USA Today’s NFL Predictions Shows a Tight Race for the NFC North
Champions are made in the month of May...right? Okay, maybe not, but USA Today has released its projected records for the 2020 NFL season and the NFC North is quite interesting.
Nate Davis of USA Today has combed through the NFL schedule and has projected a record for each team, along with giving a way-too-early Super Bowl prediction. Let's just start there. Davis has the New Orleans Saints defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl this upcoming season.
But what about the NFC North teams? There are some interesting projections within that division. Davis sees the NFC North as a tight race between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Better yet, the two are separated at the top by just one game. Green Bay is his projected NFC North winner at 10-6 with the Vikings finishing at 9-7. Oh, and that 9-7 record isn't good enough to get the Vikings into the playoffs...more on that in a bit.
Most would assume that the Bears would be projected to finish third in the division based on the last couple of seasons. Davis doesn't see it that way. Better yet, Davis has the Bears at the way bottom of the standings with a 3-13 finish (same record as Carolina and one game ahead of NY Giants for worst NFC record). He has Detroit rebounding in a big way this year with a 7-9 record.
So how about those playoff teams? New Orleans, San Francisco, Green Bay, and Dallas are looked at as the division favorites, with Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Philadelphia as the three wild card teams. Minnesota misses out on the playoffs due to conference records according to Davis.
- New Orleans (12-4)
- San Francisco (12-4)
- Green Bay (10-6)
- Dallas (10-6)
- Tampa Bay (10-6)*
- Atlanta (9-7)*
- Philadelphia (9-7)*
Now let's take a look at the AFC. Baltimore and Kansas City are the two main favorites entering the 2020 season. Indianapolis takes a stronghold of the AFC South, while the Denver Broncos roll with Drew Lock to a playoff spot:
- Baltimore (13-3)
- Kansas City (12-4)
- Indianapolis (11-5)
- Buffalo (10-6)
- Pittsburgh (11-5)*
- Denver (9-7)*
- Tennessee (9-7)*
The NFC Championship Game sees the Saints defeat the Buccaneers, while the AFC Championship Game has the Ravens over Chiefs. New Orleans then captures the Lombardi Trophy as Drew Brees walks away from the game on top.