3 teams on the rise
New Orleans Saints
We can only hope the NFC South winner won’t have a losing record this year. It’ll likely come down to the Panthers and Saints again, but New Orleans has quietly done a nice job rebuilding its offense. Yes, it lost its biggest weapon in TE Jimmy Graham, but New Orleans will be able to run on teams with its offensive line and a healthy Mark Ingram. The defense should improve from last year as well, especially with the addition of CB Brandon Browner.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have stocked up on a lot of young talent through the draft. They bolstered their offense, focusing specifically on the line during this year’s draft. The Rams are just a quarterback away from being a playoff team. Whenever they do find their franchise quarterback, as Nick Foles takes his shot this season, they will have an opportunity to be good for a few years. Whether that’s in St. Louis or Los Angeles remains to be seen.
The Vikings have generated plenty of attention as a sleeper pick this season. They’ve added talent through the draft over the past two years to complement the players on the roster before Mike Zimmer arrived. With the return of RB Adrian Peterson and the experience QB Teddy Bridgewater got last year, this team could have one of the best offenses in the NFL. If they can improve against the run defensively, the Vikings will give the Packers a run for the NFC North title.