Ranking every NFC team by projected finish

The Packers top our projected NFC standings for the 2015 season.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Ranking every NFC team by projected finish


After projecting the AFC standings yesterday, today we turn the attention to the NFC. Three of the four divisions should have plenty of drama late into the season. The NFC South should be wide open, while the NFC East and North each have a few teams who have a strong playoff chance.

Here I make my attempt at projecting the NFC standings taking into account their current rosters and their schedules. They are sorted by their projected playoff seed followed by their projected number of wins for non-playoff teams.

  1. Green Bay Packers

In 2014 the Packers tied for the best record in the NFC, and outside of an injury to WR Jordy Nelson (87.0), not much has changed between last year and this. The other 12 offensive players with at least 250 snaps return to the team. On defense CB Casey Hayward (82.3), who has been one of their highest-rated defensive players these past few years, has finally won a starting role. Their biggest losses in free agency were both at cornerback, but they also added two top-12-graded cornerbacks in the preseason in rookies Ladarius Gunter (+5.7) and Quinten Rollins (+3.6) in case a starter gets hurt. Two of their three lowest-graded players from 2014 on defense are no longer on the roster. This team has the best mix of All-Pro-caliber players and fewest weaknesses in the NFC.

  1. Seattle Seahawks

After back-to-back appearances in the Super Bowl, there is no need to argue why Seattle is one of the best teams in the league. The only question is why they aren’t No. 1. There are reasons to be concerned about this team. Russell Wilson was under pressure on 46 percent of his dropbacks last season, which was the most for all quarterbacks, and he lost two of his offensive linemen. The only linemen they have with a PFF rating above 65 is LT Russell Okung (72.2). There are also question marks in the secondary. Cary Williams (75.2) is a slight downgrade from Byron Maxwell (80.2). Having slot cornerback Jeremy Lane (78.2) on the PUP list doesn’t help, either. It also looks like there is a serious chance Seattle might be without SS Kam Chancellor (88.6) unless a deal can be worked out. There is enough to like about this team that they will still be a definite contender, but also enough to be concerned about to think this team might not be as good as the past two years.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles were one of the most talked-about teams this off-season, but after two 10-win seasons they improved at two of the most important positions in football. When healthy, Sam Bradford (70.6) has looked like an average NFL quarterback. If he is able to play as well in 2015 as he did before his last injury, he will post big numbers in Chip Kelly’s system and have an improved PFF rating. His accuracy percentage of 74.7 percentage in 2013 was seventh-best among quarterbacks. Only three teams in the league have two running backs with PFF ratings above 75, and one of those teams is the Eagles with DeMarco Murray (86.7) and Ryan Mathews (75.3). While Philadelphia did lose a few solid players to trades or cuts, they also ensured none of their eight players with a PFF grade of -7.0 or worse in 2014 will be starters for them in 2015. They are a team with very few weaknesses, but lack the star power to put them in the top two.

  1. Atlanta Falcons

Chances are whoever wins the NFC South will end up with the fourth seed, even though there is a chance the best team not to make the playoffs will be better than the best team in the South. The Falcons have arguably the easiest schedule in the league, and enough star power to make them favorites in their division. They have QB Matt Ryan (82.9), WR Julio Jones (87.4) and CB Desmond Trufant (88.6) to cover some of the most important positions. One of their biggest struggle areas is the front seven, but they added players to help there. Free-agent pickups DE/OLB O’Brien Schofield (72.6) and LB Justin Durant (66.3) will make immediate impacts, while LB Brooks Reed (77.6) will hopefully help later in the season if healthy. They also drafted DE/OLB Vic Beasley, who will be an instant starter and upgrade to the pass rush, and PFF favorite rookie DT Grady Jarrett. The NFC South title should come down to the last few weeks of the season, but for the moment I give the slight edge to Atlanta.

  1. New York Giants

It might be a surprise to see the Giants so high, but if they can stay healthy they will be a tough opponent for anyone. Over the last seven games of last year, the Giants outscored their opponents by 12 points. They did this without WR Victor Cruz (74.3), CB Prince Amukamara (79.2), slot CB Trumaine McBride (81.6), and other star players missing significant time like CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (84.5), DL Robert Ayers (83.4) and OL Geoff Schwartz (81.9). Their only major free-agent addition was RB Shane Vereen, who should be more of a factor in the passing game (82.2 receiving). The Giants had eight players with a PFF grade below -10 last year, but only three remain on the roster with just one slated to start. This window of opportunity might be short for the Giants, as Eli Manning will reach the age of 35 before the end of the season, but they have put together a talented roster which should fight for a playoff spot and possibly the division.

  1. Detroit Lions

There are four teams with 11 or more players on their roster with a PFF rating above 80, and the Lions are one of them. Even though they lost all of their defensive tackles in the offseason, which was previously a position of strength, they replaced them well with Haloti Ngata (86.2) and Tyrunn Walker (73.5). The offense should be better this year than last, assuming WR Calvin Johnson (89.2) can stay healthy. The main thing holding the team back is QB Matthew Stafford (74.3), and having only a few Pro Bowl-caliber players. There were only four games last year where Stafford had an above-average PFF grade for a quarterback. The results for this team should be similar to last year unless Stafford steps up: a wild card spot and probably an early playoff exit.

  1. Dallas Cowboys

At best, the additions of DE Greg Hardy (85.7) and return of LB Sean Lee (80.4) can help the Cowboys front seven improve and keep the NFC East division crown in Dallas. There is also plenty of reason to be concerned. On offense the team had no notable additions, but lost RB DeMarco Murray (86.7). QB Tony Romo (83.3) is also 35 and a decline in his play is inevitable eventually. On defense the loss of Orlando Scandrick (80.4) as well as Sterling Moore (83.5) in free agency will greatly hurt the secondary. The average team has over four defensive backs with a PFF rating above 70.2, while the Cowboys are the only team without a single one. The decline at running back and defensive back should outweigh their gains in the front seven, and might cost Dallas a playoff spot.

  1. New Orleans Saints

The Saints are a team that just a few years ago was full of offensive stars, but now most of them have gotten older and declined or are off the roster. The offensive line is a strong point following the addition of Max Unger (79.2), but their best receiving option is Marques Colston (77.8), who is among the older wide receivers in the game. The main reason they are so high is they still have Drew Brees (89.5), who is still among the top few quarterbacks in the league, despite a perceived drop-off in his play last season. The defense is full of players who for the most part deserve to be starters in the league, but lack star power. Not a single projected starter has a PFF rating above 80. That is enough to be competitive in the NFC South, but likely won’t get them a wild-card spot.

  1. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are a team that could end up much higher or much lower than this. QB Teddy Bridgewater (79.3) had an impressive rookie year, and could either continue to improve or suffer a sophomore slump. RB Adrian Peterson (77) is coming off of seven straight games where he averaged 2.8 yards after contact per carry, after averaging at least 2.8 yards after contact per carry in 16 of his previous 20 games. The Vikings had eight players on offense last year with an above-average PFF grade, but only two are back with the team and slated to start in 2015, so Bridgewater and Peterson won’t be getting a lot of help outside of each other. Over the past few years Minnesota has quietly put together one of the better defenses in the league led by DT Sharrif Floyd (84.1) and S Harrison Smith (82.4). If Peterson can turn back time to 2012 and Bridgewater continues his development, then this is a playoff team. If not, then the offense will need to reload some next offseason.

  1. Arizona Cardinals

The most confusing team in the league in 2014 was the Cardinals, who kept on winning despite having one of the least talented rosters in the league. Currently they only have five players with a PFF rating above 80, which puts them in the bottom quarter in the league in that category. One of those players is free-agent addition LG Mike Iupati (80.1), who will miss the first part of the season. Their second-highest-rated player on defense last year, DT Dan Williams, (85.0) left for Oakland. When a team outperforms the talent on their roster, one likely solution is coaching. Part of that credit likely goes to last year’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who is now the head coach of the New York Jets. Like the Vikings, the Cardinals are a team more likely than most to prove me wrong.

  1. Carolina Panthers

In 2014 the Panthers were division champions at 7-8-1, and it’s hard to see the Panthers being much better than their last year performance. Going into last year their biggest weaknesses on offense were at wide receiver and offensive tackle. That remains true, as their projected starting receivers are Ted Ginn (67.6) and Philly Brown (66.8), while their projected starting tackles are Michael Oher (65.3) and Mike Remmers (68.3). The defense remains largely unchanged outside of the addition of CB Charles Tillman (70.0). There isn’t much reason to believe they will play much better or worse than last year, so they should again be a below-average to average team.

  1. St. Louis Rams

These last few years the Rams have seemed like a team on the cusp of making a playoff run. The team is going through too much of a transition to expect that this year. The offensive line is starting LT Greg Robinson (36.7), who had a rookie season to forget, C Tim Barnes (58.3), who is basically a replacement-level player, and two rookies. QB Nick Foles had an NFL Passer Rating of 51.5 when under pressure last year, and he will be often behind this St. Louis O-line. On the bright side, the Rams added talented RB Todd Gurley with the No. 10 overall pick. They also have one of the best defensive lines in the league (including star-in-the-making DT Aaron Donald), and they got better this offseason with the addition of DT Nick Fairley (81.5). Unfortunately, their best player in the back seven from last year, CB E.J. Gaines (78.1), has landed on injured reserve. This team has the potential to be very good in the next year or two, but there are too many young, highly drafted players on the roster who have yet to hit their stride.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have some pieces in place to make a playoff run, but they lack the depth that most teams in the NFC have. On defense, DT Gerald McCoy (90.7) and LB Lavonte David (88.1) are great players to build around, while on offense WR Mike Evans (84.1) had an excellent rookie year. They also have some veterans who should help them be somewhat competitive in LG Logan Mankins (83.4) and WR Vincent Jackson (78.2). When you’re starting three rookies out of necessity, that isn’t a good sign for the offense. Outside of George Johnson (75.2 pass rush), they lack an outside edge rush that will make life easier for opposing offenses. If No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston can live up to his draft status immediately at QB, then the Buccaneers can be competitive in the NFC South. But with an NFL passer rating of 10.7 under pressure in the preseason, it looks like Winston will need a little bit more time to develop at the pro level.

  1. Chicago Bears

The Bears ended up as a five-win team in 2014, and there isn’t much that got better over the offseason. WR Brandon Marshall (82.3), LB Lance Briggs (76.2) and DT Stephen Paea (75.0) were among the better performers on the Bears roster in 2014 who are no longer with the team. They added some players to help make up for those losses, including edge rusher Pernell McPhee (86.9), C Will Montgomery (80.4) and WR Eddie Royal (78.8). This has been a team who had too many of their good players get older, and haven’t had a youth movement come in to help make up for those losses. They have drafted some quality players recently like WR Alshon Jeffery (81.4) and OL Kyle Long (79.8), but it will take the 2015 draft picks panning out (No. 7 overall pick WR Kevin White is out with an injury) as well as another good draft or two until this team becomes a quality playoff contender.

  1. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers disaster of an offseason has been highly publicized, and it should result in a long season for San Francisco. Back when they still had a very talented roster, they had a .500 season last year. They still have a few very talented players on the team, including ILB NaVarro Bowman (88.4), LT Joe Staley (87.6) and WR Anquan Boldin (86.3). The biggest weak point on offense is the right side of the line, which consists of C Marcus Martin (38.5), RG Jordan Devey (36.9) and RT Erik Pears (43.5), which will make things very difficult for their run game and pass game. They retained enough talent who can play well against the run, but the pass rush isn’t nearly as strong as it once was. OLB Aaron Lynch (75.9 pass rush) had a strong rookie year, but he is the only pass-rusher who will scare offenses. They retained a few good players in coverage, but there are also a few weaknesses. The 49ers have been drafting for a rebuild, but too many of the draft picks haven’t lived up to expectations yet, and no team could have expected to lose as many good players as the 49ers did.

  1. Washington

Most teams are only as good as their good as their quarterback, and there aren’t many NFL teams with a worse starter than Kirk Cousins (52.8). Even when he’s not under pressure, he has a career 13-to-15 touchdown-to-interception ratio. If there is enough talent around a quarterback, that can make him look better, but Washington doesn’t have enough talent on the roster to give Cousins much help. They made a few nice moves in free agency, especially along the defensive line with the additions of Terrance Knighton (89.5 in run defense) and Stephen Paea (87.7 in pass-rushing). Even with the additions, it will be hard for them to overcome three of the five players in nickel defense having a PFF rating below 55. They had the second-lowest win total in the NFC in 2014, and outside of the defensive line, they don’t appear to have gotten any better.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • osoviejo

    Seems odd to note only the Seahawks’ minuses, without mentioning Jimmy Graham, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, or the depth on the defensive line that surpasses the rotation they had in 2013.

    • socialism101

      cuz they suck.

    • Daniners

      The Seahawks are still very good, but you cannot lose Kam Chancellor and have a horrible OL and expect everything to work fine. Those skill players will not offset a shaky O line. Pete can put all the lipstick he wants on that pig, but it ain’t going away. NFC West will be fight because every team is going to struggle offensively. That means close games.

      • David Stinnett

        The 5 OL guys who played thru the late season winning streak and playoffs are still on the roster. When they change things around they’re improving on that. This is way over hyped. They struggled in the first week but massively
        improved on that.

        • Daniners

          Keep selling that to yourself. What I love about hawk fans, even when they sucked, they convinced themselves they didn’t.

          • David Stinnett

            It’s not arguable. Next time ask yourself if you will sound intelligent.

      • JT

        The Hawks scored 31 points I don’t think they are too worried about their offense….

        • sdaddy101269

          Actually the Hawks offense scored 17 points.

  • Pat Infante

    wow you dont know d*ck about the Vikings

  • Pat Infante

    honestly expect better from @pff

  • Daniners

    So, PFF, you are aware that the almost all of the “talented” players that the 49ers lost were hurt last year. That we had backups and rookies playing on defense and still ended up with a top 5 defense. This is the problem with the media’s assessment of the team. They don’t know the facts around our record last year.

    Here is a list of players who were out all, or most of the season (and still went 8-8): Willis, Bowman, Brock, A Davis, A Smith, McDonald, Kilgore, Hunter, Ward, Dorsey, I. Williams, Iupati, S Johnson. All were starters for the team, and many All-Pro or Pro Bowl players.

    On top of that, we lost three games we should have won 1) Chicago (up 21 in 4th Q), Rams (controversial fumble at end of game by Kaepernick as he had crossed the goal line), 3) Chargers (up 21 at half).

    What does all this equate to? An injury plagued team, one that beat itself on three separate occasions, had a dysfunctional owner/coach situation, AND arguably the worst OC in football (good luck, Bills!), still managed to go 8-8.

    Those are the facts. Prediction: 10-6.

    • sdaddy101269

      Thank you! This is the reason you can’t trust national media or publications when it comes to your team. The only information I truly trust is from Matt Maiocco and 49erswebzone.com. We are better on both sides of the ball, the Aldon Smith and P Wllis losses hurt but outside of those we are more than prepared for this season. They never mentioned how much BETTER we will be on offense with the additions of Torrey Smith and Reggie Bush (on 3rd down). The last time this team had any semblance of speed (2012) we went to the Super Bowl. This team will go 10-6 / 11-5. Book it.

      • Tim Edell

        With Jordan Devey starting at RG, who is awful, and Pears at RT, Kaepernick will be running for his life.

        • sdaddy101269

          We don’t know if Devey is ‘awful’ from what little we saw in the preseason and based on that he was good.

        • Daniners

          Yep and so is the rest of the NFC West. I could argue that the Niners is the best of an absolutely terrible bunch. Outside of Dallas, much of the NFL is littered with crappy O lines.

          • Tim Edell

            Thats a ridiculous statement as the Packers and Eagles, if their guards hold up, have fantastic OL

          • Daniners

            You named two teams. Last I checked there were 32 teams in the NFL, not two. Here is list of teams with questionable Olines heading into the season: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Steelers, Ravens, Titans, 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Rams, Giants, Redskins, Jaguars, Colts, Bills, Jets, Panthers, Buccaneers, Falcons, Bears, Lions, and Vikings. That’s 22 teams with documented issues on their line.

          • Tim Edell

            Chargers have a very very strong running blocking line maybe dominant. Steelers OL is solis except for the loss os Pouncey. The Ravens are you serious? They have one of the best lines in football junior!

          • Daniners

            Pass protection was not great last year for Chargers. Loss of Pouncy was huge and depletes an already thin line.

          • Tim Edell

            Ravens have 2 of the top 6 guards in football with Yanda ans Osemele. Wagner was one of PFFs top rated RT last year and Eugene Monroe is a solid LT. Please think before you post absurd comments.

          • Daniners

            3 teams

          • Tim Edell

            Your a dumbass plain and simple!!!

          • Daniners

            Oh, and jackass, I am the one thinking. I am not the one stating that most of the teams in the NFL are in good shape with regard to their OLines. They aren’t and haven’t been. I can point to a ton of stats, articles and performances from last year to support my position. You can point to 3-4 teams, based on my account, maybe 10 at best.

          • Tim Edell

            You said the Ravens prick

          • Tim Edell

            49ers look good!! Lol they are who we thought they were!!!

        • PetEng

          And yet, we have backups that appear somewhat ready to go. If Devey/Pears suck you don’t think they will be benched?

          • Tim Edell

            Well if they got beat out by these 2 clowns they must not be all that good!

        • Daniners

          Correct, but gain, every team in the NFC West has O line issues (AZ probably the worst). The team with the most consistent defense is going to win the division…every team is solid there. Also, time will tell, but I think Kam Chancellor is a bigger loss to Seattle than people think. You don’t lose an All-Pro in the prime of his career and not have that impact you. He put the fear in every WR they faced.

        • sdaddy101269

          I guess Devey will be fine and Kaep clearly wasn’t “running for his life”

      • steven leslie

        Last in the NFC West. Book it.

        • pete leslie the 3rd

          First in the NFC WEST BITCH. BOOK it

          • steven leslie

            Whoa…BOOK IT in ALL CAPS?!? Well, clearly you MUST be correct!!!

            Vikings 24, 49ers 13 to start your boys on a 4-12 season. BOOOOOOKKKKKK IIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • sdaddy101269

            Like I said…The 49ers will be fine! All you smart guys that predicted we’d get blown out are starting to eat crow! What you got to say now??

          • steven leslie

            I’d say the 49ers looked better than I expected, and the Vikings looked worse than I expected. That said, it’s one game, and I recall the 49ers winning big in Week 1 last year. How’d that work out for you?

            As I expected them to lose this game, I’ll revise my prediction to 5-11. So…congratulations?

          • sdaddy101269

            Steve- Last season we had 17 guys on the injured list and were missing Aldon, Williams, Dorsey, Williams, Brock and Anthony davis. Hell, We were starting Jonathan Martin at RT, Vernon Davis was hurt, we had ZERO speed at the WR position. Now look at us!

          • steven leslie

            Look man, I’m not wishing ill on the 49ers. But you guys lost Aldon & Justin Smith, McDonald, Borland, and Willis. Not all of those guys managed a full season last year, but you’re getting zero games from them this year. You get Bowman back, and drafted some potential players, but your D suffered a net loss whether you want to accept it or not.

            On offense, you lost Iupati, Crabtree, and Gore. Hyde should replace Gore nicely, and may even be an upgrade. But Torrey Smith isn’t the stud WR you make him out to be, and Bush is washed up. Boldin’s 100 years old and Vernon Davis has clearly lost a step. Maybe Kaep bounces back and the offense improves despite losing one of the best guards in football, but any gains will likely be marginal.

            The reason you “can’t trust the national media” and only read pro-49ers cites is because you are a HUMONGOUS homer. Now, every year there are some teams that look bad on paper that turn out to be pretty good, and maybe the 49ers will be one of those teams this year. But I’d take the under on last year’s 8 wins, even with their Monday win in the bank.

          • sdaddy101269

            See here’s where you are uninformed like the national media. All of those “losses” you mentioned, the positions were drafted for 2-3 years prior. The only two we were blindsided by were Willis and Anthony Davis and Davis wasn’t a fit for the ZBS we run now. I’m not a homer I just happen to know my team MUCH better than you do.Torrey Smithg is a HUGE upgrade over Crabs and as you saw Hyde is more then able to make up for Gore. Smith’s speed requires safety help over the top, that opens up deep crosses and intermediate routes for VD, Bush and Boldin. Iupati, although a good run blocker, was rated as one of the worst pass blocking guards in the NFL by PFF (49er fans knew this already) that’s why we let him go. We have bush as a 3rd down pass catching option, not to be Hyde’s backup. We drafted Mike Davis out of South Carolina for that. As far a Vernon Davis goes, he’s still the fastest TE in the league and thats why we have him. Speed. Now what fool??

          • steven leslie

            Dude, saying you’re not a homer doesn’t make it so. The 49ers lost a historic amount of talent in the offseason, and all you can say is “we drafted replacements!” Of course you did, every team in the NFL does this. The problems is the hit rate on draft picks is very low, and the chances your backups can match the talent you lost is incredibly low.

            Everyone knows their team much better than non-fans, but it doesn’t mean your inherent biases don’t bleed into your “analysis.” I live on the East coast, know lots of Ravens fans, and no one was particularly sad to see Torrey Smith go. He’s fast, but he has problems adjusting on the fly and has questionable hands. He torches bad secondaries but tends not to show up against even halfway decent secondaries (like, I don’t know, catching one of three targets for 11 yards against the Vikings).

            Also, it’s not 2013 and Bush and Davis are on the wrong side of 30. I’m reasonably sure my eyes still work, and Davis wasn’t setting the field ablaze on Monday. And Bush is already hurt, which is super-shocking considering he’s been such an iron man over his career.

            So yes, you are a homer. I fully appreciate that I won’t change your mind, but it’s a pretty good bet the 49ers will over the course of this season. Savor the win over the Vikings, as you’ll have no more than 6 of them for the rest of the year.

          • sdaddy101269

            I get that you don’t get it. Just because YOU don’t recognize our guys doesn’t make me a Homer. I know my team, you don’t. I’m not sure what Ravens fans have to do with Torrey Smith cuz it sure looked like they could’ve use him this past Sunday! The facts are that we are MUCH better than what you and other prognosticators said we’d be. Make sure your back here later in the season to eat some more Crow.

          • steven leslie

            Well, if nothing else we agree that we disagree…

            I came back after the 49ers won, and will fully own up if I’m wrong about their 2016 season. You just be sure to do the same. We’ll call it a gentleman’s wager and set the line at last year’s 8 wins. More = you win, less = I win.

            As for Week 2…Steelers 31, 49ers 17

          • sdaddy101269

            I’ll be here. 49ers 27 Steelers 23.

          • steven leslie

            Where my Niners fans at?!?!?!? More importantly, where are all those great players you drafted to replace all that talent you lost in the offseason? It’s almost as if, and I may be crazy here, that only a homer would look at this roster and believe it was a playoff-caliber team…

          • sdaddy101269

            We’re right here Leslie.We will be fine, Mangini clearly underestimated the deep speed of A Brown. The people responsible for deep coverage we guys we already had on the team! Short week, long trip to the east coast and a 10am game= recipe for disaster.

          • steven leslie

            It’s fair to play the “it’s just one game” card, as I did that last week. And I agree about the “west coast team playing a 1 pm EST” point, too. But hindsight is 20-20, and I recall only one of us calling a clear 49ers loss before the game happened, while the other called for a 49ers win…

            Just in case I forget later this week: Cards 27, 49ers 17

          • steven leslie

            Where my 49ers fans at? Still think you guys will be fine this year? Anyone want to bet against a 1-3 start?

          • steven leslie

            Where my 49ers fans at? Still think you guys will be fine this year? Anyone want to bet against a 1-3 start?

          • steven leslie

            And where is my favorite 49ers homer?!? Starting to realize the wisdom of listening to what others think about your team, as opposed to just other 49ers fanboys? Have you realized yet that you’re staring at a 2-7 record when you hit your bye in week 10?

          • steven leslie

            Where you at, homer? I thought you said you’d be right here all season? 1-4 and you’re already throwing in the towel? Hey, at least you guys lost a close one Sunday night as opposed to getting blown out. Progress!!!

          • sdaddy101269

            I’m still here! There’s a LOT of season left and we haven’t even gotten into division play. Like I said I’ll be here for the SEASON not just through 5 games bro.

          • steven leslie

            I’ll take it back, I just assumed you were refusing to face the music. I admire your optimism, but I suspect the list of teams that have gone from 1-4 to the playoffs is pretty short.

          • sdaddy101269

            I’m sure it is. I saw some things Sunday night and some long overdue subs that I think will bode well going forward. However sometimes I wish we played in the AFC South and not the NFC west! Hahaha

          • steven leslie

            I think any NFC team would look like a contender if they played in the AFC South…

            Much needed win by your boys on Sunday. If they can beat Seattle at home tomorrow, I may even start to believe you that they can turn this season around…

          • sdaddy101269

            I think so too. However, I also think that Michael Bennett is going to wreak havoc. Hopefully Tiller can handle him. My concern has turned to our LB play, specifically Bowman in coverage. We picked up the Hodges kid from Minnesota a couple weeks ago specifically for his coverage ability so hopefully he can play otherwise I feel Graham will have a huge day. Final analysis, if we can score 25 points we’ll win. IMO

          • steven leslie

            The season is over, and the time has come to pay your debt…

            …I’ll note I said 5-11 after the upset of the Vikings, and they ended up EXACTLY 5-11.

          • Chris Trisha

            Interesting bet. But its really only a difference of 2 games. If the Niners get 7, you win, if they get 9, the other guy wins. In the NFL, 2 games could come down to a fumble or a penalty. Doesn’t mean they are horrible tho if they only get 7. Your take was the Niners should hardly win at all since they lost so much. I agree with sdaddy101269. We (Im a Niner fan) are better at some positions than people think we are. Ok, maybe Im being a little bit of a homer, but I follow this team very closely. Im not surprised we came out and played the way we did vs the Vikings. Mangini might even be an upgrade of Fangio. And some of the guys we lost were close to being done. Justin Smith didn’t have much left, RayMAc the same, Willis (still good) was not as good as 5 years ago. Borland wasn’t great in man coverage vs the pass, Torrey is an upgrade over Crabs, I could go on. Point is, when the media hears all this chatter, they immediately downgrade the team’s chances because of the high turnover. That’s fair, but do they really know who we still have? On D we got guys like Bowman, Lynch, Bathea, Reid, Brooks, Ian Williams, Dorsey. OUr only glaring weakness on the whole team really is the right side of the O line.

          • steven leslie

            I think you’re right about wins and losses, in that a team whose “true” talent level is 8-8 can easily end up 6-10 or 10-6 with a few bad or good breaks. A better bet would probably be to use PD and expect wins, but that can be misleading too. One bad loss or blowout win can skew those numbers, particularly when they come during a game with a lot of key players injured on one side or another.

            Anyways, if the 49ers win 6-7 games, but I think they played better than that and were just kinda unlucky, I’ll still admit that they were better than I thought they’d be. But looking ahead I have them losing their next 2 and heading into their week 5 game against the Giants at 1-3.

          • jjthetraveler

            The Pack won the SB with 16 guys on IR.

          • steven leslie

            Are you still saying “look at us!” about the 49ers? Or have you stopped watching them, too? Because they are pretty hard to watch…

          • steven leslie

            Whose the bitch now, BITCH!?!?!?! At least you guys can find a real QB with the first overall pick in the draft…

      • jjthetraveler

        The 9er will be in the running for first pick come draft day.

    • ChickenHunter

      As much as I love the 9ers, I can’t be that much of a homer. This team wins 5-7 games, with 6 the most likely. The offensive line is absolute garbage from Center/RG/RT as they mention here. Not bad, not weak…GARBAGE!!Do you really think they’re winning 6 games against Super Bowl Champion coaches with our bunch of rejects calling the plays? Then sweeping two time coach of the year Bill Arians? And that’s just to get to .500 because they have other tough games besides these. You can homer all you want, but chances are this is a lost season. Too bad because we could have played for the Super Bowl in our home stadium if it weren’t for this ownership and FO.

    • Brandon M

      49ers=garbage

    • David Stinnett

      Yes, I see that they actually have a good roster. But have they improved? Just asking.

    • jtruff

      You’re in complete denial.

      10,163 snaps.

      That’s how many snaps were taken by 49ers players last season who are no longer with the team. That’s 43% of their team contribution – gone. That’s not just a little turnover, that’s a hemorrhage.

      You sound just like the Black Knight in Monty Python.

      “You’ve got no arms left!”
      “Yes I have!”
      “Look!”
      “It’s just a flesh wound”

    • Jacob Furness

      Why quotes around talented? Implying Patrick Willis, NaVarro Bowman, and others aren’t talented?

    • steven leslie

      I can’t wait for the you to lose your sh*t when the 49ers go 4-12 this year. Enjoy the season!

    • sdaddy101269

      Where are all the jackasses that said we’d lose?? That we had no talent??

    • jjthetraveler

      WOW what chu smoken??

  • The Mysteries of Bob

    I’m a supporter of the Vikings bandwagon, Cowboys and Lions were huge overachievers last season, I see them giving their gains from 2014 back in 2015, opening a room for Minnesota to make the playoffs as the 6th seed. Their schedule is hard, though, playing both the AFC and NFC West. I’m not picking them because they are young, I mean, the Rams are too and they will never make it with Jeff Fisher and Nick Foles, but Minny has potential to be a top defense on every part of it (unlike St Louis, which is staked on the DL and thin everywhere else) and they have a QB I have a hard time seeing him regressing, giving that Teddy was a rookie and finished the season playing like one of the best, despite question marks on OL and WRs.

    For Dallas, I still believe they make the playoffs, but I’m picking the Eagles to win the division, while the Lions and Arizona won’t repeat their 2014 campaigns and will miss the playoffs. IDK about the South, I picked the Falcons but I don’t trust any of them, the Saints have the best QB but they are in cap hell, the Panthers are a dynfunctional offense and the Bucs are still two years away depending of Winston playing well. Atlanta at least has hope of fixing their defense under Quinn.

    Overall, Packers and Seahawks remain untouched on top of the NFC, but the only teams with no shot of making the playoffs are Washington and Chicago. Tampa Bay has a chance because of the division, San Francisco is a mess, I don’t know what is going to emerge from that team, maybe they win 10 games and prove that everyone was wrong, maybe they are picking first in the draft.

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  • PetEng

    It’s as if PFF doesn’t even trust their own grading. For players where there are no NFL snaps we need to rely on college tape or preseason information.

    49ers defense.
    Armstead – good in preseason.
    Purcell – excellent in preseason.
    Tartt – excellent in preseason.
    Skov – excellent in preseason.
    Acker – excellent in preseason.
    Reaser – good in preseason.

    PFF is effectively saying their preseason grades aren’t effective in projecting player performance. Then what’s the point?

    49ers offense.
    Trenton Brown – good in preseason.
    Brandon Thomas – good in preseason.
    Nick Easton – excellent in preseason.

    All backups that could displace starters (none of whom are entrenched).

    • Jacob Furness

      Preseason does not always transfer to regular season believee it or not. Blake Bortles was incredible in the preseason last year and didn’t play well at all in the regular season.

      • PetEng

        QB is probably the least reliable preseason data. That is the position most impacted by defensive scheme.

        In matchup based positions the data seems to have a lot more value (WR vs DB), (OL vs DL). The 9ers defense looks absolutely stout even with our losses.

  • Alex

    I can’t understand why every writer seems to think the Panthers’ defense will be the same as what they started with last season. Antoine Cason isn’t walking onto that field anymore, and we already have plenty of evidence that the defense will be much better off without him. Not only do the numbers from last year bear that out, but it was obvious when watching the games. Sometimes the most relevant improvements happen during a season rather than in the offseason.

  • terry welsh

    There you go again dumping on Detroit. I think they are far better this year then last, and will surprise you guys. This is my last year with PFF. ESPN comes closer then you guys.

    • Wolverine

      You realize they picked the Lions to make the playoffs again, right? I’m a Lions fan, and even if the roster is better this year, the schedule is much tougher. I think 9-7 or 10-6 and #6 seed is a very reasonable prediction.

    • steven leslie

      Lions = no higher than 3rd in the North. Losing Suh + Fariley = worse than last year. Enjoy the season!

  • Al

    Brooks played at 290lbs last year. He was in great shape in camp. It appears that his off season incident isn’t going to be handled until next off season from what I’m seeing. But that could change, otherwise I think teams will be forced to respect him as a pass rushing threat again since he has been somewhat out of shape the past couple of seasons. He’s no Aldon Smith but having two guys who can get after a QB on the edge is a luxury a lot of teams don’t have. It’s worth noting.

  • steven leslie

    Packers, Seahawks, and Cowboys repeat as division champs. Falcons win the South. Eagles and Rams are the WCs, with the Vikings just missing. And you will most regret your Lions prediction when they finish dead last in the North. Though picking a 6-7 win Giants team to finish ahead of the Cowboys won’t look much better.

    • Jacob Furness

      There is absolutely no way the Bears do better than the Lions.

      • steven leslie

        Lions strengths = Megatron + D-Line. Suh and Fairley are gone. We’re a Megatron injury away from 3-13. So yes, there is a way, what you’re saying is you think it’s unlikely, which is true if and only if Megatron stays healthy. Bears will be better w/o that fraud Trestman, but the Lions currently employ a fraud of a head coach.

        I’m mostly saying if you could pick one of the Lions and Cowboys to slide out of the playoffs…it’s the Lions, and it’s not even close.

    • Cam we trust

      Falcons ain’t winning shit its all about the panthers baby.

      • steven leslie

        I could see any team in the NFC South taking the division. If the Panthers had a better O-Line/Receivers/Secondary they’d be the clear favorite. But they don’t, so it’s pretty much Cam, Olsen, and a great front 7. Is that enough? In South, maybe.

        • JT

          Well you pointed out the weaknesses of the Panthers……I could do that with every team lmao. The secondary as a whole is still pretty good anyway and there isn’t too many better trio of CBs on most teams than the Panthers in Norman, Tillman, and Bene.

  • ozzy mo

    This guy is on some serious crack..He is way off on most of these projections

  • jjthetraveler

    WOW gota wonder when you made these picks? Cause a few of them are wildly off.