2019 NFL Preview: National Football Conference

Football Close Up on FieldIn a season where the NFL is focusing on the past as much as the future of the league the National Football Conference will be featured a lot.

The NFC is the original NFL with teams that pre-date the NFL as a league itself with a rich history throughout the conference.

There are teams, like the Green Bay Packers, who have seen the league grow from a place where groups of men who had other jobs got together to play teams from other cities to the powerhouse that it has become right now.

The history of the NFC is the history of the NFL and in the leagues 100th season they will certainly celebrate that connection.

In recent years the NFC has been a conference that hasn’t been able to keep up as much as they used to in the league.

A lot of it has to do with the dominance of the New England Patriots who continue to win Super Bowls but the NFC has put teams into the Super Bowl with some major questions.

Last year the most innovative team in the league came out of the NFC with the Rams moving into the Super Bowl.

Their inexperience showed though as the Rams took a loss to the Patriots after a year before being upset.

The Philadelphia Eagles were the last team from the NFC to win a Super Bowl and it was a surprise to everyone watching.

The Eagles’ win brought an end to three straight years with the AFC taking the title making it now a total of four out of the last five years.

It is a bit of a concern for the NFC teams but the conference is one that just seems to have a lack of dominant teams.

It is a great thing for the play in the NFC but when the regular season ends the battle that they have had to go through tends to leave teams a little worse for the wear.

The conference is also one where there are a lot of rebuilding teams looking to get back to being great.

Many were good at the same time making the battle for the NFC title a tough one but eventually, the talent fell off.

Now, these teams are looking to young players and young coaches to build them back up and depending on the development there could be some very good teams in the NFC this year.

Then again the best-laid plans might not work out and the teams already on top could remain there for yet another year.

For all of its history, the NFC is a developing conference where the strength of the conference will all come down to how some young players and coaches can grow.

NFC East

The NFC East is a division that has long seen one team sit on top while everyone else struggles. It hasn’t always been the same team every time but inevitably there are teams who just can’t keep up. That happens in many divisions but the East is one where the teams that struggle really struggle to get anything going. For the last two years, those teams have been New York and Washington. Both have had their time at the top and some excitement in the last decade but for the last number of years they have sat right at nfceast-predthe bottom without much hope for the future. The Giants were once the kings of the league with a quarterback that was beginning to find himself in conversations among the best ever. That has given way to questions about whether or not Eli Manning can ever win a Super Bowl again after winning two early in his career. That question is only bigger with the drafting of Daniel Jones as his heir apparent and potentially replacement should Manning struggle at the start of the year. With Saquon Barkley in the backfield the offence could be in good hands but they are young and there is still plenty for them to figure out. In Washington the QB debate has been dominant for years as Robert Griffin gave them hope years ago but they have yet to find stability. They drafted Dwayne Haskins this year hoping that he is the solution for a team that has been good enough on defence but has struggled on the other side of the ball. Both teams will struggle this year leaving the other two to fight it out for the top spot. Last year the expectations were high for the Eagles but they fell short of those expectations. This season will be their chance to show that it was just a Super Bowl hangover. They made a number of changes but that pass rush is still there and if Carson Wentz can stay healthy they have a very good young QB to lead them to the top. The Cowboys are coming off of a first-place finish last year but with Ezekiel Elliott still sidelined due to negotiations they might not have that dual-threat attack that they have enjoyed. On defence they are good but they have never been able to figure out their pass coverage giving them a serious hole. The Eagles and Cowboys should have a good fight for the top but with unrest in the franchise the Cowboys might just slip below giving the Eagles the division.

NFC North

The North has always been one of the tougher divisions in the league with teams that have a lot of history and are not willing to give an inch. They are the division where the winner is going to have to get out of a battle as talent is everywhere but consistency is lacking. It makes the fight for the top entertaining as there are any numbers of teams who could take the title if things go right for them. The Green Bay Packers have long been one of the scariest teams in the division winning all but one division title between nfcnorth-pred2011 and 2016. Now three years have gone by without a title and it is largely due to the reliance on Aaron Rodgers to do everything but when he gets hurt they fall apart. The Packers brought in Matt LaFleur to inject life into the offence but without that vaunted pass rush they once had there are still too many questions. In their place at the top has been a bit more of a battle as the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears have been growing into true competitors for the last three years. The Vikings have looked like a Super Bowl team for a number of years but last year they fell far short of those expectations. Kirk Cousins was supposed to be the difference and with plenty of talent around him and a Mike Simmer defence it was supposed to go better last year. This year will be a test because all of the focus will be on Cousins whether or not the focus belongs there. A lack of depth in more than one area could expose them but the Vikings have the talent to compete. The newer kids on the block have been the Bears who have been building to a point where they are now favourites to win this division and potentially make a serious run. Mitchell Trubisky has turned out to be the QB they have been missing for decades and with a more traditionally good Bears defence they have what they need. They could walk away with this one as they are the most complete team but a few hiccups by a still-young Trubisky could hurt their chances. In Detroit the Matthew Stafford era has been good but never great. With Matt Patricia entering his second year they are expecting better this year but a rebuild on defence might take longer than they want. Stafford is not getting younger and although he has talent around him the defence still provides too many questions. Every team has the ability to be great if things go right and terrible if things go wrong the question will be which team can put it all together to take the division title.

NFC South

The South has always been one of the more exciting divisions with explosive teams that have some of the best talent in the league. The offences are explosive in this division and building defences to stop tat explosiveness is the key to success for the South. Carolina was the team that threw themselves into the fire among the dominant teams like New Orleans and Atlanta. They built around a young QB in Cam Newton and created a stout defence that could stop the other great attacks in the division. The last two seasons that nfcsouth-preddefence looked far less stout and that star QB has been unable to stay on the field. This season the Panthers added a host of new faces on defence and Newton comes back off of his second shoulder surgery in two years. If Newton steps up and the defence is as good on the field as on paper they have a shot. To get that shot they will have to go through the best team in the division over the last decade in the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are led by Drew Brees who continues to put up big numbers after 18 years in the league. He will remain the focus of this team with talent around him on offence and a good defence they are going to be the team to beat. They are used to getting pushed but most of that has come from the Atlanta Falcons who have stumbled the last few years. Despite their talent, the Falcons have been unable to sustain success with last year seeing Matt Ryan under pressure too much and with a lack of talent due to injuries. With Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman back healthy the Falcons hope to see their offence wake-up again while Dan Quinn has one more chance to show that he can create the same defence he did in Seattle. In Tampa Bay things were supposed to turn around with the introduction of Jameis Winston but he has not panned out the way they wanted. He has a lot of talent around him but he has struggled to take advantage. They need him to be better and their new defensive led by Todd Bowles needs to step up. The South has always been an exciting conference but with some questions the division could be anywhere from a one-horse to a two-horse race.

NFC West

The West used to be the killer division in the NFC as the team that could come out of the West was the team that could win the Super Bowl. After a few years of losing that fire the Los Angeles Rams have found it as they were the best team in the NFC last season but fell short of the Super Bowl win. This year the Rams are looking to finish what they started a year ago and they certainly have the talent to do it again. The Rams have a talented young QB in Jared Goff and a lot of talent around him along with the innovative nfcwest-predoffensive mind of Sean McVay. Their defence is just as strong led by Aaron Donald in the middle and without a lot of losses on either side they should be ready to compete again. The Seahawks are looking to be back as they might not have the defence they used to have but the additions of Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah do bring some power to the line while Russel Wilson remains a top-tier QB and adding a new weapon like D.K. Metcalf provides him with a major target. Meanwhile, in San Francisco the return of the Niners depends heavily on whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo is the answer. He came in as the solution to their QB woes but was injured and missed most of the season. If he can be the answer to that question the Niners could begin building something on offence along with what they have already built on defence with some great young talent. In Arizona the hopes rely heavily on the new QB in the desert as the Cardinals are all in on Kyler Murray. It is possibly the best case for the young dual-threat QB as Kliff Kingsbury takes over in his first NFL job after being one of the main people responsible for the growth of the spread offence. The Cardinals need Kingsbury and Murray to gel as that is going to be the difference for the future of this team. Beyond these two though there is not a lot to get excited about as the team is still in need of a lot of talent elsewhere if they want to compete. The West always provided a contender and they still might as the Rams look like the most complete team but with rising teams things might get interesting.

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