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07.31.15 Sowing's 2015 NFC Predictions07.08.15 Guess The Lyrics
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Sowing's 2015 NFC Predictions

It's never too early. Records are merely projections based on offseason moves, scheduling, and general hunches. AFC coming soon.
Time to Burn

New York Giants (10-6, 1st place NFC East): Not to put too much stock into random numbers, but the Giants won the Superbowl in 2007 and 2011 - 4 year intervals, all under the control of Coughlin and Manning. Each time, they've come off disappointing years and Coughlin's future was in question. Here we are 4 years later in 2015, with all of the same factors. Is it the perfect storm? Somewhat less important is the return of Victor Cruz, the emergence of OBJ, and the fact that Eli now has a firm grasp on the new offense. But the 4 year thing... *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
Reach for the Sky

Dallas Cowboys (10-6, 2nd place NFC East): If bad boys Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory can stay on track and give the Dallas defense a pass rush, then this projection has legitimate upside. The downgraded record from last year's 12-4 mark stems mostly from a brutal midseason stretch that includes dates with New England (when Brady will be back from his suspension), NYG, Seattle, and Philly (I know I have Philly even lower on this list, but there's no such thing as an easy Cowboys/Eagles matchup). I'm not dreading Murray's departure, but I am dreading his replacement options. Neither glass man Darren McFadden nor shoplifter Joseph Randle inspire much faith. Still, they have one of the most talented rosters in the NFC, and their record will reflect that. *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
The Long Run

Philadelphia Eagles (7-9, 3rd place NFC East): If Chip Kelly is really as smart as everyone says, then he ought to just have the team ride to and from their games in an ambulance. Having accumulated perennial injury problems in Sam Bradford, Ryan Matthews, and yes - even DeMarco Murray, this offense rests on a bridge made out of toothpicks. Sure, if all goes well, then the Eagles have the talent and coaching to make the playoffs. Here's to betting everything everything won't go right, though.
There There

Washington Redskins (3-13, 4th place NFC East): How do you reconcile a soured relationship between coach and quarterback? What happens if things go well, and then you realize your franchise QB has been regressing ever since his rookie season? What happens when you realize Jay Gruden is no Jon Gruden? I sense the bottom falling out.
5The Pack
Based Boys

Green Bay Packers (13-3, 1st place NFC North): The Packers retained all of their key pieces, and if you ask me, they should have been the team representing the NFC in the Superbowl last season. The squandering of a big lead and a dropped onside kick ruined their destiny. This well oiled machine will keep on chugging, though, perhaps even with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
Do Or Die

Minnesota Vikings (9-7, 2nd place NFC North): Teddy Bridgewater looked like the real deal at the conclusion of 2014, and as he is expected to come into his own this season, he also gains the NFL's most dangerous weapon in Adrian Peterson. They have a tougher schedule than last year, but I think they're ready for it. The defense is also young, hungry, and primed to surprise anyone who doesn't take them seriously. *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
7As Tall As Lions
As Tall As Lions

Detroit Lions (8-8, 3rd place NFC North): Last year's surge into the postseason didn't feel like a fluke. After all, Stafford and Megatron have been perfecting their chemistry for years, and it was only a matter of time until the defense caught up. However, they lost both Suh and Fairley at DT, and while the addition of Ngata helps slow the bleeding, it's still a major blow to the defense. This is also a surging division with Minnesota trending upwards and the Bears rebuilding. Expect the Lions to dip back out of the playoff conversation.
8Grizzly Bear

Chicago Bears (6-10, 4th place NFC North): John Fox has a reputation for quickly turning teams around, especially on the defensive side of the ball. If that happens again here, there's real sleeper potential for the 2015 Bears. However, Cutler needs to become more consistent, and Kevin White has enormous shoes to fill for the departed Brandon Marshall. Even if the blueprints are there, it's an uphill battle.
9The Saints
The Monkey Puzzle

New Orleans Saints (10-6, 1st place NFC South): I have less faith that the Saints are actually this good than I do that the rest of their division is just that bad. I know they lost Jimmy Graham, but I think Sean Payton is innovative enough to find ways around his absence. Spiller will help fill the void left by Sproles two seasons ago, and a defense that fell woefully short of expectations - but has undeniable skill in the secondary - will bounce back. *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
10Steel Panther
All You Can Eat

Carolina Panthers (8-8, 2nd place NFC South): It's hard to escape the feeling that the Panthers have just been fortunate as of late. They didn't possess 12-4 talent when they won the South in 2013, and last year they became just the second squad to qualify for the postseason with a losing record. Not much has changed roster-wise, so given another year to build chemistry I think they'll improve to 8-8. It won't be enough to win the division this time, however.
11The Falcon

Atlanta Falcons (5-11, 3rd place NFC South): Outside of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, what does this team really have going for it? New defensive-minded head coach Dan Quinn comes to mind, but that's about it. Roddy White is aging, and while he'll still undoubtedly have his moments, his career is on a downward slope. Expect Atlanta to win some shootouts simply because Matt Ryan is a top-tier QB, but they are in desperate need of a complete roster overhaul. Until that happens, they remain a team with minimal upside.
12We Were Pirates
Cutting Ties

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12, 4th place NFC South): Things hit rock bottom for the Bucs in 2014, as they descended to a lowly 2-14 mark. Jameis Winston will need time to get acclimated to the NFL, but once he "arrives", the Tampa passing game will be tough to stop with towers like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw to. The defense has some pieces in place with McCoy and David, but Lovie Smith needs to work his magic a little more before you can call this a complete team. If things fall into place more quickly than anticipated, we could see Tampa ascend from the NFC South cellar and contend with Atlanta or Carolina for 2nd/3rd in the division.
Paradise Freaks

Seattle Seahawks (11-5, 1st place NFC West): It would be easy to look at Seattle, factor in the addition of superstar TE Jimmy Graham, and project them to go 14-2. But there's a lot more that goes into professional football than roster talent. It's an immensely psychological game, and I can't help but wonder how the goal line coaching gaffe that cost this team the Lombardi Trophy will impact them. Will they be silently questioning Pete Carroll now? It's hard enough to rebound from losing a Super Bowl anyway. There's also all the questions surrounding Russel Wilson's contract, and the fact that he's flirted with the idea of playing baseball. Don't get me wrong, Seattle is right up there with Green Bay as one of the two most unquestionably dominant teams in the NFC. On paper, they're a 14-2 team. I just think that there will be intangible tolls to be paid along the way this season. *PLAYOFF QUALIFIER*
14Ram Jam
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram

St. Louis Rams (9-7, 2nd place NFC West): The Rams' time may have finally come. Their defense looks impenetrable, and with a solid QB capable of staying healthy in Nick Foles - along with the addition of Todd Gurley, who will be an absolute game changer at RB if healthy - it seems the tide has finally turned in their favor. Still, it will be tough to garner enough wins in this division to secure a wildcard position.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8, 3rd place NFC West): Arizona is technically better than the team above them, but they were ravaged by injuries last year and things don't figure on getting any better. Carson Palmer is getting old, as is Larry Fitzgerald. Andre Ellington proved last year that he's too diminutive to be a full time starting RB. Chances are, injuries will derail this team again in some way, and it will once again be up to the defense to carry the load. If I'm wrong, tack an additional 2-3 wins onto this total.
16Stay Gold
Caught Up In The Moment EP

San Francisco 49ers (3-13, 4th place NFC West): San Fran had one of the most disastrous offseasons in recent memory, with star coach John Harbaugh leaving in a huff and half of the talented players on their defense retiring. They also lost Gore and Crabtree on offense. This will almost certainly be a year for the Niners to forget.
The Odyssey

NFC Wildcard Playoffs: Giants over Vikings, Cowboys over Saints
18Pink Floyd
The Division Bell

NFC Divisional Playoffs: Giants over Seahawks (whoa), Packers over Cowboys (again)
19American Football
American Football

NFC Championship Game: Packers over Giants (GB finally gets the best of the G-Men in the title game)
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