Can anyone in the NL knock off the Cubs?

Carl Edwards of the Chicago Cubs celebrates on the field with his teammates after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. Rob Tringali/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs finally ended their World Series title drought that spanned more than a century, and many prognosticators expect them to be back there again in 2017. However, no MLB has won back-to-back World Series since the New York Yankees’ three-year reign from 1998-2000, and no National League team has done it since Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine teams of 1975 and 1976. Heck, no NL team has even gotten to the World Series in consecutive seasons since the Phillies lost to the Yankees in 2009 one year after winning their second World Series in franchise history.

Welcome to Yardbarker roundtable, where we can’t wait to see what the young, talented defending champions do in 2017. While most believe Chicago has a great chance of getting back to the World Series and repeating, recent history suggests otherwise. So we asked:

Can anyone in the NL knock off the Cubs?

Phillip BarnettThe Cubs have the most talented roster in the NL, but they aren't invincible. The Giants were a bad pitch and a blown save away from being tied 2-2 in the NLDS with Johnny Cueto scheduled to start in the decisive Game 5. The Giants have improved their bullpen and still feature one of the best one-two starting pitching punches in all of baseball. 

While the NLCS was a bit lopsided, the Dodgers did win two games against the Chicago. This year, if healthy, don't put anything past these Dodgers. With Clayton Kershaw out, they proved that they still had the depth to win the division as the absolute most resilient team in baseball during the regular season. 

In D.C., the Nationals are still one of the best teams in the NL that has yet to put it all together in October. But with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the Nats' pitching is going to be good enough to compete with the Cubs. If the bats show up, anything can happen in October. Despite all of this, the Cubs still have the pitching and the bats and the youth to put themselves in position to repeat as National League champions.

Shiloh CarderThe Washington Nationals could. They are seemingly at the doorstep of the World Series every year but just can't make it happen in the postseason. If they can just get everything to click when October comes, they have the pitching and hitting to keep the Cubs from getting back to the Series. Do they have the health?

If Bryce Harper returns to his 2015 MVP form, watch out for the Washington Nationals. Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

David Matthews: As much as I'd like to say no, of course not, the Dodgers and the Nationals definitely have the pitching and should have the hitting to take down the Cubs, and statistically, one of them probably will. I'm going to stop hedging though and pick one: It's the Dodgers who are probably going to have the best record in the Majors this season, which will give them home field in a potential Game 7 of the NLCS with Clayton Kershaw likely on the mound.

Demetrius Bell: It's got to be the Dodgers, right? They've been a serious contender for a while now, and they only got better over the offseason. I'd say that they're better than the Cubs at the moment, so if there's a year where they can cut into what could be a reign of terror for Chicago, then 2017 is it for the Dodgers.

Corey Seager and the Dodgers are prime candidates to challenge the Cubs in the NL. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Neal: Maybe. If the Giants can secure home field advantage over the Cubs, they may have a chance. The Cubs' power would be diminished at AT&T Park, and the San Francisco pitchers look to rebound from a somewhat down year last year. Adding Mark Melancon helps the bullpen, which was beyond suspect last year, and Bruce Bochy still has a little bit of Midas left in his touch.

Matt Whitener: It's going to be tough, as there are few chinks in the Chicago armor if unforeseen health woes (or divine intervention) don't derail the Cubs. However, if we want to have some fun with this, take a long look at the New York Mets. At optimal capacity, the Mets have an unmatched gauntlet of starting pitching options, and a balanced lineup built around Yoenis Cespedes, that could once again push them in series play. Remember, just two years ago they swept the Cubs out of the postseason when they had a healthier version of themselves than they had in 2016.

QUIZ: Name every player on the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series winning roster

In 2016, the most famous championship drought in professional sports history came to an end when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in an epic Game 7 over the Cleveland Indians. Can you name all 25 active members of that Cubs roster?

* - please note that last names are acceptable as answers

Dexter Fowler
Kyle Schwarber
Albert Almora
Kris Bryant
Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist
Addison Russell
Willson Contreras
David Ross
Chris Coghlan
Miguel Montero
Jason Heyward
Javier Baez
Kyle Hendricks
Jon Lester
Aroldis Chapman
Carl Edwards
Mike Montgomery
Pedro Strop
Jake Arrieta
Travis Wood
Hector Rondon
John Lackey
Justin Grimm
Jorge Soler

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