NFC playoff predictions: Eagles face familiar-but-stronger field of contenders

Night net null null null null null null Don't expect much change at the top of the NFC standings in 2018. The Eagles did not lose much after their victory in Super Bowl 52, and their fellow reigning division winners all made b

ig moves in efforts to displace them.The NFC remains the Night net's stronger, more top-heavy conference, meaning any NFC team that makes the playoffs has a chance to get to Super Bowl 53. Although much of the playoff field is bound to look like that of 2017, there is still room for the couple surprises. MORE 2018 PICKS:AFC: East | West | North | SouthNFC: East | West | North | South2018 NFC playoff predictions: Seeding1. New Orleans Saints (13-3), NFC South champions Related News Super Bowl 53 prediction: Who has edge in Saints vs. Chargers? New Orleans last season found its playmaking defense and power running game for the first time in a long time under coach Sean Payton. The Saints will not have a Big Easy time separating from tough division competition, but once they do, they'll make sure other contenders' playoff paths go through the Superdome, which will rediscover its Who Dat magic.2. Vikings (12-4), NFC North championsKirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson turn a good offense and a great defense into more intimidating units for coach Mike Zimmer. Cousins has never had this solid of a team around him, and the QB will take advantage.3. Eagles (12-4), NFC East championsThe Eagles have the luxury of being good at quarterback no matter what, and the team did not develop any true weaknesses despite some post-championship personnel departures. Coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will bring the players together to keep Philly special.4. Rams (12-4), NFC West championsThe Rams were dangerous offensively and daunting defensively before Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters were invited to join their Hollywood party. Where there's a Sean McVay, there's a will to take it up a notch and keep up with the rest of the NFC heavyweights.MORE: 2018 AFC playoff predictions5. Packers (11-5), NFC wild cardCan one man really make such a difference? Sure, a healthy Aaron Rodgers gives Green Bay a built-in high floor. But the tweaks offensively and defensively that come with the arrivals of Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine are what will lead to a rebound after the Packers missed the playoffs last season.6. 49ers (10-6), NFC wild cardSome think Jimmy Garoppolo, Reuben Foster and the Niners' entire new nucleus will need a while to push the team to the playoffs. But given their fantastic finish to 2017 and a favorable schedule, they are ready to make the jump now under coach Kyle Shanahan.2018 NFC playoffs: Picks by round— Wild-card playoffs: Eagles over 49ers; Packers over RamsThe Eagles will use their experience and home field to hold off Garoppolo and the upstart Niners. Rodgers will have one of his vintage road performances back home in California.— Divisional playoffs: Saints over Packers; Vikings over EaglesDrew Brees out-duels Rodgers in a classic, while Cousins finally gets on the board in the playoffs without the need of another Minneapolis Miracle..— NFC championship game: Saints over VikingsBrees vs. Cousins will be a throwback to Brees vs. Brett Favre eight years ago with a similar, high-scoring result. New Orleans takes it old school as it vies to capture that long-awaited second ring under Payton, this time with no controversy.--