this extremely tough division to create upsets almost every weekend.  Until someone else proves they can do it, I like Parkland again.  Ho-hum!
  1. The Colonial league should be just as competitive with four teams with enough talent to win it all – Saucon Valley, Southern Lehigh, Palisades, and Notre Dame. Our opening high school game – Saucon Valley at Southern Lehigh – may answer some early questions.  I like the creativity of Phil Stambaugh’s Notre Dame offense and the throwing ability of record-setting QB Cole DeFranco.
  1. Northampton moves to the EPC North Division under first-year head coach Kyle Haas. This move is good for the Konkrete Kids and maybe not so good for the North.  Stroudsburg will battle for the title.  I’ll stay local and pick Northampton.
  1. I know the Eagles did not look very good against the Patriots on Thursday night. It was their second lackluster showing in the NFL exhibition season.  Don’t worry – except to shake off rust and complacency, these games mean absolutely nothing!
  1. The Astros looked like they were going to run away with their division in the American league much like the Red Sox were doing in the AL East. The Astros were ten games up over the Oakland Athletics back on July 10.  As I am writing this, the A’s are now tied with Houston for first place in the AL West.  The Phillies continue to hang in there, too, in the NL East and one can hope that they will battle the Braves and Nationals to the end.

 

 

 

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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