Rick Zamperin: Which NFC team will end up being No. 1 in 2020?

FILE-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates a touchdown against Washington in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, I don’t have to tell you that 2020 has been an extremely bad year.

However, a tiny bit of normalcy arrives on Thursday night when the National Football League season kicks off with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.

The 2020 NFL campaign won’t be completely as we know it because many stadiums across the league will be empty due to physical distancing requirements while others will have a smattering of fans, but no tailgating.

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Still, football is back, and what better way to celebrate than to look into my crystal ball – which, I must admit, has become a little dusty due to the mayhem wreaked by COVID-19 – and predict what will happen in the NFL this year.

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Today, I’m going to focus on the NFC and on Thursday I will tackle the AFC. I will also make one bold prediction for each of the eight divisions, just for fun and fodder.

Also, don’t forget, the NFL has expanded its playoffs this year to include one additional team in each conference, boosting the total number of playoff participants from 12 to 14.

*-indicates playoff team

NFC East

1-Dallas Cowboys 11-5*
2-Philadelphia Eagles 10-6*
3-New York Giants 4-12
4-Washington Football Team 3-13

Bold prediction: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott wins the NFL MVP Award after leading the league with 5,000+ passing yards and 35 touchdowns.

NFC North

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1-Minnesota Vikings 10-6*
2-Green Bay Packers 8-8
3-Chicago Bears 5-11
4-Detroit Lions 5-11

Bold prediction: After going 13-3 last year, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will not make the playoffs in 2020.

NFC South

1-New Orleans Saints 12-4*
2-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4*
3-Atlanta Falcons 7-9
4-Carolina Panthers 3-13

Bold prediction: Both the Saints and Bucs finish 12-4, but Drew Brees gets the better of Tom Brady as New Orleans sweeps Tampa Bay this season.

NFC West

1-Seattle Seahawks 11-5*
2-San Francisco 49ers 10-6*
3-Los Angeles Rams 8-8
4-Arizona Cardinals 8-8

Bold prediction: All four teams in the division will finish .500 or better, something that has never happened in the NFC West.

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NFC playoff seeds: 1. New Orleans, 2. Seattle, 3. Dallas, 4. Minnesota, 5. Tampa Bay, 6. San Francisco, 7. Philadelphia.

Wild Card weekend: Seattle over Philadelphia, Dallas over San Francisco, Tampa Bay over Minnesota.

Divisional round: New Orleans over Tampa Bay, Seattle over Dallas.

NFC Championship: Seattle over New Orleans.

That’s right, I’m picking Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay.

Learn which team the Seahawks will face in the NFL title game and who will be crowned the champion on Thursday.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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