The 2010 NFL Season is upon us. Here’s an outlook on the 2010 NFC teams. The teams are ranked from worst to first in the conference.
16. St Louis Rams
The Rams have a good coach in Steve Spagnuolo and a top overall draft pick in quarterback Sam Bradford, but the road to winning is just beginning. It is unclear if Bradford will be the starter at the beginning of the season, but he figures to take over at some point. The Rams have a talented running back in Steven Jackson, but he might wear down if he keeps getting carries. St Louis should improve from their one win last year, but they need a lot of work on all sides of the ball before they can start contending.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The days of dominant defenses in Tampa Bay are over. The Bucs are very young, starting with head coach Raheem Morris and second year QB Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay showed life last year, getting wins against playoff teams Green Bay and New Orleans. But the defense is weak and the skill position players are lacking. Tampa Bay will be hard pressed to add to its win total.
14. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are breaking in a new coach for the 2nd straight season. Pete Carroll left USC for his shot in Seattle. The Seahawks are likely to go with Matt Hasselbeck at QB, but Charlie Whitehurst isn’t far behind. The defense should be better, but there aren’t a lot of weapons on offense. Carroll is a great coach, but he could struggle early in Seattle.
13. Washington Redskins
Washington made a huge splash in bringing in Donovan McNabb at QB. New coach Mike Shanahan was a great hire, but the Redskins are still paying the price for many bad contracts and a poorly constructed roster. They’re on the right track, but it will take a year. The running back position is old, and the drama with Albert Haynesworth won’t help. The schedule is also tough.
12. Carolina Panthers
Carolina is very young on both sides of the ball. The quarterback position is full of unproven players. Coach John Fox is in the final year of his deal, and that could be a distraction. They have talent at receiver and running back, but leadership could be a major concern.
11. Detroit Lions
The Lions will be much better. Matthew Stafford has shown signs of improvement, and Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the NFL. The defense should be better following some key signings and draft picks on the defensive line, which should help improve a dreadful pass defense. The Lions are in a tough division, but expect them to surprise a few teams.
10. Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler may have a lot of talent, but he has not shown it with wins. He was terrible last season, and is working with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Martz. The Bears defense also failed them last year, but should get a boost with Brian Urlacher returning from injury. Chicago has the talent to be good, but a lot must happen.
9. New York Giants
After a strong measure of success, the Giants struggled last season. Departures on defense caught up to them, and the offensive line didn’t show up in some games. Additions like Antrel Rolle could help on defense, and the receiving corps should be better with more experience. But the Giants will need some help if they want to regain playoff form.
8. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals lost QB Kurt Warner to retirement and will try Matt Leinart once again. Leinart has potential, but has struggled mightily when given chances. The running game, lead by Chris Wells and Tim Hightower, is solid. The defense has a lot of question marks but could be serviceable. The Cardinals play in a weak division, so they could wind up contending with some help.
7. Minnesota Vikings
Brett Favre is back, but duplicating his 2009 season won’t be easy. Wideout Sidney Rice is gone for at least half the season, and Adrian Peterson is still prone to fumbling. The defense is stellar, and will keep Minnesota in many games. The schedule will be tough to navigate, and the friction between Favre and coach Brad Childress could boil over.
6. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have a lot of potential, but mainly earn this spot based on being the best team in the NFC West. They will struggle against other teams outside their division. But the same could have been said of the Cardinals the past two seasons, and they won four playoff games in that stretch. Alex Smith is the key to making the 49ers go.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
McNabb is gone, but Kevin Kolb should be able to deliver. The Eagles are stacked at the skill positions, but the offensive line needs to be healthy. The secondary is young but athletic. The front seven figures to be much improved as well. The Eagles will be tested earlier, but should challenge Dallas in the NFC East again.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas has a ton of talent, and they’ll be motivated to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium. Dallas finally snapped their playoff losing streak last season, but still shows struggle in big games. If Tony Romo continues to mature, they will have a shot to win the NFC.
3. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan has guided the Falcons to consecutive winning seasons. He has some solid targets in Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White. Michael Turner is also back and healthy to lead the running game. The Falcons defense is underrated, and they could pull some surprises. Atlanta has a schedule that could cause them to surprise and make a strong playoff run.
2. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are the defending champs, but sometimes that means a hangover. Still, Drew Brees is arguably the best quarterback in the game. He is fully capable of keeping the Saints at the top of the standings. New Orleans has a lot of talent on offense, and their defense showed up when it mattered most last year.
1. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks, and the Packers are strong on both lines. The defense rose last year after a terrible 2008 season. The skill positions are strong, lead by RB Ryan Grant. Expect the Packers to be in the home field advantage conversation all season long.
Falcons over 49ers
Eagles over Cowboys
Packers over Eagles
Falcons over Saints
Packers over Falcons