2012 NFL Predictions: Preseason Playoff Picks For the NFC

By Benjamin Woodward

Over the next week and a half, I’ll be taking a look at each of the NFL’s individual divisions and offering my thoughts and predictions for how they will fare in the 2012-13 campaign. Today’s edition will feature a look at the entire National Football Conference standings and the potential playoff match-ups created.

The schedule for the 2012 NFL predictions pieces is as follows:

AFC East (09/01/12)

AFC South (09/03/12)

AFC North (09/03/12)

AFC West (09/04/12)

NFC East (09/04/12)

NFC South (09/05/12)

NFC North (09/05/12)

NFC West (09/06/12)

Award Winners (09/06/12)

AFC Playoffs (09/07/12)

NFC Playoffs

Superbowl 47/Wrap-Up

First, here is the full projected NFC Standings from each of the division preview blogs, published earlier this week.

1) San Francisco 49ers(13-3) **

2) Green Bay Packers(12-4) **

3) Atlanta Falcons(11-5) **

4) New York Giants(10-6) **

5) Detroit Lions(10-6) *

6) New Orleans Saints(10-6) *

7) Chicago Bears — (10-6)

8 ) Dallas Cowboys — (9-7)

9) Philadelphia Eagles — (9-7)

10) Seattle Seahawks — (8-8)

11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — (6-10)

12) Carolina Panthers — (6-10)

13) Washington Redskins — (5-11)

14) St. Louis Rams — (5-11)

15) Arizona Cardinals — (3-13)

16) Minnesota Vikings — (2-14)

** = Division Champion

*   = Wild Card Winner

Now, without further ado, my predictions for the NFC Playoffs…..

Wild Card Round

6) New Orleans Saints 17 at

3) Atlanta Falcons  24

— For the past three seasons, the Falcons and Saints have gone head-to-head for the NFC South division crown. It was the Falcons who shocked the world in 2010 by dethroning the Saints en route to a number one seed in the NFC playoffs. The Saints would then take advantage of what would be a very trying season in Atlanta in 2011 and once again secure the division title. This time, I believe that the younger Falcons squad will finally get over the hump, once-and-for-all, through a home-field victory over their arch-rivals in this year’s playoffs.

5) Detroit Lions 20 at

4) New York Giants 24

— Haven’t we all learned to never doubt Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and the Giants? Especially in the postseason. This should be a fantastic match-up on both sides of the ball, with both teams being able to put up some points. In the end, New York’s championship experience will shine through and help lift them to a victory over a very competitive Detroit Lions club.

Divisional Round

4) New York Giants 13 at

1) San Francisco 49ers 27

— In what would be a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, I’d expect the result to be reversed with the San Francisco 49ers taking a decisive victory on their home field. Eli Manning and the Giants are not an easy out in the postseason, but with a perfect run/pass balance on offense and the league’s strongest defense, Jim Harbaugh‘s 49ers should be able to advance to the NFL’s final four for a second consecutive season.

3) Atlanta Falcons 21 at

2) Green Bay Packers 34

— The Falcons may have finally taken the step into “elite” status in the NFC and should remain there for many years to come. However, the Green Bay Packers are the class of the conference right now and will provide an awfully tough test for Matt Ryan‘s youthful Atlanta squad. This is a contest that should be dominated by offense prowess on both sides. In which case, I find it tremendously difficult to pick against Aaron Rodgers in a shootout. Packers take this one by at least two scores.

Conference Championship

2) Green Bay Packers 17 at

1) San Francisco 49ers 20

— This was the match-up that everyone wanted to see last winter. The classic confrontation between the irresistible force (Green Bay’s offense) and the immovable object (San Francisco’s defense). Well, thanks to the eventual Superbowl champion New York Giants, we didn’t get the chance to see these two teams go head-to-head in the 2011 postseason. These two squads are the clear-cut favorites in the NFC and I believe that they will finally meet this winter in the conference championship game. Aaron Rodgers’ lethally potent offense vs. Patrick Willis’ suffocating defense. Jim Harbaugh vs. Mike McCarthy. The 49ers’ strong running attack against Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk and the rest of Green Bay’s front seven. The storylines for this epic battle are endless. However, in the end, it will be the more well-rounded team that prevails and that is the San Francisco 49ers.

Well, there you have it folks. The San Francisco 49ers are your NFC representative for Superbowl 47 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the prediction of the match-up between the 49ers and the AFC Champion Houston Texans.

Thanks For Reading!

Twitter: @_BWoodward

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