In part one of this series we had a few changes coming into the AFC including a new AFC East division winner. In the NFC there is a lot fo completion especially in the Wild Card spots. Many teams upgraded their team as a whole and that could lead to a very tight playoff race.
The NFC East has had a different division winner since 2003 and 04 when the Eagles won the division 2 times in a row. Here in 2020, the Eagles have another chance to go back to back but the simulation had other plans. The Cowboys won the division this year taking the lead in week 16 when they beat the Eagles. The Redskins had a tough year to start off but then turned it up at the end showing promise for the next year. The return of Alex Smith really helped them and they really developed this year. The Giants just had a tough year and neither side of the ball could really get going leading to a terrible year. Then there was the Eagles who would have been in the Wild Card race if it was any other year. The wins from the other teams overwhelmed them and took them out.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys, 9-7
There are many storyline surrounding the NFC North as we head into the regular season including how Aaron Rodgers will be affected by the draft selection of Jordan Love. According to the simulator it would effect him a lot. The Packers couldn’t hold it together this year and lost the division to the Vikings. Their offense consistently scored below 28 points leading to many losses especially down the stretch. The Vikings did very well with the Packers struggles and ran away with the division. The Bears and Lions both had a rough year, questioning wether it is time for a change in their coaching positions.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings, 10-6
The South was the most competitive in the NFC with all the teams in the hunt for some type of postseason. All the teams made big moves and for some, it really paid off. The Falcons signed Todd Gurley who would end up being the missing piece for the offense. Atlanta would stay on top of the division for some time before eventually falling into the Wild Card race. It was similar for the Bucs as the defensive issues really held them back when it mattered the most. The Saints won the division again leading to another first round bye for them, but just note it wasn’t easy. The Panthers made a few small moves to stay in the playoff race, but ultimately fell out especially late.
Winner: New Orleans Saints, 12-4
The West had a tight race last year for the top spot and continued that this year. The NFC champion 49ers had it, then the Cardinals, and the Seahawks even stayed a top for a part of the season. It a surprise move the Cards would figure things out defensively and take the title for the 49ers late in the year. The Niners would finish in second after a disappointing season after coming so close to a championship. The Seahawks led by Russel Wilson stayed in the race as long as they could until eventually settling for the wild card. Then there were the Rams who once again got bested by the talent in the rest of the division. They would stay in the playoff hunt for a bit before eventually falling out.
Winner: Arizona Cardinals, 12-4
The Wild Card was packed full of teams including the Packers, Falcons, Bucs, 49ers, and Seahawks. Although only three would advance into the final 3. The 49ers clinched their spot early battling with the Cards until just barely losing the division. The Bucs would also seal their spot before the final week and looked like their defense might finally get better. The Last three teams battled until the final week where the Falcons came out with the one game lead over the other teams.
5. 49ers, 11-5
6. Buccaneers, 10-6
7. Falcons, 10-6
8. Seahawks, 9-7
9. Packers 9-7
Top Picture by Arizona Sports