Overview: Full disclosure -- I'm a diehard Redskins fan. Despite that, I feel the Skins may take a small step back this season. This is a division where anything could happen. I have the Giants at the top even though they have some injury issues. It just feels like a season they'll get it together and win the division and not much else. I feel Dez Bryant will go off and the Cowboys will slip into that 2nd spot and maybe a playoff berth. The Redskins? I still see them as an 8 or 9 win team. RG3 is great, but he may struggle early on after seeing no preseason action. The defense isn't that much improved in the passing game. The Eagles will be improved, but I'm not sold on that offense clicking enough this season to make a run past the rest of the division.
Overview: Atlanta is in the typical Atlanta sports fashion: stuck in the same spot. That's a good thing, though, since the Dirty Birds are one the NFL's best teams. The addition of Steven Jackson may be what gets them to the Super Bowl. The Saints will be right on them. They were strong late in the season after a string of bad luck early on last year. With Sean Payton back and a chip on their shoulder, New Orleans could surge. Carolina and Tampa Bay are easily at the bottom of the division. Cam Newton and the Panthers has a bit more momentum on their side, though the Bucs had the better offseason.
Overview: Green Bay is the best team in the division, though they need those rookie running backs to perform if they want to make a serious run in the NFC. I still believe in that Chicago defense and special teams to help that Cutler-to-Marshall connection. Matt Forte may be the biggest key in the entire division. I believe in the Lions and think they could get back to their 2011 ways. This elite offense that saw a lot of bad luck in 2012, will be even more potent with Reggie Bush back there. Two things scare me into putting the Vikings in last. One is Adrian Peterson. He is great, but backs who threaten the all-time single season rushing record take a step back the following year. Two, is Christian Ponder. Nothing against him other than the fact that he isn't the other three signal callers in the division.
Overview: The defending NFC Champions will be back to make a big run. They'll have an entire offseason, preseason and early season with Kaepernick as their QB. Still a great team overall. Seattle has suffered some injuries that will keep them from toppling the Niners. The Rams just aren't on par with the two elite teams in the division and lost some key offensive players in Jackson and Amendola. The Cardinals have pieced together an offense with Palmer and Mendenhall that won't fly too high.
NFC PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-49ers, 2-Falcons, 3-Packers, 4-Giants, 5-Saints, 6-Seahawks.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Falcons over 49ers.
Overview: I think this is the worst division in the NFL. New England is the easy favorite, though they won't be as potent as in past seasons. Among the rest of the division ... I guess Miami is the next best team. They've made a ton of moves this offseason and look much better than the rest. The Jets have a lot of veterans, but no real quarterback. I just think they are too broken at this point to make any real dent. The Bills are in rebuild mode with EJ Manuel as the new QB.
Overview: Despite everyone being down on Houston, I'm in their corner. No, they aren't the same juggernaut they've been in recent seasons, but this is a darn good team. I think Indianapolis takes a small step back but will be in the playoff hunt. Tennessee and Jacksonville just aren't in the same class as the Colts or Texans, though I do think Chris Johnson turns his career back around.
Overview: I am high on Cincinnati this season. I think they have everything needed to make a Super Bowl run. All they need is a better than average season from Andy Dalton. The Ravens took too many hits from defections to be the same strong team from a season ago. They are still a playoff team, but losing Ed Reed and Ray Lewis brings a huge leadership hole in the locker room. Pittsburgh will still be in the mix, but Big Ben will have to be an MVP type player to make that happen. Cleveland will be improved as well, but not enough to challenge getting out of the basement.
Overview: Denver is easily the top team in the west. They have everything ... but Von Miller for six games ... to win it all. After that? Well, the Chargers have a lot of talent that is underperforming. Maybe the coaching change will bring out more of that promise. I like the Chiefs even though they had the worst record a year ago. They did have five Pro Bowlers, Andy Reid as their coach and Alex Smith as the new QB. Jamal Charles will become known to more non-fantasy NFL fans this season. Oakland just isn't going anywhere to me.
AFC PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-Broncos, 2-Patriots, 3-Bengals, 4-Texans, 5-Colts, 6-Ravens.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Broncos over Bengals