NFL 2012: Predicting The NFC Standings

By William Cornelison
May 29, 2012 9:52 am
1,022 Views 13 Comments

NFC South

1) New Orleans Saints:
This division will again belong to the Saints in 2012. The Saints have too many weapons on offense led by quarterback Drew Brees and with strong defensive play it will be too much for division foes to overcome. Despite losing head coach Sean Payton for the year due to suspension from Bountygate, the Saints will have another division championship banner in the Super Dome.

2) Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons don't always look the best or play the best but they get the job done and 2012 will be no different. The Falcons, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, will challenge Drew Brees and company but will settle for the NFC's other Wild Card. If the Falcons can play with consistency on defense, they will make noise in 2012.

3) Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have enough offensive weapons to put up points in bunches but the defense must play better if they are to improve on the six wins from a year ago. Second-year quarterback Cam Newton was shattering rookie records a year ago and one must wonder if he will have a sophomore slump in 2012.

Newton must duplicate last season and get help from his defense or the Panthers will once again miss out on the postseason.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are bad. The 4-12 record of a year ago could get worse for Tampa this season due to their schedule. The offense could not score while the defense ranked 29th in the NFL. The Bucs are just not good enough to contend this season and are still a work in progress.

NFC West

1) San Francisco 49ers:
The Niners were the surprise team in the NFL last season, missing a trip to the Super Bowl by one game. Mistakes did them in against a veteran Giants team. Look for second-year coach Jim Harbaugh to lead the Niners to its second straight division title in 2012. The success of the 49ers will depend on how well the feelings of quarterback Alex Smith have healed after the 49ers' pursuit of Peyton Manning in the offseason. If Smith again plays well, the Niners will make another serious push.

2) St. Louis Rams: The Rams missed out on the playoffs in 2010 by one game. Last season, they managed just two wins. They had injuries to deal with, particularly to quarterback Sam Bradford. With the addition of head coach Jeff Fisher and some key free agent signings, the Rams will make a major improvement in 2012 if Bradford stays healthy but this team is still a year or two away from seriously contending.

3) Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals thought they had their man with quarterback Kevin Kolb last season but that did not go as planned. Unfortunately, Kolb is still their best option after missing out in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. He will have weapons to work with but he will have to perform as he did in Philadelphia to keep the Cardinals in contention.

The Cardinals will struggle in 2012 as we could see a change at quarterback at some point this season.

4) Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks believe they have their quarterback of the future in Matt Flynn. They had better hope they are right because Seattle is just not very good.The Seahawks ranked 28th in the NFL offensively a year ago and will have to have another strong year from their ninth ranked defense if they are to avoid a last place finish out west.

There is the complete run down of the NFC. The division champions will be Dallas, Green Bay, New Orleans, and San Francisco with Philadelphia and Atlanta taking the Wild Card spots. The AFC Forecast will be coming to Football Nation on Wednesday.


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Previous Comments (13)

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3 years ago
Completely disagree on the NFC West. The Seahawks are much better than both the Cardinals and Rams. All Seattle really needed is a QB and I think they got one in Flynn. That D is legit.

Also, gotta stick up for my Lions. Bad offseason hopefully does not mean bad regular season. I don't understand how anyone thinks the Falcons are that good. I see them taking a giant fall this year.

Nice article tho!
3 years ago
Thanks for the comment. I just think the Cardinals have more weapons offensively than Seattle and the Rams with new coach Jeff Fisher and a healthy Sam Bradford will be good. I think the knock on Seattle is they are handing over the team to basically a quarterback with no experience which could hurt if he does not perform to expectations. I honestly don't think the Falcons are that good but for some reason they manage to make the playoffs each season and I think they will be there again. As far as the Lions, they surprised in 2011 but to have a repeat of that Stafford will have to play as he did a year ago and not sure if he will be able too. I think the NFC is just going to be loaded this year as there could be 8 or 9 teams that could challenge for playoff spots.
3 years ago
I think that if Culter stays healthy that the Bears will beat you prediction. The NFC North just might have 3 playoff contenders. Good luck with your predictions, we will just have to wait and see.
3 years ago
The Bears would actually be one of my next choices to get a wildcard but I think they will just miss out. It will probably come down to the last week or two of the season to determine the last couple spots.
3 years ago
Nice article, but I really disagree with the Saints. Too many distractions for them to win the division. It's the Falcons to lose.

And the NFC East might have three of the best teams in the conference, but they are going to beat each other up. Last year, none of the teams won 10 games. I think only Philly or Dallas will make it and open the door for Chicago, Detroit or maybe even a Arizona.
3 years ago
I think both Philly and Dallas both should get in from the east because I feel both are just too talented and the upgrade to the Dallas secondary should make them contend. Those other teams you mentioned will contend for the final wildcard.
3 years ago

Thats what everyone said about Philly last year. They upgraded the back half of the Def. Dallas upgraded with Rookies and FA it takes time to learn and mature in a system that any Ryan runs.
3 years ago

I will give you this in 2 years Dallas will have a great team. They have a good team now. Ryan Blitzes so much I think his CB's need atleast a year or 2 in that system to get it down enough to beat the big boys.
3 years ago
I think as an experienced writer you would have a sense of the game. I understand you're a cowboys fan, but the favorite to won that division. Never. That's hopes and dreams talking there. And Seattle last in the west. What were doing doing teams out of a hat. Not legit.
3 years ago
I do have a sense of the game. If you read the second part of this series I pick Green Bay to win it all. Dallas and Philly are the 2 best in the East and if not for key injuries to players on those teams last season, the Giants don't even make the playoffs. As far as Seattle goes, they were not that good to begin with and adding an untested quarterback who played a meaningless game for Green Bay last season does nothing to tell me they are going to be any better. Also I am legit. I usually hit games I pick about 80% of the time but this is just a forecast. This is my opinion just like you have your opinion. That is all a forecast is.
3 years ago

Your really going to bring up Injuries to Cowboys and Eagles with the Giants... Come on man you know the Giants lost more players. I'm not going to sit here and list them all since its almost the whole defense. Giants played better and won the SB and will win the NFC East again.
3 years ago
Good luck knocking us and Philly out for 1st place. Cowboys are a good team but the Giants are better IMO. To many injuries last year this year the Giants will be a 12 win team 11 at worst. I can see the Cowboys fighting for a WC spot and if they get in have just as much chance as anyone to win. Solid CB's WR QB RB OLB.

Guess we will see Sept 5th. (Agree with the other Div winners BTW)
3 years ago
I think everyone forgets that Mike Vick is the QB for the Eagles.
That alone tells you that the Eagles will not make the playoffs, Vick sucks and will once again be injured and the birds will go down.

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