National Football Conference (NFC)
Winner: New York Giants
Despite the extremely impressive rookie campaigns by both QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott, it is very possible they enter into a sophomore slump in 2017. While the Cowboys will still put on a respectable season, it will not compare to their success in 2016. The Giants on the other hand, who finished just two games behind Dallas in 2016 made some significant improvements. Adding WR Brandon Marshall opposite of superstar WR Odell Beckham Jr. arguably created the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. The addition of TE Evan Engram in the draft should give plenty of options for QB Eli Manning and surge the Giants into the number one spot.
Winner: Green Bay Packers
Although it is going to be close with the Lions, Green Bay will finish the season with the first spot. QB Aaron Rodgers is consistent every season and especially thrives in divisional games. While the retirement of LB A.J. Hawk may impact their linebacker core, it is very difficult to stop Green Bay’s high powered offense consisting of WR Randall Cobb, WR Jordy Nelson, and WR Davonte Adams.
Winner: Atlanta Falcons
Still bitter from how their season ended in 2016, the Falcons should come back stronger than ever with a vengeance. It will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator and former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian affects the high powered Falcons offense, but indications from Matt Ryan make it seem as though the transition is going fine. The Falcons have arguably the most talented wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones. If QB Matt Ryan can repeat his astounding 2016 season, then the Falcons should have no problem getting to the top of the division.
Winner: Seattle Seahawks
Although it would make a lot of sense to put the Cardinals in first place, the Seahawks still have the edge. The Seahawks defense is not what it used to be a few years ago, but they still have enough weapons for it to be scary. Assuming FS Early Thomas comes back healthy and CB Richard Sherman continues to produce, the defense should continue to thrive. The signing of RB Eddie Lacy is also an underrated move. His contract provides some very generous incentives for his production and if he can produce like he did in past years, then the Seahawks may have found themselves another Marshawn Lynch.
By Eric Spiniello Photo Credit: Twitter-NFL