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NFC predictions: How each team will finish this season

Sept. 8, 2021 Updated Wed., Sept. 8, 2021 at 6:46 p.m.

By Sam Farmer Los Angeles Times

Here’s a quick look at the predicted order of finish for every NFL team in the NFC this season:

NFC West

1. Los Angeles Rams: The addition of QB Matthew Stafford is huge for the Rams, but they were hoping to give him a running game at last. With Cam Akers hurt, time for Sony Michel to step up.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Ravaged by injuries last season, the 49ers are relatively healthy again. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance is waiting in the wings to replace Jimmy Garoppolo.

3. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf is a potent fantasy football connection, and Bobby Wagner is fantastic, but Seahawks need to return to production in playoffs.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Arizona has some of the league’s most exciting players in Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Now, that needs to translate into wins.

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys: With Dak Prescott leading the offense, Dallas drafted a club-record eight defensive players in hopes of balance.

2. Washington: With the NFL’s second-ranked defense and the seasoned Ryan Fitzpatrick, this team could surprise some people.

3. Philadelphia Eagles: Philadelphia rolls the dice with an unproven second-year QB, Jalen Hurts, and a converted rugby player at left tackle.

4. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley is coming off reconstructive knee surgery, and the Giants are once again struggling to get the offensive line right.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers, the returning league MVP, gave Green Bay heartburn this offseason but he’s back … behind a patchwork offensive line.

2. Minnesota Vikings: Two playoff wins since 2014 means the pressure is on coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Speilman.

3. Chicago Bears: Rookie quarterback Justin Fields is exciting, but the Bears first are going with Andy Dalton’s experience.

4. Detroit Lions: No doubt Detroit will miss Stafford, although Jared Goff could surprise some people. Goff and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn have something to prove.

NFC South

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady is in his second year in the Bucs offense, and the team is getting all its starters back. Lots of weapons on this offense.

2. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees is retired and the door is open for Jameis Winston to prove himself. Will receiver Michael Thomas come back in top form?

3. Atlanta Falcons: Trading places: Coach Arthur Smith went from Tennessee to Atlanta, and All-Pro receiver Julio Jones went from Atlanta to Tennessee.

4. Carolina Panthers: Quarterback Sam Darnold gets a fresh start, and he has one of the league’s most versatile backs in Christian McCaffrey. The offensive line is shaky.

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