The NFC will be the power conference this year again. There will be a fight to get into the playoffs but the top of the line is pretty much set. All of the divisions will be tightly contested. Some due to the fact that they are extremely competitive and others because mediocrity. Here is how the top three teams will come out.
The New Orleans Saints
The NFC South has never had a back to back champion and the trend will continue. The Panthers will slide only a little but just enough for the Saints to take control. Sean Payton is back in the saddle for a 2nd full year with the right defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan. Ryan’s blitz crazy defensive schemes fit along with an offense that will be hard to keep up with. With Jimmy Graham back in the fold and the addition of rookie Brandon Cooks the offense should be potent as ever. The key for the Saints just like the rest of the conference is the race to the best record. Keeping the NFC title game out of Seattle is the key for any of the future contenders in the NFC.
The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers seemed to be the only team that could give the Seahawks problems last year and played them close in Seattle during NFC title game. The team will face a obstacles early on with the defense due to the absence of Aldon Smith and NaVarro Bowman recovering from injury. That being said Patrick Willis and company should not slip too much. Also the team from the Bay area will benefit from a more experienced Colin Kapernick who will have all of his weapons at his disposal. Crabtree will be ready at the beginning of the year along with Boldin and Vernon Davis to make for a potent passing attack. The team will keep the identity that has been installed by Coach Jim Harbaugh and try to dominate both sides of the line of scrimmage.
The Seattle Seahawks
After watching the season opener how can you doubt the Seahawks? Seattle is trying to be the first champion to repeat since Patriots did it ten years ago. What the team has in its favor is that it’s one of the youngest Superbowl teams in recent history. Everybody is under contract and they are loaded at most positions. The team has an overwhelming pass rush and a punishing defensive backfield that no one has seemed to solve. If you couple that with solid special teams and one of the most cerebral young quarterbacks in the league, beating them will not be easy. The Seahawks have also proved to be unbeatable at home over the past few years which will serve as a major hurdle for any team trying to dethrone the champs.
Keith B. Holt
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