By Will Stevenson
This season is a season of newcomers, disappointment and staying alive. While each season gives us new playoff teams along with teams the made it last year that are now struggling, fans are holding on to every game as the playoffs are just around the corner. The NFC and AFC West have a combined record of (22-7-1 and 21-8 respectively) between the top 6 teams. With their only being two Wildcard slots open these divisions are looking to snuff out the playoff chances of teams that are looking to make a late-season surge.
The Cowboys are (9-1) this year, and looking at the STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE they haven’t played many good teams, but the Patriots play in the AFC East so who cares about bad opponents. Dak Prescott has been efficient this season and the offensive line has made Ezekiel Elliot an MVP candidate this year. I don’t like the Cowboys as much as the next, but when they are actually good, we must respect it.
The Lions (6-4) are still the same team they’ve been since Matthew Stafford has arrived, the only difference is the NFC South is down-right terrible. The Lions are winning close games, in which they have trailed in the 4th quarter every game this season. Don’t worry, they’ll flame out in the playoffs or maybe before they have a chance to get there.
I know the Buccaneers (5-5) aren’t the type of team we love, nor are they the “newcomer”, but the Winston and Mike Evans along with the defense have been able to stay in the mix as the season chugs along. We expected them to be at the bottom of the conference and division, but like the Titans and Texans, they keep winning.
I don’t look at the Giants (7-3) as newcomers, because they are still the same team from last year, but they have won their close games this year versus their losses in close games in the previous season. Winning close games isn’t an exact skill, just ask the Panthers.
The Vikings (6-4) aren’t disappointments in the beginning, but throughout the season they have been up and down. First Teddy Bridgewater went down, then Adrian Peterson. Then they traded for Sam Bradford. Bradford looked good, the defense was great, but now they just snapped their 4 game losing streak.
The Panthers (4-6) are a disappointment because they didn’t keep Josh Norman, which helped their defense, no matter how many of us said we shouldn’t have signed him. With the NFL changing every year I the standings, not too many teams can stay consistent with their winning. The Panthers are crawling back slowly, but they need to win out to take the division as the NFC East looks to take hold of the Wildcard positions.
Arizona (4-5-1) and the Packers (4-6) are struggling along the offensive line and their defenses aren’t holding up like the should this year. Both offenses have been behind most of the year as Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers have been under fire all year long. A losing season for each club could result in coaching changes during the offseason.
|1DAL||9||1||0||.900||—||5-1||.386||.352||NFC East Champ|
|2SEA||7||2||1||.750||—||3-2-1||.465||.486||NFC West Champ|
|3DET||6||4||0||.600||—||4-2||.455||.475||NFC North Champ.|
|4ATL||6||4||0||.600||—||4-3||.530||.525||NFC South Champ|