Below we will answer the question as to which team will represent the NFC in this season’s Super Bowl.
- The team that has earned a first-round bye due to its having the best overall record has won the NFC title in six of the last 10 seasons.
- The Vikings tapped USC’s wideout, Jordan Addison, as their first-round pick this season which should help Justin Jefferson avoid double teams.
- What separated Philadelphia from Dallas last year was ever so slight as the Eagles were ranked No. 3 in scoring, averaging 28.1 points per game, while the Cowboys were No. 4, averaging 27.5 points per game.
- The Dallas Cowboys were 8-1 at home last year while the Eagles were ranked No. 1 against the pass.
- The Washington Commanders finished dead last in the NFC East with an 8-8-1 record but split the season series against the powerhouse Eagles and Cowboys.
- The Bears ranked No. 1 running the rock, averaging 177.3 rushing yards per game last season.
Breaking it Down
There are 16 teams in each conference with seven making the playoffs, including the four division winners and the three wild card teams determined by the non-division winners with the best records. The division winner with the best overall record receives a first-round bye while the division winner with the second-best record will play the wild card team with the worst record.
Therefore, it’s up to us to analyze which teams will occupy which spots. And do we automatically assume that the team with the best record, and by default earning the luxury of a first-round bye, will be the NFC title winner?
If we review the NFC conference winners over the last decade, we find out the team that has won the NFC championship in six of the last 10 years also received the first-round bye.
Last season the formula worked yet again as the Eagles ended the regular season with a 14-3 mark which was tops in the NFC, earning them a first-round bye, and all they did was roll through the playoffs, obliterating the Giants (38-7) and 49ers (31-7) to win the conference crown before bowing to the Chiefs, 38-35, in the Super Bowl.
NFC Crystal Ball
Let’s fast forward through the NFL regular season and save us the time of watching hundreds of games as we get straight to the postseason.
2023 NFC First-Round Playoff Pairing Projections
- NFC North Winner Minnesota Vikings (12-5) – Gets Automatic Bye
- NFC East Winner Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) vs. Wild Card #3 Detroit Lions (10-7)
- NFC West Winner San Francisco 49ers (10-7) vs. Wild Card #2 Dallas Cowboys (10-7)
- NFC South Winner New Orleans Saints (9-8) 4 vs. Wild Card #1 Chicago Bears (11-6)
2023 NFC 2nd Round Playoff Pairings
- Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
- Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears
I am quite sure there are more than a few snickering at my prediction of the Minnesota Vikings sewing up the best record in the conference and securing a first-round bye. The hate is real for Kirk Cousins but he throws early and often while enjoying the luxury of having the best receiver in the game, Justin Jefferson, as the object of his aerial desire.
This year could be even more prolific than last as the Vikings tapped USC’s wideout, Jordan Addison, as their first-round pick this season which should help Justin Jefferson avoid the double teams to which he has become accustomed over his thus far stellar career. As good as I believe the Bears and Lions will be this season, I don’t see them dethroning the Vikings from their divisional perch.
However, what separated Philadelphia from Dallas last year was ever so slight as the Eagles were ranked No. 3 in scoring, averaging 28.1 points per game, while the Cowboys were No. 4, averaging 27.5 points per game.
A few other notes to consider. The Dallas Cowboys were 8-1 at home last year while the Eagles were ranked No. 1 against the pass.
The Washington Commanders finished dead last in the NFC East with an 8-8-1 record but split the season series against the powerhouse Eagles and Cowboys. Are we underestimating Washington this season?
2023 NFC Conference Championship
- Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
Yes, the Bears will make serious noise this season and will again be a ground-and-pound steamroller as they were last season when they ranked No. 1 running the rock, averaging 177.3 rushing yards per game.
But here’s why I believe the Bears will be the Cinderella story of the NFC. They picked up a ready-to-play-pro tackle in Tennessee’s Darnell Wright as the 10th overall pick who will serve Justin Fields well and give him more time in the pocket.
Speaking of Fields, he also got a shiny new toy in DJ Moore who was acquired when Chicago traded the first overall pick to Carolina. Now he has that “guy” who will change the game for the Bears.
However, the Vikings will, under my scenario, have a first-round bye to rest and heal. That is invaluable in the postseason as we have seen so often. The Vikings will go to the Super Bowl and you can say you heard it here first!
NFL Pick: Minnesota Vikings to Win NFC (+1600) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.