The NFC was completely dominated by two teams in 2015 – Arizona and Carolina – yet, surprisingly, only two teams in the conference finished with fewer than six wins. The script is reversed in 2016, as the NFC appears to feature some of the worst squads.
Of course, there are the mainstays, where fewer turnover is expected in the NFC compared to our AFC predictions. In fact, the projected conference winner should surprise few. But the movement – or lack, thereof – from last season’s non-playoff teams will be the story of the upcoming season.
Dallas Cowboys – 3-13, 4th in NFC East
The Dallas Cowboys continue to plummet down the rankings, accelerated further by the injury to Tony Romo and the complete uncertainty at the quarterback position. However, Dallas was already downgraded earlier in the preseason, with the recent events only solidifying the team’s fate.
Despite the obvious upgrade at running back via the draft – Ezekiel Elliott stands to be one of the league’s premier backs – and the consensus top-rated offensive line, the Cowboys proved how difficult it was to win games in 2015 with only one method of attack. 2016 will not be any easier.
For more in-depth analysis on the Dallas Cowboys, read our other article: Downgrading Dallas.
Philadelphia Eagles – 6-10, 3rd in NFC East
Through a constant shuffling of personnel both prior to the draft and the re-signing, then trading of Sam Bradford, the Philadelphia Eagles are the league’s equivalent of an audible. Finally, it appears as if the team has settled on its direction, as rookie Carson Wentz has been named the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Perhaps a team can overcome such uncertainty at other positions or during other points of the year, but a carousel at arguably the most important position in professional sports days prior to the start of the season does not inspire much confidence. Especially with the franchise employing an entirely new regime in 2016, little can be carried over from the previous season as a baseline for expectations.
Philadelphia has enough potential to warrant some consideration within a division that has proven to be comparatively average, but there is nothing to suggest that each cylinder will fire correctly.