It’s safe to say that the NFC is having an off-year. Bullets Blog's highest-ranked NFC team is currently ranked at #6. Yes, that does mean that there are five AFC teams better than the best NFC team. But it gets worse as you move down from the top. Every single NFC team has at least two losses. Forget the New Orleans Saints going 13-0 like they did last year; they’re already only 4-2. The patheity (because “patheticity” isn’t really a word) of the NFC, broken down by division:
This was supposed to be an absolute powerhouse of a conference. The Vikings had future Hall-of-Famers Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson, and they’ve added another future Hall-of-Famer in Randy Moss. Someone explain to me how they lose at all with those three leading (what should be) a very high-powered offense and a solid defense behind them. This week, Brett returns home to Green Bay to play the Packers. (Yes, home because Brett will go into the Hall in a Packers hat. When he was with the Jets he was horrible on the field and sexually assaulted women off the field. As a Viking he’s had glimmers of success but nothing like when he wore green and yellow – and the whole ‘everyone hates him every summer because he can’t make up his mind’ thing.). If Minnesota wins, the Chicago Bears will have the only winning record in the division. Aaron Rodgers was supposed to blossom into the kind of quarterback we could compare to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who both happen to play in the AFC. I had high hopes for the Lions this season – I even called myself a Lions fan at some points. I thought the young, talented core of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, and Ndamukong Suh would make a serious push for the Wild Card. Nope. They’re 1-6. The good news in Detroit is (1) they’ll end up with another good draft pick that might just give them too much talent to be awful and (2) they’re better than the Bills.
The NFC East always gives off the aura of being a powerful division because at the beginning of every season, Cowboys fans and Giants fans and Eagles fans and Redskins fans all think they have a chance at a deep playoff run. Washington has overcome the Albert Haynesworth drama and is finally going to break the ‘First Place in the Offseason, Last Place in the NFC East Curse’ behind Donovan McNabb. But they only reason they’ll be able to do that is because the Dallas Cowboys have fallen off a cliff. At the beginning of the season, they were a 5-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. If they lose to the Giants on Monday Night, they will fall to 1-5. They’ve scored 11 touchdowns (which actually isn’t that bad of a total thru five games) but they’ve been penalized for excessively celebrating on 2 of those 11. Fun fact: they are actually celebrating that they will get to add LaMichael James or Mark Ingram for next year. The Eagles have two very good quarterbacks in Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb but beyond that, they have a bunch of injured skill players and linemen. And they have Andy Reid, who has mismanaged the clock so badly that he’s thrown away almost a thousand football games in the closing minutes over the past 12 years.
I feel bad including the South in this post because they are by far the best division of the conference. Atlanta is playing up to their expectations. Tampa Bay surprised the nation in a good way. The Saints were going to have a drop-off from last year’s 13-0 start and I think a 4-2 record is respectable. I really don’t have anything to say to bash the entire division. What I would like to talk about here is Reggie Bush’s take on the NFL’s new tackling policy. “As an offensive player I have to say I disagree w/ the enforcement of the rule. I’d much rather get hit up top than down low in the knees.” “Worst case scenario you get hit up top=concussion. Worst case scenario you get hit down low=knee surgery or possible end of career.” (via @reggie_bush ) I couldn’t agree more with Reggie. Low hits have seriously impacted at least one season for Carson Palmer, Favre, Terrell Owens, and Tom Brady. Oh, and the Panthers are terrible. Chris and I have a hard time deciding between Carolina and Buffalo for #32 in the power rankings every week.
This division was supposed to be one solid team that was a playoff lock and three other teams that could only win against themselves, Cleveland, Carolina, and Buffalo. The “solid” 49ers are currently 1-5, and they are being led by the mighty Cardinals, Seahawks, and Rams. Seattle is leading the division with a total of +1 point against their opponents. Arizona is -50. Two of the three teams are led by rookie quarterbacks. This division really is pathetic. College comparison: San Francisco is the smoking hot girl at the party who drinks way too much, gets incoherent, and violently vomits in the bushes. She is currently vomiting, and we’ll find out today if she is going to pass out in the front yard and get written up by campus police. If the 49ers lose to the Panthers, then they should just drop out of the league for the rest of the season. The other 3 teams are mildly attractive girls who look so much better than they actually are in comparison to puking San Francisco. One of those girls is going to win the NFC West and actually make the playoffs. None of them deserve it. Bill Simmons (the man deserves a bolded name, even though he’s not an athlete) tackled the problem of an awful team making the playoffs in his Week 3 NFL Column. His plan for the four mega-divisions seems really radical, but I think it would improve the NFL. Even if the only improvement is getting Dallas out of the NFC East and Carolina out of the NFC South. Because Dallas is more south than Carolina and Carolina is more east than Dallas. And that’s just not right.