Yesterday, I went through the superior AFC. Now it’s on to the NFC.
16. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford looks like he might be the real deal, but he’s still a potentially injury prone rookie. And this could be the year Stephen Jackson finally wears down from being the only game in town. Losing at home to a hollowed out Arizona team is the beginning of another bad season.
15. Detroit Lions- Even without Matthew Stafford, the Lions were an absurd NFL catch rule away from beating the Bears in Chicago. Still, with Stafford possibly missing half the season, Detroit may see a promising year go up in smoke.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs held on to beat Cleveland in Tampa last week, which is nice and all, but the Browns are awful. Josh Freeman may end up as a first rate QB, but the rest of the roster is woefully thin on talent.
13. Carolina Panthers- If it wasn’t for the quarterback position, these guys could be amongst the top NFC teams. As it is, they are probably good enough to lose a lot of close games. Getting whipped by the Giants last week with three interceptions from Matt Moore makes the start of this season look a lot like last year.
12. San Francisco 49ers- Here they are, the it-team in the NFC. After getting unmercilously stomped by what to even the best estimations is a pretty generally lousy Seattle team, so much for that division title. If Alex Smith doesn’t show something soon, all that preseason hype will result in nothing more than a high draft pick on a quarterback.
11. Arizona Cardinals- The Derek Anderson era of Cardinals football started off with a tight win on the road against the worst team in the conference in St. Louis. With those two, and the 49ers troubles, the league may need an emergency realignment to prevent a 5-11 division winner.
10. Chicago Bears- The Bears held on (unlike Calvin Johnson) to win against the Lions. Not exactly inspiring. On the plus side, Jay Cutler racked up tons of yards and threw more touchdowns than interceptions. Matt Forte is going to have a monster season in Mike Martz’ offense.
9. Philadelphia Eagles- Ain’t America great? Michael Vick is the savior of the Eagles’ season. Everyone in the City of Brotherly Love is channeling memories of Randall Cunningham after his second half performance against Green Bay. The Eagles are going to the Superbowl! Well, maybe they should win a game first.
8. Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys offense looked putrid in the preseason, and looked just as bad losing to Washington last week. If things on the line don’t improve, Tony Romo’s season could be shorter than expected.
7. Seattle Seahawks- Big, big win over San Francisco. Still, the quality of whipping put on by Seattle rates this high a spot. But can they keep it? Hopefully, for the western division’s sake.
6. Atlanta Falcons- Losing a close game in Pittsburgh, even without Big Ben, isn’t the worst thing in the world. Still, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner better turn it on to avoid a .500 season.
5. Washington Redskins- A big early-season division win over the Cowboys kicked off the Mike Shanahan era. If the defense plays like that, they’ll be in the playoff hunt all season. And Donovan McNabb will settle in eventually.
4. Minnesota Vikings- Brett Favre was rusty, the receiver corps was decimated and the Vikings still almost won in New Orleans. Make no mistake, this team will be a factor all season. The only question is can they keep up with Green Bay in the division.
3. New York Giants- The Giants beat Carolina in New Jersey thanks to Matt Moore interceptions. Still, it was a big win and until they prove otherwise, they deserve a high spot in what looks like a fairly weak conference overall. But remember, they started 5-0 last year and we know how that turned out.
2. Green Bay Packers- The Pack was probably the most impressive team in the first week, at least until Michael Vick started channeling his Falcons days. They went into a hostile environment and gave it to the Eagles. They did lose Ryan Grant for the season, and that could be a problem, but they’ll wins lots of games. This is the season we get a Favre against Green Bay playoff game.
1. New Orleans Saints- Holding Minnesota to single digits was impressive but for the Vikings issues on that side of the ball. The offense didn’t produce like it needs to, but Minnesota is no slouch on defense , either. I still have concerns about the Saints defense, namely their total reliance on turnovers. Still, they beat one of the best few teams in the league and they are the defending champions. Until someone beats them, they’re number one.