The NFL is adding one playoff team in the NFC this season. In 2019, the 8-8 Dallas Cowboys still would not have made the playoffs under the new format. Under the new format, only the number one seed will receive a bye and there will be three wild card matchups.
2019 standings with new format.
1 seed: San Francisco 49ers
Wild card matchups
Green Bay Packers (2 seed) vs. Los Angeles Rams (7 seed)
New Orleans Saints (3 seed) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6 seed)
Philadelphia Eagles (4 seed) vs. Seattle Seahawks (5 seed)
Now, moving onto the 2020 season and where I think each NFC team ranks by tier.
Tier 1: Favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Tier 2: Teams that will be a disappointment based on talent/potential if they do not make a deep playoff run.
Tier 3: Teams that have talent but don’t see the playoffs in their 2020 plans
Tier 4: Teams that are rebuilding.
New Orleans Saints
With Drew Brees back for at least one more run, I would consider the Saints as the NFC favorite heading into training camp. The Saints haven’t had the best luck the past couple of seasons when it comes to referees.
On paper, the Seahawks have no business being in contention every season. But every season, they are right there and I don’t see that changing in 2020 because of Russell Wilson.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were the most dominant NFC team in 2019 and were about 10 minutes away from winning the Super Bowl. However, I expect regression in 2020. I think the Tom Brady rumors this offseason say a lot about their feelings about Jimmy G.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I don’t think Tom Brady is quite done yet and I think the talent on offense in Tampa will have the Bucs competing at a high level in 2020.
Is this the year the Cowboys make it back to the Super Bowl? The talent on offense plus fresh energy on the coaching staff should have them back in the playoffs in 2020.
If Wentz is healthy, the Eagles will be in contention for a playoff spot and are capable of making a Super Bowl run.
I would consider the Vikings the favorite in the NFC north but I have questions about them making a serious run once they get in the playoffs with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers made the NFC championship last season and got demolished by the 49ers. I don’t think they have gotten better this offseason and expect regression in 2020.
I love the talent they are surrounding Kyler Murray with on offense. However, I still believe they need help on defense and the offensive line. Playing in the best division in the NFL doesn’t help them either.
This is another team that I don’t feel is as far off as some might think. They are already have a ton of talent on defense and I would expect that talent to continue to develop under head coach Ron Rivera. If they can solve the quarterback position soon, they will be players in the NFC East soon.
The Falcons are talented on offense but they don’t have much else going on in Atlanta for the 2020 season. I would expect a third place finish in the NFC South behind Tampa Bay and New Orleans.
Los Angeles Rams
This one is a bit confusing because the Rams have talent and a very good head coach but questions at quarterback and being in a strong division leave them as an unknown.
The Panthers have parted ways with several vets this offseason and are clearly heading towards a rebuild under new head coach Matt Rhule.
New York Giants
The Giants are showing signs of getting back on track as far as team building but still aren’t ready to compete in 2020.
The Lions are in a rebuild under head coach Matt Patricia and the word out of Detroit is that isn’t a marriage that is going to last much longer if the team doesn’t turn it around in a hurry.
With that being said, Patricia will not be the Lions head coach in 2021.
The Bears can point to one decision as to why they are in the position they are in. That decision is taking quarterback Mitchell Trubisky over quarterbacks Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Those type of decisions will set your franchise back years.
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