How each team will finish in their division this season

Quarterback Matthew Stafford and coach Sean McVay led the Rams to the championship in their first season together. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

The Rams coach is 5-0 to start the season, a record as pristine as his haircut. Sean McVay has opened the last five seasons with wins over Indianapolis, Oakland, Carolina, Dallas and Chicago, averaging 32.6 points in those wins.

The toughest challenge comes Thursday night in the “Kickoff Opener,” when the Rams host Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, the first time the NFL raises the curtain on the season in Los Angeles.

McVay, whose team is defending the Super Bowl title, has the NFC’s longest opener streak, but the longest streak overall belongs to Kansas City’s Andy Reid, whose teams have won seven straight openers. The Chiefs open the season in Arizona.

New England’s Bill Belichick has the most opening-season wins among active coaches, though the Patriots’ 18-9 record in those doesn’t reflect their tremendous overall success.

Five coaches are making their debuts: Chicago’s Matt Eberflus, Denver’s Nathaniel Hackett, Miami’s Mike McDaniel, Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell and the New York Giants’ Brian Daboll.

Five others will be coaching in their first game with a new club: Houston’s Lovie Smith, Jacksonville’s Doug Pederson, Las Vegas’ Josh McDaniels, New Orleans’ Dennis Allen and Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles.

A division-by-division look at the NFC teams with their projected order of finish:

NFC West

Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner directs the defense during practice.

Bobby Wagner will lead the Rams defense at linebacker. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

1. RAMS: As long as Matthew Stafford isn’t hampered by elbow issues, he should be fine. The addition of Bobby Wagner bolsters an already strong defense.

2. San Francisco 49ers: They have the Rams’ numbers, but there are unanswered questions about Trey Lance and whether he can step in at quarterback without a hiccup.

3. Arizona Cardinals: They’ve gotten better every season under coach Kliff Kingsbury, so this division could be closely tied. The bad news: Receiver DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson has been the heart of this franchise for a decade. It’s hard to imagine them repeating that with Geno Smith or Drew Lock at quarterback. The defense is being rebuilt.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) takes part in throwing drills.

The Eagles expect quarterback Jalen Hurts to make huge strides in his second season as a starter. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

1. Philadelphia Eagles: A lot of that depends on the development of quarterback Jalen Hurts, but he has a lot of weapons and this team has made significant strides on defense.

2. Dallas Cowboys: In terms of talent, the Cowboys and Eagles are comparable. Quarterback Dak Prescott might be great, but there are a lot of question marks in this receiving corps.

3. New York Giants: Quarterback Daniel Jones is better than the team’s 12-25 record with him as the starter. The Giants will win some they shouldn’t and lose some they shouldn’t.

4. Washington Commanders: Carson Wentz feels like an 8-8 quarterback and now won’t have Chase Young to pass for September. They could quickly find themselves underwater.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers warms up before the start of a preseason game.

Does Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers need a star receiver or is he creating one? (Ed Zurga/Associated Press)

1. Green Bay Packers: Once again they are the class of this division and they will contend for the NFC crown. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will lose receiver Davante Adams, but he’ll make a star out of someone else.

2. Minnesota Vikings: Here’s a change: They have an offensive-minded coach in Kevin O’Connell. Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen… the Vikings have weapons.

3. Detroit Lions: They are playing hard for coach Dan Campbell and have won three of their last six games. They are always seen in a reconstruction. Aidan Hutchinson will help this defense.

4. Chicago Bears: Justin Fields is up and down, so the Bears don’t really know if they’ve finally found a quarterback. The team has missed the playoffs in nine of 11 seasons.

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady prepares for the preseason finale against the Indianapolis Colts.

This department couldn’t be more excited to see Tom Brady come back from retirement. (Zach Bolinger/Associated Press)

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: They may be the class of this class, but they can’t have any more injuries on the offensive line. Even at 45, quarterback Tom Brady can put up MVP numbers.

2. New Orleans Saints: Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees are gone and replaced by Dennis Allen and Jameis Winston. There are still playmakers on offense, but defense drives this team.

3. Atlanta Falcons: Coach Arthur Smith could breathe life into the career of quarterback Marcus Mariota, and the Falcons will be better and play more defense with coordinator Dean Peas at the helm.

4. Carolina Panthers: If Christian McCaffrey can stay healthy and quarterback Baker Mayfield can rediscover some of that early potential, the Panthers could surprise some people.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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