A look at the NFC

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The football season is at last upon us and it is time to take a hard look at the upcoming season with an overview of what to look for, who the division contenders are, who will still be playing in January and who will win the Super Bowl.

My picks to make it to the playoffs this year from the NFC are: The Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants.

The Eagles are the most complete team out of the bunch with quarterback Donovan McNabb and running back Correll Buckhalter healthy, and one of the best defenses in the league. The team is finally looking to make it "their time."

The Packers are solid on offense with quarterback Brett Favre, running back Ahman Green, and receivers Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson. The issues they have are on defense with a rookie taking the place of linebacker Nate Wayne, who went to the Eagles, and the lack of depth in the secondary.

The Bucs won the title last year, but can they repeat the magic? I don't think so. It's difficult to repeat, especially in the NFL. And the running game is not in place with leading rusher Michael Pittman facing possible prison time for assault charges.

The Seahawks have a dynamic offense with quarterback Matt Hasselback, receivers Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson, and running back Shaun Alexander. With one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, Ray Rhodes and possible defensive rookie of the year Marcus Trufant signing with the team. This team is looking to make the playoffs after a long drought.

The Falcons lost poster boy quarterback Michael Vick in the preseason for the first four games of the season, but Doug Johnson should be able to replace him as he did when Vick went down last year. The team should make the playoffs as a wild card, because when Vick gets on the field with new receiver Peerless Price, exciting things will happen.

Finally, the Giants revamped their special teams unit because of the mistake made last year in the playoffs versus San Francisco that cost them the game. They have two solid receivers in Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard; tight end Jeremy Shockey is a beast and running back Tiki Barber is out to prove something. The defense has two great young cornerbacks in Will Allen and William Peterson and sack machine Michael Strahan, expect some great things from this team.

Wild Card Games: Seattle Seahawks (NFC West Champ) vs. New York Giants (Wild Card)

Green Bay Packers (NFC North Champ) vs. Atlanta Falcons (Wild Card) Divisional Games: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South Champ) vs. New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East Champ) vs. Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship game: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFC Champion: Philadelphia Eagles

Dark horse: Atlanta Falcons

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