NFL News: NFC Teams in Each Division most likely to improve in 2014
Garry looks at the NFC at the teams most likely to improve in 2014
2014 NFL Season
Odds to win the Super Bowl See the Latest Odds
NFC is loaded with high-caliber teams who aim to dethrone the Super Bowl champs Seattle Seahawks. NFC West is where the most actions are, as physical teams (Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals) will battle for the division title. However, there's a big difference from last year to the upcoming NFL season in terms of the rosters, paving the way for improvements.
Let's look at the NFC Teams most likely to improve in each division.
In the East, the N.Y. Giants can surprise the entire league again. Two year sleep since outlasting the Patriots in the Super Bowl 2012 is too long for the Giants not to be awake.
When Eli Manning plays great, the team keeps winning. Manning knows that he should not duplicate his worst career-high of 27 interceptions in 2013. It's not always Manning's fault. As the offensive line is healthy, Manning will get his time in surveying the field for his receivers.
Aside from Manning's ability to re-invent himself again, the hiring of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is a key. McAdoo will install an offense that will maintain the chemistry of the players. The Giants are known to fight stronger to get into the playoffs and even to win another Super Bowl. They are not out of the NFC map and they have a legitimate shot in winning the East.
Detroit Lions will be a dominant force in the division this year. A newly-hired coach, Jim Caldwell, will immediately impose his system. Caldwell knows how to fix the problems with the Lions, who faltered in December by losing four consecutive games.
With a promising quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and a talented wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, the Lions will compete and probably win the division. Moreover, an explosive offense is expected because of the arrival of Golden Tate, who will be the second target of Stafford. Also, Ryan Broyles will be a big impact if he can maintain his endurance. The Lions will also thrive in the running game with Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick. Anticipate a well-balanced offense that will be implemented by offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
From a record of 13-3 in 2012 to a 4-12 in 2013, the Atlanta Falcons look to bounce back. In order to be contenders, the Falcons' offensive line must be in full force and healthy. Absolutely, coach Mike Smith will fix the problem to allow quarterback Matt Ryan to the damage against any opposing team. If Ryan will have enough time, with the protection, he can easily target Julius Jones, one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Everybody knows what the Falcons can do when Ryan has more time at the pocket. Falcons might win at least 12 games this season.
The goal of the Arizona Cardinals is to beat the 49ers and Seahawks to win the division. Cardinals' record of 10-6 in 2013 was not enough to be in the playoffs. This actually means that they have to dislodge either 49ers or Seahawks, or both. A hard task but it has to start in the defense. A better defense will be needed to be on top of the division. If they can maintain what they've accomplished in defense last season, first in run defense, they will be in the playoffs.
Cardinals will play better in offense with quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Ted Ginn Jr. can be effective in the passing game and he can elude the defenders in kick returns.
Coach Bruce Arians understands that his team needs to match the aggressiveness of the opponents in this division. They are ready to be on top.
USA TODAY Sports