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NFL Predictions: NFC Edition

Hello again,
Last time we discussed the AFC predictions and today we’ll go over the NFC. Like I mentioned last time, we may or may not agree, but these are all my own opinions. If you disagree, comment and let me know, I encourage everyone to participate. Football is back today so I’m sure everyone is short on patience just waiting for the first NFL game action since the Super Bowl in February. Let’s just get right into it.

NFC East:

-Dallas Cowboys: With or without Ezekiel Elliott, the ‘Boys will finish last place within division.

  • It’ll definitely hurt if Elliott is out for an extended amount of time, but even if he was still there this team was on a tremendous high and played a lot higher than their expectations last year. This season the Cowboys strong suit, their offensive line took a big hit when Doug Free retired and Ron Leary left in free agency. To add salt to the wounds their defense lost some key veterans as well. Everyone is expecting the ‘Boys to take a step forward following a 13-3 season, but I’m not seeing it. Dak Prescott was overrated to me last year and it’ll show this year when he’s the center of attention. First to worst for America’s team.

-New York Giants: The lack of a running game will be the Giants eventual downfall.

  • The Giants have a good starting line-up on defense, have one of the best receiving groups in the league, but have questions all over the running back position. Paul Perkins is the current starter, but hasn’t done anything to impress me. This might the definition of running back by committee all season long. Until someone emerges or just straight plays out of his mind, I’m chalking this up as a major issue and something they’ll need to fix soon. How will the control the clock during the fourth quarter? Hmm, I’ll wait for your answer.

-Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz will double his passing touchdowns total from a year ago. (He threw 16 last year, so he’ll throw 32 or more this year.)

  • Last year’s numbers don’t even begin to describe Carson Wentz’ potential. The touchdown to interception ratio was not all that great (16-14). Although he did throw just north of 3700 yards and that’s impressive for the receivers he was throwing to. This off-season the organization made it a point to surround weapons around their promising ‘franchise’ signal caller adding Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to the receiving corps. These two additions alone should improve the touchdown total and with a non-suspended Lane Johnson playing all 16 games, Wentz will showcase his talent on his way to an even better sophomore year.

-Washington Redskins: Terrelle Pryor will break a Redskins record in one of the three major receiving categories. (Receptions/Yards/Touchdowns)

  • Terrelle Pryor had a career year with the Cleveland Browns and pretty much a different quarterback throwing him the ball each week. Now Pryor is in a situation where he has a legit quarterback that can get him the ball more consistently and more often. Looking at the roster, the Redskins have Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed, and Brian Quick as the only other notable receiving play-makers. Crowder is a glorified slot guy that’ll get you yards and receptions, but not many red-zone looks. Doctson has yet to make a difference for the Redskins and will look to make a name for himself this year. Quick has had some ups and downs during his career, but he’s so far down the pecking order it won’t cut into Pryor’s targets that much. Finally we get to Jordan Reed; He’s good when he is on the field, but he cannot play a full season and once that happens Pryor will see a lot of red-zone targets. Out of the three, receptions, yards and touchdowns, I think the touchdowns are the most reachable. If you thought last year was a break out season for Pryor, just wait until what he does this season.

NFC North:

-Chicago Bears: Kendall Wright will lead the team in receiving yards.

  • After Cameron Meredith went down with a season ending injury, fantasy owners took all every member except Jordan Howard off their board. Well, I’m telling you to consider Kendall Wright because he’s about to explode for the Bears. His last few years with the Titans were disappointing and he got pushed down the roster in favor of younger guys. With no one else really pushing for the number one receiver gig in Chicago, Wright very well could have a career year. Also in his favor is the fact the Bears will be down on the score board a lot this season, so he could get some garbage time stats too. Don’t be afraid to take a change on him.

-Detroit Lions: Ameer Abdullah will run his way into the top 15 in rushing yards.

  • The Detroit Lions have been one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL for a while now. Abdullah showed flashes of his potential during his rookie campaign, but sadly didn’t get a chance to show what he can do in year two with a season ending injury. In 2017 is when he’ll finally grasp the full time starting job and be one of the good break-out players. Jim Bob Cooter took a safer route during the last stretch of the year a season ago and now he’s getting his best runner back to add a respectable running attack. As much as they like putting everything on Matthew Stafford’s shoulders, they want to help him out with a complimentary rush attack.

-Green Bay Packers: Ty Montgomery will not finish the season as the starting running back.

  • Last year Ty Montgomery was a pleasant late season surprise for the Packers. This year teams will be more prepared to stop his talents and abilities as a player in the backfield. I see him struggling early in the season forcing the Packers to give the rookies a chance. Then with the emergence of Jamaal Williams and Adam Jones, the Packers will feel like they can reduce the workload of Montgomery and then eventually replace him.

-Minnesota Vikings: Sam Bradford will lead this team to a division title.

  • Sam Bradford and the Vikings got off to a hot start last year being the last undefeated team. After a mid-season bye week and a string of injuries the team just started to fall apart. This team is back healthy and will some new pieces to help push them over the top. Bradford was the most efficient pass last year and he’s said he wanted to bring a more exciting element to the offense. He can do that now too with running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray being upgrades over Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. Bradford won’t have to play against a field full of defensive backs this year and get more one on one match ups in the passing game. Bradford can build off last year and have a career year on his way to the playoffs for the first time ever.

NFC South:

-Atlanta Falcons: No Super Bowl hangover for the Falcons as they repeat as division winners.

  • The Falcons aren’t like most Super Bowl losers; they kept a good chunk of their team and actually brought in more talent. The embarrassing loss is surly aggravating for the Falcons, but they’ll use it as a point of motivation this season on their way back to the playoffs as division winners. This team is stacked top to bottom and they won’t get the outside noise stand in their way. The dedication of this team will be too much for the rest of the NFC South to contend with.

-Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey will be a total letdown.

  • I understand the Panthers wanted to add a play-making presence to this offense, but McCaffrey just doesn’t fit the scheme. I see him as a Danny Woodhead, Darren Sproles type player and how often do they make or break your team? Listen, I get those type of players are great players for an offense and can do many different things, but would you replace them for an every down back that can actually win games for you? That’s what I thought.

-New Orleans Saints: Michael Thomas will NOT lead this team in receiving yards.

  • With Brandin Cooks leaving town, the expectation was that Michael Thomas was going to completely step forward and take control of everything. Wait a minute here. Thomas was good his rookie year, but he didn’t get double covered and was fortunate enough to take advantage of the entire one on one mismatches presented to him. Thomas will still be a big part of this team, but he’s not going to explode and get 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns like everyone is thinking he’ll get. Brees is going to find his other receivers and still do what he does best, take advantage of the one on one match ups.

-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin will return to fantasy glory emerging as a top ten running back after his three game suspension.

  • With the Buccaneers having a week one bye now thanks to Hurricane Irma, it’s like Martin just has a four game suspension. However, have you seen the field for fantasy running backs? Most teams are in a committee rotation or simply don’t have a solid options to go with. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have a legit number two behind Martin. It was said that Martin could be at risk of losing his job during his suspension, but I don’t see a candidate on the roster that could take his job. Once Martin returns he’ll start tearing up defenses and help this offense go to the next level. Watch out for the Buccs and their offense after week 4.

NFC West:

-Arizona Cardinals: David Johnson will reach his goal of 1000 rushing and 1000 receiving yards for the season.

  • David Johnson is a stud of a player and with the Cardinals not having many offensive weapons outside of himself and Larry Fitzgerald; he’ll get plenty of opportunities. Last year Johnson was close to getting the 1000 mark in each category, but was just shy with a little over 100 yards to go in receiving. The Cardinals will feed their best offensive player as he gives them the best chance to make the playoffs this year.

-Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp will lead all rookies in receptions.

  • I love Cooper Kupp. You should love Cooper Kupp. He’s a bigger, faster and frankly better version of a Wes Welker or Julian Edelman type player. Jared Goff is still developing into a decent quarterback and head coach Sean McVay will make sure that Goff can build up confidence by hitting quick passes off to his slot receiver. Kupp has the all-time receptions record in college and now he’s going to bring his pass catching abilities into the NFL. Put him down as an offensive rookie of the year candidate already; he’s going to be big this year.

-San Francisco 49ers: The San Francisco 49ers will be a lot closer to the playoffs than what people are expecting.

  • The defensive side of the ball will show great improvement and with Kyle Shanahan as the head coach, the offense will be competitive. The 49ers play in a tough division, but they’ll show more promise in the coming years than most are expecting from a team led by Brian Hoyer. The combination of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will be one of the best duos in the league in the future. Don’t sleep on the 49ers; they just might punch you in the mouth even if you win.

-Seattle Seahawks: The Seattle Seahawks will be the undisputed number one seed in the NFC.

  • Have you seen the talent on this defense? It is completely stacked top to bottom. Their backups could be starters on other teams. The defense has been the strength of this team for some time now, but they reloaded the talent and added depth to stay relevant. Russell Wilson will continue to extend plays to find a way to move the ball downfield as well. The running game might not have one dominate runner, but they do have multiple runners to use at their disposal. The rest of the NFC isn’t quite the power house like the Seahawks are and the only threat to take the number one seed is the Atlanta Falcons, but I think the Seahawks have a much easier way to obtaining the number one seed.
That concludes my NFC predictions for the 2017 NFL season. As always leave a comment, like and share us on social media. Follow us on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn and continue to support us on Facebook. Until next time, have a great day!
-Austin Thomas

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