It was a disappointing year for some favorites and supposed rising teams in the NFC. 

The New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers were not what many believed to be in 2017. And everyone's favorite dark horse — Tampa Bay — didn't measure up to the rising expectations. 

Should we expect similar results in 2018? Here's three teams that won't live up to the hype heading into next season. 

Los Angeles Rams

It was a great story in 2017. Todd Gurley resurrected his career. Jared Goff blew away the bust label. And Sean McVay became everyone's poster boy for why young people should at least get a chance at the big job. 

Like every great story, there's an ending. OK, maybe that's harsh, since I don't believe the Rams are completely going away, but they remind me a little of the Oakland Raiders. 

Offensively, the Rams were consistently good in 2017, ranking in the top-10 in yards per play. However, much like the Raiders in 2016, they weren't always that great on defense. The Rams ranked 15th in yards per play in 2017, and were horrendous against the run. 

Los Angeles is built on rushing the passer, but if they don't build leads, then that becomes a problem. See the Raiders for why that needs to be fixed in 2018. Everyone will be jumping on the Rams bandwagon heading into 2018. 

I'm not, so I'm tempering those expectations and will be fairly confident with the under in win totals. 

Carolina Panthers

Somebody in the NFC South is going to take a nosedive in 2018. Atlanta actually surprised me in 2017 with its ability to win 10 games, despite getting far less from the offense. 

That shows me the Falcons are built to win even without a dynamic offense, meaning I like the Falcons to stay where they are. So that leaves the Saints and the Panthers, and I'll book Carolina in the under. 

Carolina is basically an average to below-average team. 

Offensively, Carolina ranked 19th in yards per play. That's not too surprising because of the problems that regularly plagued the Panthers. It's the defense that is most shocking. 

The Panthers ranked 23rd in yards per play allowed on defense. That once vaunted defense is actually incredibly leaky against the pass, which is a major red flag. Carolina had the lowest ranked pass defense of all playoff qualifiers. 

Cam Newton's inconsistent play to go along with the rest of the team's average to below-average personnel makes this a simple choice in the under. 

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay is going to once again be a top-tier pick in win totals with Aaron Rodgers back in the mix. 

And while Rodgers buys this team more wins, I wouldn't necessarily put them automatically in the Super Bowl discussion. 

The personnel around Rodgers isn't good, and I'm not sure if it's going to get better. The defense ranked 29th in yards per pass attempt allowed, and there's still no running game that can help take some of the burden off Rodgers' shoulders. 

The other main problem for the Packers is that the division isn't getting worse. Minnesota looks poised to be good in the future with a solid defense. Detroit is a perennial eight- to nine- win team, and the Bears are getting better. 

That's a problem for the Packers, which are completely dependent on one player. That's a risk for anyone believing in Green Bay, so I wouldn't trust the over in win totals. 

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk. 

Scott Levine can be reached at or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH

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