1) Washington 10-6
Something clicked for Kirk Cousins last year, and flanked by a great crew of receivers and a good offensive line, he should make the offense hum this year. The defense got better with the big addition of Josh Norman.
2) New York 8-8
The Giants will be able to stay in any game with their potent passing attack. The defense got better, especially on the line, but it will still hold the team back from the playoffs.
3) Dallas 6-10
The Cowboys cannot stay healthy or out of their own way. With a healthy Romo, and a fully-eligible defense including Randy Gregory, Demarcus Lawrence, and Rolando McClain, this would be one of the best rosters in the NFC. Dak Prescott will be serviceable, but not effective enough to put the Cowboys in postseason contention.
4) Philadelphia 4-12
The Eagles are clearly focused on the long-term future. Carson Wentz is talented, but the offense will be a mess at times, especially with a fragile offensive line. There is not enough on defense to get serious about contention.
1) Minnesota 10-6
The trade for quarterback Sam Bradford after the Teddy Bridgewater injury will help and shows the Vikings win-now mindset. All the ingredients for a run are there, including a top-notch defense.
2) Green Bay 10-6
The Packers will look more like their normal selves after a bumpy 2015. A healthy Jordy Nelson returning will allow Aaron Rodgers to work his magic. The defense is solid, but not great.
3) Detroit 6-10
The loss of Calvin Johnson will obviously hurt the offense. The Lions will see this year what Matthew Stafford is truly capable of. On defense, the front four looks great, but everything behind them looks concerning.
4) Chicago 5-11
A much improved offensive line should allow a healthy Bears offense to be very dangerous. The defense looks very questionable however.
1) Carolina 10-6
A lot went right for the Panthers in 2015 while they won their first 14 games. Their luck figures to turn negatively. The Broncos exposed their weakness on offense which is their pass protection from the tackles. On defense, the loss of Josh Norman makes the secondary look very weak.
2) New Orleans 9-7
The offense will always be fine, but the Saints could be much improved on defense. The addition of James Lauriniatis at linebacker will solidify the defense, and open up more plays for second-year linebacker Stephone Anthony.
3) Tampa Bay 9-7
The Buccaneers are ready to make a leap under Jamies Winston’s leadership. There are enough additions on the defense to expect it to improve, including rookies Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence.
4) Atlanta 5-11
The Falcons offense will be able to score enough, but the defense looks questionable all around.
1) Arizona 12-4
The most complete team in the NFL, the Cardinals will go as far as Carson Palmer can take them in the playoffs.
2) Seattle 10-6
The Seahawks have enough skill on offense to make up for the loss of Marshawn Lynch, but the offensive line should be a major concern. The defense will get back to their bullish ways, but the overall intimidation factor this team had two years ago is gone now.
3) Los Angeles 7-9
Not enough has changed on this team to expect different results. The passing game is still anemic. The defense is still stout but must be able to prevent big plays.
4) San Francisco 5-11
New coach Chip Kelly will have to take a patient, rebuilding approach. The 49ers have to figure out their quarterback situation. The defense is good, but not good enough to carry the entire team.