In the last few seasons, the NFC has seemed extremely open and full of talent. That is unlikely to be the case this season, with a number of top teams facing instability at quarterback.
That pesky little detail will knock these teams down a peg in the offseason power rankings, so don’t be surprised to see a couple of top names down the order. Here are all 16 NFC teams ranked according to depth and talent heading into training camp.
Best of the best: NFC power rankings
#1 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won it all less than six months ago. With so little time between the Super Bowl and the new season, the Bucs will be a bit jaded, but they have retained nearly all of their starters from that monumental game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will run it back with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, and others from the Super Bowl-winning squad.
#2 – Los Angeles Rams
It may be odd that the Los Angeles Rams would rank so high in the NFC before even getting a single snap of game tape with Matthew Stafford. But if the hype coming out of Los Angeles is anything to go by, the Rams will be back in 2018 form and pushing for a top playoff spot.
Stafford will refresh Sean McVay’s playbook and allow him to call a new offense that will have teams just as confused as they were in 2017.
#3 – Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is back and has arguably the most complete offense of his career. For starters, he has Amari Cooper back for another year. He also has CeeDee Lamb coming back for his pivotal second season after almost eclipsing 1,000 yards in 2020. Lastly, he has Ezekiel Elliot to pound the rock.
With a strong pass and run attack, the Cowboys should be competitive in every game. December should be a fun time for the Cowboys.
#4 – Seattle Seahawks
The NFC cannot doubt Russell Wilson. He’s currently coming off the most productive season of his career with 40 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. As a result, the Seahawks went 12-4 in 2020. There is no reason why Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll will not be in the top-seed race at the end of the season.
#5 – Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers would be ranked higher in the NFC if not for the instability at quarterback. Will Aaron Rodgers play for the Packers this season? If he does, Green Bay will be a top-two team in the NFC. If his holdout goes any longer, the Packers could fall further down the pecking order in a tricky NFC division.
#6 – Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team has quietly made an impression on the NFC with their defense. Last season, they ranked second overall and most of that squad will kit up for Washington this season.
On offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the unchallenged starting quarterback for the first time since he was a member of the New York Jets. If Fitzpatrick can put together a decent offensive season, coupled with a top defense, Washington could surprise people in 2021.
#7 – Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are seemingly running out of patience with Kirk Cousins.
This season, they spent a third-round pick on Kellen Mond, placing pressure on Cousins. While Kirk Cousins hasn’t had any bad seasons numbers-wise (throwing for 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2020), the Vikings haven’t been the NFC juggernaut they thought they would be with him as a starter.
Kirk Cousins now has a rookie breathing down his neck, which could affect his play. It’s a sticky situation in Minnesota.
Outmatched but not out of the picture
#8 – San Francisco 49ers
If Jimmy Garoppolo remains healthy, the 49ers will compete with the best of the best in the NFC. They proved that when they made the Super Bowl in Garoppolo’s first full, healthy season with the team. However, since Garoppolo has struggled to stay healthy, the 49ers have decided to invest in a star of the future: Trey Lance.
How will the transition take place? Will it be a smooth one? Quarterback transitions rarely go off without a hitch, but with Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers cannot be completely out of the picture.
#9 – Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have a lot going for them. They have the pieces of an explosive offense with “Nuk” Hopkins and Kyler Murray. They also have an interesting defense with Vance Joseph returning as defensive coordinator and the addition of JJ Watt. But with the Rams and Seahawks also in the NFC West, the Cardinals could have a tough time laying down a marker in the NFC division.
#10 – New Orleans Saints
Will Jameis Winston bounce back after a year as Drew Brees’ backup to reach the heights he never reached in Tampa Bay? Sean Payton is banking on it.
Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas will be back. Thomas will be healthy and poised to return to his 2019 self. The Saints have a lot of questions but few answers.
Wait for 2022
#11 – Detroit Lions
#12 – Atlanta Falcons
#13 – New York Giants
#14 – Chicago Bears
#15 – Philadelphia Eagles
#16 – Carolina Panthers