I think people are coming around on the NFC. The conference that gets no respect is just throwing raw numbers at the critics. Six teams at 7-3 or better looks pretty good on paper. If you ignore the NFC West, maybe this isn’t such a bad conference. Of the NFC’s top teams, it seems like most of them have a big match-up this weekend. The top-6 could either further separate or come back to the field a little bit. The games…
Saints v. Cowboys: It starts on Thanksgiving with this game that looked to be unwatchable just a couple of weeks ago. I think New Orleans could win this game in a blowout and no one would bat an eye, but the fact that you maybe take a moment’s pause in regard to the Cowboys tells you a lot. I don’t think people trust New Orleans is back and they don’t trust Dallas is dead. Maybe we’ll figure it out Thursday.
Bucs v. Ravens: Still like Josh Freeman? The Bucs won’t be expected to win this game. Are we expecting 13-3 because they can rough up the Niners? There aren’t many teams in the league that would go into Baltimore and win, but Tampa needs to put in a showing here. The expectations for the Bucs are so low that beating anyone is looked at as a miracle. Here’s a game where they and the entire NFC could get some real credibility if they challenge Baltimore. I have a sinking feeling they’re going to get blown out.
Bears v. Eagles: Battle of the letdowns? I’ve heard the last couple of days how bad a spot this is for the Eagles. I agree it isn’t a great spot, but what about the Bears? Are you comfortable with them getting to 8-3? Both of these teams are in good position now, but they could also both spiral right out of playoff contention as the schedule toughens up. I don’t see that happening to Philly, who has the better quality wins in this match-up. I said after Sunday’s games that there aren’t many defenses (if any) in the league who can stop a team like the Eagles. The Birds get contained maybe, but who on the Bears is going to help them keep pace? By the way, pretty disastrous tie-breaker implications if the Birds lose this one.
Packers v. Falcons: Easily the game of the week. The Falcons have the best record in the NFC and most consider them the best team in the conference. They certainly could be at home in the dome, but they do have that troubling throttling at the hands of Kevin Kolb on the resume. The Packers have been crushing inferior opponents of late, but going on the road in Atlanta is a huge step up in competition. It’s a great QB match-up, and I’d like to give the edge to the Packers, because of the way their defense is playing, but I think this one might be too close to call. A Falcons win sets up them for a 1st round bye, and affirms their top-ranked status. If the Packers win, they probably take over the top spot and open up the first round byes to all the contenders.
Other NFC Action:
–The Phillips Theory Game: If Minnesota rolls into Washington and crushes the ‘Skins, expect in-season firings to spike in popularity.
–The Enigma game: The Jags and Giants seem like they can blow out any team or get blown out at the drop of a hat. Which way does this one fall?
–Ultimate NFC West Stink Bomb: Cards and Niners on Monday night? You’re welcome, ESPN. This game is a pick ’em, which I think is Vegas’ way of saying, “who knows, who cares?”
- Rusty Smith*
- Troy Smith