NFC Power Poll: Seahawks, Packers top conference


It's been NFC Week on Around The NFL. We previewed the conference on the podcast, predicting every playoff team. We also broke down each division, team-by-team, on the website.

You can also see our AFC Power Poll, picks for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookies of the Year.

Without further ado, let's wrap up all this prediction madness with our NFC Power Poll. These were the aggregate rankings of our NFL season predictions from all our writers. The team's overall ranking is in parenthesis:

The favorites

1. Seattle Seahawks (1)
2. Green Bay Packers (2)
3. New Orleans Saints (3)

Even though the Seahawks finished first in our Power Poll, only one writer picked the team to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The imbalance of the two conferences show up here. We see these three teams as the best in the league, largely because of Green Bay and New Orleans' increasing balance.

The contenders

4. San Francisco 49ers (7)
5. Philadelphia Eagles (9)
6. Arizona Cardinals (10)
7. Chicago Bears (12)
8. Detroit Lions (15)

Two Around the NFL writers have the Cardinals in the playoffs. I also put Chicago in, while Chris Wesseling has Detroit getting a wild card spot. Everyone but me has the 49ers making it to the playoffs. The 49ers have been a top-shelf team since Jim Harbaugh arrived, but there are some storm clouds brewing in addition to a depleted defensive roster.

Around The NFL previews the regular season for all 32 teams before the opening kickoff.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | 49ers | Rams | Seahawks

The Lions and Bears have the chance to put up top-five offenses. If their defenses can be average, they are strong playoff contenders. The NFC North and West have six of the top eight teams in the conference in our poll.

In the mix

9. Carolina Panthers (16)
10. Washington Redskins (17)
11. Atlanta Falcons (18)
12. New York Giants (21)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)
14. Minnesota Vikings (23)

It wouldn't be that big of a surprise if any of these teams made the playoffs. The Bucs and Vikings look very frisky because of new defensive-minded coaches who we trust. With a few breaks, they could win 10 games. The Giants and Redskins' offenses should improve as the season wears on. Like the rest of the NFC East, there is an opportunity to make a push with wins in the division.

Any team led by a strong passing game like Atlanta's should have a chance. The Panthers' front seven should still be as dominant. But Cam Newton's injury and their offensive line issues are big concerns.

The other two teams

15. Dallas Cowboys (26)
16. St. Louis Rams (28)

The Rams were only four spots higher before the Sam Bradford news. I have the Cowboys closer to the middle of the pack, because any team led by Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith should be able to scrape out seven wins in a lousy division.

On the latest "Around The NFL Podcast," the heroes preview the entire NFC and chat with Giants linebacker Jon Beason.