Against the Grain: NFC predictions

By Andrew Perloff

Every week I’ll provide contrarian observations on everything that’s happening around the NFL. To be very clear, any of the opinions in Against the Grain do not represent Dan Patrick’s views. Or anyone Dan knows. Keep in mind, the motto of Against the Grain is that what everyone is saying is, by definition, wrong.

With that caveat, here are my predicted division orders for the NFC. Each team has a Twitter length write-up. ATG doesn’t need any more words to make points.


1. Washington Redskins: My darkhorse to be in playoff hunt. Hightower is the Truth. Next Shanny stud RB. Love Orakpo. Wish the QB situation was more stable. Grossman could surprise us a bit.

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Expectations too big. Picked up names. Who cares? OL an issue. LBs weak (as always in Philly). Key is defensive coordinator hire. Not sure it was right call.

3. New York Giants: Media has to calm down b/c they lost TE Boss. He’s not Gates. Injuries bad, but Coughlin does best coaching when chips down. Tuck still great. DL will win games. 

4. Dallas Cowboys: Romo underrated. Felix will get hurt. Dez will be Pro Bowler. Defense has new coach — good, but some of same dogs from the past. Weak secondary. 

1. Green Bay Packers: No holes, but no one repeats.   

2. Chicago Bears: Too much focus on Cutler in conf title game. Not enough on Briggs-Urlacher and gang figuring out Rodgers. Only problem is that O-line. 
3. Detroit Lions: Experts fooled by flashy skill position players. Not how you build a winner. Don’t get mad at me Ndamukong!

4. Minnesota Vikings: Donovan still has some juice, but Berrian alone isn’t enough to help him. Lost too many defensive stars.


1. New Orleans Saints: Should have cut everyone who failed to tackle Lynch, but Brees is perfect in that O. Vilma will straighten out D. TE Graham= next Gates.

2. Atlanta Falcons: They draft a WR and suddenly no one is concerned about their defense? Shredded in last year’s playoffs. Is it that improved? I love Matt Ryan like everyone else, but Super Bowl?
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will take small step back b/c of sked. Team plays over head b/c of coach.
4. Carolina Panthers: D-coordinators can’t wait to face Cam. Steve Smith won’t be happy.

1. St. Louis Rams: Think Giants ’07 defense. Bradford will be star. Amendola=Welker.
2. Arizona Cardinals: Will be much better team second half of the season. Fitzgerald will be fun to watch. Beanie will fumble at wrong time at some point.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Short offseason hurts this team bad. Media love affair w/ Harbaugh premature. Alex Smith? 
4. Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll either a genius or this team will be 3-13. Offseason moves make little sense.

* Against the Grain predicts all four teams in NFC East will finish 8-8, so it will come down to the tiebreakers.