The 2019 NFL season will be upon us on Thursday night. It has been a wild ride of an offseason, but the time has finally come. Before the official start of the season, it is time to lock in some playoff predictions.
NFC East: Cowboys (12-4)
The Dallas Cowboys have made headlines over the course of the summer due to All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott holding out in Cabo, Mexico. The negotiations have seemed to intensify over the past few days, but no deal has been inked just yet. No matter the situation, Dallas has enough talent to win the NFC East.
Even if Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout continues through the season, backups Alfred Morris and rookie Tony Pollard will make do behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
The Cowboys made a miraculous comeback last season after trading for Amari Cooper during Week 8. The team started off with a 3-5 record but finished 10-6, winning the NFC East. Now beginning the season with a true #1 wideout and a stellar young defense, the Cowboys will win their division back to back.
NFC West: Rams (11-5)
After an impressive Super Bowl run, the Los Angeles Rams will once again be on top of the NFC West.
Although the 2018 rushing touchdown leader Todd Gurley has some question marks when it comes to his health, the Rams roster is still loaded with talent. Having one of the best receiving corps in the league along with the offensive mindset of head coach Sean McVay, the team will be just as productive in 2019.
Not to mention, the Rams have the Game Haus’ number one ranked player in the NFL on the other side of the football. Aaron Donald alone made the Los Angeles defensive line a problem for offensive lines in 2018 with 22 sacks, expect more of the same this season.
NFC North: Packers (12-4)
The 2018 campaign for the Green Bay Packers ended in disappointment with a final record of 6-9-1. After a head coaching change and key additions to the defense, the team will reclaim their division.
Over the course of the offseason, the Packers added players such as Adrian Amos, Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. After a tough season defensively in 2018, these upgrades will enhance the Packers immensely.
For the majority of last season, Aaron Rodgers played on a bad knee. To make matters worse, there was a disconnect between him and former head coach Mike McCarthy.
Now, in a health state and an offensive head coach addition in Matt LaFleur, Rodgers will return to full form and take the NFC North.
NFC South: Saints (11-5)
The New Orleans Saints made a deep playoff run last season before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game. If not for a controversial no-call on pass interference, the Saints very well may have been the Super Bowl champs. Although this did not happen, the Saints still have one of the best teams in the NFC.
With the division rival Panthers and Falcons dealing with a plethora of injuries last season, the Saints took hold of the NFC South with ease. Now that the division is healthier, the competition for the Saints will be tougher. Still, with the best quarterback and coach in the division, New Orleans will win their division for the third straight year.
Wildcard 1: Bears (11-5)
Just under two weeks before the start of last season, the Bears made a blockbuster trade for edge rusher Khalil Mack. Mack made an instant impact for the team and helped send the Bears to the playoffs as division winners for the first time since 2010.
This season, expect the Bears to be a talented team once again and fight the whole season for the division. The team will come up just short and finish with a wildcard spot at 11-5.
Wildcard 2: Eagles (10-6)
The Philadelphia Eagles had a dip last season after winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Still, in 2018 the team managed to make the playoffs with a wildcard spot. Expect the same in 2019. The Eagles have one of the most talented roster in the NFL, but their franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, has yet to finish a full season without injury. Plus, the team no longer has Nick Foles to keep them afloat.
Still, besides the Cowboys, the Eagles have a fairly easy division with the rebuilding Giants and Redskins. Philadelphia will finish second in the NFC East and enter the playoffs as the sixth seed in the NFC.
Featured Image Credit: Yahoo! Sports / Butch Dill