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NFL · 21 days ago

Predicting the Final NFC Playoff Bracket

Ben DiGiacomo

Ben DiGiacomo

Predicting the Final NFC Playoff Bracket

The NFL season is approaching, and fanbases worldwide are convincing themselves that their time could become the team to beat.

In the NFC, that spot is currently held by the Philadelphia Eagles, but in the NFL, anything can happen, so here are predictions for how the playoff bracket will eventually shake out.

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  • No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the conference on paper, and there is no doubt about that. They have the best quarterback, best skill positions, best offensive line, and arguably the best defense. It’s easy to get a little caught up in the whole Super Bowl hangover notion, but the Eagles have been battle-tested and are led by a strong group of veterans in the locker room that’s been through a Super Bowl experience before. Then there is Jalen Hurts, who preaches accountability through his actions and could be in for another transcendent season. Buy as much stock in the Eagles as you can.

  • No. 2: Seattle Seahawks

I may be a year or two premature, but I believe in what the Seattle Seahawks are building. This roster is loaded, assuming that Geno Smith doesn’t become a liability this season. At the skill positions, they are deep both through the air and on the ground. Defensively, there is undoubtedly more work to be done. Still, starting in the secondary, the Seahawks want to create the second coming of the Legion of Boom with Tariq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon. The front seven is a strong group of on and off-ball linebackers led by Bobby Wagner.

  • No. 3: Detroit Lions

Who would’ve thought that the Detroit Lions would become one of the darlings of the NFL? The Lions should be fun and break through the crowd of a jam-packed NFC North. We already saw what Jared Goff has been able to do in Ben Johnson‘s offensive system, so another year of continuity will make him that much more efficient. Around Goff, the offensive line is elite, and Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the better receivers in football, with the insertion of Jahmyr Gibbs expected to take this offense to another level. Defensively, there is more work to be done, but they invested high draft capital and free agent money into the unit, so they should be improved. They’ll win the division, and Detroit will have themselves a home playoff game.

  • No. 4: Atlanta Falcons

The NFC South is entirely up for grabs. The New Orleans Saints are favored, but I believe in the Atlanta Falcons and what they can do this year. It all comes down to Desmond Ridder, and I’m looking at it as if he can’t be any worse than Marcus Mariota. He needs to build on the final two games he started for the Falcons last year, but he has the pieces around him to succeed. We know what Kyle Pitts can be, and Drake London looked promising in his rookie season with subpar quarterback play. Then there is Bijan Robinson, who is expected to be one of the best running backs from the jump. Defensively, we need to see it to believe it, but their free-agency additions will likely make a massive difference.

  • No. 5: San Francisco 49ers

Every year, a team that was expected to run away with the division doesn’t, and this year, it will be the San Francisco 49ers. While I expect big things up in Seattle to result in this, I also expect the 49ers to take a slight step back. To start, I need to see more from Brock Purdy to believe in him. After an entire offseason where opposing coaches can study tape on him, I anticipate his life will be more difficult this year. Like, he was drafted as Mr. Irrelevant for a reason, right? Next, who knows if Christian McCaffrey will stay healthy for another season? Defensively, they are loaded with talent, but I don’t think people realize how much DeMeco Ryans mattered to this defense last year. Without him, I question if they can be as dominant. 

  • No. 6: Dallas Cowboys

Ah, the Dallas Cowboys are in the wild card spot again; who would’ve thought? Who is going to knock them out of the playoffs this year? Kidding aside, Dallas has a solid roster that’s playoff-caliber. They aren’t on the Eagles’ level, but they should still be a dangerous wild-card contender if they don’t find a way to choke. We need to see two things to buy into the Cowboys: Dak Prescott‘s interceptions and Mike McCarthy‘s playcalling ability. The Cowboys should be in the playoffs, but if Dak is continuously turning the ball over and McCarthy can’t get in the rhythm of playcalling, this could be a short season in Dallas.

  • No. 7: New Orleans Saints

The final wild card spot in the NFC playoffs will be a slugfest. We wanted to have faith in the New York Giants, but that could spell trouble, with two of their final three games in the regular season being against the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, we’ll favor the New Orleans Saints here. Everything that could have gone on in New Orleans last year went wrong. Everyone got injured, and things didn’t break their way. We can’t expect that in back-to-back years, so we’ll have some faith that Derek Carr can get the job done with some talented receivers around him and a solid defense to back him up. Other teams like the Packers, Vikings, and the aforementioned Giants could threaten here, but the Saints have one of the easiest schedules in football that should help their case.

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