The balance of power in the NFL is shifting. Maybe more than just an injury, Peyton Manning’s absence from this opening weekend’s games signifies the official end of the dominance of the AFC over the NFC. The NFC has now won the last two Superbowls, before that they have won just two of the previous nine. Michael Lombardi of NFL.com recently wrote on excellent article on NFL division power rankings. His rankings put three NFC divisions in the top four (Ranking: North, East, AFC East, South). Only the lowly NFC West is dragging the conference down coming up last.
Should this be a surprise? Look at the list of QB’s: Rodgers, Brees, Vick, Ryan, Romo, Freeman. Follow the QB’s and you see why the NFC is so dangerous this year, and this is before factoring in Sam Bradford and Matt Stafford, the two most dangerous up and coming players.
Sure the AFC still has more dangerous Super Bowl contenders, but top to bottom the NFC reigns supreme. What does all this mean? Well it means that predicting the NFC division winners this year is no easy task. With so many good teams the winners will come down to one thing: division games. The good teams will win and lose their fair share with few pulling away from the pack. That means it all comes down to how you did against your biggest division foes. This is how the NFC breaks down for me.
- Philly 10-6 – The offense has questions with an unsorted offensive line and three less than 100% Wide Receivers. But the defense holds it together while they get it sorted out.
- Dallas 9-7 – Dangerous on offense. Makes up for a shaky secondary.
- Washington 8-8 – Mike Shannahan has installed his offense and his run game will look a lot more like his Denver days. This will take a lot of pressure off of Rex Grossman, but can he play well all season?
- New York Giants – 7-9 – An offseason with few additions has ended with several injuries to the defense. How will they make it through the season?
- Green Bay 12-4 – Rodgers is too good and the roster too deep to look elsewhere in the division.
- Detroit 9-7 (WC)– The offense is explosive and the D-Line has the ability to dominate which is becoming the only thing that matters against the leagues top QB’s. Should be a strong home team.
- Minnesota 8-8 – Still that big, tough, veteran team from two years back. Now they will have decent QB’ing to go with it.
- Chicago 8-8 – How many games can this O-line win in a division with three strong D-lines?
- New Orleans 11-5 – Injuries simply cannot be as bad as last year. A renewed run game lets Brees rip it up again.
- Atlanta10-6 (WC)– Had some nice breaks last year that led to their dominant record. Still like them.
- Tampa Bay 8-8 – Played tough against good teams last year but too many wins came against the scrubs.
- Carolina 5-11 – Don’t see them as a pushover with strong run game and defense, but who do they beat?
- St Louis 9-7 – I have no idea so let’s go with the divisions best Quarterback.
- Arizona 8-8 – Kolb-Fitz, Kolb-Fitz, Kolb-Fitz, Kolb-Fitz, Kolb-Fitz and Kolb-Fitz
- Seattle 4-12 – TavarisJackson. Is that how you spell his name? I’m not looking it up.
- San Fran 2-14 – How pumped up can the players get for a game with Alex Smith?
Wild Card Round: Atlanta over St. Louis, Detroit over Philly
Divisional Round: Detroit over Green Bay, Atlanta over New Orleans
Conference Championship: Atlanta over Detroit