The Official Meehan 2014-2015 NFC Preview‏

NFC logo

by Ryan Meehan

The NFL is finally right around the corner, and I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief. Finally football is back on television, and things are back to normal in the sporting world.

When I originally started this piece, it was this extremely long article that covered the league from top to bottom and included the playoffs. But then I realized that before editing it was almost 28 pages long, so I decided to divide it into three parts. Today we’ll start off the week with the NFC, then move to the AFC on Wednesday, and close it out on Friday by taking a look at the playoffs.

NFC South

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Last Year’s Final Standings:

Carolina Panthers (12-4)

New Orleans Saints (11-5)

Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)

All truth be told, this is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot. And after a lot of careful analysis on my part, I have come to one final conclusion: Fuck this division. The Panthers shocked everybody by taking this division last year, but with a mobile quarterback who’s still young and very few offensive weapons they likely won’t sustain it for much longer. They have a great defense, but even the greatest of stoppers can’t succeed if they are on the field for forty minutes a game. Thurman Thomas probably thinks the Panthers could do better with regards to time of possession, and that’s not good territory to be wading in. Yeah, the Saints are good. If you have Drew Brees in your fantasy league you’ll likely clean house, if that’s how that works. But who cares? They don’t have the roster to make a Super Bowl run like they did five years ago, even though I believe they’ll get close. And don’t even get me started on Tampa…when Doug Martin is the only star power in town you’re in trouble. Which brings me to the Atlanta Falcons…where do I start? They lost one of the best receivers in the league to an injury after a month, were ranked last in the league in rushing, and are so inconsistent it’s pointless for me to even write a joke here because the only thing I’d be able to compare their consistency to would be that of the Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan could come out and have an amazing year, but what does he care? He’s already got his money. The Falcons seem to be full of guys who have that attitude.

Projected 2014 Standings

New Orleans Saints (11-5) (2)

Carolina Panthers (9-7)

Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13)

The Saints will win this division easily, and Drew Brees will have another one of his high stat seasons. I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to say here otherwise, as I just struggle to find this division interesting.

NFC East

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Last Year’s Final Standings:

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

Dallas Cowboys (8-8)

New York Giants (7-9)

Washington Redskins (3-13)

Speaking of divisions that aren’t going to produce any Super Bowl contenders, the NFC East promises to deliver a lot of drama and very little superior-grade football. The Eagles won the division last year, once again ripping the heart out of the Cowboys which always makes for great television. My Giants were beyond awful, kept out of the cellar only by the Washington Redskins and the play of their star quarterback Derrick Rose. In all seriousness, this will be a battle between Dallas and Philadelphia. Since I can’t really trust Philly all that much I am taking Dallas to win the division. Regardless of the fact that his eyes are smashed so close together he could technically be considered a Cyclops, I like Nick Foles way more than I like Tony Romo. But something about Philly makes me really uneasy and there’s no way in hell they win this division by two games two years in a row.

The main reason I can’t trust the Eagles to make this work again has a lot to do with this belief that I have in Dallas to have a very solid regular season. If not now, when? I mean, I guess why not five years ago but who am I to judge what they’re trying to do down there? The Cowboys are the ones who have printed out home playoff tickets already, and as much as it would make me fall over laughing to see them have to refund all of that money – I’m just not that lucky.

Projected 2014 Standings

Dallas Cowboys (10-6) (4)

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) (6)

New York Giants (5-11)

Washington Redskins (5-11)

So yes, this is what you are reading: A New York Giants fan is picking the Dallas Cowboys with confidence to win the NFC East this year. I say that with no hesitation whatsoever, and it has nothing to do with my overall disdain with the Philthadelphia Iggles. However as you will soon find out on Friday, I will get my revenge here once we get into the playoff portion of this year’s predictions.

NFC North

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Last Year’s Final Standings:

Green Bay Packers (8-7-1)

Chicago Bears (8-8)

Detroit Lions (7-9)

Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1)

This is the division that I see most on FOX because of where I live, so I’m quite familiar with the teams in this foursome even though I’m not proud of it. The Packers and the Bears came down to a crucial week seventeen game last year in which we once again realized Jay Cutler makes way too much money.

Aaron Rodgers is more of an X-factor than just your average small market football fan would like you to believe. Remember how poor they were when he went down? We all learned that with Seneca Wallace in charge, that was a below average football team. But he seems to turn it into a much better than average squad when he’s on the field…I don’t know if it’s his height, his strength, or just the fact that he commands so much attention when it comes to execution of the play. The one thing I do know is I will gladly take him over Cutler.

So this brings me to the Bears. This is generally the time in the article where anyone who lives near me and is a Bears fan stops reading because I fail to pick their team to finish 13-3 or higher, and that’s fine. I’ve learned to live with it, just like Bears fans will soon learn to live with the realization that with Cutler in charge they will never be too far from .500 in either direction. They have the 15th toughest schedule in the league, and as a result will finish somewhere around as many wins as losses. I’m sorry I don’t have any better news for you, but not really.

I already said on the Dubscast that one of my bizarre predictions for this season is that Calvin Johnson will get hurt and send the Detroit Lions into a talespin of epic proportions, but I can’t know that both of those things will happen early on in the season so I think they’re a six win team. The Vikings on the other hand could be the worst team in the league, a very real possibility that will likely be confirmed when they lose at Tampa in week eight. My point is there isn’t really anything to see here. Move along.

Projected 2014 Standings

Green Bay Packers (10-6) (3)

Chicago Bears (7-9)

Detroit Lions (6-10)

Minnesota Vikings (2-14)

I can’t envision a scenario where Green Bay is going to be a whole lot more than two wins better than they were last year. If nothing else, this is the NFC’s AFC South if you will – a division that it’s great to be in because the competition is so poor.

NFC West

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Last Year’s Final Standings:

Seattle Seahawks (13-3)

San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Arizona Cardinals (10-6)

St. Louis Rams (7-9)

Finally, something worth noting. I’ve gone on record as saying that the NFC West is the single most brutal division in all of professional sports. If you don’t believe me, ask the Arizona Cardinals who went 10-6 last year and missed the playoffs. You show me a Cardinals fan that doesn’t hate the Chargers right now and I’ll show you a moose that juggles chainsaws and does improv in West Hollywood. There is no better example of the dominance that the NFC puts forth than this division, and it isn’t hard to see why. Seattle is the favorite, as they won that public execution disguised as a Super Bowl back in February. Their rivalry with the San Francisco 49ers is turning into most electrifying series in the league, and with at least two meetings set to take this year maybe we will find out if Michael Crabtree is finally going to shove Richard Sherman’s facemask down his own throat. Arizona had the most surprising season last year, improving significantly with a guy that I consider to be a mediocre quarterback at the helm of the offense. That leaves us with the hapless St. Louis Rams, who will likely play pretty good football a majority of the year, but have nothing to show for it. While it was a blessing for St. Louis to be playing in this division just a few years back, it’s a total nightmare now and almost a guarantee that they won’t make the playoffs for several years to come.

Projected 2014 Standings

San Francisco 49ers (13-3) (1)

Seattle Seahawks (11-5) (5)

Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

St. Louis Rams (5-11)

Although I love the way the Seahawks play the game (as if it’s a street fight with no referees present) this is the year where I think that a couple teams in this division can take them out at home. Eventually they’ll end up being too jacked up for their own good, and lose their temper after not getting all the calls they usually get in that building. They will still be a very good defensive football team, but this is the year I believe the Niners get the better of them.

Summary

The NFC is the better half of this year’s NFL.  The level of play is much more elevated and the rosters are just much better.  I’d be willing to bet that if you asked the average free agent at 24 years old which conference he’d rather play in, he would almost surely say the NFC.  But I’d be willing to bet that if you asked him the same question at thirty-one the answer would be the exact opposite.  Shit gets real in the NFC…they might not have Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but they do have a lot of guys that will take your head off or put you in a wheelchair.  The AFC is much more laid back, because so many of its teams don’t have a shot in hell at making the playoffs.  We’ll discuss that on Wednesday.

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

 

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